OS Grid ref:-SJ8476
Nether Alderley, which lies three miles south of Wilmslow, is a highly attractive village, its history is closely intertwined with that of the aristocratic Stanley family who lived at nearby Alderley Park and once owned much of the surrounding area.
Nether Alderley Watermill (pictured left) is a charming building, one of only four working watermills in Cheshire it dates from the sixteenth century and is now owned by the National Trust. The mill, once the manorial mill of the Stanley family, has two water wheels fed from Radnor Mere. The red sandstone mill, which is open to visitors, is now owned by the National Trust. The watermll is situated on the A34 road.
Alderley Old Hall, a former half-timbered manor house, stands next to the mill pond of Nether Alderley Mill. The hall was constructed in the early seventeenth century for Sir Thomas Stanley. The hall was largely destroyed by fire in the eighteenth century. One wing survived and was made into a new house. The Stanley estates in Nether Alderley were sold off in 1938.
The Eagle and Child, a grade II listed, black and white half timbered building which stands opposite the mill was once a coaching inn. It derived its name from the Stanley family's coat of arms. The original fifteenth century property was built for Lord Stanley of Trafford and comprises of oak beamed ceilings, lead and glass windows and stone fireplaces. During the seventeenth century, the property was extended to become a coaching Inn, providing refreshments and a place to rest for weary travellers, on the main road between Manchester and London.
The Old School, (pictured right) the sandstone building situated at the entrance to the churchyard was built by Hugh Shaw in 1628, the school room was on the ground floor and the schoolmaster's accommodation was above, a further wing was added in 1817 by the Reverend Edward Stanley, brother of the 1st Lord Stanley of Alderley. The building is now used as a parish hall.
The Stanley Mausoleum dating from 1909, stands in the churchyard. It was built for Edward Lyulph Stanley of Alderley Park, 4th Baron Sheffield (1839-1925) and it contains his ashes and those of his wife, Mary Katherine, who died in 1929. The mausoleum is built in ashlar buff and red sandstone and was designed in the neo-Jacobean style by Paul Phipps. Above the door is the Stanley Eagle and Child crest, inside the mausoleum is a white marble sarcophagus.
The cross near the porch may have a Saxon base and the nearby yew tree has been dated to about 800 AD.
The rectory dates from the Georgian era and is a very handsome building.
A few hundred yards north of the watermill a winding byway known as Artist's Lane leads from the main road to Alderley Edge escarpment and 'the Wizard' restaurant, which stands on National Trust land and is so called for the legend of the cave of the Wizard of Edge, which states that a wizard and an army of knights wait in a cave at Alderley Edge to save England in her hour of need.
St. Mary's Church
Perpendicular St. Mary's Church at Nether Alderley dates from the fourteenth century although the embattled tower is of later date, being built in the sixteenth century.
The Stanley pew, which has its own exterior entrance, contains the coats of arms of the Stanleys and the families which they married into. The pew is purported to be one of the finest in Britain. Its front is richly carved and displays six panels with coats of arms.
The Stanley Pew
The musician's gallery which spans the nave of the church was designed by the architects Austin and Paley and dates to 1803 it contains further coats of arms of local influential families and now contains the church organ. St. Mary's contains some fine stained glass windows, some of which are memorials to the Stanley family. The glass in a south window in the chancel of 1909 was made by Morris & Co. An oak document chest in the tower has been dated to 1686.
The Stanley Pew interior
A particularly fine sixteenth century roof covers the nave of the church. The font is fourteenth century, it was buried in the churchyard as a form of protection during the Civil War period and the forgotten, only to be discovered and in 1821 and over a hundred years later restored to use in the church.
St. Mary's, the interior of the church
Among several old books kept at St. Mary's is the 'Vinegar' Bible of 1717, so called because a misprint reads 'the parable of the vinegar' instead of the vineyard. The Breeches Bible dates from 1560.
At the east end of the church, contained in Gothic syle niches are the two nineteenth century tombs of John Thomas Stanley, first Lord Stanley of Alderley and his son, Edward, the second Lord Stanley.
Nearby places of interest
Alderley Edge - a dramatic red sandstone escarpment which reaches to 600 feet (160 metres) above the surrounding landscape, offers impressive views. On a clear day it is possible to see Manchester, Stockport and the Pennine Hills beyond.
Alderley Edge Mines- extensive series of mines, mining first took place there in the Bronze Age and in Roman times.
Hare Hill Gardens- Hare Hill Garden is partcularly attractive in the early summer, the garden, which is set in 10 acres, contains more than 70 varieties of rhododendrons, plus azaleas hostas and a of national repute. At its heart is a delightful walled area with a pergola and wire sculptures.