CHURCHE'S Mansion was once nearly
lost to the town when a consortium of Americans wanted to demolish it and
ship it, brick by brick, to the U.S.A.
However, that plan - in the 1930s - was scuppered by a local
doctor, Dr Edgar Myott, and his wife, Irene, who bought the building.
So we got to keep our famous building
and the world - including welcome Americans - can see it in its original
The Grade 1 listed building is
currently occupied by Adams Antiques, run by Mrs Sandy Summers
and her husband, Neil, but in its time it has been a merchant's house,
a hay store and a restaurant - and might have become offices
after it was put on the market for that purpose.
Sandy told me: "Tourists are welcome to
visit when the shop is open. They don't have to be interested in antiques -
although we do have a donation box and appreciate donations from people who are
not looking for antiques."
The antiques on sale are displayed in
the various rooms as room settings so that buyers can see how the objects would
look in their own homes! And this makes it a good way to see the rooms as you
might view a stately home.
The mansion has oak-panelled rooms and large fireplaces. And one of the first floor rooms
has a coffin drop - two six-feet boards which hinge upwards so that the
undertaker doesn't have to negotiate the spiral
staircase to the room!
Likenesses of Richard (left) and Margerye Churche, for whom the house was built in 1577,
can be seen on the facade of the property along with other
carvings. One of these is a salamander, which is reputed to have
fire resistant natural properties. The carving is believed to
have been added to the facade as a good luck charm against fire.
That was a hazard to which the local buildings of the time were
prone. In the case of Churche's Mansion it would seem to have
The building was one of those to survive the Great Fire of Nantwich in 1583.
As with many old buildings, there
are rumours of a ghost - or two! There have been reported sightings of an
Elizabethan serving girl, and a male ghost with an eye for the ladies! Several people have said they
felt a cold hand touch them. At other times, people have
reported that a vacuum cleaner lead was wrapped round their legs
and lights have been switched on and off by a ghost. A
Cavalier soldier from the English Civil War who died in the
grounds of the mansion has also been seen by some people . . . or so it is
l On a point
of correctness, the building is Churche's Mansion,
not - as some people would have you believe - Church's Mansions (or any variations).
On the other hand
Richard Churche had a son, William, whose surname is
recorded without an 'e', and a nephew, Thomas - son of Richard's brother,
Edward. They built the black and white buildings on The Square in the centre of town.
See the Places to See page for details of those