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ON the 22nd of June, 1889, I visited an aged inhabitant of Upton, Prince by name, and spent an hour or more in obtaining his recollections of the ancient church, pulled down in 1813. Though g2 years of age, he could remember places with accuracy, when given time to think, and not hurried. To use his own words, "Sometimes I "can recall things when I think about them; "sometimes my memory fails me." And I commenced by testing his accuracy—asking for details of Birkenhead Priory, where he had lived; and as to these he made no mistakes. I will give his account of Overchurch as nearly verbatim as I can; making no change except in arranging his recollections, which he gave me as they occurred to him, and omitting personal anecdotes.
"I was only a lad of fourteen, or so, when I saw "the old church, which was not much of a place, "not such as they build now; people wern't so "particular then. It was small; it had a tower, "and there were battlements on it, and windows "on the sides of it; I don't remember whether "square or pointed. There were no stone stairs "to the tower, only a ladder of wood in one corner. "Then you came to a landing like, and up again. "It had a window to the west, and was a short "tower. There was a bell; they pulled it inside, "from the floor; there was no ringing-loft. There "was a door on the left, where they rung; they "shut it when they had done ringing; it was "boarded off." (Evidently the tower arch was closed by a wood partition.) "It had a weather"cock on the top, to show the way of the wind. "There was a widish door to the church; two or "three people could go in at once. It was arched, "and a little pillar on each side, and an old oak "door; it was on the south side, near the tower. "There was a bit of a porch; it was close up to "the tower. There was a little place on the right "of the entrance, where people went for the chris"tenings. The christening font was up the church "like, not just at the door.
1 An able and exhaustive paper on the Stone and its inscription was read before the Society on the same evening, by the Reverend Wilfrid Dallow, M.R.S.A. (Ireland). It was also read before the Chester Archaeological Society, and having been already printed in that Society's Journal, we are precluded from printing it here.—Editor. W
"The church was narrow, with pews both sides. "They were pews, not benches. The new church" (i.e., of Upton, built 1813) "was wider than the "old, and higher; it had two aisles, and the old "church only one up the centre." (By aisles he evidently meant passages between the pews.) "I "do not remember that there were any pillars or "arches inside the church. I think there were "none. There may have been a chancel arch; I "think there was one; but I'm not sure.
"The windows on the sides were square, not "like this" (pointing to his cottage sash), "but "stone windows, with glass between" (i.e., mullioned). "There was one gable at the east end, "and not two, and a window in it; I don't remem"ber how many lights it had. I cannot remember "the stained window, but think it might have been "near the christening place. There was no vestry "that I remember. I cannot recollect what the
"roof was like inside; it was not ceiled, but open "like a barn roof; it was covered outside with "stone slabs, not lead and not slate.
"I think the floor was clay; it was not tile, they "had none then. I can't call to mind the pulpit, "or shape of the font. I don't remember any "ornament or carving anywhere, nor zigzags on "the arches.
"The churchyard was entered by a gate like a "field gate, and a style with stone steps, near the "gate "—(as it is now.) "There was no wall, only "a hedge round it. When the church was taken "down in 1813, the stone was carted to Upton, to "build the church there, and there was not enough "to build the new church with." So runs the simple narrative of the only living man who had seen the ancient church standing.
The stones, taken from the church built at Upton in 1813, preserved by Mr. Webster, fully confirm by their character the supposition that they formed parts of the destroyed church of Overchurch. They consist of half the head of a light of a large window, the light trefoiled, while a fragment of the tracery above it shows rather Early Perpendicular work, and gives the curve of the arch of the window on the extrados. There are two pieces of the jamb of the same window, giving both the inner and outer splays, and the thickness of the wall. Half of the head of a very small, round-headed loop, or opening, widely splayed within, also remains. Built into the wall of the shed, constructed out of other stones from the old church, are two fragments of mullions, with plain chamfers, and one chamfered stone, probably from the jamb of a window other than the east window. There are also two fragments of grave slabs, much defaced: one fourteenth century, the other late Saxon, or Norman. The finest of the stones preserved at Mr. Webster's is