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What was Atlas standing on when he posed for his picture with the world on his shoulders?

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This page launched Friday, 27 March 2020
and updated Monday, 6 April 2020
Downtown Warrington

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This page features history and information on each of

For the time being, it will tie in with the mywarrington
Radio Show broadcasts with the same information, so it
will be presented with the latest section added to the
top of each page during the week of the broadcast. So
it will be a work in progress over a 12 month period,
with the first 11 shows having already been broadcast.
I will be adding the notes from shows 7-11 shortly.

Featured on this page

Appleton/Appleton Thorn Bewsey Burtonwood
Collins Green Croft Houghton Green Howley

 

GRAPPENHALL

Grappenhall is a village in the unitary authority area of Warrington. It has always been located in Cheshire and came under Warrington's administration in 1974 under boundary changes.

It is situated along the Bridgewater Canal, and forms one of the principal settlements of Grappenhall and Thelwall civil parish. According to the 2001 UK census, the population of the entire civil parish was 9,377.

Gropenhale comes from “grop” 'grep', or 'grepe' (meaning ditch/drain), and ‘halh’ (meaning flat land by a river).

Lumb Brook and Morris Brook both flow through Grappenhall, so the name could refer to those two waterways. The original boundary of Grappenhall stretched down to the River Mersey, so that seems to fit the meaning of the original village name. Evidence of a Middle Bronze Age settlement is preserved in Warrington Museum.

 

 

Grappenhall and its Antiquities

Extracted from www.boydellfamilyhistory.com and used with permission.

A lecture by Arthur Mounfield, F. R. Hist. S.

From "The Warrington Examiner" of June 2nd and 9th 1923.

The first mention of Grappenhall (or Gropenhale, to use the ancient name) is in the Domesday book. This famous survey of England was made by order of William of Normandy after the Conquest.

His commissioners were instructed to put on record the names of those who held the land in the days of Edward the Confessor, the extent and nature of the areas, how many mills and fishponds, how much the land was worth in Edward's time, and how much after the upheaval of the Conquest.

This is how Grappenhall was reported:

Osbern Fitz Tezzon holds Gropenhale and Edward of him, he and Dot, both freemen, held it as two manors. There is one hide and half a virgat [virgate] of land rateable to the gelt (money). The land is two carucates, one and a half of which are demesne; and there are two serfs and one villein and three bordars. [See footnote for definitions.]

There is a wood one league long and forty perches broad (three miles/4.8km long by 660ft/201m wide). There are two hays. Its value in King Edward's time was five shillings (a year); it is now worth six shillings. When it came to the Earl of Chester it was waste.

The information is minimal, but it is interesting. It means that the areas we call Latchford, Latchford Without and Grappenhall (Latchford was a township in the ancient parish of Grappenhall) were held in Saxon days by two men named Edward and Dot. The county of Cheshire was devastated by fire and sword, and when it came to Hugh Lupus, who received the county as his portion, it was next to worthless. "It was waste," says the record and under those pitiful words lie materials for one of the most tragic volumes that could be written, a story of brave and simple men destroyed, their houses and crops burned and plundered. England changed hands amid pillage and blood, and the smoke of ruin filled the landscape.

The change that took place at Grappenhall was typical. Edward and Dot, the two Saxons, were put in charge under the new order. To cultivate the 2,400 acres they had two serfs, one villein, and three bordars. Allowing that all may have had families, the population of Latchford and Grappenhall would scarcely reach fifty. In the wood three miles long they would hunt the deer, the freemen taking the venison, the serfs and bordars eating the h umbles or remnants in the form of "humble pie."

Beyond a guess that they lived the simple life, and a confident statement that Latchford Without was not famous for villa architecture, we cannot say much about the home life of Edward and Dot. It is possible to picture Grappenhall with the pigs that feed upon the acorns in its forest and the serfs and villein who tend them, but of Edward and Dot we hear no more. They come and go in that ore sentence in the Domesday Book.  

We must take notice of the new owner to whom William the Conqueror gave the land, because he was the ancestor of the Boydells and the Middlehursts (more on the Boydells later), and his children's names fill many a misty charter. Hugh Lupus, who became Earl of Chester, received the county of Chester from William the Conqueror, and he in turn divided it among his followers, of whom Osbern Fitz Tezzon was one.

Osbern Fitz Tezzon, the Norman, was a man of some note. Possibly he saw little of Grappenhall and Latchford, for he held also Lyme, Warburton, Appleton, Hanley, Gresford and some other places. What in more important is that he held, under Hugh Lupus, the castle of Dodleston, a very exacting post on the Welsh border. Osbern left Grappenhall to his son Hugh Fitz Osbern, who in turn had a son named Osbern Fitz Hugh. 

This Osbern the third had a son named Helto, who called himself Helto de Boydell. Thus came in the name of Boydell, which was destined to be associated with the village for centuries. Helto's son was named Hugh de Boydell, and I bring him into my lecture because it is in line of his documents that the name Latchford first appears. Here it is:

"Randle, Earl of Chester, sendeth greeting, etc. Be it known to you that I have granted to Hugh De Boydell, the way in Latchford, with the passage of the water of Mersey, between Runcorn and Thelwall, and that no wain [cart] of the two horses shall pass the said way and passage except by the allowance of the said Hugh and his heirs."

This probably means in plain terms Hugh de Boydell was given the right to levy a toll upon those using the fords of the river. The date of this falls in the early part of the reign of Richard I, possibly about A.D. 1190.

In l250, as an act of homage to the church, William de Boydell by a charter gave "acquittance" to the Abbot and monks. He confirmed to God and the Blessed Mary that "the said Abbot and Monks for ever shall pass through my villa of Latchford with all things belonging to them without anything being required for the said passage. And for this grant and quit-claim neither I nor my heirs shall ask anything except their prayers and supplications."

In a later charter dated 1308 Sir John Boydell gave to the hermit friars of Warrington, the members of the religious house at Bridge Foot, a free passage through the village of Latchford for their wains so that every priest brother of the convent celebrate mass on the day of my anniversary." This is done, he says, "for the health of my body and the safety of my soul."

These charters give us the only glimpses we have of Grappenhall when it was a preserve of its feudal lord. The exchanging of privileges for prayers and masses by written agreement was quite characteristic of the period. Sir John allows the monks to pass along his roads and through his "village of Latchford" without paying the toll which is exacted from everybody else. But they must covenant in solemn charter to celebrate an annual mass for him on his anniversary day.

Other writings of the ancient Boydells have come down to us and they contain many things that arrest and half-amuse the modern reader. There are, for instance, grave charters written in Latin which allow the landholders' pigs, for a consideration, to eat the acorns which fall from my lord's oaks.

Such a document, dated 1270, is in the name of William Boydell whose effigy reposes in the church, and this William, it may be noted, advanced the fortunes of his house by marrying Alice, a daughter of Hugh de Dutton. The visitor may see that spot where the Boydells lived. On the high ground at Reddish hall they were "monarchs of all they surveyed." The old house has gone, but the moat which surrounded it remains.

From www.boydellfamilyhistory.com.

 

 

THE BOYDELL FAMILY AND ST WILFRID'S CHURCH

Using notes from www.boydellfamilyhistory.com. Thanks for permission to reproduce them here.

The history of St Wilfrid’s goes way back into the past. Its beginnings were closely associated with the Boydell family.

The first church to be built on this site dates to the early 12th century and was completed c1120. Although no records of an earlier building the font dates from Saxon times, so it is possible that worship prior to this date was taking place.

The church was rebuilt in the 16th century and the south aisle was added. The floor in the original church was probably of hard earth, and a ledge ran around the walls where the weak and the aged could sit (hence the saying 'The weak ones go to the wall').

The first major alteration to the church was in 1334 and was the chantry on the south wall. This was built by Sir William Boydell, member of a distinguished local family, and his wife Nicola. There exists the record of an oath sworn by Sir William's son in 1334 regarding the chantry, which stipulates that he should 'find an honest chaplain to attend to its proper conduct. Unfortunately the chantry no longer exists but its position can still be traced by an inset below the present south wall.

In c1525 work was started on extensions to the church which resulted in it being almost entirely rebuilt. A chancel and tower were added and were completed in 1539 - the date has been carved on one of the pillars near the south porch.

In 1641 the south porch was added and the west wall was strengthened. The initials 'JR' cut into the stone in this wall by the arch are those of John Rycroft, who was church warden between 1617 and 1641. In 1833 the roof was raised and the clerestory was added. The south aisle was extended eastwards in 1850 and the vestry built the following year. Finally in 1873 the whole church was restored under the direction of the rector, Reverend Thomas Greenall, and carried out by Paley and Austin.

The Boydell Effigy  

On the north side of the sanctuary lies a recumbent figure carved in stone and the plinth has been fixed with a brass plate with the following inscription:

'Within the walls of this church rests the body of Sir William Fitz William le Boydell who died about Anno Domini MCCLXXV. This, his monumental effigy was restored and placed here Anno Domini MDCCCLXXV'.

He has a smiling face and is dressed in chain armour similar to that worn by a 13th century Knight. There are three stars on his breastplate and he seems ready to draw his sword. His crossed feet rest on a stone carving of a dog. The two dates inscribed in Roman numerals included in the inscription tell us that William died about 1275 AD and the effigy was restored and placed in the sanctuary in 1875 AD.

Sir William Fitz William le Boydell was born 1230 AD and married Alice, daughter of Hugh of Dutton and by her he had a son, Sir John Boydell, who succeeded his father in the Grappenhall and Dodleston (Chester) estates. He had two other sons, one of whom, William, it is thought, built the chantry chapel which has now been absorbed into the south aisle of the church.

The Boydell Window

On January 19th, 1334, William Boydell in Chester took an oath to find an honest chaplain to celebrate forever the divine mysteries for the souls of William Boydell my father, and Nicholoa, my mother, and for the souls of all the faithful departed in the chapel of Gropenhale built by the aforesaid William, my father. This charter implies the existence of a chantry chapel which had been built by the year 1334 AD. The chapel known as the Boydell chapel, was still in being in the 16th century but has now been incorporated into the south aisle of the church. However the Boydell window is still in existence.

