Macclesfield, Cheshire Family History Guide

Macclesfield comprises of the following parishes:

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, General Baptist, Independent Methodist, Independent/Congregational, Methodist New Connexion, Presbyterian Unitarian, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

MACCLESFIELD, a town, a township, four chapelries, two sub-districts, a district, and a hundred, in Cheshire. The town stands on the declivity and skirts of a hill, on the river Bollin, on the Manchester and Macclesfield railway, at the junction of the Macclesfield and Marple railway, adjacent to the Macclesfield canal, near Macclesfield forest, 4¼ miles N by E of the fork of railway from Manchester into the Churnet Valley and North Staffordshire lines, and 11¾ S by E of Stockport. It dates from ancient times. The Kind, Pepper, and Stally Roman roads met near it. The manor was part of the royal demesne of the Earls of Mercia; was the seat of their courts for the ancient hundred of Hamestan; belonged, at Domesday, to Earl Edwin; was then included in the earldom of Chester; and passed, at the abolition of that earldom's jurisdiction, to the Crown. The town had a castle of the Earls of Chester; was surrounded, in their time, by a wall with three principal gates; was the scene of ecclesiastical councils in 1332 and 1362; was taken, in the civil wars of Charles I., by a parliamentarian force under Sir W. Brereton; sustained some injury, immediately afterwards, from a siege by a royalist force under Sir T. Acton; was the scene of a council, after the execution of Charles I., for raising four regiments to serve the cause of Charles II.; and was occupied, in 1745, by the Pretender, both in his advance to Derby and in his retreat.

