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Rushton Spencer

OS Grid ref:- SJ936624

St. Laurence's Church, Rushton SpencerThe village of Rushton Spencer is situated around five miles to the north west of Leek in Staffordshire, and lies very close to the county boundary with Cheshire, being separated by the River Dane, which forms the boundary between the two counties.

Rushton Spencer is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is recorded as Risetone. The village's name derives from the Old English words, ‘rysc’ meaning ‘rushy’ and ‘tun’- ‘town’, a reference to marsh land in the valley on the east side of the village. Spencer comes from from the aristocratic De Spencer family, lords of the manor of Rushton,  who produced Hugh le Despenser, the unpopular favourite of King Edward II, who was executed by Edward’s opponents, Queen Isabella, the 'She Wolf of France' and her lover Roger Mortimer, Earl of March.

The unusual village church of St Lawrence (pictured left) has a timber frame construction inside a later seventeenth century stone building with a small wooden tower. Known as the Chapel in the Wilderness, in reference to its solitary position, a church has occupied this site from 1206. The church is a fine example of a medieval timber frame building, parts of which date back to the thirtenth century. The east window dates from 1690 and the south door from 1713. Legend records that three armour-clad giants are buried underneath the church.

The nearby gritstone hill of Bosley Cloud rises to 1,126 ft. (343 m). Fine views of the Cheshire Plain and the mountains of Wales may be had from the summit.

A car park in the village, situated close to the old railway station, (pictured below left) now a private house, makes a good starting point for a walk to nearby Rudyard Lake. The highly picturesque lake, a popular beauty spot, is situated close to the village. Rudyard Lake lies amongst thickly wooded hillsides on the Staffordshire moorlands. The lake is a reservoir and was constructed between 1797 to 1798 by the engineer John Rennie, for the Trent and Mersey Canal company, to feed the Caldon Canal.

Rushton SpencerToday the lake is used for a wide range of activities including boating, canoeing, fishing and is also popular location for walks. Sailing and rowing boats are available for hire. The steam boat The Lady Alice sometimes offered trips along the lake. It returned to the lake after restoration in late April 2002 and was is in service on Sundays in summer. A new attraction is a the ex naval cutter launch Honey built in 1942.

Both the Gritstone Trail and the Staffordshire Way can be accessed from Rushton Spencer.

Nearby places of interest

Lud's Church is an immense natural cleft in the rock on the hillside above Gradbach. The cleft, which is 15 metres high in places and over 100 metres long, has been formed by a landslip which has detached a large section of rock. Over the centuries, Lud's Church has offered shelter to all sorts of fugitives, there are legends that both Robin Hood and Bonnie Prince Charlie used it.

Three Shires Head, is a beauty spot where the three counties of Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire meet.

Macclesfield Forest, once the centre of a Royal Forest created by the Norman kings for the purpose of hunting game such as deer, wild boar and wolves. It once encompassed all the area from Disley to the River Dane. The forest is home to a herd of red deer, while the reservoirs contain a wide variety of wildfowl.

A walk to Bosley Cloud from Rushton Spencer

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