Townships: Newton

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Townships: Newton ', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 271-273. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]

In this section


There is no noteworthy variation in the spelling of the name.

This township (fn. 1) lies between Moston Brook on the north and the Medlock on the south; part of the western boundary is formed by two brooks which there unite to flow south-west through Manchester as the now hidden Shootersbrook. The area measures 1,585 acres. The population of Newton, Bradford, and Clayton was 83,501 in 1901.

The principal road is that from Manchester to Oldham, going north-east through the northern half of the township; in the same direction, but somewhat to the south, goes a fragment of a Roman road. The township is crossed by several portions of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway; the line from Manchester to Rochdale crosses the northwest corner, with a station at Miles Platting, where there are extensive goods sidings, and is joined by a branch from the west, another branch going east to Oldham, with a station called Dean Lane; yet another branch from Miles Platting bends to run along the southern border with stations called Park and Clayton Bridge; this last line has a junction with one from London Road Station. The Rochdale Canal passes through the centre of the township.

The hearth tax return of 1666 shows that there were 113 hearths liable. The principal houses were those of Mrs. Mary Whitworth, with nine hearths; William Williamson, with eight, and Thomas Byrom with six. (fn. 2)

The district to the north of the canal is quite urban; the western portion, known as Miles Platting, has long been a suburb of Manchester, and the eastern portion, or Newton Heath, has more recently become one. In the south-east corner of the township stands Culcheth Hall, and the hamlet formerly called Mill Houses (from Clayton Mill) is now Clayton Bridge, from the bridge over the Medlock. (fn. 3)

The detached portion of the township called Kirkmanshulme (fn. 4) appears to have been taken out of Gorton. It is separated from Newton proper by a distance of 2 miles. In its north-east corner lie the Belle Vue Gardens, formed in 1836; (fn. 5) the southern portion is known as Crow Croft; Gore Brook crosses the centre from east to west.

A local board for the whole township was formed in 1853, (fn. 6) but Kirkmanshulme was separated in 1859. (fn. 7) Newton was taken into the city of Manchester in 1890, and in 1896 became part of the new township of North Manchester.

A free library was opened in 1891. (fn. 8) Philips Park Cemetery lies on the border of Bradford. There is another cemetery near the centre of the township.

The inclosure of the Heath was effected in 1804 under an Act obtained two years previously. (fn. 9)

The industries are various. There are cotton mills, dyeing and bleach works, iron works, chemical works, a brewery, rubber works, and a match factory. (fn. 10) Coal mining was formerly carried on. (fn. 11)

A Marprelate press, the first printing press known to have been worked in Lancashire, was seized in Newton Lane, in or near the township, in 1588, by the Earl of Derby. (fn. 12)

The annual rush-bearing took place on 18 August, the wake being on the following Sunday. (fn. 13) Stocks were erected in 1721; they were placed at the west end of the chapel. (fn. 14) Two halfpenny tokens of the 17th century are known. (fn. 15)


The manor of NEWTON has from time immemorial been part of the endowment of the parish church of Manchester, being, there can be no doubt, the plough-land recorded in Domesday Book as belonging to the churches of St. Mary and St. Michael, and then free of all custom except geld. (fn. 16) To this Albert Grelley between 1154 and 1162 added 4 oxgangs of his demesne, which have been identified as KIRKMANSHULME, (fn. 17) long regarded as a hamlet in the township of Newton and parcel of the manor. The manor was taken by the Crown on the confiscation of the collegiate church estates by Edward VI in 1548 and restored about eight years later by Philip and Mary. (fn. 18) It is possible that in the interval some portions had been granted out by the Crown, which would account for some land not being held of the warden and canons; it seems, however, that the lords of Manchester had of old some land in Newton. The manor courts, though mere formalities, continue to be held. (fn. 19)

The principal estate was that known as CULCHETH, (fn. 20) long the property of a family of that name. (fn. 21) It was in the 17th century acquired by the Gilliams, (fn. 22) and by an heiress conveyed to John Greaves of Manchester, apothecary, (fn. 23) who was high sheriff in 1733. (fn. 24) This family held it for about a century, when it was sold; the owner in 1862 was named Assheton Bennett. (fn. 25)

