Excerpts from “Old Smallwood” by Colin Jones & Margaret Meeke
St. John the Baptist Church Smallwood was built in 1845 with stone brought down in horse and cart from Mow Cop. The architects were C. & J. Trubshaw of Newcastle under Lyme.
The church was designed to seat 300 people, 188 adults and 112 children. The children all sat together at the back of church. There were 87 appropriated seatings and 101 free seats. The children’s seats were also free. There are still some almost worn out labels on the left hand pews. They bear the names of families who hired the pews at 5 shillings (25p) a year. Strangers must never sit in these pews. So on busy Sundays the sidesmen had to place newcomers and non payers with skill.
The east window is adorned with stained glass in memory of Mrs. Twemlow and Mrs .Gordon. The windows in the nave, representing Jacob’s dream and the parable of the Good Samaritan, are in memory of Mr. Peter Hollinshead and John Mellor, who were wardens for many years.
The church lost its independence in 1955, having its vicarage put on the market. It then became linked with Astbury, Sandbach Heath and latterly Astbury again. Its great days were between the wars, with congregations of 100 and a choir of 4 adults and 8 children. Each year the whole church community was taken on a day trip to Llandudno, which was one of the highlights of the year.
The bell was silent during the war years, resuming briefly afterwards. The system became unsafe, so once again the bell was silent. It has now been repaired and is rung on Sundays by means of an electric motor.