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"and departed without any pay. When the neigh"hours ask'd them whence they came they answered "out of the woods. The Steeple was built in 1530."
The only person who took any interest in these stones—other than to look on them as suitable material for building or for garden rockeries— was Mr. E. W. Cox, who sketched and measured them as they were taken out of the walls, the result of his researches appearing in his "Notes on the History of Wallasey Church," published in the Journal of the Chester Arch. Soc. for 1886-7. Robinson's statements in reference to the church bear out Mr. Cox's restoration in several points, although that gentleman had not seen "The Account" at the time he made his drawings and plans. His restoration shows a church of two bays, a chancel arch of different workmanship from the rest of the church, the south door mentioned by Robinson, and also that the church was built at several times "as it were in Cantils."
There is no occasion for me to go into the several rebuildings and additions, nor to deal fully with Mr. Cox's conjectural restoration and his reasons for appropriating the several remains and measurements as he has done; but, while referring you to his paper, will merely give a sketch of the church as it appeared after the final additions in 1530 and in Robinson's time.
The building then was a double church—a nave and one aisle of equal width, a type not uncommon in the neighbourhood (Shotwick Church being a good example of the style), the nave being joined to the aisle by two four-centred arches.
The chancel arch and two small arches joining a north side-chapel to the chancel and nave respectively were of the period of the transition from Norman to Early English, and were of singularly beautiful workmanship, the capitals of the former being similar to some at Furness Abbey, and doubtless belonging to the arch built by the men who came "out of the woods."
The four-light east window and the smaller twolight one in the side chapel, the south door and porch, and the two tower arches (in situ) were of Edwardian date, the remains of which being sufficient to restore even the tracery of the windows, while the remainder of the tower (in situ), all the south windows, and the two nave arches, with octagonal piers and capitals, were of the same date as the tower—1530—and were the last important additions to the church.
Some Early Norman remains were found, consisting of the tympanum of a small round-headed "priest's door," carved with the lamb and flag—probably the "chancel door" mentioned in the churchwardens' accounts; the capitals and some voussoirs belonging to the same door, a small piscina, and the font which is now preserved in the present church.
This font must have been in use in Robinson's day, and until the rebuilding of 1760, when it was replaced by a yellow marble basin and pedestal font, which remained in the church until Dr. Byrth's appointment to the rectory in 1834. The Norman font was then in the rectory garden, and he took it back to the church; some of his own family and parishioners now living having been baptized in it. It remained in the church until 1856, when—a few months before the fire—a new font was given to the church by Wm. Chambres, Esq., and the old one was again relegated to the rectory garden, and after another thirty years' weathering was placed in the present church. It is of local stone, circular, and very massive, with an incised arcading of round-topped arches, a dog-tooth moulding round the top, and a cable moulding round the base.
Mr. Cox considers the Transition rebuilding to have been undertaken in order to provide sepulture in the side chapel for William, son of Richard de Waley, the donor of a moiety of the rectory to the Abbey of St. Werburgh, temp. Henry II — possibly the same Wally who gave "the far Crook Hey "and near Crook Hey, and a meadow adjoining, to "the Parsonage of High Altar, for a burying place "in the Chancel."
That the church was ill-used during the "anarchy times" appears from Robinson's story of the soldiers making a target of the Weeping Cross, and in a note written by him in the Registers, dated 1687 (quoted in Appendix 13.: The Bells), which shows that the leads from the steeple were pillaged during the Civil War; and from the commencement of the Churchwardens' Accounts in 1658 to the close of the old volume in 1751, repairs to the building, roof, windows, &c, are very frequent.
The inside of the building, before the Restoration of King Charles II, was probably whitewashed throughout, without decorations of any sort. During 1658-9, 2s. was "Dis: forr changinge the fflagonn "belonginge to the Church "; 3s. was spent on a "pewter basan," and "a diall" was put up "for "the use of the parish," besides necessary repairs to the fabric of the church. In 1660-1, a new "pulpitt" was provided, 3d. being "spent at the "settin up ye pulpitt," and in the same years 2s. was "spent in gettinge up the fann on the steeple." During the following year—1662—expenses were incurred in an elaborate scheme of decoration :—
Payd unto William Coates and his