It would appear that this window was made up from the most beautiful remains of the glass saved from the chantry chapel, it was re-leaded in 1964, having been placed in its present position in 1850, the glass itself dates from 1334. Grappenhall has always been noted for its stained glass but the Boydell medieval window is extremely precious. It is internationally known and is often photographed by experts in the field of historic church art. It has proved difficult to insure as the value of the window is worth more than that of the other windows in total. It was not able to value because of its uniqueness, rarity and age. The outside of the window has been protected with toughened plate glass.

Architecture

Exterior

The church is built in red sandstone with a slate roof. Its plan consists of a west tower, a continuous nave and chancel of seven bays with a clerestory, north and south aisles, a chapel at the east end of the south aisle, a vestry and a south porch. The tower is in three stages, with a Tudor west door, and a four-light west window. It has diagonal west buttresses and square east buttresses. In the middle stage are small windows, above which are clock faces and bell openings. The tower is about 76 feet (23 m) high. The chancel east window is in Perpendicular style. The east window in the north aisle (formerly in the chancel) has five lights. The clerestory windows are paired and round-arched. Included in the internal fabric of the wall of the south aisle is a remnant of a Norman corbel table decorated with crudely carved human heads. 

St Wilfrid's Church has a carving of a cat on the west face of the tower. This is believed to be Lewis Carroll's inspiration for the grinning Cheshire Cat in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  

Interior

Built into the east wall of the north aisle are a piscina (a stone basin near the altar in Catholic and pre-Reformation churches for draining water used in the Mass) and a credence table. Inside the church are a holy table dated 1641, and the royal coat of arms of Queen Ann (reigned 1702-1714).

The reredos is carved in oak and is based on the painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The font dates from the Norman era, or earlier, and was rediscovered in March 1873 during the restoration of the church.

A window in the south aisle includes 14th-century glass which was rearranged in 1834 and depicts seven saints. Other windows in the aisle were made by Meyer of Munich. There are fragments of medieval glass elsewhere in the church. St Wilfrid's has a peal of eight bells.

Four of these were cast by Henry Bagley II of Chacombe around 1700. A further bell dates from 1890 by John Taylor & Co, while the remaining three were cast in 1899 by Mears & Stainbank at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The parish registers date from 1573.

It is now a Grade I listed building. In the churchyard is a sundial dated 1714 which is also listed Grade II, as is the entrance to the churchyard. The village stocks are still visible outside the church.

information retrieved from www.boydellfamilyhistory.com and used with permission. Additional notes retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grappenhall 

A note on Saint Wilfrid. Also called Wilfrid of York, he was an English bishop and saint. Born in the year 634, he was a Northumbrian noble and entered religious life as a teenager, studying at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul and at Rome. He returned to Northumbria in about 660 and became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon.

He is said to be one of the greatest English saints, a monk and bishop who was outstanding in bringing about close relations between the Anglo-Saxon Church and the papacy. died April 24, 709/710 and his feast day is 12 October.

Live at St Wilfrid's

A series of concerts of classical music entitled Live at St Wilfrid's is hosted by the church, and includes performances by both young artists and by performers with international reputations.  

The centre of the village contains two pubs. The Parr Arms is next to the church.

 

The Rams Head, built in 1893 is listed as being of architectural and historic importance. One of the many unique features of The Rams Head Inn is the original village well, situated near the bar. The well actually pre-dates the existing building at about 150 years old, but is now fitted with walkover glass and illuminated from the inside.

St. Wilfrid’s Primary School. Modern-day Grappenhall extends to the streets surrounding the A50 Knutsford Road between Stockton Heath and Thelwall.

Scenes from The Master Blaster episode of the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes was filmed in the centre of Grappenhall in the early 1990s.

Grappenhall Community Centre

About the Pub

Converted from an old farmhouse, this large pub is located near the picturesque village of Grappenhall, the Bellhouse hosts an ever changing variety of real ales, together with lagers, ciders, wines and spirits and welcomes all. In the sports bar you can see almost all the major sports fixtures on the 8ft screen in HD. Available for weddings, parties, christenings, funerals, training workshops, conferences and business meetings etc. Multiple events are organized throughout the year, including the well known and extremely popular Beer Festival in Spring, wine tasting and many more.

 

Grappenhall Ex-Servicemans Club

Chester Road
Grappenhall
WARRINGTON
WA4 2QG

Opened in 1921, the club provides a social focal point for ex-servicemen and the local community.

 

Grappenhall & Thelwall Royal British Legion

Stockport Road
Thelwall
WARRINGTON
WA4 2TB

 

This club has been part of the Grappenhall and Thelwall community since 1947 and members of the club have access to a full and varied entertainments programme as well as a number of sports activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes for Grappenhall

virgate [virgate] - an area of land equal to about 30 acres. 

carucate - an area of land able to be farmed in a year by a team of 8 oxen pulling a carruca plough, usually reckoned at 120 acres. Back to notes

demesne - a piece of land attached to a manor and retained by the owner for their own use.

serf - an agricultural labourer bound by the feudal system who was tied to working on his lord's estate.  It was a condition of debt bondage and indentured servitude, which developed during the Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century.  Back to notes

villein - in medieval England a feudal tenant entirely subject to a lord or manor to whom he paid dues and services in return for land. A villein, otherwise known as cottar, crofter, is a serf tied to the land in the feudal system. Villeins had more rights and social status than those in slavery, but were under a number of legal restrictions which differentiated them from the freeman.

bordar - a person ranking below villeins and above serfs in the social hierarchy of a manor, holding just enough land to feed a family (about five acres) and required to provide labour on the demesne on specified days of the week. Back to notes

feudal system - the dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labour, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.

league - originally meant the distance a person could walk in an hour, equal to approximately three miles (4.83km). Back to notes

perch - a distance equal to 16½ feet (5.02m)

hay - a field comprised a mosaic of conventionally-tilled and rye-mulched plots, surrounded by fields of maize, soybeans, alfalfa hay and mixed hardwood forest.

Back to notes

 

 
Grappenhall Hall

The hall was the home of the Greenall family of brewers. Private theatricals were often performed there. The white building is set in its own grounds with a tree-lined avenue leading up to the entrance. A sandstone wall surrounds the estate.

In recent years it was used as Grappenhall Hall School, a school for pupils with special educational needs. It moved from its site on Church Lane to Green Lane in Padgate in September 2015. Since moving, the council has asked for the Department of Education for permission to dispose of the land, either by selling it or developing it for another use.

 

 

COLLINS GREEN

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The hamlet of Collins Green may have medieval origins, suggested by the incorporation of 'green' into its place name. Originally it was agricultural in nature and characterised by isolated farmsteads, but in the 19th and 20th centuries the wider district largely became an area of mining and industry. Information from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1393557.

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Collins Green is a former pit village between Burtonwood and Newton-le-Willows. The colliery was closed many years ago (the 1949-1969 map shows it as disused, but I don't know the exact year it closed). Collins Green is now a quiet residential area, but in the late 1800s the Collins Green Colliery Company was producing 2,000 tons of coal per day in the area. It was located west of Collins Green Farm, close to the railway line west of the station.

View to the village from Broad Lane

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The houses of Collins Green are typical of late 19th century to pre-1914 terraces. The village had at one time the main post office for the area, with the police station situated nearby in a terraced house in Forshaw’s Lane. The village today includes a children’s play area and a playing field. Arriva bus service 329 runs from Warrington Interchange via Burtonwood and Collins Green to St Helens.

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The Pear Tree Inn was built in 1883 and extended in 1899, as can be seen from the image on the right.

It is located alongside the approach road to the former Collins Green railway station.

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Penkford Lane leads out of the village to Pennington Lane (turn left for St Helens and right for Newton-le-Willows).

< Penkford Bridge

 The railway line crossing Penkford Lane >

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At the Warrington/Newton-le-Willows boundary is Penkford Bridge over the Sankey Brook, with Penkford Canal Bridge further along towards Newton-le-Willows across the Sankey (St Helens) Canal.

All the photographs in this section were taken on 18 Aug 2010

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COLLINS GREEN RAILWAY STATION

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Collins Green railway station was opened by the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR) on 15 September 1830.

The station lay on the L&MR's line between St Helens Junction and Earlestown stations and was located just east of the point where the railway line passed over Penkford Lane (B5204).

Location of the station from Superclean Sandblasting property on 18 Aug 2010

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A short access road from Penkford Lane linked to the main station building on the south side of the line. This site is now occupied by Superclean Sandblasting. The L&MR amalgamated the Grand Junction Railway on 8 August 1845 and this company became a major component of the London & North Western Railway (L&NWR) on 16 July 1846. 
Remains of the south platform on 18 Aug 2010.

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During July 1922, most eastbound L&NWR trains stopping at the station on weekdays were local services from St Helens Shaw Street station to Earlestown or Warrington Bank Quay station, but three were through trains from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Exchange station.

Remains of the north platform on 18 Aug 2010.

The L&NWR's passenger and goods traffic from Collins Green was taken over by the London Midland and Scottish Railway (L&MSR) on 1 January 1923. The L&MSR was nationalised within British Railways on 1 January 1948. Collins Green station was closed on 2 April 1951.

Some information retrieved from Wikipedia and Disused Stations.

My special thanks to Superclean Sandblasting on Collins Green Lane for assistance with access for photographs. Their company is based in the former railway station yard. Also, thanks to Paul Wright of Disused Stations (click the link above).

HOUGHTON GREEN

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Houghton Green is a village close to Winwick and Cinnamon Brow.

The geological formation consists of the Bunter series of the New Red Sandstone, the Pebble Beds in the northern part, the Upper Mottled Sandstone in the southern.

The New Red Sandstone, chiefly in British geology, is composed of beds of red sandstone and associated rocks laid down throughout the Permian period (280 million years ago) to the end of the Triassic period (about 200 million years ago), that underlie the Jurassic-Triassic age Penarth Group. The name distinguishes it from the Old Red Sandstone which is largely Devonian in age, and with which it was originally confused due to their similar composition.

In 1901 the population of Houghton Green was 214. In 1852 a number of Civil War notices were found concealed in a cavity in an old farm-house at Houghton Green.

