Greater Manchester UK




Cheshire Villages, Hamlets
& Townships

Please note that
these are the major Cheshire townships and villages as they existed
before Local Government reorganisation in 1974. Some of these places
are no longer administratively in Cheshire but have existed within the
Greater Manchester Metropolitan County since that time, even though
many still hang on to the old connection – Stockport people still tend
to address their mail and identify with
“Stockport, Cheshire”
and rarely
“Stockport, Greater Manchester”
– old habits die hard,
as do old allegiances and loyalties.

& Definitions

In general terms,
a town is a fully operational entity with its own council, public services
and elected councillors. A village is usually identified as a suburb
of or in some way administed by a larger town’s local authority. The
distinction between a village and a hamlet is more subtle, but most
authorities identify a hamlet as a small collection of dwellings with
no church, while a village proper will normally have a church at its

Alphabetical Listing:

Alderley Edge

Located about 15 miles due south of Manchester,
Alderley Edge is nowadays an elegant and fairly affluent village, which
has a long history dating back some 4000 years to the Bronze Age. Copper
and lead mining has taken place at Alderley Edge since the Roman times.
The Edge itself, a hilly outcrop, is now a Site of Special Scientific
Interest largely owned by the National Trust. The mineral-rich sandstone
of the Edge has been the site of legends and myths for many centuries.
The actual village developed after 1842 when the Birmingham and Manchester
Railway Company opened a rail station, then known as “Chorley for
Alderley Edge”. The village developed very much along class lines,
divided between the Edge and the Village. The wealthier residents tended
to live high up the hill on the Edge, whilst the poor lived below in
the Village, where shopkeepers, tradesmen and lower working classes
eked out an existence in its now long-gone back streets A beacon topped
the Edge since Tudor times initially to warn of the coming invasion
of the Spanish Armada, and later the threat from Napoleon.


An ancient township in the old Broxton Hundred which
includes part of the villages of Churton by Aldford and Edgerley. The
local church registers date back to 1639. Aldford gets its name from
the old ford that crossed the River Dee (Aldford
= “old ford”). It was located on Watling Street. It is believed
that by the 12th century, Robert de Aldford had most probably built
the castle, and later, Richard de Aldford, became the Earl of Chester
during the reign of King John in the late 12th or early 13th centuries.
The Manor of Aldford changed hands many times over the following 2 centuries
until 1434, by which time it had come into the ownership of the Stanley
family where it remained for about 100 years. By the 19th century it
had come into the possession of the 2nd Marquis of Westminster, on whose
estates it still lies.


An old market town, about ten miles south-west of
Manchester, since 1974 falling within the
Metropolitan Borough
of Greater Manchester, though formerly in Cheshire.
Altrincham Market has been retailing since 1290. Although not named
in the Domesday Survey of 1086, a number of neighbouring areas, then
in the ownership of Alfward, included present day Dunham, Ashley and
Baguley. After the Norman invasion the lands were given to Hamo of Masci,
(from whom are descended the Masseys – hence Dunham Massey) whose base
was initially a wooden castle at Dunham. By 1286, one of his descendants,
another Hamo, had been granted a Royal Charter making Altrincham into
a borough. By 1348 the Black Death had all but decimated the area. In
1750 the estate passed into the possession of the Stamford family. By
the end of the 18th century Altrincham had developed a thriving cotton
and worsted trade and with the arrival of the railway it experienced
an exponential growth in population and wealth. In 1937 Altrincham became
a Municipal Borough. From the 1970s Altrincham’s industries went into
severe and rapid decline and the area is now predominantly residential
in nature, as well as being a sought after dormitory town for Manchester.


Ashton Hayes is a village in rural Cheshire located
about 5 miles from Chester and close to the Delamere Forest. Originally
a township in Tarvin Parish, in the Eddisbury Hundred, it recently changed
its name from ‘Ashton’, owing to the many other Ashtons in England and
the resident’s annoyance at frequently misdirected mail.The parish of
Ashton Hayes includes the hamlets of Ashton Hayes, Brine’s Brow and
Woodside, as well as Mouldsworth and Horton-cum-Peel, and is mentioned
in the Domesday Book. The great survey of 1086 valued the parish at
twenty shilling and described it as ‘wasta’
(or wasteland, hardly worthy of mention or taxation). This state of
affairs can almost certainly be ascribed to the destruction that William
the Conqueror wrought on Chester and its surroundings for their resistance
to the invasion, where it had hitherto been a fertile and affluent region
in the north-west. A small village within the Eddisbury Parliamentary
Constituency in the borough of Chester, it has a general village store
with post office, bakery, pub, school and railway station.