A family named Holland was long resident in Newton. (fn. 26)


MONSALL was an estate which only in part belonged to the warden and fellows. The portion which did not belong to them was about 1872 purchased by the Manchester Infirmary for a fever hospital building, and in 1896 was sold to the corporation. (fn. 27)

In 1787 the principal landowner was Edward Greaves, who paid about a sixth part of the land tax. — Hulme, Edmund Taylor, and — Holland were the next contributors. (fn. 28)


The chapel, now ALL SAINTS' CHURCH, was built on the heath perhaps not long before the Reformation. (fn. 29) In the Visitation list of 1563 Ralph Ridde appeared as curate of Newton. (fn. 30) There was no endowment, and the minister in 1610 was paid by voluntary offerings. (fn. 31) The Parliamentary Surveyors in 1650 recommended that it be made a parish church; the minister had a stipend of £40 raised by subscription. (fn. 32) In 1717 it was certified that 'nothing belonged to it' except the minister's dwelling; surplice fees and subscriptions amounted to about £24. There were two wardens. (fn. 33) The chapel was then 'well and uniformly seated'; (fn. 34) it was enlarged in 1738, (fn. 35) and rebuilt 1814–16. (fn. 36) A separate chapelry was assigned to it in 1839. (fn. 37) The rector is presented by the Dean and Canons of Manchester. The following is a list of the curates and rectors:— (fn. 38)

oc. 1563 Ralph Ridde
oc. 1598 — Medcalfe
oc. 1609 Randle Bate (fn. 39)
oc. 1615 Humphrey Barnett
oc. 1617 George Gee (fn. 40)
oc. 1637 Humphrey Bernard (fn. 41)
oc. 1642 William Walker (fn. 42)
1649 John Walker (fn. 43)
oc. 1670 Thomas Lawton
oc. 1695 James Lawton
1704 Griffith Swinton (fn. 44)
oc. 1729 Thomas Wroe
oc. 1734 William Shrigley
oc. 1735 William Purnell, M.A. (Oriel Coll. Oxf.)
1764 Richard Millward, LL.B. (fn. 45)
1789 William Jackson, M.A. (fn. 46)
1792 Abraham Ashworth, M.A. (Brasenose Coll. Oxf.) (fn. 47)
1818 Thomas Gaskell
1834 William Hutchinson, B.D. (Emmanuel Coll. Camb.) (fn. 48)
1876 St. Vincent Beechey, M.A. (Caius Coll. Camb )
1885 Ernest Frederick Letts, M.A. (Trin. Coll. Dubl. and Oxf.) (fn. 49)
1904 James Andrew Winstanley, M.A. (St. John's Coll. Camb.)

The following more recent churches belong to the Establishment, the Bishop of Manchester collating to the rectories: St. Luke's, Miles Platting, 1875; (fn. 50) St. Anne's, 1883; (fn. 51) St. Mark's, 1884, and St. Augustine's, 1888. St. Cyprian's is a temporary iron church at Kirkmanshulme. (fn. 52)

A school was founded about 1688. (fn. 53)

The Wesleyan Methodists have churches at Newton Heath, Miles Platting, and Monsall. (fn. 54) The Methodist New Connexion also have three, the Primitive Methodists two, and the Independent Methodists one, at Miles Platting. The Congregationalists have a school-chapel at Newton Heath, built in 1893. (fn. 55) The Salvation Army has a barracks. The Unitarians have a church in Oldham Road.

For Roman Catholic worship St. Edmund's was opened in 1873, and Corpus Christi in 1889–1908; both are at Miles Platting. The latter began as a temporary church in a former glass works; it is served by Premonstratensian canons. The Alexian Brothers have a house at Newton Heath, and the Little Sisters of the Poor have one at Culcheth.