The manor of Middleton, from which Houghton Green became separate after 1212, was included in the fee of Makerfield. Two junior branches of the dominant family were seated at Middleton and at Houghton Peel. They seem to have descended from Matthew de Southworth, living in the early part of the reign of Edward III, who reigned from 1327-1377.

Houghton was sold in 1605 to James Bankes of Winstanley, and remained with the Winstanley family till the end of the 18th century, when it was sold; Maire, Claughton, Greenall, and Comber being successively owners. Henry Brookfield of Longbarrow in Knowsley had some land here in 1530 and 1547. 

 
Many thanks to British History Online for permission to reproduce the above notes on the website. Click the link for more information about the area.

 

HOUGHTON GREEN WATERWORKS

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A waterworks was established at Houghton Green in the 20th century. It is still there, with a pumping station close by at Delph Lane.

A Warrington Guardian report on 27 September 2007 gave some fascinating information on the area.

Houghton Green reservoir seen on
27 Apr 2012

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The news that United Utilities was to recommence using water from Houghton Green pool was of particular interest to Alan Sharpe. The farmer and author from nearby Southworth Hall Farm was producing a book on the history of Croft and has unearthed fascinating details of the pool's history.

Houghton Green
borders the M62

Mr Sharpe, aged 74, was producing a collection of work aided by his friend Judith Holden and other contributors. His family has lived in the area since the 1920s.

He said: "The lake at Delph Lane, Myddleton, arises due to the extraction of sandstone after McAlpine, the M6 contractors, bought the land from the Robinson family of Middleton Hall Farm in 1960. The area was grazed by cattle until 1992 when the Winwick water works were closed.

"From 1900 to 1904, when the water tunnel and three shafts were developed from Dam Lane to Delph Lane, three men were killed, two of whom were buried in Croft Unitarian Church yard in Lady Lane. When the pumping station started in 1904, it dried up all the local wells where people had previously got their water from."

 

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There is a pub in the village, The Plough, on Mill Lane. This dates from 1774 and is located on the original road from Liverpool to Manchester. It was a stopping point for stagecoaches. Close by was a chapel and this is remembered in the extension to the pub building, which is shaped like a chapel (left). There was a well close to the pub grounds. 

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The photos were taken on 27 Apr 2012.

 

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There is a large green space in the village alongside Mill Lane for sporting activities. Close to Houghton Green Reservoir there is a pillbox. pillbox is a type of concrete and brick dug-in guard post, normally equipped with loopholes through which to fire weapons. It is in effect a trench firing step, hardened to protect against small-arms fire and grenades and raised to improve the field of fire.

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The playing field
on Mill Lane

A pillbox on
27 Apr 2012

I don't have any further information on this pillbox or why it is at this location close to Houghton Pool, so if you can help with any details then please email me. If you wish to read more about pillboxes, see the two websites below.

Lancashire at War

The Pillbox Study Group

 

Houghton Green Mission Room

I found this snippet from Warrington-Worldwide forum on 18 Apr 2015. A reader had requested information on the building as he was christened there in the 1950s and his mum used to teach there (1940s he thinks). "I've met one or two people around here who remember attending services there - apparently the minister from St Oswald's used to cycle over after holding mass at Winwick," he said.

Fugtifino spent a bit of time in the library a couple of weeks earlier and the only reference he could find was a closure notice published in the Warrington Guardian on 4th June 1971. It refered to the St Oswald's Newsletter of the same month, and the Rector at the time was one Canon J Lawton. The building was/is on Radley Lane and marked on the OS 25 inch map 1982-1914 https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side. The map also shows Houghton Mill, remembered by Mill Close, as well as the Old Tan Pits.

From Fugtifino, Warrington-Worldwide forum.

CROFT (Southworth with Croft)

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Croft is a village and civil parish in north Warrington, between Winwick and Culcheth. The nearby motorway intersection of the M6 and M62 is known as Croft Interchange. According to the 2011 Census, it has a population of 3,176. It is a rural, residential district. Bronze Age pottery discovered at Croft suggests the area was inhabited 4,000 years ago.
The name Croft comes from Old English and means “a small piece of arable land, a field”. The name Southworth comes from two Old English words “sup” meaning South, and “worp” meaning “homestead” or “enclosure”. The settlement was known as Southworth with Croft. Mark Olly’s book Celtic Warrington and Other Mysteries, Book 1 North to East shows photos of the excavation of the Southworth Hall site.

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Variations on the spelling of the area include Suthewrthe, 1212; Sotheworth, 1293; Suthworth, 1306. 

The lord of the manor of Southworth with Croft in 1212 was Gilbert de Croft. Gilbert de Croft also held Southworth by a rent of 20s. but in 1212 it was, for some reason unknown, in the king's hands.

Sometime before 1219 Gilbert de Croft granted Southworth to Gilbert son of Hugh de Croft, and this Gilbert, taking the local surname, was the founder of the Southworth family, which held the manors of Southworth and Croft until the beginning of the 17th century.

In addition, the manors of Middleton, Houghton, and Arbury near Winwick, adjoining Southworth, were acquired, and some junior branches of the family settled in them.

As to Southworth itself, few records remain. In 1287 and 1292 there was a settlement of the boundary between Croft and Kenyon by the lords of the manors. Southworth Hall was home to the de Southworths of Croft from the 14th century. The manors and lands of Southworth were sold to Sir Thomas Ireland of Bewsey in 1621.

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A century later the manor was held by the Gerards of Ince, and bequeathed in 1743 by Richard Gerard to his brother Thomas. Stonyhurst College also owned Southworth at one time. Other owners included Thomas Claughton of Haydock in 1820, Edward Greenall of Warrington and later Samuel Brooks, a banker, with his sons owning it at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Croft Community Hall on Smithy Lane on 2 Jun 2004

A Warrington Guardian report tells us the house was put up for sale in 2001 by its owner Mark Fairclough, but it wasn’t the original building.

Mr Fairclough's father, Harry, bought the Hall in 1930. He demolished most of the old building and rebuilt it as a replica, except with two storeys instead of three.

"There were rumours the hall was burnt down," said Mark Fairclough, "but it was just my father burning the rotten woodwork!"

Still in place is the original medieval chimneypiece, so even now huge logs burn in the grate as they would have done 700 years ago, and modern engineering means this can heat the house.

The Hall also features oak floorboards and a staircase salvaged from Norton Priory.

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Before St Lewis' RC Church was built in Croft, it housed a chapel. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Lord of the Manor Sir John de Southworth was imprisoned for refusing to accept the reformed church.
new_lane_croft_040602.jpg (250631 bytes) Above, left: Roadside pool outside Heyfield Hey Farm on Cross Lane on 7 Mar 2012

Left: New Lane on 2 Jun 2004

Thanks to the following organisations for assistance with this section include British History Online and Warrington Guardian.

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol4/pp168-170

https://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/5282965.for-sale-a-piece-of-history

Church Life
The village of Croft has two churches, St Lewis Catholic Church, opened on 27 May 1827, and Christ Church Parish Church (Church of England) on Lady Lane, built in 1833.

 

The Church of St Lewis From http://www.stlewis.co.uk/aus

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The church of St Lewis’ was opened in 1827 – two years before The Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. [This was the act permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in the Parliament at Westminster.] Its founder was Father Louis de Richebec, an exile from Normandy and who was working with the Jesuits from Southworth Hall (where Mass had been said for many years, as well as at Culcheth Hall).  Photos taken on 2 Jun 2004

Baptismal records housed in the County Records Office, Preston, go back to 1795.

Father Louis served St Lewis’ up to his death in 1845. For the next ten years the parish was served by the Jesuits. Since 1855 diocesan clergy have served the parish. During the last century there have been only seven parish priests.

The parish covers a wide area; Croft, Culcheth, Glazebury and Kenyon. A census made in about 1865 records 210 adults in the parish. Today the estimated Catholic population is about 700 with a Mass attendance of about 200 each Sunday.   

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Their first school (an all-age school) was an old barn (part of the site purchased in 1825 and adjoining the present church) – the earliest log book dates back to 1877.

Numbers were low – 31, 26, 23 were recorded in the post-war years and conditions were very primitive by present-day standards.

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In 1960 part of the present school, the first three classrooms and assembly hall, was opened by Archbishop Heenan and the school was completed in 1970.

Their patron, St Louis, born in 1214, was King of France. He died on a crusade in Tunis in 1270.

Thanks to Father Gordon Abbs for permission to reproduce these notes from www.stlewis.co.uk/aus

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Christ Church is in Lady Lane, Croft. It is an Anglican parish church in the deanery of Winwick, the archdeaconry of Warrington, and the diocese of Liverpool. The church was designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building. The church was built between 1832 and 1833 to a design by Edward Blore, and was consecrated on 29 November 1833 by the Bishop of Chester.

It was a Commissioners' church, having received a grant of £1,457 (equivalent to £140,000 in 2018) towards its construction from the Church Building Commission. From 1839 until 1892, the rector of Croft with Southworth was Thomas Penyngton Kirkman, 1806-1895, who in addition to his ministerial work was also a mathematician, for whom Kirkman triple systems are named.

The Church Commissioners is a body managing the historic property assets of the Church of England. It was set up in 1948 combining the assets of Queen Anne's Bounty, a fund dating from 1704 for the relief of poor clergy, and of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners formed in 1836.

Architecture

Christ Church is constructed in red sandstone with slate roofs. The tower is square with angle buttresses, a doorway on the east side, lancet windows on the south and west faces, and bell openings consisting of twin louvred lancets.  

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Inside the church is a small west gallery. Also present are panels inscribed with the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer.

Information from Wikipedia.

The church on 7 Mar 2012

HMS Ariel / RAF Croft

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In the area was an airbase called HMS Ariel, also known as HMS Gosling and RAF Croft. The Burtonwood Association have a section about it on their website. I visited the site in March 2012 after hearing the site had been sold to a developer to build houses.

The airbase buildings could be seen on Google maps image but there was no access from ground level. The house-building project has since taken place and is on Emerald Drive, close to Croft Cats Cattery and Kelly’s Kennels off Lady Lane. See www.derelictplaces.co.uk for more photos.

