OS Grid ref:- SJ660436
The Cheshire village of Audlem lies around a mile from the border with Shropshire and around 7 miles south of the of Nantwich. In 2005 Audlem was voted Cheshire's 'Village of the Year' and the North of England 'Village of the Year' also the 'Most Vibrant Village in Cheshire'. The heart of the village has been designated a conservation area.
Audlem was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1089 in which it was referred to as Aldelime.
Located on the Shropshire Union Canal, a run of 15 locks in the village, designed by the famous engineer Thomas Telford, raises the canal from the Cheshire Plain to the 93 feet (28 m) higher Shropshire Plain. With its two canalside pubs and an attractive towpath, the canal makes a pleasant place to walk or sit.
The Audlem Mill Canal shop stocks a range of gifts including painted canal ware and paintings of canal scenes. Wildlife on the canal includes kingfishers, herons, and grey wagtails. In recent years, otters have returned to the area.
The village's sandstone Church of St James sits on top of a walled mound, parts of the building date back to the thirteenth century. The church was founded by Thomas de Aldelime in around 1278, it is reputed to stand on an ancient Celtic burial ground.
The building was enlarged in the fourteenth century when the "weeping" chancel was added. Further additions were made in the nineteenth century. Hundreds of small white marks can be seen on the Chancel walls where soldiers sharpened arrows on the stone before it was used in the building. These marks were probably made about 1350-1400. Interesting features of the church include a wooden chest dating to the fourteenth century, the fifteenth century font and a blocked up priest's door the on outside of south Chancel wall.
The red sandstone Buttermarket, by the village church, is a listed building. Audlem was granted its Market Charter by King Edward I in 1296. The Old Grammar School dates back to the seventeenth century.
Moss Hall, (pictured right), an Elizabethan timber-framed house and a grade I listed building, is situated a around 1 km from the village centre. The hall, which has been described as "a surprisingly complete example of a gentleman's house of the early seventeenth century" was built in 1616 for Hugh Massy and is now in the ownership of the Vernon family. Built in an 'E' shape design, the very decorative half timbering demonstrated the wealth and importance of the owner.
A further grade I listed building, Highfields, a half timbered manor house built in 1585 by William Dod, stands about 2 miles from the village (OS grid ref:- SJ674409). During the English Civil War, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, nephew of King Charles I, is said to have stayed at the manor house in May 1642, while travelling north to the Siege of Stockport.
Audlem is bounded on its west side by the River Weaver which flows north to the market town of Nantwich.
Nearby places of interest
The Anderton Boat Lift, the world's first and England's only boat lift. Dating from 1875, the Anderton Boat Lift is one of the greatest monuments to Britain's canal age and known as the "Cathedral of the Canals". It provides a fifty foot vertical link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Bridgemere Garden World, covering fifty acres and Britain's largest garden centre, is located south of the town of Nantwich and lies on the beautiful borders of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire. A gardener's paradise, the centre makes a great day out for the enthusiast.