Newton in Makerfield St Peter, Lancashire Genealogy
NEWTON-IN-MAKERFIELD, a market-town and parish [as of 1682], in the union of Warrington, hundred of West Derby, S. division of Lancashire, 4 miles (N.) from Warrington, 15 (E. by N.) from Liverpool, 47 (S. by E.) from Lancaster, and 192½ (N. W. by N.) from London; containing 3126 inhabitants. This place was at a very early period of sufficient importance to give name to one of the hundreds of the county, but the distinction has been lost for many centuries. During the civil war, and in or about the month of Aug. 1648, a skirmish took place at Red Bank, near the town, between the parliamentary forces and a party of Highlanders, the latter of whom, being defeated and made prisoners, were hanged in a field (through which the turnpike-road now passes) that retains to this day the name of the Gallows Croft. The town consists chiefly of one broad street with some respectable houses, and many important works are carried on in its vicinity. Two large foundries for locomotive-engines and iron-work of almost every description, employ between 700 and 800 hands. The extensive alkali-works of Messrs. James Muspratt and Sons employ nearly 300 hands; and this firm also, commenced here in 1845 the manufacture on a considerable scale of Baron Liebig's patent manure. Messrs. Ackers and Company have an establishment for the manufacture of crown-glass. A large hotel has been built adjoining the Liverpool and Manchester railway station at this place, which is about halfway between those two towns; and the North-Union and Birmingham railways form a junction, near the town, with the Liverpool and Manchester line. It was at the Parkside station, in the parish, on the occasion of opening the last-mentioned railway, in Sept. 1830, that the Rt. Hon. William Huskisson met with the accident which caused his death; and a tablet to his memory has been erected near the spot. Races annually take place, in July, on a large common within a short distance of the town; a fine course has been formed at the cost of Thomas Legh, Esq., lord of the manor, and owner of five-sixths of the parish, and that gentleman has also built a grand stand of elegant design, besides which, is a range of substantial stands of brick, commanding a view of the whole course. A branch from the Birmingham railway, directly to the course, affords facility for visiters to it from the neighbouring towns and almost any part of the kingdom. A market-house was erected in 1840, by Mr. Legh. Fairs are held on May 17th and August 11th for horned-cattle, and on May 18th and August 12th for horses. Newton, the head of a barony, and formerly a borough by prescription, returned two members to parliament from the first year of the reign of Elizabeth to the 2nd of William IV., when it was disfranchised. Courts leet and baron for the ancient fee of Makerfield are held three times a year, at which small debts are recoverable.
The parish comprises 3101 acres, whereof about 697 are arable, 1958 meadow and pasture, 28 wood, and the remainder villages, roads, and waste or common. The district is delightful and healthy, and the land very fertile, the soil being one-third clay loam and two-thirds loam, with a substratum of the new red-sandstone formation, of which there are excellent quarries. Newton Hall, a venerable building of lath and plaster, stands on the south side of the town; the vestiges of a moat, formerly visible, have merged in the adjacent brook, and the ancient mount or tumulus, with its subterraneous passages and walls, now forms part of the embankment of the Liverpool and Manchester railway. The late John Blackburne, Esq., M.P. for Lancashire, sold this Hall and estate to Mr. Legh. Oak-tree House, at the northern extremity of the town, is another fabric of frame-work; the Brotherton family were the ancient proprietors, and sold it to the Leghs. Hey, in Newton, consists of two farms; Old Hey was the mansion of the Brothertons, by whom the property was sold to the Leghs at the beginning of the present century. Newton was formerly a chapelry in the parish of Winwick, but was erected into a distinct parish, by act of parliament, in 1844. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Earl of Derby: the tithes have been commuted for £300, and there are two acres of glebe land, and a glebe-house. The parish church, situated at Wargrave, and dedicated to Emmanuel, was built in 1841, and is a neat stone structure in the early English style, with a spire, forming a commanding object in the scenery: the cost of its erection was defrayed by the rector of Winwick. The old chapel, which was dedicated to St. Peter, was built in 1682, by Richard Legh, Esq., and rebuilt in 1834; it is also in the pointed style, and of red-sandstone. After the creation of the parish of Newton, it was made a district church. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £114; patron, Mr. Legh. The burial-ground has been extended, and inclosed with a stone wall and iron palisades, by the patron; it contains an obelisk formed of one very large block of stone (brought from Lyme Park, in Cheshire), in lieu of an ancient cross. There is a free school, the master of which receives about £50 per annum, arising from the proceeds of certain inclosures of Leyland common, and the rent of a messuage called Dean-School; and national schools, adapted for 400 children, have been built by government grants and private subscription, on a site given by Mr. Legh, from the designs of his agent, Mr. Mercer. About half a mile northward of the town are the remains of a barrow, supposed to be of great antiquity, named Castle Hill; it is from eight to nine yards in height and about 25 in diameter, and beautifully situated on a high bank near the confluence of a small brook with the river Dean; the sides and summit of this barrow are covered with venerable oaks. At the distance of about a quarter of a mile south of the town, in the footpath of the turnpike-road leading to Warrington, is a large stone laid in the pavement, called the Bloody Stone, on which the peasantry of the surrounding country invariably spit when passing. The legend is, that on this stone, the Welsh knight who had married Lady Mabel Bradshaigh, of Haigh Hall, on the supposed death of her husband, Sir William, in the Holy wars, fell murdered by the latter, who had been taken prisoner in Palestine, and returned after a long captivity.
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 409-413. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51178 Date accessed: 20 July 2010.
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.
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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.
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