The church to which these notes and drawings refer was the medieval predecessor of St. Mary the Virgin in Eccleston, Cheshire. It was demolished in 1807 and replaced by a building designed in the Gothic style by William Porden (about 1755–1822). In his History of the County Palatine of Chester (1817), J. H. Hanshall described the old church as ‘a low structure, but of very early English architecture’, which ‘possessed several ancient monuments of the Grosvenors and other families’. The same author added: ‘It is to be lamented that, in the zeal for rebuilding, the destruction was so indiscriminate; for ALL the old Monuments were destroyed, and the mutilated fragments of them strewed all over the Church-yard’.

Harley 2151, the manuscript to which these notes belong, is ‘almost wholly written & tricked by the third Randle Holme […] part of these Mr Holme copied from, the books of Mr Sampson Erdeswike (Erdeswicke) and others ; the rest he added from his own eye sight’.[1]  

Since this description of Ecclestone church is dated 1572 it cannot have been the original work of any of the Randle Holmes, the first of that name being born in 1571. It is therefore likely that Randle Holme III (1627–1700) copied these notes and sketches from Erdeswicke's papers, or possibly another antiquary active in Cheshire during the middle years of the 16th century.

[1] British Museum Department of Manuscripts, A catalogue of the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum. With indexes of persons, places, and matters ... Printed by command of His Majesty King George III, in pursuance of an address of the House of commons of Great Britain., Vol. 2, (London: G. Eyre and A. Strahan, 1808-1812), p. 535.