The images show (above, left) the original entrance and (below, left) a Google Maps satellite view of the site on 7 Mar 2012.

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Additional Information

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There are two primary schools (St Lewis’s Primary and Croft Primary) and a large playing field (left) with a children's play area (the village green). Close by are the areas of Little Town, Croft Heath and Wigshaw. Other facilities include a youth centre, horse riding, a golf range and a bowling green.

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The foundation stone for Croft Memorial Hall (left) was laid by Joseph E. Birchall on 26 April 1965. The Horse Shoe pub is in the centre of the village, with The General Elliot on Heath Lane on the western edge of the village. The General Elliot was built in the 1700's and has always stood as a public house or hotel.  

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This is the area described as Croft Heath on the maps. The village no longer has a post office – this closed in 2004 and was converted into a private house.

Some information from Wikipedia.

The old school at the junction of Lord Street, Mustard lane and Heath Lane

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The Horse Shoe Inn

The General Elliot

The bowling green
on Smithy Lane

Croft playing fields on Smithy Lane

All photos taken on 2 Jun 2004

 

APPLETON, APPLETON THORN and HILL CLIFFE

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The present northern boundary of Appleton is the Bridgewater Canal, but Appleton used to include the hamlets of Stockton Heath and Wilderspool until the 19th century. Today it includes Pewterspear, Cobbs, Wright’s Green, Dudlows Green and Hill Cliffe (shown as Hillcliffe on modern maps - one road is named Hill Cliffe Road). The population of Appleton was 10,301 at the 2011 census. Estimates suggest it was 10,045 in 2018.

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Hill Cliffe was marked on Saxton’s Map of Cheshire in 1577 as “High clyff hill” [spelt in lower case on the map]. Hill Cliffe was the location of a battle between Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarian Roundheads and the Royalist supporters of King Charles on 20 August 1648. 

This came after he had defeated the Duke of Hamilton's forces in Preston, Wigan, Winwick and Warrington on 16, 17 and 18 August 1648. 

While he was in the Warrington area, Cromwell stayed at the General Wolfe public house on Church Street next to the black and white building now known as The Cottage restaurant
Cannonballs and silver coins have been found along Red Lane and Firs Lane in Appleton. For more, see Mark Olly's books, Celtic Warrington and Other Mysteries published by Churnet Valley Books.

 

The Lyons of Appleton Hall

It is recorded in 1781 that Thomas Lyon and Co and Joseph Parr and Co were in the sugar refining business. Warrington Interchange stands on the site of two sugar houses.

Appleton Hall was built in 1820 for Thomas Lyon on land that one time had belonged to the Warburtons of Arley, between London Road and The Dingle. Thomas Henry Lyon succeeded in 1859 and was the squire for 55 years until his death in 1914. In the 1840s and 1850s the family lived with eighteen servants, but by the end of the century this number had declined to six as the others were housed in cottages on the estate. The Cheshire Hunt met regularly at the hall.

The Lyon family left Appleton in 1931 and it then became a Domestic Training Centre for sixty girls. Before it was demolished in the 1960s it had also been used as a Home Office Approved School. In 1968 Appleton Hall Grammar School was built on the site, which later amalgamated with Stockton Heath Secondary Modern School and was renamed as Broomfield High School. And one other snippet for you: back in the 1980s Warrington people will remember Eileen Bilton on the TV adverts for Warrington-Runcorn: the nation's most central location - well, the very same Eileen went to the grammar school in the 1960s and 70s. The rest of the land of the Lyon estate is now covered with housing. Part of the boundary wall to the estate can still be seen along London Road.

 

King Street/London Road

London Road follows almost the same route as the Roman road through south Warrington and was a toll road from the 12th century called King Street. The original line of the road is the location of the statue of the Roman god Janus at Owen's Corner. Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. 

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The month of January is named for Janus, the god of doors and therefore the opening month of the calendar year we use today. The monument above can be seen close to the roundabout junction of London Road and Longwood Road on the A49, known as Owen's Corner. The pedestrian walkway is on the line of King Street, the original Roam road through the district.
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The area of Pewterspear was laid out in a Roman theme to link with the ancient Roman road of King Street. Link to the community website for more https://www.pewterspeargreentrust.org.uk/

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At the Stretton end of Appleton, close to St Matthew's church there is an engraved stainless steel village map. If you are unable to visit the site, I have made the image above, right, as a high-resolution picture so you can zoom in and view the content. The map was installed in 1991.

 

The Warrington Waterworks Co was supplying the town with water from Appleton Reservoir when Warrington became a Municipal Borough in 1837.

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Fox Covert Cemetery is on Red Lane and the first burial took place there on 6 October 1961. My parents are buried there. The cemetery gives good views across the town (see right). There is a lot of wildlife on show in the grounds, including rabbits, foxes, badgers, buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks. On the outskirts of the cemetery there is a path which leads to Walton Hall Gardens and Appleton Reservoir.

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Appleton Thorn

appleton_thorn_village_sign_100901_1.JPG (104142 bytes) Appleton Thorn is a part of the village of Appleton, a civil parish with a population of 1,324 (2011 census).

Appleton appeared in the Domesday Survey as "Epletune" which means "the tun (town, place) where the apples grew". The Domesday Survey also said that Appleton “was and is waste”.

The Appleton Cross near Pepper Street is a reminder of a Warrington friar, Richard de Apulton, who was ordained as the sub-deacon at Colwich, Staffordshire, in 1365. The cross was erected by Adam de Dutton in the same year as a wayside or ‘weeping’ cross.

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The inscription on the memorial plaque reads: "This monument (which originally stood 4 metres to the N.E. of its present position was restored by Appleton Parish Council in 1973 under the guidance of Mr J. R. Rimmer, Director of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery. It is believed to have been a wayside or weeping cross and would probably have had a wooden upright cross resting in the socket stone. 

"A Venetian soldino ['little shilling'] coin found under the lowest layer now in Warrington Museum dates the probable erection of the cross between 1400 and 1420. Such crosses were used as halting places for funeral processions and this one would be close to an early chapel of rest at Stretton".

Read more about the soldino coin here.

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Each June, the village hosts the ceremony of "Bawming the Thorn". The current form of the ceremony dates from the 19th century, when it was part of the village "Walking Day". It involved children from Appleton Thorn Primary School walking through the village and holding sports and games at the village hall.

The ceremony stopped in the 1930s, but was later revived by the then headmaster, Mr. Bob Jones, in 1967. "Bawming the Thorn" occurs on the Saturday nearest to Midsummer’s Day.

"Bawming" means "decorating" - during the ceremony the thorn tree is decorated with ribbons and garlands and the schoolchildren dance around singing the Bawming song.

According to legend, the hawthorn at Appleton Thorn grew from a cutting of the Holy Thorn at Glastonbury, which was itself said to have sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, the man who arranged for Jesus’ burial after the Crucifixion. See photos of the 2006 ceremony on the Events page.

rnas_stretton_hms_blackcap_appleton_thorn_100901.JPG (312264 bytes) Thorn Cross (HM Prison) is in Appleton Thorn, and opened in 1985 on the site formerly occupied by Royal Naval Air Station (HMS Blackcap), a wartime aircrew training and aircraft repair airfield. There are a number of graves of aircrew who died at HMS Blackcap, mainly in flying accidents, in St Cross churchyard, known locally as "the war graves". Read more in RAF Burtonwood.  

Part of the perimeter taxiway of HMS Blackcap. The M56 is built over the main runway.

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The Thorn Inn pub, left, is on Grappenhall Road close to the village green. The Village Hall was originally the local school and was built in the 1880s. The current school is on Arley Road.

Some information from Wikipedia

 

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St Cross Church, Appleton Thorn has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building. It is an Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Great Budworth. Its benefice is combined with that of St Matthew's Church, Stretton. The church was built in 1886 to a design by Edmund Kirby at the expense of Rowland Egerton-Warburton of Arley Hall.  
It is built in red sandstone with a red tile roof, in decorated style, a style used in England between 1180 until around 1520 featuring pointed arches, rib vaults, buttresses and extensive use of stained glass. Its plan is cruciform with a two-stage tower over the crossing. It has a three-window nave without aisles, a one-window chancel, an oak-framed north porch on a sandstone plinth, and a baptistery projecting from the west end. Above the baptistery is a rose window. The stained glass in the east window is by Harcourt M. Doyle, dated 1970, and that in the rose window is by Celtic Studios of Swansea, dated 1986. The organ was built in 1906 at a cost of £220 by E. Wadsworth.

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The church has connections with the Royal Naval Association because during the Second World War a Royal Naval Air Station, HMS Blackcap, was in the village. Its ensign hangs in the church.

Retrieved from Wikipedia. www.stcross.org.uk.

 

The London Bridge pub was part of Stockton Quay and served as a passenger transfer location for the Duke of Bridgewater packet boats. They would use the Packet Steps, which can still be seen today (above, right), leading down to the canal to board the Duchess Countess to Manchester and Runcorn; the now A49 was then (and still is today) a major route from London. Behind the Pub was a smithy and wheelwrights, which served the road and canal. There is also mention of horse changes being made at Stockton Quay. On the opposite side of the canal in Stockton Heath is Thorn Marine, a stopping place for boat people to stock up on essentials. Read more about Thorn Marine on the My Warrington page.

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London Bridge Inn.

A popular stopping off point for
travellers on the Bridgewater Canal.

Photos taken 5 Mar 2011

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Appleton Thorn Trading Estate is located alongside the M56 motorway.

BURTONWOOD

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Burtonwood is a civil parish in the north-west area of the town, which includes Westbrook and Callands. The name Burtonwood will forever be linked to the former RAF Burtonwood military base, although Burtonwood village itself is about two miles away from the site of the former base. Burtonwood's population rose from 990 in 1861 to 2,408 in 1911 as the mining and brewing industries grew. 

Above and below:
Causey Bridge
over the Sankey
Brook on Alder
Lane 12 Jun 2007

The parish population leaped to 8,238 in 1951 when the RAF Air Base personnel were included. but dropped to 4,899 in 1971. before rising to an estimated 11,265 today as a result of housing development on the old airbase site.