A small picturesque village in Cheshire located on
the main A34 trunk road just a few miles south of Congleton. Astbury
was probably an important place before the Norman Invasion – it’s very
name meaning ‘eastern borough or defence’
. Thus, the village was probably part of an outer defence network for
the nearby town of Sandbach. This ancient parish originally comprised
the townships of Buglawton, Congleton, Davenport, Eaton, Hulme Walfield,
Moreton cum Alcumlow, Newbold Astbury, Odd Rode, Smallwood, Somerford
and Somerford Booths. Its church registers date back to around 1572.
Lime is known to have been quarried around Astbury since Roman times.
The Romans and ensuing generations have used its limestone for making
quicklime mortar and plaster. The land was now owned by Grey Egerton
of Oulton Park near Tarporley.


A small traditional Cheshire village, once in the
old Nantwich Hundred. Audlem has been unequivocally a canal town since
the late 18th century when the Shropshire Union Canal and its celebrated
flight of 15 locks was constructed. The old Market House with its eight
stone pillars is a distinctive landmark, in front of the fine Decorated
and Perpendicular church with its noble tower which dominates the village


Beeston is, nowadays, best known as a major surviving
castle township, standing, as it does on a sheer rocky outcrop overlooking
the Cheshire plain. It has a long history dating back over 4,000 years
to its days as a Bronze Age hill fort. The present castle was built
around 1226 by Earl Ranulf of Chester, who intended it to be an impregnable
fortress; it remained so until it was severely damaged during the English
Civil Wars. Beeston itself is a township in Bunbury Parish, part of
the old Eddisbury Hundred. During the reign of King Henry III in the
mid-thirteenth century, Beeston, together with the earldom of Chester
passed to the Crown whence it was used as a base to assemble troops
and store supplies for his Welsh campaigns. Beeston Castle is thought
by many to offer the most magnificent views of any castle in England.


An ancient township in Bidston Parish, in the old
Wirral Hundred. Sometime around the year 1150 its Priory was established
on the west bank of the River Mersey. By 1330, King Edward III had given
permission for monks at Birkenhead Priory to operate a ferry across
the river at the marshy banks overlooked by the villages of Oxton and
Claughton. At the time of the Reformation, the township had been sacked
by Henry VIII as part of his dissolution of the monasteries.
Birkenhead became a most popular place to live in Victorian times, and
with the draining of the marshes, wealthy Liverpudlians chose to live
over the river on the Wirral side of the Mersey. Its population expanded
rapidly and appropriate amenities soon followed. Birkenhead claims to
have established the world’s first municipal park – Birkenhead Park
created in 1843-7 with none other than Joseph Paxton (architect-engineer
of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park)
doing most of its landscaping, with artificial lakes, cricket and football
pitches and driveways.


A township in Prestbury Parish, in the Macclesfield
Hundred. Bollington is a stone-built mill town of great character, lying
south-east of Wilmslow near Macclesfield and was once a major centre
for cotton manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, though nowadays
it is a rather lazy valley township, much sought after as a place to
live. Three of its main features are the massive railway viaduct, the
overlooking ‘White Nancy’ monument on the nearby Kerridge Hill and the
Macclesfield Canal. The White Nancy stone tower, almost 1,000 feet above
sea level, is a rather curious dome-shaped monument in stone towering
above Kerridge, and offering magnificent views over the surrounding
countryside. The monument is generally believed to have been built by
the Gaskell family of Ingersley to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo,
and was named Nancy after a member of the family. The Macclesfield Canal,
originally part of the silk trade and a direct route from the flint
of Bugsworth in the High Peak to the Potteries of Staffordshire, was
reopened to recreational navigation in the 1980s. Bollington still proudly
sports several mills which still survive as witnesses to its former
industrialism. Mills include the Defiance Mill, Higher Mill and Lower
Mill, Oak Bank Mill, and Clarence Mill. Although a one-time industrial
town there is still very much of a village atmosphere.


