A Brief History of Lower Peover

Lower Peover (Pronounced Peever) is a village in Cheshire and comprises Peover Inferior Civil Parish (previously also known as Little Peover) and Nether Peover Civil Parish ( previously also known as Great Peover). It lies approximately 3 miles south of Knutsford and 6 miles east of Northwich. It sits next to the Parish of Over Peover (Peover Superior). It currently has approximately 430 residents.

It falls within the jurisdiction of Cheshire East Borough Council and Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council.

It currently includes a church, two public houses, a village shop with Post Office, a primary school and a nursery school.

The names of these parishes are derived from the river which runs through them: the Peover Eye, Peover Superior being upstream.

Peover is probably an altered spelling from the Celtic noun ‘Pevr’ meaning a dart, and Eye deriving from an Anglo Saxon ‘ee’ stream or river, evolving around the 7th Century. From there it came to mean bright, darting and sparkling like a stream in the sun. Lower Peover was a small hamlet and there was no mention of the village in the Domesday book in AD 1068 which records the existence of upstream Over Peover.

Neither villages had a church at that time, Lower Peover being in the medieval parish of Great Budworth which by then did have a church. About two hundred years later in 1269 Richard Grosvenor, landlord, who resided at Hulme Hall, Allostock built a timber chapel in Nether Peover and St. Oswald’s church is on that site. There was no resident priest. When a priest visited for Sunday and Holy day services he stayed in a simple cottage believed to be where the bar is of the Bells of Peover public house.

Part of Lower Peover lies in a Conservation area. This area includes the land around the Cobbles, the Bells of Peover, schools, church and up to and around Barrows Brow. Within this area there are some listed buildings: St Oswald’s church and Lych gate, the Victorian part of the school and the Little House.

Lower Peover C of E (Aided) Primary School was founded in 1710 by Richard Comberbach and his wife. The original building still stands nearby but is no longer part of the school. In 1875 the Victorians added a new building to include a house for the headmaster and this remains. Modern extensions have been added over the years, most recently in 2010 which was the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of the school.

The two public houses are the Bells of Peover and the Crown Inn.

Built in 1839 and previously named the Warren de Tabley Arms, the Bells of Peover gained its name from the Bell local brewing family who also ran the pub for a time in the middle of the 19th century, and being in so close to the church the name was perpetuated. It flies both the Union Jack and the Stars & Stripes of the USA. This is because in 1944 when American soldiers were billeted at Peover Hall in Over Peover, Generals Eisenhower and Patton ate at the Bells, possibly discussing war plans.

The Crown Inn on Crown Lane probably dates back even earlier. It hosts the annual Gooseberry competition (see under ‘amenities’).

There was at one time a third public house on Church Walk, called the Old Church House Inn,

in the early 19th century until the 1920’s and near that a sweetshop famous locally for its humbugs which are both now private residences.

Lower Peover has a wealth of traditions, as well as the annual church fete and the gooseberry show that have been held for many years, in the past it also held an annual sports and horse races event, which goes back to the 1920’s. Races included an obstacle race, 220 yards flat race, 80 yards flat race, half mile cycle race, and one mile cycle race. The athletic races were held on the field adjoining the school. In addition to this, on the same day horse races were held in the field opposite Crown Farm. Horse and riders from all the neighbouring villages attended. Races included one mile and 10 mile gallops, as well as a hurdle race. The prize money in 1924 was £5 per race, which would be worth over £200 today!