RAF Burtonwood was mainly used by the United States Air Force between 1942 and its closure in 1993, and was the biggest US airbase in Europe. The base itself opened as RAF Burtonwood in 1940. Read a more detailed account on the RAF Burtonwood page.

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burtonwood_youth_base_clay_lugmans_indian_restaurant_ane_burtonwood_120709.JPG (426238 bytes) It is suggested that the name of the village was BURTUN before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and means the farmstead (tun) by the fortified manor (burh).  It acquired the name Burtonwood when it was included in the forest by Henry I. The addition of 'wood' to 'Burton' therefore gives the full meaning of Burtonwood as ‘the wood by the tun, or farmstead, near a fortified place, or burh’.

The burh in question might have been Warrington, although it is just as close to St Helens and Newton-le-Willows. Finally, according to John Ayto’s ‘Dictionary of Word Origins’ (1990), the ton on the end of an English place name comes from a time when the word meant ‘farmstead’ and the Old English term for ‘town’ was burg, ancestor of the modern English word borough.

In the 13th century it was retained in the king’s forest and eventually the Botelers made use of the land and animals for food and the timber to build the castle at Mote Hill near to the Parish Church of St Elphin in Howley.

The former
Burtonwood
Youth Base,
later Lugman's
restaurant on
9 Jul 2012
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Burtonwood Community Centre, Green Jones Brow
9 Jul 2012
burtonwood_cemetery_chapel_lane_120709_1.JPG (418201 bytes) Information in the History of Lancashire (Vol 3, London, 1907) (reproduced on British History Online www.british-history.ac.uk) gives older names for the village, including Burtoneswod (1228), Bourtonewod (1251), Burtonwode (1297) and Bortounwod (1337). 
Burtonwood
Cemetery
(above and below)
on 9 Jul 2012
Burtonwood was a chapelry in the ancient parish of Warrington, in the West Derby Hundred of Lancashire. A HUNDRED was a subdivision of a county or shire, having its own court. The village of Burtonwood was a rural settlement until the late 19th century, characterized by loosely grouped farmsteads and cottages extending along Clay Lane, Chapel Lane and Phipps Lane. The countryside was extremely flat, with much reclaimed marsh or mossland, drained by ‘cuts’ into the Sankey Brook, which flowed from north to southeast and south and formed the boundary line on that side, with coal mining areas including Collins Green to the north.
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The geological formation shows the village is set on top of red sandstone, with Bradley Old Hall and Collins Green resting on pebble beds and land west of Collins Green made up of Permian rock and coal (the Permian period was about 300 million years ago, just before the Triassic age).

 

The Manor of Burtonwood

The manor passed to the Earl of Chester in about 1229 with other parts of the forest going to other noble men. A Robert de Ferrers granted to the abbey of Tiltey in Essex on 2 October 1251 a dwelling with outbuildings in Burtonwood with 120 acres of land and wood around it and licence to make two water mills with weirs on the water of Sankey [Brook].

About the year 1264 Robert de Ferrers sold some of the land of the manor to William le Boteler for 900 marks, paid for in six-monthly instalments of £10. The rate of exchange for a mark is approximately two-thirds of a pound, so £10 every six months would take 30 years to pay. The name of the area was called Harderesley.

In 1337 the manor belonged to Matthew de Southworth, whose descendants also owned land near Croft. We also see the name DALLUM mentioned in 1416.

In 1580 Edward Butler sold the manor of Burtonwood to Richard Bold of Bold. It then passed to Thomas Ireland sometime after 1581.

Ireland acquired the manor of Bewsey and 1,200 acres of land in Burtonwood, meadow and pasture, and 210 acres of moor, moss, and wood in Bewsey and Dallam.

From this time till the year 1861 the manor descended like the other Bold family estates to Sir Henry Bold-Hoghton, the representative of that family in right of his first wife. It was then sold to Mr. Thomas Henry Lyon of Appleton.

The village was later created a civil parish and was part of the Warrington Poor Law Union and then the Warrington Rural District. In 1974 it became part of Warrington District and is now part of the Warrington Unitary Authority. It is still a civil parish (now named Burtonwood and Westbrook) and thus has its own Parish Council.

Some of the information in this section is from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol3/pp324-328 and used with permission. Thank you for your assistance. Reading the full account is recommended.

 

Bradley Old Hall with its moat and gatehouse.

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Bradley Old Hall is an excellent example of a late medieval moated site, situated near Burtonwood village in Cheshire, not far from St. Helens and Warrington. The manor house, first built around 1460, then rebuilt in the late 1700s as a Georgian manor house, still retains a number of features from the original building, such as the main door and the oak beams. The moat and the medieval gatehouse still survive and are in good condition.

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Included in the house is the original Tudor style bed that Richard III supposedly slept in when he stayed at the Hall in 1482. There have also been many finds from the Civil War (Cromwell also supposedly stayed there) and there is an oak timber beam which is inscribed with a Catholic script, as the Leigh family who lived there were said to be secret Catholics after the Reformation.

In the book A Burtonwood Story by J.P. Fogarty, published in 1986, Bradley Old Hall is mentioned extensively displaying a number of black and white photos. A mention of the hall by Peter Legh in 1465 is printed, in which it says the hall had:

bradley_old_hall_bradley_lane_burtonwood_170413_3.JPG (477395 bytes) ‘...three new chambers and a fair dining room, with a new kitchen, bakehouse and brewhouse, and also with a new tower built of stone with turrets and a fair gateway, and above it a stone bastille well defended, with a fair chapel…also one ancient chamber called the Knyghtes Chamber…surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge…’

The two coats of arms displayed at the top of the stairs on the first floor are of Standish of Standish and Legh of Lyme - both taken from the original Hall, along with a number of oak doors and beams, such as the one in the front attic room which displays the legend:

‘Here Master doth and Mistress both accorde with godly mindes and zealous hartes to serve the livinge Lorde. 1597 Henry Wesle’

This seems to suggest a continuation of the practise of Catholicism by the family.

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The book by Fogarty also mentions that Peter Leigh supported the Duke of Gloucester (Richard III) with King Richard III granting Peter Legh £10 per year for life in consideration for his loyal services. Fogarty mentions that the Duke of Gloucester was reputed to have stayed at the hall in 1482 when the Duke was marching through Lancashire to repel the Scots. The King's Bed – a late medieval oak bed - is still in the hall, and the story of the Duke staying at the hall seemed to have originated from Lady Legh’s history of the Legh family.

The ancient
gateway

Other books which mention Bradley Old Hall include Warrington and the Mid-Mersey Valley by G. A. Carter, published in 1971, which also mentions Peter Legh’s 1485 description, and the Legh family connection to the nearby Winwick Church where a number of the family are buried. The hall, according to Carter, was mentioned as ‘lying waste’ in 1666, which may be because of activity during the Civil War where there was nearby the battle of Winwick in 1648. There has been a cannonball and shot recovered from the moat which dates to the Civil War period, and there are local stories of secret tunnels from the hall to the nearby Winwick Church and that Oliver Cromwell himself stayed at the hall.

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The hall is still privately owned and can be seen from the many public pathways that run from the Sankey Canal towards Burtonwood.

Notes © Dr David Harrison 2017.
From
https://drdavidharrison.blogspot.com/2017/01/bradley-old-hall-rare-moated-site.html

Thanks to David Harrison for copyright clearance on the Bradley Old Hall notes.

 

Burtonwood Brewery

The village is also known for its brewery, which brewed the Burtonwood ales. The brewery was founded in 1867, and built up a large estate of pubs. It was registered as the Burtonwood Brewery Co. Ltd in 1910 and was re-registered as above in April 1949. It was owned by the Gilchrist side of the Forshaw family, who were also involved with Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd. Some of the public houses were sold to Higson's Brewery Ltd in 1925 and a further 23 houses went to Tetley Walker Ltd in 1949.

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After an arrangement with Eldridge, Pope & Co. Ltd, they also brewed their beers as Thomas Hardy Brewers. When Allied Breweries' estate was broken up, Burtonwood acquired many former Allied pubs.

In 1964 Burtonwood Breweries became a public company, but retained its head office in the village. In 1998 the company formed a joint venture with Thomas Hardy Holdings, known as Thomas Hardy Burtonwood. The pub side of the business (approximately 460 pubs at the time) was sold to Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries Ltd (later Marston's) in 2004.

 

At one time Burtonwood had five public houses.

The Limerick Hotel was located on what was Cow Lane, now Burtonwood Road, built in 1911 and demolished in the early 1940s because the pub was too close, to the (fully operational) Burtonwood Air Base and runway.

The Bridge House Inn was located in Phipps Lane and built in the early 1900s. The Elm Tree Inn was located on the corner of Phipps Lane and Chapel Lane, built around 1885. The Bridge House Inn and the Elm Tree Inn were both owned by the Marston's Group, and were demolished in 2014.

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The former
Bridge House Inn
on Phipps Lane
9 Jul 2012
The former
Elm Tree pub
on Phipps Lane
13 Jun 2006
The Chapel Inn
on Chapel Lane
as seen on
13 Jun 2006
The two public houses currently in the village are the Chapel House and the Fiddle i'th Bag Inn on the road to Winwick, which was called simply Fiddle Inn on the 1913 OS map. Incidentally, the section of Alder Lane north of the Fiddle Inn that goes over the Sankey Canal and the railway line to link up with Hollins Lane today didn't exist in 1913. The way back to Warrington was via the original Alder Lane over Causey Bridge to Watery Lane at Winwick. Try https://maps.nls.uk/ for side by side maps of old and current places in the UK. Great for research!

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The Chapel Inn
on Chapel Lane
as seen on
9 Jul 2012
Fiddle i'th Bag Inn on Alder Lane as seen on 27 Jun 2012
There are three social clubs (Burtonwood Catholic Club on Clay Lane opened on 30 July 1955). 

