Ashton in Makerfield, Lancashire Genealogy

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England Gotoarrow.png Lancashire Gotoarrow.png Lancashire Parishes

St Thomas' Church, Ashton-in-Makerfield.jpg

Parish History

Ashton in Makerfield St Thomas is a parish in the county of Lancashire, created by act of Parliament in 1840 from Winwick, Lancashire ancient parish.

Other places in the parish include: Haydock (a district chapel created in 1866).

Historically a part of Lancashire, Ashton-le-Willows (as it was once known) was anciently a township in the parish of Winwick and hundred of West Derby. With neighbouring Haydock, Ashton-in-Makerfield was a chapelry, but the two were split in 1845. The place has long been a centre for the manufacture of locks and hinges, but also sits on the Lancashire Coal Field, and so was a coal mining district.

The name Ashton derives from Old English and means the "farmstead where the ash-trees grow"; it is a common name and is found locally in Ashton-under-Lyne  in Tameside and Ashton upon Mersey in Trafford. The town's name was recorded as Eston in 1212. Later, the suffix "in-Makerfield" was added, which relates the name of an old district of which Ashton was a part; Makerfield derives from the Celtic for a wall or ruin and the Old English word feld, meaning "open land".

St Thomas' Church of England parish church on Warrington Road has ancient origins although the present building is barely over 100 years old. The graveyard is the final resting place of many of the 189 victims of the Wood Pit explosion (at Haydock on Friday 7 June 1878), the worst coal-mining disaster in Lancashire at the time.

"ASHTON-IN-MAKERFIELD, or Ashton-le-Willows [parish of, and], a township, in the union of Wigan, hundred of West Derby, S. division of the county of Lancaster, is 5 miles south from Wigan, and 7 miles north by northwest from Warrington. The township was until lately, with Haydock, a chapelry in the parish of Winwick; and consists of three parts, viz.: the Town-End, the BrynnEnd, and the Garswood-End. By an act of parliament for the division of Winwick, passed in 1845, the Brynn-End and the Garswood-End were made a separate parish, called the rectory of Ashton; the Town-End was annexed to the adjoining township of Haydock, and the two places formed into another and distinct parish, called the vicarage of St. Thomas the Apostle, in Ashton (built well before 1715 when it was rebuilt). The district forms part of the great coal-field of Lancashire...Holy Trinity chapel is situated near Downall-Green, in Garswood-End, built in 1838. The Independents, Quakers, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics have places of worship."[1]


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD

Church records

Lancashire Online Parish Clerks

Lancashire Online Parish Clerk project is currently transcribing microfilms of Ashton in Mackerfield parish registers baptisms, marriages and burials. Many of these are now available online (at no cost) as follows:

Original records

While FamilySearch has microfilmed the St Thomas Ashton in Makerfield Parish registers, baptisms, marriages and burials from 1698-1900. These have not been transcribed and published online with the exception of the baptisms for only the years 1822-1837 inclusive. However, the Parish of Winwick has been transcribed, indexed and published online on its web site. The baptisms and marriages for Winwick Parish are online--of which St Thomas Ashton in Makerfield was annexed until 1845, when it became a separate parish by Act of Parliament. Here is a breakdown of those years found online at FamilySearch for Winwick Parish:

Census records

The following web  sites have online content of census records from 1841 to 1911 inclusive;

  • Ancestry
  • FindMyPast
  • TheGenealogist for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Wigan Poor Law Union

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites

Add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above.


  1. A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 90-96. URL: Adapted. Date accessed: 25 June 2010.