The Rectory


St Michael's Rectory, in Mad Hatters, Chester CheshireMad Hatters is located within the Grade II* listed historic building of The Rectory in the Rows, at 49 Bridge Street Row within the city walls of Chester in Cheshire.


With a Wonderland theme, Mad Hatters helps celebrate one of Britains most famous authors – Lewis Carroll, who penned the infamous Alice series of books. Lewis Carroll himself was born and lived only a few miles outside of Chester in Daresbury.


Chester itself is home to the world famous ‘Rows’ and these remarkable first level covered walkways are found in each of the four main streets of the city of Chester and are unique in the world. It is believed that the Rows were built on top of the ruins of Roman buildings during the medieval period, but their origin still baffles even the experts. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Chester experienced a building boom, which is when the original townhouse at 49 Bridge Street Row became an undercroft shop and parsonage, otherwise known as The Rectory.


Probably rebuilt in the middle of the 17th century, the townhouse was bequeathed in 1659 by Lettice Whitley to St Michael’s Parish of Chester, when it became a Rectory house to accommodate St Michael’s rector. The building was altered again in the 18th century.


Although the building had been bequeathed to St Michael’s Parish in perpetuity, following the consent of its vicar and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, it was sold to an antique dealer, G H Crawford in 1907. It was Crawford who restored the building in the late 20th century.


Now Mad Hatters Tearoom and events venue, you are most welcome to visit Crawford’s unique restoration. Of the 17th century building, you can still see the timber frames and plaster panels, the partially completed moulded plaster ceiling and the form of the galleried hall open to the roof.


We look forward to welcoming you…you’re already late!