A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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WINWICK WITH HULME
Winwick consists of open country, and is chiefly celebrated for the beautiful parish church in the village, which stands slightly elevated above the surrounding country. There are many picturesque old houses, some with thatched roofs. Some little distance north of the town is St. Oswald's Well, a shallow depression in a field, and easily overlooked on account of its in-significant appearance. There are still some fine beech trees around the village, which are particularly noticeable in a country where timber has dwindled to apologies for trees. The outlying land is composed of arable and pasture land. Crops of potatoes, oats, and wheat flourish in the loamy soil, with clay in places, over a solid sandstone rock. There is some marshy mossland, bare of trees, on the south-west. The geological formation consists wholly of the Bunter series of the New Red Sandstone; to the south-west of Winwick and south of Hulme of the Upper Mottled Sandstone of that series, elsewhere of the Pebble Beds.
This township, which has an area of 1,440 acres, (fn. 1) lies on the east side of the Sankey; Newton Brook bounds it on the north, while another small brook on the south cuts it off from Orford and Warrington. The southern end is called Hulme; there is no defined boundary between it and Winwick proper. The township was enlarged in 1894 by the addition of Orford from Warrington; (fn. 2) and it has been divided into three wards—Winwick, Hulme, and Orford—for the election of its parish council.
The principal road leads north from Warrington to Wigan; it is to the east of the old Roman road. At the church it divides; one branch goes by Newton and Ashton, and the other by Golborne and Ince, to Wigan.
The London and North-Western Company's main line to the north passes through the township, with a junction for Earlestown near the northern boundary. The Sankey Canal passes along the western boundary.
Two encounters took place here in the Civil War; in 1643 Colonel Assheton routed the Cavaliers (fn. 3) and in 1648 Cromwell overtook and defeated the Duke of Hamilton and his Scottish force. (fn. 4) This battle took place at Red Bank, near the border of Newton; and Gallows Croft, on the Newton side, is said to mark the place where many of the prisoners captured were hanged.
Winwick Wake ceased in 1828. (fn. 5)
The rector of WINWICK having been from before the Conquest lord of the manor and owner of almost all the land, the story of the place is the story of the rectors above related. The lords of Makerfield enumerated Winwick as a member of their fee, (fn. 6) but the only lay owners appear to have been the Southworth family, holding a little land directly of the lord of Makerfield. (fn. 7) Under an Act of Parliament passed in 1884 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners became lords of the manor in 1890, and the hall was sold to the County Council.
In 1086 the church of St. Oswald held two ploughlands exempt from all taxation, (fn. 8) and was given by Roger of Poitou to the canons of St. Oswald, Nostell. Under them in 1212 Richard, the rector of Winwick, held two-thirds of the land, and Robert de Walton the remainder. (fn. 9) Robert had granted out his portion—three oxgangs—to Alfred de Ince and three to Hugh de Haydock. (fn. 10) If Robert's interest were merely temporary his grants would probably expire at his death; but similar grants were made by the rectors, and a few particulars of them have been preserved. All the land seems to have been recovered by the rectors by the beginning of the 14th century. (fn. 11)
The lease of the rectory from time to time by absentee parsons resulted in the hall being occupied by the lessee or steward. One of these, Gowther Legh, founded the grammar school. A later one, Sir Thomas Stanley, son of Edward, Earl of Derby, made the rectory his residence. His son, Sir Edward Stanley, was in 1590 in 'some degree of conformity' to the established religion, but 'in general note of evil affection' towards it. (fn. 12) From the beginning of the 17th century the rectors seem to have been usually resident, and as they had complete authority it is not to be supposed that expressions of nonconformity were numerous. (fn. 13) Their rule appears to have been mild and readily acquiesced in by the people. (fn. 14)
John Launder paid to the subsidy of 1628 as holding lands. (fn. 15) Under the Commonwealth, Thomas Goulden, member of a recusant family of long continuance in the district, petitioned to be admitted as tenant of the sequestered two-thirds of his estate. (fn. 16)
Among the miscellaneous deeds preserved by Towneley is an agreement made in 1546 concerning Pagefield, lying between Winwick and Southworth. (fn. 17)