Utkinton and Cotebrook

Welcome to the website for the communities of Cotebrook and Utkinton, funded by Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council.  You will find details of local activities; notices of events; news items; and more, on the site. In reality Utkinton is a hamlet as it does not have a church (OED definition: “A small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a church.” ) although it is bigger than Cotebrook which does have a church and is, therefore classified as a village..

Some statistics:

  • From the most recent Electoral Roll Utkinton has some 208 properties and 425 individuals registered whereas Cotebrook has 98 properties and 199 residents.  NB: the actual populations will be bigger than these to account for individuals who are not registered to vote (young people below 18 and visitors).  Overall the Parish has some 706 individuals of whom 19.9% are of school age or below, 59% are of working age and 21% of retirement age or over.
  • Utkinton has 1 shop (Rose Farm Shop + sub-Post Office), a Church of England Primary School (St Paul’s) and a Village Hall with a multi-sport court.
  • Cotebrook has a hairdresser, cafe and a business accommodation unit plus two pubs (‘The Fox and Barrel’ & ‘The Alvanley Arms’) plus a visitor attraction (The Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, a church (St John and the Holy Cross – C of E) plus a Village Hall with a pre-school.
  • Neither community has timetabled public transport but both are served by member based ‘Dial-a-ride’ services which can be booked between 09:30 and 14:30 Monday to Friday for travel the next day.

If you want to make any comments or suggestions, please send us an email by clicking here and we will respond as soon as we can.  We will be very happy to hear from you.

This website is for all the people in our two villages, and also for visitors to Utkinton and Cotebrook. Please click on any heading in the navigation bar for more information.

The parish of Utkinton and Cotebrook covers quite a wide area North East of Tarporley and is part of the Tarporley Ward alongside Tarporley, Eaton and Rushton and Little Budworth.

A RECENT BOUNDARY MAP OF THE PARISH

UTKINTON and Cotebrook parish map

It should be noted that Parish Boundaries change from time to time.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VILLAGES AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PARISH

Both villages can claim a long history with Utkinton citing an entry in King William’s Domesday Book. Although not specifically mentioning the village by name, it makes reference to land owned by the Earl of Chester and held by Uviet, his tenant, and it is widely believed that the area in question is now Utkinton. It’s been variously named Utkgnton, Hutkynton, Hudekintona and Utkyngton but its current name goes back many hundreds of years. Some historians also believe that John Street formed part of the border between territory held by the Danes and that of the English King Alfred.

Cotebrook has also been in existence for a number of centuries, as evidenced by its 2 public houses. The Fox & Barrel has been a pub since at least 1770 and possibly dates from 100 years earlier as a property. (Whether the legend that a former landlord allowed a four-legged fugitive from the hunt to hide in his cellar and avoid the hounds is true, or not, is for the reader to decide). Meanwhile the Alvanley Arms is even older, proudly boasting of its origin as a 16th century coaching inn. However the village name only came into being in 1875 following the building of St John’s church. It was taken from the area where sheep were ‘coted’ (enclosed) prior to being washed in the small stream. Some older records show the spelling as Cote-Brook. Previously it was known as Utkinton-cum-Rushton, reflecting its location between those two villages.

The longevity of the villages gives the parish its distinctive feel with many historic buildings. Chief among them is Utkinton Hall, former home of the Done family. This imposing edifice still looks large today but when it was built, in Elizabethan times, it was four times its current size. Other 17th century buildings include; Yew Tree cottage in Eaton Lane, The Bailiff’s House, Hall Lane, and Fishers Green Farmhouse together with its former Stables.

RaeYork A4 crop2

The picture shown above was painted by a local artist, Rae York, and the finished work donated to Utkinton WI and it now hangs in Utkinton Village Hall. For those who are keen local historians there are many references to the ‘Hall’ and its past scattered liberally through the work. It is well worth examining.

The parish is in the very heart of Cheshire, roughly equidistant from the main conurbations of Chester, Nantwich and Northwich. Utkinton is to the west and Cotebrook the east, and over two thirds of the residents live in the former. The area is generally serviced by unclassified country lanes, offering easy walking and extensive views of the surrounding farmland and attractive countryside, especially from the top of the Sandstone Ridge which bisects the parish. However the modern world makes its presence felt in the shape of the busy A49, the current survivor of the old Coach Road.

As with all long-established settlements there have been various developments over time, but a visitor returning to the parish after 30 years absence would see very little change, apart perhaps from the increased speed of the traffic through the villages.

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