 

 

There are three churches: Burtonwood Methodist Church (built 1850), St. Michael's and All Angels (Church of England) and St. Paul of the Cross (Roman Catholic). St. Michael's and All Angels was founded in 1605 by Sir Thomas de Bold, rebuilt in 1716 and Grade II listed in 1966, the only listed building within Burtonwood village. It was consecrated by the Rt. Rev John Lord, Bishop of Chester, on 16 December 1634. St Paul's was opened on 19 July 1972 by the Right Reverend Joseph Gray D.C.L.

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St Michael's C of E
Parish Church
on Chapel Lane
St Paul of the Cross
Catholic Church on 
Mercer Street
Burtonwood
Methodist Church
on Phipps Lane
Burtonwood Women's
Institute is based
at Burtonwood
Methodist Church
David Forrest in his book A Warrington Chronology (Published 2005) says there was a St Paul of the Cross Mission on Clay Lane opened on 31 October 1886 and another entry for 26 January 1902 says, "First St Paul of the Cross Church, Burtonwood officially opened".

 

Other features of Burtonwood

There are two recreational parks. The one on Clay Lane opposite Perrin's Road was the site of Warrington Rural District Sewage Works, according to the 1913 OS map. The housing estate surrounding it was originally Fir Tree Farm with Fir Tree Lane alongside and The Old Vicarage at the junction of Fir Tree Lane and Alder Lane. The vicarage is home now to a care home.

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Burtonwood Post Office Clay Lane recreation area Burtonwood Burtonwood Library
There are two primary schools, St. Paul of the Cross Primary School (opened 24 January 1887) and Burtonwood Community Primary School (which has a swimming pool). Originally established in 1996, Cotton Tails nursery on Mercer Street has worked in partnership with hundreds of local families to give their children the very best start in Life. It is housed in an old school building. I would love to know some history of the school, its name, date built. etc. Email me.
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Cotton Tails nursery
on Mercer Street
9 Jul 2012
Burtonwood Community
Primary School
9 Jul 2012
St Paul of the Cross
Catholic Primary School
(Google Maps view)
Burtonwood Nature Park is located off Chapel Lane and featured in Warrington Green 1. Wheatacre Woods is a nice green area off Clay Lane and Gorsey Lane and part of the Mersey Forest. It was planted in 2003 by the Forestry Commission and is an excellent location for some off-road cycling or horse riding. Beryl's Wood prompts me to ask who Beryl was. I assume a respect member of the community. Please email me if you can help fill in the notes.
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There is also a library, post office, doctor’s surgery and pharmacy, and shops.

See also www.newton-le-willows.com for a more detailed study of the area.

BEWSEY

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Bewsey Bridge

Bewsey is one of the oldest parts of Warrington and is located in the north west of the town. The name Bewsey comes from 'beau see', meaning beautiful site. The street names in the council estate of Bewsey, such as Lilford Avenue and Troutbeck Avenue, are named after people who lived in the area in the 15th and 16th centuries. Bewsey in linked with Whitecross for the borough council’s ward information, and the population for the ward is given as 11,451 for 2017.

 

Bewsey Old Hall

From the 13th to the 17th centuries the land of Bewsey belonged to the Lords of the Manor of Warrington who lived at Bewsey Old Hall. The hall following the destruction by fire of his original house, which was located nearer the current town centre on the Mote Hill (near to the site of the parish church, St Elphin). The date of the fire is not recorded exactly but is believed to be between the years 1256 and 1259. In order to build the house, Boteler obtained lands in Burton Wood (later Burtonwood) from his feudal Lord, Earl Ferrar, in 1260 and from Prince Edmund in 1270. A monastic grange, owned by the monks of Titley Abbey, in Essex, previously occupied the site of Bewsey Old Hall.

Sir John Boteler, Lord of Warrington, was murdered in his bed in 1521 at Bewsey Old Hall, the murderers allegedly acting on the orders of his brother-in-law, Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby, with whom he had been on bad terms for some time. Sir Piers Legh and Sir William Savage, whom Stanley had employed to carry out the deed, bribed the porter at Bewsey to place a lighted taper in a certain window when the house had settled down for the evening. They then crossed the moat in a coracle-like boat and entered Sir John's bed chamber; a struggle with the chamberlain ensued who was also murdered. They later hanged the treacherous servant from a tree in the Bewsey estate, so that he could not give evidence against them.

Bewsey Old Hall passed to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, in 1586 in settlement of gambling debts when Edward Boteler died without an heir. Dudley sold the estate to lawyer Thomas Ireland, of Childwall, and the house remained in the possession of the Ireland family for six generations until 1675.

bewsey_old_hall_070616_2.jpg (184075 bytes) Bewsey Old Hall
as seen on
16 June 2007 (left)
and
20 May 2013 (right)
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The first hall, a single storey wooden medieval hall, of which nothing now remains was replaced by a brick building and is largely Jacobean, i.e. built during the reign of James I of England. This is probably the work of Sir Thomas Ireland and dates from around 1600. The building has distinctive chimneystacks and stone mullioned windows (a mullion is a vertical bar between the panes of glass in a window). Sir Thomas was knighted at Bewsey by King James I in 1617. The king later stayed the night at Bewsey.

Bewsey was inherited by the Atherton family in 1675, although it was not their main home, with relatively nearby Atherton Hall, Leigh being their primary residence. In the mid-18th century they added a new wing to the building. Legend states that the Stuart prince Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed the night there, on his retreat from Derby during the Jacobite rising of 1745.

The house passed by marriage to the Lilford family in 1797, when the Atherton estate was inherited by Thomas Powys, Lord Lilford, who preferred to live at the family seat, Lilford Hall in Northamptonshire.

Bewsey's remaining medieval structures were demolished during the 18th century, when the hall was extended with a farmhouse and kitchen, and landscaping works filled in parts of the moat and enlarged others as water features.

In 1863, a 'New Hall' was built, and Bewsey Old Hall was left in the hands of tenants, until, in considerable disrepair, it was purchased from Lord Lilford in 1974.

The Lilfords also inherited Atherton Hall. However, they considered one property in Lancashire adequate for their needs and lavished considerable expense on Bewsey Hall. After failing to sell Atherton Hall, which was less than a century old, it was demolished in 1824, with some of the furniture and carpets being sent to Bewsey. They later demolished the 18th century wing and in 1860-61 a new half-timbered house (Bewsey New Hall) was built on a different site west of Camp Road for Thomas Powys, 4th Baron Lilford, as a replacement for the Old Hall, with the original hall being converted into two farmhouses and let to tenants. The new building was almost certainly designed by W. G. Habershon (1818-1891), but Lady Lilford disliked the house so much that she refused to live in it, and it was largely demolished in the 1940s, apart from a fragment of the west wing.

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Bewsey Lodge on the approach to Bewsey Old Hall.
Bewsey Lock is 200 metres to the right before you cross the bridge

During archaeological excavations in the 1980s many artefacts were found, including a medieval leather shoe, pottery, coins and a seal die from the 14th

In September 2011, the hall was subject to an arson attack, and lost part of its roof. Despite local campaigns against it, a public inquiry, held in May and September of 2011, granted permission for seven flats to occupy the Grade II* listed hall. Development Company 'Next Big Thing' have now redeveloped the property into a number of apartments.

 

The Sankey Canal opened in 1757, four years before the Bridgewater Canal. 

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The Sankey Navigation on the the St Helens Canal, was the first industrial canal in England. The original Act of Parliament was to make the Sankey Brook navigable. Instead, the engineer Henry Berry took advantage of a clause in the act that states, 'cuts and trenches could be made where necessary' and built a completely new watercourse following the line of the Sankey Brook.

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The canal passes through Bewsey on its journey  from St Helens to Spike Island at Widnes. The image of the lock, left, was taken on 25 Sep 2012, and the image of Sankey Valley Park at Old Hall was taken on 2 Dec 2006. Fishing rights are by way of a licence.

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The Sankey Canal Restoration Society and Warrington Borough Council have produced information panels on the history of the canal at various locations along the canal. Bewsey Lock is approached from the pathway leading from Lodge Lane/Lilford Avenue junction. Walk across the stone bridge and turn right before the second bridge with the black and white cottage in the distance. From Old Hall, cross the bridge opposite the cottage and turn left.

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The story of Bewsey Lock from the information board.
mywarrington does not own the copyright for text or images contained in these photographs.

Looks like a photo finish for second place

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 in the Sankey Valley Swansong Olympics!

Read more about the Sankey Canal in On the Waterfront 1

 

Industry

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Bewsey Road viewed south towards town centre featuring Greenings wire factory buildings on the right    

Bewsey Road runs from the junction of Lovely lane, Folly Lane and Lodge Lane towards Tanners Lane. 

Anybody getting on a bus in the old days could ask for Bewsey Bridge and the driver would have known where to stop. It was the closest stop to get to Burtonwood Air Base where the officially named Bewsey Bridge crosses the Sankey Brook at the bottom end of Lodge Lane.

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The Imperial Hotel on Bewsey Road.
The pub was built in 1894 by Greenalls,
the Warrington brewer.

Locals used to call the railway bridge Bewsey Bridge, as this is where the Cheshire Lines Committee railway crossed the roads of Lovely Lane and Folly Lane. The bridge is long gone (see a photo below, left)

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St Rocco’s charity shop occupies the former Cross Bar pub building, seen in the photo, right. The image, left, belongs to P. Spilsbury and shows the same scene in the 1970s. Other shops are built on the site of the railway embankment, with a car dealership diagonally opposite. 

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The 1844 map shows Bewsey Villa on the site of the modern car dealership, which is just visible on the far right of the image above, right, whilst Bewsey Cottage is shown at the junction of Folly Lane and Longshaw Street.

Bewsey Road was the location of some of the town’s biggest industrial sites, including Greenings Wire, British Steel, Lancashire Steel and Sterling Cable. Nathaniel Greening set up his first wire factory on Bridge Street in the town centre and later went into partnership with John Rylands. A Greenings advert tells us they were the oldest wire drawing and wire-weaving firm in Warrington, established 1799. They set up the factory on Church Street but eventually Greening and Rylands went their separate ways, with Greening moving to the Britannia Works on Bewsey Road.