The river Bollin divides the town into main body and suburbs; gives the name of the Waters to the adjacent streets; and is crossed by several bridges. Four principal streets form the oldest and most central part of the town; but many others deflect from them, or run into the suburbs; and the greater number are well built, paved, and drained. Considerable improvements have been made since 1852; many thoroughfares have been widened and purified; and all new or reconstructed houses have been built according to a code of fixed regulations. The town hall stands at the SE angle of the market-place; was built in 1825; is in the Grecian style, of white freestone, with a tetrastyle portico; contains a spacious assembly room; and is fitted, in the basement, as a commodious corn and butter market. The borough jail and police offices adjoin the town hall. The county police office stands in King Edward-street; was rebuilt in 1866; contains a court-room, a retiring-room, waiting-rooms, and other apartments; and includes 6 cells, with capacity for 12 prisoners. The theatre stands in Mill-street, and is a plain brick building. The public library, on Parkgreen, was established in 1770, and contains about 14,000 Volumes. The news-rooms, on Park-green, were originally the parsonage-house; were enlarged in 1852, by the addition of a story; comprise two news-rooms, four classrooms, and a government school of design; and contain a library of about 7,000 volumes. The Metropolitan and Provincial bank, on the S side of Chester-gate, was built in 1865; and is a handsome edifice of red brick, with stone facings. The savings' bank, on Park-green, was built in 1842, at a cost of £2,583; and is a stone edifice, in the Tudor style. The public baths and wash-houses, in Hallefields, were erected in 1850, at a cost of £3,000; and include warm, cold, shower, and vapour baths, and two large swimming baths. The public park, on the Prestbury-road, was formed in 1854, at a cost of about £6,000; comprises 16 acres, of charming contour, and with pleasant views; has handsome entrance-gates, and an elegant Gothic entrance-lodge; is tastefully laid out; and contains a gymnasium, cricket-grounds, and a bowling-green. The shambles, or meat-market, are situated on an eminence E of the market-place, and have a spacious covered area, with 64 stalls in several ranges. The gas-works are in Hibel-road, were established in 1818, and have four gasometers. The workhouse stands on the Prestbury-road; was built in 1844, at a cost of about £10,000; is a stone edifice, of centre and two wings, in the Tudor style; has capacity for about 700 inmates; and is surrounded by a plot of about 6 acres, partly for industrial employment, and partly ornamental. The fever hospital stands in the same plot, a little apart from the workhouse; was built in 1854, at a cost of £1,200; and has capacity for about 100 patients. The dispensary, in Mill-street, was established in 1815, and gives aid to about 1,300 patients in the year. A project for erecting an infirmary was a foot in the autumn of 1865. St. Michael's church stands on high ground, E of the market-place; was founded in 1278, by Eleanor, queen of Edward I.; underwent much reconstruction and enlargement in 1740; comprises nave, aisles, and chancel, with a tower, formerly surmounted by a spire; and con tains an effigies of W. Legh of 1630, an altar-tomb of Sir John Savage, and many other monuments. Two chapels adjoin the church; and one of them belonged to the Leghs of Lyme, and contains a mural monument and a brass of that family; while the other, called the Rivers' chapel, belonged to a college of secular priests, founded in 1508, is a later English structure, with a turret of three stages, and contains an altar-tomb of a knight, a mural monument of the Earl of Rivers who died in 1694, and several other monuments. Christ Church stands near Great King-street; was built in 1775 at the expense ofRoe, Esq.; is a very spacious brick edifice, with stone-facings and with a tower; contains a fine marble monument ofRoe, Esq., by Bacon; and was one of the last Establishment churches in which John Wesley preached. St. Paul's church stands in Hallefields; was built in 1844, at a cost of £5,400; is in the early English style; and consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with pinnacled tower and lofty spire. St. Peter's church stands in Windmill street; was built in 1848, at a cost of about £3,000; is in the early English style; and consists of nave, aisles, and chancel with a low tower. St. George's church, or Sutton-St. George's, stands in High-street; was built in 1822, by a dissenting congregation, at a cost of £6,400; passed to the Establishment in 1828; and is a very spacious brick structure. Trinity church, or Hurdsfield church, stands in Hurdsfield township; was built in 1839, at a cost of £2,500; and is a stone edifice, with a tower. The Independent chapel in Roe-street was built in 1829, at a cost of £3,000; and is a neat brick structure, with a freestone front. The Independent chapel in Townley-street is a plain brick building. The Wesleyan chapel in Bridge-street-Mill-lane was built in 1824, and afterwards enlarged, at a cost of about £5,000; and is a large and handsome brick structure. The Wesleyan chapel in Sunderland street was rebuilt in 1802, at a cost of about £3,000; and is plain but commodious. The New Connexion Methodist chapel in Park-street was built in 1837, at a cost of £4,500; and is a spacious brick edificeThe United Free Methodist chapel on Park-green was built in 1866. Another Wesleyan chapel, another U. F. Methodist one, a Baptist one, a Quakers' one, a Primitive Methodist one, an Independent Methodist one, and a Unitarian one, are all small buildings. The Roman Catholic church stands in Chester-road; was built at a cost of more than £9,000; is a freestone edifice, in the early English style; comprises a spacious and Lofty nave, with groined oak roof, a south-end chancel, and a W Lady-chapel; contains a carved oak rood-loft, and various rich decorations; and has a tower, which was left in an unfinished state. The public cemetery was opened in 1866; was interiorly laid out by the curator of the public park; and contains three chapels, for respectively Churchmen, Dissenters, and Roman Catholics, standing in different sections, and all in the decorated English style. The free grammar school stands within enclosed grounds near King Edward-street; was funded in 1502 by Sir John Percival, and re-founded by Edward VI.; was rebuilt in 1866, at a cost of £3,000; is a stone edifice in the early English style; and has an extensive library, an endowed income of £1,145, and three exhibitions of £50 each to Oxford or Cambridge. The free school, in Great King-strect, was built in 1840, at a cost of £2,500; is a stone edifice, in the Tudor style; and shares in the free grammar school's endowment. The Sunday school, in Roe-street, was built in 1813, at a cost of £5,640; is an edifice four stories high; contains 26 class-rooms; and includes an upper hall, capable of accommodating 2,000 persons, and used for lectures and for Sabbath-evening public worship. There are eight national schools, in varions localities; some of them spacious, and two in the Tudor style. Ragged and industrial schools stand at the junction of Brooke-street and Turnock-street; were built in 1866; are in a plain Venetian pointed style; and have three floors and large capacity. An alms house for three widows is in King Edward-street, and was recently rebuilt; and there are other charities about £150.

