Malpas is a small market town in the county of Cheshire in the north west of England. Some historians believe that there have been some form of settlement in the village/local area since Saxon days however others think that the village first really came together in later Norman times. The town stands at a pivotal point in the region as it stands on the Welsh border and has therefore played an important role in the dealings between the English and the Welsh over the years.
It is true that Malpas was really first referred to after the Norman invasion when it was called Depenbech. The Domesday Book lists the village as belonging to Robert FitzHugh who was the Baron of Malpas. It is thought that the Baron was given the village and surrounding lands as a reward for his efforts at the Battle of Hastings and for his work protecting the area from the Welsh. At this stage Malpas had a motte and bailey castle which worked to protect the English border from the Welsh. This castle was just one of a range of castles built along the border by the Norman knights.
As the years passed the town grew up around the Norman castle and became known for its market. The church in the town was actually built around now in the 14th century and it is thought that it stands in the same place as an earlier church building. The FitzHugh family was to evolve over time into the Cholmondeley family who had a major influence on the town and the surrounding area for many years.
Visitors to Malpas can find a fine example of a Victorian market cross, some lovely historical and interesting buildings and places and the remaining earthworks from the Norman castle. The church in the town, St Oswald’s, is also worth a visit as it is rich in local history. There are, for example, artefacts within the church dating back to the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.
Many visitors also find a visit to the Cholmondeley Castle Gardens worth while. This estate contains a gothic castle and a variety of interesting ornamental gardens. The actual look and feel of Malpas itself is interesting as a town. This is a great example of the layout of a medieval street map as the town has retained the same basic layout over the years.