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Greenings during demolition
10 June 2003

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Wire from Greenings was exported all over the world. The company was famous for the works buzzer which sounded five minutes before work was due to start (7.25 a.m. and 12.55 p.m.) and could be heard all over the district. The factory had a branch line to the West Coast Main Line railway. The factory closed in 1980 and the land has now become a housing estate. Bolton steeplejack Fred Dibnah was given the task of bringing down the factory chimney on Sunday 17 April 1994, which he completed at 11.55 a.m. - five minutes before the Imperial pub opened across the road - exactly as he planned. There is a photo of Fred’s steam traction engine in Peter’s Gallery.

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The image, left, from Grace's Guide mentions agate steel. Reader A Hickson provides additional information on this product. 

Battery Screening, specially prepared for gold mining by N. Greening and Sons, Limited, Warrington, England. Nothing can surpass their screens for regularity of mesh, and the heavy qualities are remarkably substantial and enduring. The firm in question make all descriptions of battery screening, ranging from 100 holes per square inch up to 40,000 holes per square inch.

The old wire and steel factories have all gone, but Gap Steel has now set up on the same site of Lancashire Steel at the town centre end of Bewsey Road, from where other smaller business units also operate.
Two other businesses lost from Bewsey include Marsden Vanplan, formerly Marsden Coachbuilders on Longshaw Street, In the 24 January 1981 edition of Commercial Motor I found this snippet under the headline Marsden's vans have got style:

FUEL savings are claimed by Warrington based coachbuilder Marsdens Ltd with the introduction of a new aerodynamically-styled van body.

The new design feature controlled radius panels and total reassessment of roc leading edge sections to produce minimal drag.

Improved safety features include a larger windscreen, achieved by reducing the cab base scuttle area, while the interior cab layout has been designed to minimise driver stress.

Read more at http://archive.commercialmotor.com

The company, with their registered address in Leicestershire, was dissolved on 16 September 2014. The Bewsey site is now a housing estate on Calgarth Avenue.

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Marsden's site on 18 Jan 2007 (left) and during demolition on 16 Jun 2007 (centre and right)

The other long-standing firm was George Howard Ltd recycling centre on Folly Lane. The company started out as a second-hand furniture store on Froghall Lane in the 1890s. In 1914 the company moved to Folly Lane and became George Howard Ltd in 1921.

In the 1950s the family operated the Royal Court Theatre on Rylands Street in the town centre until it closed in 1957. The Folly Lane site operated until 21 January 2010 when the land was repossessed under the Law of Property Act 1925.  Interestingly, the new housing estate on the site of Howard's is called Folly Farm Close, but I cannot see anything on the old OS maps that indicate a farm once stood on this site. They only indicate fields before the industrial sites came into existence. Close to Howard’s site is Hawthorne Business Park on Hawthorne Street.

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George Howard recycling site 9 Aug 2007

 

The Folly, a private house, is marked on the 1844 map near Folly Lane, suggesting how the street was named. A car dealership operates for Peugeot on Folly Lane. This is where The Folly stood. From the 1960s the car showroom was operated by Syd Hall Motors until it went into administration on 14 January 2009 with the loss of 40 jobs. The dealership has since reopened under different management. Also on Folly Lane is the Villaggio hotel and restaurant, but it will be more famous to locals as Tyrol House. Further along Folly Lane over the railway bridge was Longford Wire - another lost industry - the site is now taken up with Gateway 49 business park.

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Sid Hall Motors as it was 23 Jan 2009.

 

There are two primary schools, Bewsey Lodge Primary on Lodge Lane and St Albans Catholic Primary on Bewsey Road. From 1934 to 1993, Bewsey Secondary Modern (later High) School was next to the junior school with access from Clapgates Road and Lodge Lane. This building was later used by the council’s Social Services department who had moved there when the lease for Priestley House (now Bank Quay House) on Sankey Street ran out. The road leading to the old school building from Lodge Lane in Bewsey is called Lockton Lane and it was suggested the old school building be renamed Lockton House, but after public pressure the name of the school was retained in part (called Bewsey Old School). I don’t know the significance (if any) of the name Lockton to any part of Bewsey’s history. The building was demolished in May 2013. Read more about Bewsey Lodge Primary in The Bewsian.

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St Alban's Catholic Primary School

Clapgates Road is named after Clap Gates Farm which once stood close by. Next to the site of the old senior school is St Rocco’s Hospice, which was originally on Orford Avenue. The Bewsey school field was once known as The Towers and is now a housing estate. Towers Court is one of the local street names (off Lodge Lane).

 

The ‘straight’ section of the Cheshire Lines railway used to run alongside the eastern edge of the Bewsey Primary and Secondary schools. This formed part of the original planned route through the town, with a station planned for Warrington on Winwick Road near Longford Street and Kerfoot Street (where Matalan is now). However, the locals campaigned for a station in the town centre, resulting in the extra ‘loop’ section to Warrington Central, which opened in 1873. Parts of the ‘straight’ section embankment still exist in Orford, mainly because nothing was built on it. Read more about the school’s history in The Bewsian, and the railway in Making Tracks 2.

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The section of the Cheshire Lines Railway where the 'straight' and 'loop' sections branches off from each other, one to Padgate station via Winwick Road and along Orford Park, the other to Warrington Central and then onto Padgate. The 'straight' section covered the spare land in the foreground of this photo.

On the 1905 map a reservoir is marked between Gladstone Street and the railway line off Bewsey Road. If you look on the maps of the time you will see that it was possible to move trains between the West Coast Main Line and the Cheshire Lines Railway near Froghall Lane up and down a gradient. Houses now occupy some of the site today, with The Gullet walkway alongside the railway line still in use.

Did you know that Bewsey was the location of Warrington's first railway station? On 15 September 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened, and on 25 July 1831 a branch line from it was opened from Newton Junction (now Newton-le-Willows) to Dallam Lane in Bewsey. The location of the station was behind the Three Pigeons pub on Tanners Lane, on the site now occupied by The Base office block in the photo below, left. Tradition says the ticket office was located in the pub itself.

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Make sure you read the small print on the board outside the pub, as seen on 24 Apr 2015!

 

On Bewsey Road stood St Paul’s C of E church. The foundation stone was laid on 11 August 1829 and the church was consecrated in October 1831 by the Bishop of Chester. The church building was demolished in 1985, but the graveyard still exists. St Paul’s Court retirement home now stands on the site of the church.

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The grave of James Smethurst JP, Mayor of Warrington, 1906-07-08. He died 28 Sep 1921 Aged 82

Bewsey Road Methodist Church opened in 1875 and stood at the junction of Bewsey Road and Froghall Lane until 1966. The Co-operative funeral parlour now occupies the site. Warrington library has a copy of the architect's drawing, which has been reproduced in H. Wells book, Walking into Warrington's Past - Bewsey Street. Froghall Lane gets its name from Frog Hall, which stood roughly halfway between the corner of Bewsey Road and Froghall Lane railway bridge (Cheshire Lines Liverpool to Manchester line).

Two other churches in the Bewsey area that still stand are St Alban's Catholic Church on Bewsey Street and Hope Hall Gospel Hall on Hawthorne Street off Longshaw Street.
st_albans_church_bewsey_street_090318.JPG (288796 bytes) The parish containing St Alban's church (left) was founded in 1772 by the Benedictine monks of Ampleforth Abbey, and was the first Roman Catholic church in the town after the Reformation. The present building dates from 1823 and was designed by Edward Alcock. In 1893 the sanctuary, designed by Peter Paul Pugin, was added to the church. The west façade was refashioned in 1909.
st_albans_club_foundry_street_061109_2.jpg (165526 bytes)st_albans_club_foundry_street_061109_1.jpg (238839 bytes) St Alban's Social Club, left, once stood on the corner of Foundry Street and Back Dallam Lane, seen here on 9 Nov 2006.

St Alban's Youth Club operated out of the building on the right. It is now Musclehouse Gym, but started out as The Grove. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century and also served as a public house. For more detailed information, see H Wells book "Walking Into Warrington's Past: Bewsey Street". It is located on Bewsey Road next to St Alban's Catholic primary School. The photo was taken on 10 Sep 2006.

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hope_hall_church_hawthorne_avenue_100729.jpg (193917 bytes) Hope Hall Gospel Hall church on Hawthorne Street, off Longshaw Street, which opened in 1930. The photos were taken on 29 July 2010. hope_hall_church_hawthorne_avenue_110503.JPG (323941 bytes)

 

The Liberal Club building on Bewsey Street was built in 1913 on the site of the former home of Peter Rylands. He was born on 18 January 1820, and was an English wire-manufacturer in Lancashire and a Liberal politician. He was active in local government and sat in the House of Commons for two periods between 1868 and 1887. He was born in Warrington, the son of John Rylands and his wife Martha Glazebrook, daughter of the Rev. James Glazebrook, vicar of Belton.
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He was educated at Boteler Grammar School on School Brow and was Mayor of Warrington from 1853 to 1854. He had directorships of the Manchester and Liverpool Banking Co., of the Bridgewater Navigation Co. of Pearson and Knowles Coal and Iron Co. Limited, and of Rylands Brothers, Limited, wire manufacturers and iron masters (an iron master is the manager, and usually owner, of a forge or blast furnace for the processing of iron). He was a J.P. for Cheshire and Lancashire. Another house he lived in was Massey Hall in Thelwall, which he left to the local authority for educational purposes. He died on 8 February 1887 aged 67.

 

Two other photos I would like to show you.

The Ring O' Bells pub on Longshaw Street has had various names over its lifetime, including The Longshaw Bell and The Primrose. It is now permanently shut down and, I believe, destined for demolition and redevelopment. The photo, right, was taken on 28 June 2012.

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The second photo shows Revelation Shirts factory on Bewsey Street before demolition. The photo was taken on 9 November 2006. A Warrington Worldwide forum discussion brought to light other shirt manufacturers in the town. One company was MacArthur Beattie on Owen Street off Winwick Road, with another, Burton's, said to be located on Knutsford Road/Wilderspool Causeway. If anybody can enlighten me on any of those names, email me. revelation_shirts_bewsey_street_061109.JPG (216447 bytes)

HOWLEY

Howley is one of the oldest parts of the town and is linked with Fairfield for local authority election purposes. The estimated population in 2017 was 11,049, of which 2,128 (19.7%) were children, 7,514 (67.6%) of working age and older people 65+ at 1,407 (12.7%). The total population of the unitary authority of Warrington is 209,704.

