Eccleston is a rural gem and regularly wins the accolade of ‘Cheshire’s best kept village’. There’s a strong sense of community and like other villages on the Eaton Estate the village retains its character because it is in a conservation area.
Eccleston was originally built in 1827 to house employees of the 1st Duke of Westminster. The homes were designed by well-known Chester architect John Douglas and many have the ‘barley twist’ chimneys and diamond brickwork detail that characterise his work.
The charming house names such as ‘Police House’ and ‘Old Shop Cottage’ often give a clue to what the property was used for before it was transformed into a home.
The village amenities include a primary school, parish church, village hall and a network of footpaths on the doorstep. And there is a range of period houses and cottages as well as commercial premises, one of which houses Brain Injury Rehabilitation charity, B.I.R.D and another is the base of Wheatsheaf Investments Limited.
It has a population of approximately 150 and 45 properties.
Amenities and features
The village is popular with families whose children are of primary school age because of the small village school. Housed in an attractive red sandstone building, Eccleston Church of England Primary School has fewer than 90 pupils and was judged ‘good’ in its latest Ofsted report.
The village hall is Eccleston’s community hub with pre-school groups, ballroom dancing lessons, indoor bowling, karate, quiz nights and yoga taking place year-round. The hall has a well-equipped kitchen and is often booked for private functions from wedding receptions to birthday parties.
The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin is another focal point of the village. The striking Grade I listed building has a loyal congregation drawn from Eccleston and further afield. There has been a place of worship at the site since 1188, although there have been several churches built over the centuries.
The present church is the third incarnation and local legend has it that Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, asked leading architect G F Bodley to build him a cathedral in Eccleston. On being told that one already existed close by in Chester, the Duke is reported to have replied: “Then build me a small one!” Bodley did just that and St Mary’s was consecrated in 1900.
The village has an abundance of footpaths and permissive ways, and the riverside walks along the meadows to Chester which include the newly planted Jubilee Wood, are especially popular with families, joggers and dog walkers.
For more information about Eccleston please visit Eaton and Eccleston Parish Council.
The place name Eccleston comes from ‘ecclesia’ meaning church and ‘tun’ meaning farm or enclosure.
In 2012 a dig by Chester Archaeological Society in Eccleston uncovered evidence of the village’s Roman and medieval past.
The modern day Eccleston is an exceptionally well-preserved village, peppered with listed buildings including the smithy, red telephone box and the octagonal well house, now a shelter which forms a traffic island.
In 1870- 72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Eccleston as: “a pretty place; borrows beauty from the Marquess of Westminster’s neighbouring seat of Eaton Hall.”