It is impossible to approach Bebington without peeping cautiously at the ancient church spire to note
the altitude of the ivy, for there is an ancient Cheshire prophecy that the end of the world will be at
hand as soon as the ivy reaches the top of the spire; and yet another legend states that it was really
intended to build the church in Tranmere, to where the stone was carted, but during the night time it
was mysteriously removed to its present site, so it was deemed unwise to refuse a position that had
been so miraculously selected.
Bebington Church is externally, and internally, one of the most interesting in the Wirral. In ancient
days it was known as the "Whit-Church" or "White Church" . The church, which stands on a slight
elevation above and a little beyond the village is dedicated to Saint Andrew, and still retains traces of
its Saxon architecture.
Ormeod described the church:
"The church of Bebington consisted originally of a nave, south aisle, and chancel. The two former of these
are still remaining, and are divided by a range of Saxon arches, resting on massy cylindrical columns. At
the extremity of the south aisle is a handsome tower surmounted by a lofty spire, of less antiquity than
the part of the fabric to which it is attached. The rest of the building has been replaced by another chancel
with side aisles of large dimensions and extreme loftiness, finished in the style of the splendid architecture
of the reign of Henry the 7th. It appears to have been the intention of the builder to have erected a central
tower, from the formation and the four western piers of the chancel, and by arrangement in the roof of
the sides aisles, he has contrived to give this part, internally, the effect if transepts. The design was
interrupted before the vaulting was finished, but the parts erected have every appearance of having formed
part of a regular plan, which if it had been completed would have presented one of the finest specimens of
ecclesiastical architecture in Cheshire".
There is an interesting Norman font, and some beautifully decorated windows filled with modern
stained glass, that to the memory of Sarah Roger being particularly notable, for it is of four lights
containing full length figures of Sarah, Hannah, Ruth, Esther, the virgin Mary, Elizabeth, Mary of
Bethany and Dorcas.
- a passage from A PERAMBULATION of the HUNDRED of WIRRAL 1909
by HAROLD EDGAR YOUNG
St Andrews church has been standing for almost 1000
years. Worshippers originally worshipped there in open
air and used wood crosses to mark the graves. It was
originally built from wood by the Saxons. Some time in the
12th century the church was rebuilt from a creamy white
stone used from the local Storeton quarry.
The Doomsday Book mentions a priest here in 1087.Then
six years later a Norman settler, Scirard Lancelyn, gave the
church and several acres of land to the new Abbey of St.
Werburgh in Chester. His descendants have been linked to
the church ever since.
The family coat of arms figures three stags. One can be
seen on top of the spire, and all three on the pub up at
Spital cross-roads. In due course a Norman church
replaced that of the Saxons, and throughout the centuries
ongoing enlargements have resulted in many different
styles of architecture, including Early Decorated and
Tudor/Perpendicular. Masons' marks show the tower was
begun in 1300, and finished some fifty years later.
The belfry of the church was used as Bebbnigtons first
school. Another interesting fact is that when Oliver
Cromwells troops camped on Abbots Grange, they used
the steeple of the church as target practice.