03 January 2015

Weathervanes of Cheshire

Atop the Penny Farthing Museum in Knutsford
For as long as we have roamed the earth, humans have been obsessed with the weather – and for good reason. Even today, the weather can shape our lives, direct our actions, cause mayhem and madness, bring happiness and joy.

Weathervanes, weathercocks, wind vanes – whatever you want to call them – are one of the tools we use to keep in touch with the weather, to check for those all-important changes in wind strength and direction. Yet they can also be delightful pieces of artwork.

In a triumph of the creative over the practical, weathervanes can be made to measure. They can advertise a profession, signal a personal preference, pay homage to history and reflect local heritage, or celebrate an object of adoration. They can be used to make a statement about their owner and add distinction to a building.

In May 2014, while I was back living in my native New Zealand, I celebrated the weathervanes of central Auckland in a blog and, ever since, I have kept an eye out for more examples. Here in England, the tradition of owning weathervanes, especially those of bespoke designs, seems to be flourishing, so I am accumulating a veritable treasure chest of images to share. Here is the first of likely several blogs, with a few snappy quotes by famous people to accompany my photos.

A ship in full sail became Runcorn's insignia in 1894 so this weathervane atop the town's
 information centre is entirely appropriate

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. ~ Jimmy Dean

A gardener and a bird lover perhaps? From Wincham

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~ John Ruskin

Another ship design in Runcorn's town centre
The weathercocks on spires and housetops were mysterious with hints of stormy wind, and pointed, like so many ghostly fingers, out to dangerous seas, where fragments of great wrecks were drifting, perhaps, and helpless men were rocked upon them into a sleep as deep as the unfathomable waters. ~ Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son

Found in Wincham

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. ~ William Arthur Ward

The Grim Reaper seems an odd choice to me but each to their own. Found in Wybunbury
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~ Henry Ford

From Pickmere. Not sure I approve of the subject, but it's a fine weathervane just the same.
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~ Charles Dickens

Found near Bollington
If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. ~ Khalil Gibran

Found in Over Peover
Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, / For I would ride with you upon the wind, Run on the top of the dishevelled tide, And dance upon the mountains like a flame. ~ W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart's Desire


  1. Wow - you found some really great weather vanes!!

    1. And these are just some of my growing collection. Thanks very much, Lauri.