The town has a head post office in Derby-street, a receiving post office‡ in Park-green, several postal pillar-boxes, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, and two chief hotels; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays; fairs are held on 6 May, 22 June, 11 July, and 11 Nov.; railway communications are enjoyed in all directions; and cheap water communication, through the Macclesfield canal and through that canal's connexion with the Grand Trunk canal, is enjoyed with Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the southern counties on to London. The manufacture of silk, mohair, and twist buttons was formerly the chief employment; but the manufacture of all kinds of silk, including ribbons, sarcenets, gros-de-naples, satin, silk velvets, vestings, and all sorts of silk handkerchiefs, has superseded the former manufacture, and is carried on more extensively here than anywhere else in England. The first silk mill was erected in 1756, in Park-green; and gave the name of Mill-street to the thoroughfare going thence to the market-place. The manufacture of broad silks was first introduced in 1790. Silk-throwing also is prominent; was carried on, for many years, to supply the weavers of Spitalfields in London; and is now conducted both in extensive establishments by itself, and in establishments conjoint with silk manufacture. Handlooms are employed chiefly in the silk manufacture, but power-looms have been introduced in several mills. The manufacture of upholsterers' trimmings and similar articles is carried on in one extensive establishment; the manufacture of gimps, fringes, and other silk trimmings is carried on in numerous establishments; and the manufacture of cotton and alpaca goods was about to be introduced in 1865. The town was made a free borough in 1261 by Prince Edward, Earl of Chester; got confirmation of its privileges from Edward III. and four subsequent monarchs; was invested with the parliamentary franchise by the act of 1832; and now sendS two members to parliament, is divided into six wards, and governed by a mayor, 12 aldermen, and 36 councillors. The old borough was conterminate with Macclesfield township; but the new borough, both municipally and parliamentarily, includes also parts of Sutton and Hurdsfield townships. Area, 5.4 square miles. Electors in 1833,718; in 1868,964. Corporation income in 1855, £7,529. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £6,159. Pop. in 1851,39,048; in 1861, 36,101. Houses, 8,342. The decrease of pop. was caused by depression in the silk trade.

The township of M. is divided into East M. and West M. by the line of road from Stockport to Leek. Acres of the whole, 2,410. Real property of E. M., £33,344; of which £976 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 12,289; in 1861, 10,901. Houses, 2,501. Real property of W. M., £42,457. Pop. in 1851, 17,359; in 1861, 16,574. Houses, 3,735. The four chapelries of M. are St. Michael, St. Paul, St. Peter, and Christchurch; and the last has no definite limits. Pop. in 1861, of St. M., 19,744; of St. Paul, 5,451; of St. Peter, 1,710. Three of the livings are vicarages, anda p. curacy, in the diocese of Chester. Value of St. M., £300; of St. Paul, £300; of St. Peter, £182; of£259. Patrons of St. M., Simeon's Trustees; of St. Paul, the Bishop; of St. Peter, alt. the Crown and the Bishop; of C., Mrs. Roe. The parts of the town beyond M. township are in the chapelries of Sutton-St. George and Hurdsfield; and all the six chapelries are in Prestbury parish. The two sub-districts of M. are East M. and West M.; and they are conterminate with the two divisions of M. township. The district contains also the sub-district of Sutton, containing the townships of Sutton, Wildboarclough, and Wincle, in Prestbury parish; the sub-district of Bollington, containing the townships of Hurdsfield, Bollington, PottShrigley, Lyme-Handley, and Tytherington, in Prestbury parish; the sub-district of Prestbury, containing the townships of Prestbury, Worth, Poynton, Woodford, Newton, Adlington, Butley, Mottram-St. Andrew, Fallybroom, and Upton, in Prestbury parish; the subdistrict of Rainow, containing the townships of Rainow, Macclesfield-Forest, and Kettleshulme, in Prestbury parish, and the entire parish of Taxal; the sub-district of Gawsworth, containing the townships of Bosley, NorthRode, Marton, Siddington, and Henbury-with-Pexhall, in Prestbury parish, the township of Eaton in Astbury parish, and the entire parish of Gawsworth; and the Sub-district of Alderley, containing the townships of Birtles, Capesthorne, Lower Withington Old Withmg ton, and Chelford in Prestbury parish, the township of Snelson in Rostherne parish, the township of Chorley in Wilmslow parish, and the entire parish of Alderley. Acres, 81,561. Poor rates in 1863, £22,446. Pop. in 1851, 63,327; in 1861, 61,543. Houses, 13,384. Marriages in 1863, 454; births, 2,027, of which 197 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,345, of which 449 were at ages under 5 years, and 32 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 5,521; births, 21,040; deaths, 15,500. The places of worship, in 1851, were 36 of the Church of England, with 17,026 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 1,557 s.; 5 of Baptists, with 870 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 230 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 350 s.; 18 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 4,776 s.; 8 of New Connexion Methodists, with 2,392 s.; 9 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,372 s.; 5 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,160 s.; 1 undefined, with 250 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 200 attendants; and 2 of Roman Catholics, with 1,100 s. The schools were 48 public day schools, with 5,071 scholars; 71 private day schools, with 2,054 s.; 40 Sunday schools, with 6,051 s.; and 9 evening schools for adults, with 191 s. The hundred excludes M. borough; contains nine parishes, and parts of two others; and is cut into the two divisions of Prestbury and Stockport. Acres of the P. div., 82,058. Pop. in 1851,27,804. Houses, 5,221. Acres of the S. div., 60,960. Pop. in 1851,86,719. Houses, 16,160. Pop. of the whole in 1861,104,352. Houses, 20,868.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