The name comes from two Old English words “holh” and “leah” and means “hollow meadow”. It was in fact the centre of the town in Anglo Saxon times. The main street is Church Street leading to Manchester Road.

The Parish Church of St Elphin (or simply the Parish Church, as it is known locally) was founded in 642 AD and built out of wood alongside the north to south Roman road, which crossed the Mersey at this point. It was later rebuilt and enlarged in the 19th century. The church is dominated by its 281 feet (86 m) high spire.

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The Church of England traces its roots back to the early church, but its specifically Anglican identity and its links to the State date back to the Reformation of the 16th century.  Henry VIII started the process of creating the Church of England after his split with the Pope in the 1530s.

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Henry was anxious to ensure a male heir after his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had borne him only a daughter. He wanted his marriage annulled in order to remarry. In 1534 after several attempts to persuade the Pope to grant an annulment, Henry passed the Act of Succession and then the Act of Supremacy. These recognised that the King was "the only supreme head of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia". Henry adopted the title given to him by the Pope in 1521, that of Defender of the Faith. (Information BBC website.)

Close to the Parish Church was Warrington Castle on Mote Hill.

The Mount, as it was also known, was the largest motte and bailey castle in Lancashire. It was placed about thirty feet above sea-level and approx. 250 yards from the north bank of the Mersey. It commanded the ancient ford and routes to it. There is little doubt that the castle was the residence of the manorial lords of Warrington until their removal to Bewsey Hall. The castle is mentioned as such in 1228, when William Pincerna was granted timber for its repair.

At the beginning of the 20th century, only the northern part of the motte mound and ditch and a vague outline of the ditch of the bailey on the northeast of the motte remained. Earlier accounts indicate that the mound was oval, 162 feet NW-SE and 129 feet NE-SE, and nine feet high, with a flat top, 90 feet in diameter. A ditch, partly water filled, once surrounded the motte. The bailey was formed by a ditch, averaging six feet deep in 1908, but as late as 1819 there had been traces of a substantial rampart-bank. The mound was excavated in 1832. On its top was a circular depression, about a foot deep, filled with carbonised reeds, straw and brushwood mixed with bones and decayed animal refuse. A pit of conical form contained ashes and burnt bones. Some distance from this fireplace, a well was found, lined with wood, and filled with earth. In the section of animal and vegetable matter at the bottom, were found early medieval potsherds (ceramic material), part of a horse-shoe, a curved knife-blade said to be Saxon, a fragment of a quern (a simple hand mill for grinding corn), iron nails, a bronze fibula (a brooch or clasp) described as Saxon, Roman amphora sherds (fragments of pottery), an earthenware button, fused lead and two crude chess pieces of jet. These latter have attracted a great number of literary references and have been variously described as the 9th-, 10th- and 12th- centuries, (Arch. Journal 1852, 1853, 1856) but there is not much evidence for a pre-Norman dating (VCH 1906).

Above the hollow was a layer of vegetable soil, with boulder-stones forming a rough pavement on it. A silver penny of Henry III was associated with this pavement. Above the stones was a layer of clay, earth and sand, three feet thick containing a number of 17th-century military and other relics. Tradition has always said that the mound was raised higher by the Parliamentarians besieging the town in 1643 to place a cannon on it, and these finds confirm it. No evidence to suggest that stone walling replaced the original wooden palisading was found. Several massive timber beams and a few squared stones were found in the mound but their original position is not recorded. In 1841 the site was partly levelled to erect the Clergy Orphan's School and was further mutilated in 1851 when the school was enlarged. The school was removed in 1905.

There are no extant remains of the motte and bailey. The site is occupied by a public park and waste ground marking the area where the school formerly stood.

A small mound, with stone walling around the base, was erected at SJ 6162 8851 to mark the site of the motte, by Warrington Corporation. The finds made in 1832 are stored in Warrington Museum with the exception of the 'curved knife-blade': Accn. Nos. 1559-85 and 832-3. A copper boss was found in 1929 in making tennis courts here (F1 RWE 21-OCT-60).


An exploratory excavation to the east of St. Elphin's church revealed that the motte, composed of sand within a retaining wall of turf backed with clay, had been destroyed to within one foot of the original peat ground surface. The ditches, 110ft. wide, had been retained by timber piling. The wet conditions, the 19th-century destruction and the overlying build-up rendered the excavations unsatisfactory in terms of finds and structures (Hill 1972). (PastScape)

Information about Mote Hill is reproduced from http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/English%20sites/3508.html who inform me that the creator of the Gatehouse passed away in 2018, and passed the copyright to the castle studies group http://www.castlestudiesgroup.org.uk/. Reproduction here is as “reasonable reuse for education purposes”. Please respect that if you re-use the notes by referencing the source.

MARKET FAIR

A fair had been held at Howley since medieval times. It included stalls, horse racing and greasy poles, which stayed their course until 1859 when the fair was banned. Warrington Market first received its Royal Charter on 20 September 1255 when King Henry III permitted the 7th Baron of Warrington, Sir William Fitz Almeric le Boteler to hold an annual three-day fair at his manor of Warrington. Every year on the eve, day and morrow of St Thomas the Martyr. The Charter also granted permission for a market on Wednesdays. The town in those days was known as Wherington. Charters were granted by the crown as rewards to barons and landowners for services rendered to the Sovereign. When the original market started in 1255, the total population of Warrington was about 600.

On 5 November 1277, William asked King Edward for permission to hold a Friday market and an 8-day fair on the eve, day and morrow of St Andrew the Apostle (30 November). A third Charter of 1285 gave permission for a weekly market on Wednesdays and to extend the July fair by five days.

On 3 March 1367, an application was made to the Black Prince to hold two fairs every year in the village of Latchford, on the eve and day of St John Before the Latin Gate (possibly on 5 and 6 May). What it shows is that there was never really just one market in the town - we had the horse market, butter market, cattle market, a market on Church Street, etc. Horsemarket Street and Buttermarket Street are named after the markets held on their respective streets.

Read more in the Warrington Market page.

In 1648 Oliver Cromwell stayed at the Spotted Leopard pub, which stood next to the black and white building that is now the Cottage Restaurant on Church Street.  

The Spotted Leopard was more recently called The General Wolfe, but it has now been converted into a private residence (image, right).

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INDUSTRY has played a large part in the district’s history. Leather tanning was first recorded in 1633 and became a major industry in the 19th century, especially around Bishop’s Wharf alongside the River Mersey where Riverside Retail Park stands today. Sailcloth was manufactured in the area. In fact, Warrington cloth was responsible for taking Nelson to Trafalgar and in 1831 it was said that half of the sailcloth in the British navy originated in Warrington. One of the biggest industries of modern times was wire making by the Rylands family who started out in the sailcloth business. By 1840 Rylands was one of the biggest employers in the town. Sadly, the wire industry in the town is no more, and a supermarket stands on the site of the Rylands offices today.
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Some of the old mills and buildings from Howley's industrial past, including Fairclough's on the right.
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Left to right: Howley Wharf, sculptures depicting the industry and the only remaining building of Rylands

Brewing

Two of the oldest pubs on Church Street are the Bulls Head (1600s) and the Marquis of Granby (c1660). The Brickmakers Arms pub was built in 1904 and is on School Brow. For a period of time it was known as the Candy Bar and The Road House, but no longer serves as a pub. The Howley Hotel pub is to be found on the corner of Parr Street and Percival Street. Located at the former Bishop’s Wharf is the Coach House Brewing Company, established in 1991 following the closure of the Greenall Whitley Brewery which had a presence in Warrington from 1762. The town's brewing heritage has been continued by ex-employees committed to the brewing and supply of hand-crafted cask-conditioned fine ales. Coach House beers have enjoyed considerable success at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) and at other beer festivals and competitions throughout the country, which bears testimony to the quality and popularity of their products. Link to their website www.coach-house-brewing.co.uk.

National School

Rector Powys founded the National School on Church Street in 1834 when 532 pupils paid one penny a day to be educated. The school lasted until 1960 and the front of the building has been retained in the new housing development on the site. The workhouse, where the sick and poor were housed, stood next to the Bulls Head pub in the 18th century. The site was eventually occupied by Thomas Locker’s wire factory, which has now been replaced by an apartment block.

Plaque commemorating James Stanley's visit to Warrington during the Civil War

Foundation stone of the Parochial Infants school from 1892

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The Star Kinema picture house used to stand where Apple Court nursing home is today. Read more in At the Flicks page.
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Bulls Head Pub The former World Nightclub.
It was previously known as The Owl.
The Howley Pub
on Parr Street
The Bridewell was the town’s police station on Irlam Street from 1820 until 1901 when it relocated to Arpley Street, where it remains today. A roundabout now stands on the site.

St Mary’s Catholic church on Buttermarket Street was built in the 1870s on the site of a former cotton factory. The architect of St Mary’s was Edward Welby Pugin (1834-75), son of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52) the famous Victorian Gothic reviver, who designed the Houses of Parliament.  On his death in 1875, the work was finished by his brother Cuthbert Welby Pugin (1840–1928) and half-brother Peter Paul Pugin (1851-1904) (“one of their finest works” according to The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner). The foundation stone was laid in May 1875; the church opened 30th August 1877.

Howley Suspension Bridge links the district with Victoria Park. It was originally intended that there should be a bridge made out of cast iron to a design by Thomas Telford (who built the Menai Suspension Bridge that connects Anglesey to mainland Wales). Telford's proposed bridge was meant to be 60 feet wide and 150 feet long to help with traffic congestion at Bridge Foot, and would have cost £12,000, but due to lack of funds, only a footbridge was built, costing just £600. The footbridge was begun in February 1912 by David Rowell & Co., who were prolific builders of many similar steel suspension footbridges, and was officially opened on 2 August 1912. 

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It is a grade II listed monument (listed on 4 April 1975). Each end has two tapering square piers of open ironwork, with round arches across the pathway.

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Warrington - A Town of Many Industries

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