Malpas Tour - Walk Number 1

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Welcome to Malpas

Malpas today is still growing, but it has kept a lot of historic features alive.

Malpas stands on the section of the Old Roman Road (Watling Street) between Chester, called Deva by the Romans, and Wroxeter in Shropshire.

However, its origins are Norman. The first baron of Malpas, Robert Fitzhugh was given the Barony by the Earl of Chester, who aimed to strengthen his control of the English — Welsh borderlands with a series of castles.

Today, the town has many interesting buildings, dating from the 17th through to the 20th centuries and tales to tell about those who lived and worked in them.

The surrounding countryside offers splendid panoramic views of Wales and the South Cheshire and Shropshire countryside. The area is populated by nice friendly people, and a huge diversity of wildlife which you will encounter on your walk around the town.

In 1281 Malpas was granted a charter to hold a fair for three days a year and a market every Monday.
New buildings in the 17th and 18th centuries filled in the large open market place which stretched from the Church Steps to the High Street and as far as the Old Hall.

Map of Walk One

Malpas Walk Number One
Round the Town
A circular walk through the streets and fields of Malpas.

This short walk through the streets of Malpas will take about 30-45 minutes, giving you a real feel for its past. Access to all the fields is by kissing gates.

From the Cross, walk up the right hand side of Church Street to the house with sandstone pillars.

1 The Market House was built in 1762 by local landowners, the Drakes, as two shops with living accommodation above. It faced out onto the town's large market square.

Go up the church steps and into St Oswald's Churchyard. Walk Two tells you more about the church's history.

From the churchyard, you can look across to the buildings on Church Street.
Look out for a mythical creature on one of them.

The Griffin Symbol

The Gryphon
The Gryphon is the symbol of local landowners, the Cholmondeleys, who were descended from the original Barons of Malpas.
It can be found on the Old Printing House which was built for the Steward of the Cholmondeleys in 1733.
The building later housed a printing press.

Follow the path through the churchyard and fork left at the church door. Exit the church yard to street level and continue on down Church Street.

2 The Cholmondeley Alms Houses were founded in 1636 by Sir Thomas Brereton to support six poor persons of the parish, who were chosen by the Marquis of Cholmondeley. Look for their crest above the central door entrance.

3 The Tithe Barn is a 17th Century timber framed building which was converted into a house in the 20th Century.

The Tithe Barn Church Street

Continue down Church Street past Hayside Walk, and cross the road by Clare Cottage. Turn left on to the public footpath (marked by a finger post)
This is locally known as Boughey's lane after the owner of the shop, now demolished, which stood on the corner.
Pass through the kissing gate and turn left. Keep to the side of the field as you walk around.

4 The Captain's Field, so called after Captain Ethelston who allowed the people of the town to use the field for sports.

Through another kissing gate you enter a second field.

5 Ten Tree Field.
The name does not refer to the number of trees but comes from the word tentre, as in tentre frame which was used for drying cloth.

At the top of the field, a gate will let onto Parbutts Lane and back up to Church Street.
The lane is named after Thomas Parbutt whose headstone is in the churchyard.

However, to complete your walk, continue round the field's edge. Leave the field by the kissing gate which takes you across a small paddock between wooden railings, and via a curved grass path onto Old Hall Street. Turn left to walk back towards the Cross.

6 Directly opposite you are the houses of Chapel Rise, built on the site of the 1892 Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

7 The Old Hall was the home of the Breretons.

To the Manor Born
The Breretons were the Lords of the Manor until the late 17th century.
It is said that they could ride from Malpas to Chester without ever getting off their own land.
The present Old Hall dates from 1768 when the original hall was burnt down.
In the 16th century, the Breretons kept a fool called Thomas Boswell to entertain them.

The Old Hall Old Hall Street

8 Anvil Cottage, and the old Smithy garage, soon to be a co-op store, mark the site of the town's Blacksmiths forge.

9 The Crown was a coaching inn — in the 1830's coaches from London and Shrewsbury passed through Malpas daily on route to Chester.

10 The Red Lion, recently refurbished as The Lion was another coaching inn, and now has a 1920's fa├žade. King James VI of Scotland (James I of England is said to have stayed here.