In 1851 Mr. Bland, medical officer of Macclesfield Union, gives the following statement
of the dwellings of the poor in the township of Macclesfield : —

In a part of the town called the Orchard Watercoates, there are thirty-four houses without back doors, or other complete means of ventilation ; the houses are chiefly small, damp, and dark; they are rendered worse with respect to dampness perhaps than they would be, from the habit of the people closing their windows to keep them warm ; to these houses there are three privies uncovered. Here little pools of water, with all kinds of offal, dead animal and vegetable matter, are heaped together, a most foul and putrid mass, disgusting to the sight, and offensive to the smell, and thus contagion spreads periodically itself in the neighbourhood, and produces different types of fever and disorders of the stomach and bowels. The people inhabiting these abodes are pale and unhealthy, and in one house in particular are pale, bloated, and rickety.

In King-street, there are fifty houses without back doors. Fever of the most severe and fatal kind is often to be met with in this neighbourhood; the inhabitants of these houses are far the worst part of the lowest English and Irish paupers. In themselves they are improvident; the houses indifferently furnished, a frying-pan, stool, and box for a table, I have seen the only pieces of furniture; the bed on the floor, their clothes are dirty and ragged, and their stockings full of holes, and often without shoes, so that in wet and severe weather malignant fever and inflammation are prevalent. I have attended a family of six in one room, and four in a bed, in this street. The cellars of one or two houses on the right I have seen receptacles of dung and other refuse matter, upon the removal of which the stench was so bad as to cause much illness in the neighbourhood.

In the Danes there are thirty-four houses, without back doors, a great number being double houses ; the soil here is of a clayey nature, and there being no drains, the surface gutters are constantly filled with putrefying matter; the privies are quite open, and an inhabitant observed to me lately, that since her residence in this neighbourhood, death had visited every house round about.

On Bank Top and vicinity there are one hundred houses, without back doors ; it is fortunate that the situation here is elevated and exposed to the full play of the north-east winds from the Derbyshire hills, but even with such advantages disease is very prevalent in this district; the houses are of the second and lowest class of cottage property.

The same remarks apply to the parts called Step Hill, Gutters, Bunker’s Hill, and neighbourhood. On the east side of the old church there are from thirty to forty houses without back doors. The privies all about this neighbourhood are a most disgusting sight., added to the collection of the refuse water from the houses above, produce a most offensive odour.

There are forty on the common at the Smelt House, without back yards, and numbers at a place called Soho : they are the description of cottage dwellings, and surrounded by great accumulations of filth and collections of stagnant water, winter and summer. They who breathe the largest dose of the exhalations of such poisoned matter, it will be seen, are the people who inhabit these wretched abodes, and whose strength of constitution and weakened state render them incapable of resisting such exposure.

I am now attending several fever cases in the above named places, brought on evidently from the improvidence of the parties themselves. Their houses scarcely contain a particle of furniture; a few broken cups, jugs, and saucers appear on the shelves in the house place, straw in the room above for the bed, and the coverlid a straw mattress. Besides being exposed to the noxious agents in these localities, there is the present unhealthy state of the atmosphere, arising from the open winter, producing, as it does, measles, scarlet fever, small-pox, and a typhoid fever among children of a very bad kind. Such cases, and they are really very numerous among the lowest class of English and Irish poor, form a very heavy tax upon the town, for with their broken-down constitutions, the effects of intemperance, and the pernicious influence of animal and vegetable poisons, they are constantly and unconsciously subject to, produces, as it enters the blood by the lungs, various diseases in their feeble constitutions, which are no sooner relieved than they appear again as formidable as ever.

Source: Sanatory inquiry - England. Report on the state of the labouring classes in the manufacturing districts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire by Mott, Charles, 1851.