  • 1. A full description of the ancient and modern topography of the township is contained in H. T. Crofton's Newton Chapelry (Chet. Soc. new ser.). See also Manch. Collectanea (Chet. Soc.), ii, 184–8.
  • 2. Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. Higson, Droylsden, 18; the mill was in Failsworth.
  • 4. Kyrdmannesholm, 1292; Curmesholme and Kermonsholm are the spellings in the copy of the 1320–22 survey. About 1500–1600 it was frequently called Kerdmanshulme.
  • 5. Crofton, op. cit. iii, 420.
  • 6. Lond. Gaz. 30 Dec. 1853; the district appears to have been in very bad condition; Crofton, Newton, ii, 146.
  • 7. Act 22 Vict. cap. 31.
  • 8. Crofton, op. cit. 235.
  • 9. Ibid. ii, 2; the Act was 42 Geo. III, cap. 306.
  • 10. For some particulars see ibid. i, 213, 204, 236; ii, 11; i, 151.
  • 11. Ibid. i, 8, 9, 205.
  • 12. Manch. Guardian N. and Q. no. 389, 414, 447.
  • 13. a Crofton, op. cit. i, 25. See also Alfred Burton, Rush-bearing, 55.
  • 14. Crofton, op. cit. ii, 23; i, 29.
  • 15. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. v, 86.
  • 16. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 287. Albert de Nevill as rector of Manchester granted to John de Byron a portion of Newton within bounds beginning at the Medlock and going up by Shitefaldest Clough to Blacklade and so to the head of Kirkshaw, thence to Failsworth Brook, by this brook to the Medlock, and so down to the starting point; John was to render 4s. a year to the church and two wax candles of a pound weight each at the feast of the Assumption; Byron Chartul. no. 15/3. The date must be about 1200.
  • 17. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 57. There is practically nothing to be said of the separate history of Kirkmanshulme. In 1292 William son of Richard the 'Demer' of Kirkmanshulme unsuccessfully claimed a messuage and an oxgang in Stretford, as next of kin of Richard son of Henry Pyryng; Assize R. 408, m. 70.
  • 18. See the account of Manchester Church. A list of the tenants in Newton in 1547 is given by Raines, Lancs. Chant. (Chet. Soc.), i, 10–19.
  • 19. See Crofton, Newton Chapelry, ii, 30. Copious extracts from the rolls from 1530 to the present time are given in the work cited; ibid. ii, 36–117. Among old subjects of complaint was 'the great waste of ground' by reason of the Medlock floods. For Kirkmanshulme, see ibid, iii, 414–50.
  • 20. It appears to have been part or all of the ancient grant to John de Byron already quoted, as will be seen by comparing the rents payable.
  • 21. Richard Culcheth and Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Richard Moston, in 1449 made a settlement of four messuages, 90 acres of moss, &c., in Newton near Manchester and Poulton and Woolston near Warrington; the remainders were to Richard, Ralph, Katherine, and Ellen, children of Richard, and to the right heirs of Elizabeth; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 115. A statement of title will be found in Crofton, op. cit. ii, 269. Ralph Culcheth paid 4s. 6d. free rent for his estate in Newton in 1547; Raines, Chant. i, 16. He made a settlement of his lands in Newton, Poulton, Woolston, and Fearnhead in 1563; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 25, m. 38. He died a year or two later, holding land in Newton of the warden and fellows of the collegiate church by a rent of 4s. 6d. and a pound of wax; it was worth £4 a year; the heir was his daughter Grace, twenty-five years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, 34. Immediately William Culcheth alias Linaker, bastard son of Ralph, put forward his claim to the estate against Grace, and she admitted it; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 27, m. 129. In 1568 John Byron of Newstead acquired a part of the estate from the said William Culcheth; ibid. bdle. 30, m. 140. Sir John Byron, however, appears to have been in possession of the remaining and greater part of the estate in 1564; ibid. bdle. 26, m. 10. In 1574 William Culcheth granted a lease of land in Culcheth in Newton called the Stormcroft to Adam Holland, for the lives of Adam, Jane his wife, and George their son, at a rent of 20s.; it was agreed 'that the pits made and to be made within the said Stormcroft should remain only to the use and commodity for fishing to the said William and his heirs,' as had been accustomed; Raines D. (Chet. Lib.). See further in Crofton, op. cit. i, 209, 210.
