A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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Cronton, measuring 1,153½ acres, (fn. 1) is situated on ground undulating in the north, and gradually sloping to quite a flat surface in the south. The village is situated about the centre of the township, and is a favourite resort for cyclists and picnic parties, both from Liverpool and Widnes, on account of a public recreation ground on Pexhill. This hill, rising to only 200 ft. above sea level, is covered with heather and gorse, and on the top are the Widnes Corporation reservoirs, formed in 1868. There are but few plantations, but the most part of the country is occupied by arable fields, where good crops of turnips, wheat, oats, and barley are grown in a loamy soil. There are decidedly fine views of the surrounding country to be had from Pexhill. The township lies upon the two lower beds of the bunter series of the new red sandstone, the lower mottled sandstone in the western and southern portions, the pebble beds in the north-eastern. The principal roads cross at the village, one going north and south to Rainhill and Ditton, and the other east and west to Farnworth and Huyton.
The remains of a cross—pedestal and part of the shaft—may be seen near the hall; the stocks remain, being in the village. Formerly there was a well close by dedicated to St. Anne, but known as the Stocks Well; it is now filled up. Pexhill Cross was destroyed in 1868. (fn. 2)
CRONTON appears to have been one of the original members of the Widnes barony, being associated with Appleton in an assessment of 1 hide of 6 plough-lands. (fn. 3) In 1212 it was still part of the demesne of the barony, and is not mentioned in the survey of that year. (fn. 4) Before 1190, however, part at least must have been granted out, for one Matthew son of William had given land there to the Hospitallers, which they in that year granted, with other lands in the district, to Richard de la More. (fn. 5)
The township was about 1250 (fn. 6) given in alms, with his body, by Edmund de Lacy to Stanlaw Abbey, with all his land and rights there, including the farm of the mill. (fn. 7) The mill had been erected on Pexhill by Adam the Carpenter of Upton, by an earlier grant from the same Edmund. (fn. 8) Cronton was named in the inquiry of 1291 among the manors of Widnes lordship. (fn. 9)
The abbot proceeded to make improvements of the waste, and this in 1284 brought him into conflict with one of his tenants, Richard de Shaw. (fn. 10) Forty years later a further agreement was made with Richard de Shaw—either the same person or his heir—by which he resigned his rights in the easements and wastes of Cronton and also in its lanes and roads except two. (fn. 11)
But little is known of the internal management of the township. (fn. 12) Towards the middle of the fourteenth century the abbot was involved in various boundary disputes with his neighbours in Rainhill, and after several years appears to have established his rights in the main. (fn. 13) An inquisition as to the boundaries between Cronton and Upton in Widnes had been made in 1336. (fn. 14)
After the suppression it was found that the town had been leased out in 1537 for a rent of £19 0s. 1d. (fn. 15) Cronton was, with other monastic manors, sold to Thomas Holt of Gristlehurst. (fn. 16) The manor is mentioned in a family settlement of 1578, as part of the property of Francis Holt, (fn. 17) by whom it was sold in 1587 to Thomas Brooke. (fn. 18) Shortly afterwards it was re-sold to Thomas Ireland, (fn. 19) from whom it passed in 1598 to James Pemberton of Halsnead in Whiston. (fn. 20)
About this time a number of freeholders in Cronton held by knight's service, their tenure probably arising from purchases from the Holt and Pemberton families. (fn. 21) In 1628 the following paid to the subsidy for lands—William Parr, William Wright, Edward Orme, and Thomas Wyke or Whike; (fn. 22) and fractions of the manor were held by others. (fn. 23) Of these the Wright family (fn. 24) are said to have possessed the hall of Cronton for generations, until in 1821 they sold it to Bartholomew Bretherton of Rainhill; (fn. 25) Mr. Stapleton-Bretherton is the present proprietor. No manorial rights exist in connexion with it. (fn. 26)
At the school chapel of the Holy Family, mass is said on Sundays and holidays by one of the priests of the Rainhill mission. (fn. 27)