About the Parish

The Parish of Betley, Balterley and Wrinehill comprises the three Staffordshire villages that give the parish its name. With a Crewe postcode the parish lies at the border with Cheshire, and is even sometimes referred to as “a typical Cheshire village”.  Indeed the many timber-framed buildings (including the nave of St Margaret’s Church) reflect a typical Cheshire style of architecture. In fact, at one time the county boundary ran down the middle of the main road and, according to Celia Fiennes writing in 1698, “This town is halfe in Staffordshire and halfe in Cheshire, one side of ye streete in ye one, and ye other in ye latter, so they often jest on it in travelling one wheele goes in Staffordshire ye other wheelie in Cheshire”.  Today it lies within the Staffordshire Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, some 7 miles from Crewe, 7 miles from Nantwich, and 8 miles from Newcastle-under-Lyme. The parish sits astride the A531 and is about 5 miles from Junction 16 of the M6.

Betley is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Betelege being held by Wulfwin from the King. In 1227 Betley was granted a charter to hold a market, something which helps to explain the increased width of the main road in the centre of the village. For many years the parish and the three villages ran on traditional lines with a large estate and much-respected squire; indeed, to the north of the village lies a number of farm buildings comprising what was – in its day – a ‘model farm’. Sadly, the estate has now been broken up and the model farm buildings, which are of national significance, are in need of conservation.

Today most of the population of the parish (c.1,100) either work in the local towns of North Staffordshire or South Cheshire, or are retired, though there are still a number of working farms and businesses in the parish. Community life is vibrant, with a range of local organisations and facilities. The parish is served by St Margaret’s Church in Betley, the smaller All Saints in Balterley, and a Methodist Chapel. The Village Hall plays host to a number of local organisations including the Parish Council, the WI and BATS (the amateur theatre group), a regular Farmers’ Market, and tennis and bowls clubs. Elsewhere there are facilities for football, cricket and other activities.

In the parish there are four pubs, a primary school, a village shop (with post office), as well as an active Reading Room which hosts regular events. There is a doctor’s surgery in Wrinehill and a veterinary surgery in Betley.

The village plays host to two major local events of regional significance each year – the Betley Show on the first Saturday in August, and the Betley Bonfire in early November. The Show has been running for over 150 years and the Bonfire for over 50. Both attract thousands of visitors and help to raise money for local charities and organisations.