Eccleston (St. Mary)
ECCLESTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Great Boughton, Lower division of the hundred of Broxton, S. division of the county of Chester; containing, with Eton township, 321 inhabitants, of whom 257 are in the township of Eccleston, 2¾ miles (S.) from Chester. This parish is situated on the river Dee, and comprises 2330 acres, of which 1280 are in Eccleston township. A third part is arable, a third pasture, and a third park and plantations; the surface is generally flat, and the soil clayey: red stone is quarried for building purposes. The village was occupied by Sir William Brereton's army, during the siege of Chester, in 1645. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £15. 13. 11½., with a net income of £460, and in the gift of the family of Grosvenor, at whose expense the church, and the burial-place of the family, were rebuilt in 1809. The church is an elegant structure of red stone, with an embattled tower crowned by pinnacles; over the altar was a painting of the Nativity by Caravaggio, which has been replaced by a painting of the Taking down from the Cross by Westall. The tithes of Eccleston township have been commuted for £280, and the glebe consists of 46 acres. National schools are supported. The old Watling-street passes through the parish; and near the church is a tumulus. The hamlet of Belgrave gives the inferior title of Viscount to the Marquess of Westminster.