A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This township stretches from Cringle Brook on the north to the Mersey on the south, a distance of 2 miles; it measures about a mile and a half from east to west, and has an area of 2,115½ acres. The highest ground is in the south, with a steep slope to the Mersey and a gentler decline to the north. The south-eastern portion has long been a suburb of Stockport, and was included in the Parliamentary borough in 1832 and in the municipal borough in 1835, forming a distinct ward. The central portion of the township, known as Heaton Chapel and Heaton Moor, has also become urban; the hamlet of Heaton Mersey lies in the southwest corner. The population numbered 26,250 in 1901.
The principal roads are two from Stockport to Manchester, which join within the township; one of them is on the track of the Roman road between those places. A third road leads west through Hope Hill and Heaton Mersey to Didsbury, while another runs north-east from Heaton Mersey to Heaton Chapel. There are several bridges over the Mersey. (fn. 1) The London and North Western Company's railway from London to Manchester by way of Stockport runs (fn. 2) north-north-west through the township, with stations called Heaton Norris and Heaton Chapel. From this a branch turns off north-east to Ashton. From east to west near the Mersey runs the line of the Great Central Company from Stockport to Warrington, with a station called Stockport; it is joined and crossed by the Midland Company's line from Derbyshire through Cheshire, with a station at Heaton Mersey, opened in 1875. The Manchester and Stockport Canal has its terminus in the township, near the Mersey.
At Heaton Norris is the Sir Ralph Pendlebury orphan charity, founded in 1880; (fn. 3) at Heaton Mersey is the Barnes Industrial Home, (fn. 4) and a hospital for incurables was opened in 1882 in the residence known as Mauldeth Hall. (fn. 5)
In 1666 there were eighty-seven hearths liable to the tax, but no house in the township had more than four. (fn. 6)
At Peel there are remains of a moat. (fn. 7)
The part of the township outside Stockport obtained a local board in 1872; (fn. 8) this has now become an urban district council, with twelve members. A small portion, 16 acres, was added to Stockport in 1901.
Bennet Woodcroft, F.R.S., inventor and clerk to the Commissioners of Patents, was born at Heaton Norris in 1803; he retired from the public service in 1876 and died at South Kensington in 1879. (fn. 9) Edward Higginson, born in 1807, was a Unitarian divine of some distinction; he died in 1880. (fn. 10)
From the survey of 1212 it appears that HEATON NORRIS was a member of the fee or barony of Manchester, and was assessed as two plough-lands. By Albert Grelley the younger it was granted, at a rent of 10s., to William le Norreys, whose heirs held the land in 1212. (fn. 11) These heirs were probably the brothers Richard and Jordan le Norreys, who in 1196 made an agreement as to a division of their lands in Heaton, Chorlton, and Bradford, Jordan receiving Heaton. (fn. 12) Though the family gave a distinguishing name to the township and though Norris occurs as a surname in it, the manor was, about 1280, surrendered to the lords of Manchester. (fn. 13) In 1282 Robert Grelley was found to have held part of it in demesne, and to have farmed 8 oxgangs of land, i.e., half the manor, in bondage. The only free tenant recorded at that time was Adam de Lever, who owed two pairs of gloves yearly. The manor was held of the Earl of Lancaster for the fourth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 14)
The manor continued in the Grelley and La Warre families until the 15th century, (fn. 15) when it appears to have been granted to Sir James Strangeways, (fn. 16) in this way acquiring the alternative name of Heaton Strangeways. (fn. 17) In 1569 the manor was in the possession of Leonard and Edward Dacre, (fn. 18) and was afterwards ac quired by the Mosleys. (fn. 19) It descended in the same manner as Hulme until about 1750, (fn. 20) when it was sold to William Egerton, (fn. 21) who is represented by Earl Egerton of Tatton, the present lord.
The Mosleys also acquired the estate in Heaton of Jane widow of Sir Robert Lovell, whose father, Geoffrey Lovell of Merton, had made purchases from Sir Edmund Trafford. (fn. 22)
The Grelleys made grants of land in Heaton to the Byrons and others; (fn. 23) and the Worsleys of Booths, (fn. 24) the Hulmes of Reddish, (fn. 25) and others are found to have had estates in it, (fn. 26) but no clear account can be given of them. The old landowners were non-resident. (fn. 27) In 1789 the principal owner was William Egerton, who paid about a third of the land tax; the remainder was paid in small sums. (fn. 28) The list of landowners in 1844 shows that Wilbraham Egerton of Tatton owned more than half the soil. (fn. 29)
An order concerning the bounds of the manor was made about 1596. (fn. 30)
The first place of worship in the township was St Thomas's Church, built in 1765 for the Established religion; (fn. 31) it has twice been enlarged. It gives the distinguishing name to Heaton Chapel. The Dean and Canons of Manchester present to the rectory. The more recent churches, the incumbents being styled rectors, are Christ Church, Heaton Norris, 1846, (fn. 32) with a mission church, St. Luke's; St. John the Baptist's, Heaton Mersey, 1850, (fn. 33) partly rebuilt in 1891; St. Mary's, Heaton Reddish, 1865; (fn. 34) St. Paul's, Heaton Moor, 1877; (fn. 35) All Saints' Heaton Norris, 1888; and St. Martin's, Norris Bank, 1901. To the last-named the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester present alternately; the bishop alone collates to Christ Church, St. John the Baptist's, and All Saints'; bodies of trustees present to the others.
The Wesleyans have churches at Heaton Norris, Heaton Moor, and Heaton Mersey. (fn. 36) The Primitive Methodists also have one. The Congregationalists have churches in each of the three portions of the township named. (fn. 37) In 1857 the Particular Baptists had a chapel in Heaton Lane. (fn. 38)