  • 22. There were several families named Gilliam around Manchester; they took the Parliamentary side in the Civil War; Crofton, Newton, i, 153; Booker, Didsbury (Chet. Soc.), 232. There are a number of references to them in the Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. Culcheth was sold in 1614 by Sir John Byron the younger to John Whitworth of Newton; Crofton, op. cit. i, 210. It must have been purchased by the Gilliams soon afterwards, John Gilliam being described as 'of Newton' in 1637.
  • 23. Ibid. i, 211, 154; John Greaves married (about 1708) Jane daughter and heir of John Gilliam of Newton; they had a son Edward, who died in 1783, and his son, also Edward Greaves, was high sheriff in 1812. He died in 1824, and after his widow's death Culcheth passed to his nephew John Bradshaw, who took the surname of Greaves.
  • 24. P.R.O. List, 74.
  • 25. Crofton, op. cit. i, 212.
  • 26. Ibid. i, 156–61.
  • 27. Ibid. i, 209–41. Of the other places of which notices are given in Mr. Crofton's work may be mentioned—Baguley Fold, Gaggs' Fields, Hall's Tenement, Hulme Hall or Pedley's Place, Miles Platting, Scotland, and Whitworth Hall.
  • 28. Returns at Preston.
  • 29. For a full account of the chapel see Crofton, op. cit. i, 22–103. Copious extracts are given from the earlier registers, which begin in 1656 for baptisms. The plate, furniture, church library, &c., are described.
  • 30. Chester Dioc. Reg.
  • 31. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11. 'Bishop Bridgman in the time of James I made an order respecting the rents of the pews and the maintenance of the curate'; Raines, in Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 90.
  • 32. Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 6; the people, however, 'kept in their own hands [the tithes] towards payment of the said £40.' An allowance of £40 from the tithes was sanctioned in 1654; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 55.
  • 33. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 89, 90; the chapelry then contained the townships of Newton and Failsworth, and parts of Moston, Droylsden, and Bradford.
  • 34. Ibid.; see Crofton, op. cit. i, 27, 28.
  • 35. Ibid. i, 28; a list of pew-holders about 1763 is printed on pp. 35–9.
  • 36. The old building fell down in 1808. Briefs were issued on behalf of it in 1804 and 1808. In 1813 it was proposed to rebuild it, and an Act was obtained in the following year (54 Geo. III, amended 57 Geo. III, cap. 22); the church was consecrated 1 Nov. 1816; ibid. i, 29–35. It appears that the building cost about £7,000, and the Acts of Parliament about £1,900.
  • 37. Lond. Gaz. 29 Mar. 1839; 16 June 1854.
  • 38. This list is taken almost entirely from Mr. Crofton's work (i, 59–71), where full details will be found; a list of the assistant curates follows.
  • 39. Presented for not wearing the surplice and for preaching without a licence.
  • 40. See also Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 54, 66.
  • 41. Afterwards of Oldham; Manch. Classis (Chet. Soc.), i, 6.
  • 42. Ibid. iii, 448. He signed the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648, and became fellow of the collegiate church.
  • 43. Son of the preceding; he is said to have been ejected in 1662; ibid. iii, 448. It appears, however, that the Nonconformists retained the use of the chapel for many years; see Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 40.
  • 44. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 90.
  • 45. Afterwards fellow of Manchester.
  • 46. Also minister of Denton.
  • 47. He had an impediment in his speech, and was suspended many years. After the chapel collapsed in 1808 he kept himself in office by preaching once a year in the east end of the ruins.
  • 48. First rector.
  • 49. He was greatly interested in the history of Manchester Church and Newton Chapelry; several essays by him are printed in Trans. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc.
  • 50. Lond. Gaz. 25 July 1876, for district.
  • 51. Ibid. 11 Sept. 1883, for district.
  • 52. The Crown and the Bishop of Manchester present alternately.
  • 53. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 91.
  • 54. The Wesleyans built a chapel in Oldham Road in 1839; Crofton, Newton, i, 52.
  • 55. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. vi, 191; services began in 1882.