Parish Records

FamilySearch - Free

Online Records


Census returns for Macclesfield, 1841-1891 Author: Great Britain. Census Office

Church records

Banns for the chapelry of St. George, Macclesfield, 1835-1861

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths for Roe Street Chapel (Macclesfield, England), 1831-1915

Bishop's transcripts for Macclesfield, 1779-1829

Bishop's transcripts for St. Michael's Church, Macclesfield, 1586-1892

Bishop's transcripts for St. Paul's Church, Macclesfield, 1874-1897

Bishop's transcripts for St. Peter's Church, Macclesfield, 1874-1876

Church records for the Church Street West Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield, 1872-1958

Church records for the Macclesfield Society of Friends preparative meetings, 1859-1889

Church records for the Morley Society of Friends monthly meetings, 1677-1831

Church records for the Mount Tabor New Connexion Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield, 1891-1953

Church records for the Park Green United Methodist Free Chapel, Macclesfield, 1856-1939

Church records for the Park Street New Connexion Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield, 1815-1949

Church records for the Stamford Road Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield, 1939-1951

Church records for the Sunderland Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Macclesfield, 1815-1969

Church records for the Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Cumberland Street, Macclesfield, 1875-1966

Church records, 1713-1837 King Edward Street Chapel (Macclesfield, Cheshire : Presbyterian)

Church records, 1713-1919 King Edward Street Chapel (Macclesfield, Cheshire : Presbyterian)

Church records, 1785-1837 Ebenezer Chapel (Macclesfield, Cheshire : Independent)

Church records, 1785-1891 Townley Street Chapel (Macclesfield, England : Independent)

Church records, 1795-1957 Catholic Church. St. Alban's (Macclesfield, Cheshire)

Church records, 1815-1837 Methodist New Connexion Chapel (Macclesfield, Cheshire)

Parish registers for St. John's Church, Macclesfield, 1873-1929

Register of burials, 1789-1865 Dissenters' Burial Ground (Macclesfield, England)

Parish register printouts of Macclesfield, Cheshire, England (Independent, Roe Street Chapel) ; christenings, 1831-1837 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Public records

Freeman's roll book, 1770-1833 Macclesfield (Cheshire). Borough Council

Burgess rolls, 1888-1889 Macclesfield (Cheshire). Borough Council


School registers for Macclesfield, Girls' High School, 1908-1924

School registers for Macclesfield, Lord Street School, 1896-1911

School registers, 1796-1939 Macclesfield Sunday School (Cheshire)

School registers, 1888-1911 St. George's National School (Macclesfield, Cheshire)

School registers, 1891-1907 St. John's School (Macclesfield, Cheshire)

School registers, 1892-1901 St. George's Branch, London Road School (Macclesfield, Cheshire)

School registers, 1897-1907 London Road Infants' School (Macclesfield, Cheshire)

Poorhouses, poor law, etc.

Registers of admissions, births, baptisms, and deaths at the Macclesfield Union workhouse, 1848-1949 Great Britain. Poor Law Union (Macclesfield, Cheshire)


Freeman's roll book, 1770-1833 Macclesfield (Cheshire). Borough Council

General rate books, 1872-1888 Macclesfield (Cheshire). Borough Council

Land tax assessments for Macclesfield, 1784-1822 Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace (Cheshire)

Sheriff's poll book of Macclesfield, England, 1841

Valuation list, 1897 Macclesfield (Cheshire). Borough Council

Voting registers

Burgess rolls, 1888-1889 Macclesfield (Cheshire). Borough Council

Register of electors, Macclesfield, 1832-1841

Available at a Family History Center


Memorial inscriptions in Macclesfield cemetery, [1802-1999] Author: Carter, Margaret; Macclesfield Ferrets

Several small graveyards at Macclesfield, Cheshire Author: Way, Derek H.

Church history

Anglican churches in the Macclesfield area Author: Whomsley, Dennis

The Catholic community Author: Whomsley, Dennis

Hester Ann Roe, David Simpson and early Methodism in Macclesfield Author: Whomsley, Dennis

Macclesfield United Reformed Church centenary handbook Author: Harrop, Jim

Methodism in Macclesfield (Cheshire, England) Author: Smith, Benjamin

Three hundred years of King Edward Street Chapel, Macclesfield, 1690-1990 Author: Whomsley, Dennis

Poorhouses, poor law, etc.

Ashton under Lyne Poorhouse & Union Workhouse census 1841-1901 : Macclesfield Union Workhouse & West Park Hospital death register 1848-1949