St Nicholas Parish
Burton has always had a strong connection
with the sea, and no where else is it so
prominent as the name of the village Church,
“St Nicholas”. Saint Nicholas was the Patron
Saint of mariners. The church which dates
back to the 1300s at the time of the Norman
occupation, still stands prominent today.
The parish registers commence in 1538 and
the list of vicars goes back to Simon de
Sachell in 1302 and include Ralph Congreve
from 1840 to 1858. However it was
renovated extensively including structural
alterations in 1721. The oldest part of the
church can be seen around the back and side
where a distinctive difference can be seen
immediately. The church yard contains many
interesting graves and tombs many of which
are ornately decorated and listed. There is
also the remains of an old sundial in the front
of the grounds, however only the base now
The church of St. Nicholas at Burton rewards
the visitor with many interesting features:
- The Massey Chapel has a modern plaque which reads in part: "This tablet was erected by
George Massey Esq. of New York USA to replace monuments formerly in the Massey Chapel
to the memory of William Massey of Puddington and his wife Anne and to honour the memory
of the Barons of Dunham Massey and their descendants the Masseys of Puddington."
- There is no stone for William, the last of the Masseys at Puddington. He was buried in on
15th February 1715 (Julian Calendar). The Masseys were a Catholic family and William,
although sixty years old, joined the Old Pretender in the Jacobite Revolution of 1715. After
the rebels were defeated at Preston, William Massey fled south without stopping, and on his
favourite horse and swam the Mersey. On reaching Puddington the horse dropped dead.
William was captured and taken to Chester Castle, where he died a few days later.
- There is also a monument to Sir John Stanley Massey Stanley of Hooton who died in 1794.
- The Congreve family used this church and there are a number of monuments. They were
related to William Congreve the Restoration playwright. Captain Walter Norris Congreve
(1862-1927) of the Rifle Brigade won the Victoria Cross for action at Colenso, South Africa
1899 and went on to become General Sir Walter Congreve, a corp commander in the Great
War. His son was William La Touche Congreve VC, DSO, MC, who was awarded the VC
posthumously in July 1916. They are one of only three father and son pairs to win the VC. In
the churchyard is buried Father Plessington, Catholic chaplain to the Masseys who was
arrested and executed at Chester in July 1679. This arose from a scare about a Catholic plot
initiated by Titus Oates.