Bramhall lies within the present day Metropolitan
Borough of Stockport in Greater Manchester, but until 1974 it was in
the county of Cheshire. The Romans had a settlement in the area, as
evidenced by the remains of the old Roman Road from Manchester to Buxton,
which was uncovered in the locality. The old village of Bramhall grew
up around the junction of three early roads. The Domesday Survey of
1086 describes the manor ‘Bramale’,
a name which comes from the Old English ‘brom’
meaning broom, and ‘halh’ meaning
secret place, generally near water. Before the Norman Conquest in 1066,
Bramall had been two separate manors, each owned by a Saxon freemen,
Brun and Hacun. By 1070 William the Conqueror subdued the North of England
and given both manor lands to Hamon de Masci, the first Norman Baron
of Dunham Massey. The land at that time was probably wasteland, having
been ruthlessly devastated by the Norman’s harsh subjugation of the
region. The following 800 years saw three powerful Cheshire families
owning the estate -the Masseys, the de Bromales and the Davenports.
Their seat was at Bramhall Hall, which is regarded as being probably
Cheshire’s best black and white timber framed manor house, with origins
dating back to Medieval England. The Hall is now owned and operated
as museum by Stockport Borough Council.
During the Industrial Revolution, prior to the arrival of the railway
in the 1840’s, Bramhall was comprised of a hamlet at Bramhall Green
and a small group of cottages. During this time, the principle industry
was silk weaving. By Victorian times ownership of Bramhall Hall, and
much of the local land, had fallen to Charles Nevill, on whose death
in 1935 it was taken over by Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District
Council. Contemporary Bramhall is an affluent and lively township much
sought after as a fine place to live by people who work in Manchester.


See Main Entry


Congleton : Aeral Photograph Courtesy of © 2005

A fairly large town, formerly a County Borough located
in central Cheshire on the main A34 trunk road. The origins of Congleton
date back to the Stone Age with remains of a stone chambered tomb, known
locally as the ‘Bridestones’, was unearthed on the road to Leek. Bronze
Age artifacts have also been found suggesting that there was a settlement
in the area. The River Dane which runs through the town, was almost
certainly named in the 9th century by Scandinavian settlers, when Danes
ruled much of the surrounding lands. Reliable Congleton history dates
back to the Romans.
During the 16th century the town was an important centre for the manufacture
of leather gloves and purses. During the Plagues of 1603 and 1641 Congleton
was decimated along with much of he country.
The ancient custom of Rush Bearing was held annually in the town until
the 17th century – usually held on major feast days.
Congleton’s industrial heritage began around 1752 with the building
of its first silk mill which employed around 500 local people. By 1755
ribbon weaving had begun and in 1785 a cotton spinning mill was opened
in the town. Built in 1830, the construction of the Macclesfield Canal,
which runs through the borough, had increased the profitability of silk
and ribbon manufacture and Congleton had emerged as a prosperous industrial
and county town.
By the latter part of the 19th century the silk trade was in depression
and was largely replaced by the introduction of velvet cutting. Many
of Congleton’s mills still survive, no longer operative of course, but
converted to the needs of modern light industries and businesses. The
outskirts of the town are spreading as Congleton is perceived as a pleasant
place to live within easy reach of the Staffordshire potteries as well
as the Greater Manchester Conurbation.


The township of Crewe, in the former Borough or Crewe
and Nantwich, played an important role in the development of Cheshire’s
industrial revolution. The town as it now exists, virtually grew up
with the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway Company in the mid-nineteenth
century which thrust the former small village into a thriving industrialised
community. Crewe lies at the very centre of Britain’s railway network,
and has thus benefitted from its pivotal location – it became a railway
town, and is still reputed to be the largest railway junction in Britain.
The railway was also once the town’s largest employer, the railway works
producing most of the nation’s steam locomotives and rolling stock.
Crewe’s railway heritage can be seen at the ‘The Railway Age,’ exhibition
and museum in the town. Crewe is nowadays also known as the home of
the Rolls Royce motor car. Despite its industry, Crewe held on to its
traditional market, still held three days every week, and servicing
much of the countryside surrounding the township.

See also:

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This page last updated 16 Nov 12.