Warrington is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Lancashire.

Official Name: Warrington St Elfin

Preferred Name: Warrington

Alternate Name: Warrington St Helen

Other places in the parish include: Bank Quay, Woolstone with Martinscroft, Glazebrook, Howley, Little Sankey, Martinscroft, Orford, Poulton and Fearnhead, Poulton with Fearnhead, Rixton, Rixton and Glazebrook, Rixton with Glazebrook, Woolston, Woolston and Martinscroft, Woolston with Martinscroft, and Fearnhead.

Parish church: St. Elphin

Parish registers begin: 1591

Nonconformists include:

Parishes adjacent to Warrington

Other parishes in Warrington

Historical Descriptions


The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

WARRINGTON, a town, a township, a parish, and a district, in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Morsey, at an intersection of railways, near the Sankey and the Bridgewater canals, 18 miles by road E of Liverpool; is thought by some antiquaries, but not on good evidence, to date from the ancient British times, and to occupy the site of a Roman station; was known to the Saxons as Weringtun, and at Domesday as Wallintun; belonged in 1379 to the Botelers, who then founded an Augustinian friary at it; possessed importance for commanding a practicable ford on the Mersey; acquired there, in 1496, a bridge which was used by Henry VII. on his visit to Lathom, and which occasioned the place thence-forth to be regarded as a military key to Lancashire; was garrisoned by the royalists, and twice taken from them by the parliamentarians, in the civil wars of Charles I.; was the scene of a defeat of the Scots in 1648, and of a defeat of the royalists in 1651 by Lambert; was the scene also of the capture of part of Charles Edward’s insurgent army in 1745; numbers among its natives W. Leland who lived 140 years, the physician Hayward, the theologian T. Barnes, and the physician Dr. T. Percival; had, as masters or pupils of an academy founded at it in 1757, Dr. Aitkin, Dr. Priestley, Dr. Taylor author of the “Hebrew Concordance,” Enfield author of the “Speaker,” and the Rev. G. Wakefield; sent from its printing-press the works of John Howard, Mrs. Barbauld, Mr. Gibson, Dr. Farrar, and T. Roscoe; gives the title of Earl to Earl Stamford; was made a parliamentary borough in 1832, and a municipal borough in 1847; sends one member to parliament, and is governed by a mayor, 9 aldermen, and 27 councillors; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts; publishes two weekly newspapers; consists partly of spacious well built streets, partly of narrow ill-built ones, some of them recently very much improved; and has a head post-office, two r. stations with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief hotels, a town hall, a public hall, a corn-market, a theatre, public baths, four churches, ten dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a public cemetery, a museum and library, a mechanics’ institution, an endowed grammar-school, a blue-coat school, a people’s college, a clergymen’s daughters’ college, a training-college for schoolmistresses, three national schools, a church institute, a musical society, a dispensary, alms houses, a workhouse, and general charities £24.

The Liverpool and Manchester banking-office is a recent and handsome edifice. The Bankquay r. station was erected in 1854, at a cost of nearly £30,000. The town hall was built in 1867; and includes court-house, public offices, and bridewell. The public hall was built in 1862, at a cost of £3,500; and has accommodation for 1,200 persons. The public baths were erected in 1866, at a cost of £2,000; and include two large Flemish baths. St. Elphin’s church is decorated English and cruciform; and was restored in 1862-7, at a cost of more than £10,250. Trinity church was built in 1761; St. Paul’s, in 1830, at a cost of £5,347; St. Ann’s, in 1866, at a cost of about £4,500. The English Presbyterian church is in the Italian style; the Wyckliffe Independent chapel is in the early Norman style; and the Bold-street Wesleyan chapel and the Roman Catholic chapel are handsome edifices. The public cemetery was opened in 1857; and has three chapels for respectively Churchmen, Dissenters, and Roman Catholics. The museum and library was erected in 1857; is highly ornamental; and contains about 6,000 volumes. The grammar-school was founded in 1526, and rebuilt in 1864; is a handsome red-brick edifice; and has £718 a year from endowment. The blue-coat school was founded in 1677, and rebuilt in 1782; lodges, boards, clothes, and educates 40 children; admits about 100 day scholars; and has £450 a year from endowment. The clergymen’s daughters’ college and the training-college are under one roof, and form a great pile of building. The workhouse stands on an isolated spot; and includes a general hospital, a fever hospital, a lunatic ward, and a chapel. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; fairs are held on 18th July and 30 Nov.; and there are three cotton mills, an extensive soap manufactory, a forge, iron foundries, chemical works, breweries, maltings, wire-drawing establishments, and manufactories of pins, files, tools, bar and rod iron, weighing machines, glass, and glass-bottles. The parliamentary borough includes the townships of Warrington, Latchford, and part of Thelwall, the latter two in Cheshire; but the municipal borough excludes small parts of the first and the second. Electors in 1833, 456; in 1863, 778. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £8,415. Pop. of the p. borough in 1851, 23,363; in 1861, 26,947. Houses, 5,146. Pop. of the m. borough in 1851, 22,894; in 1861, 26,431. Houses, 5,044.

The township of W. comprises 2,507 acres. Real property, £67,188; of which £751 are in ironworks, £57 in canals, £164 in railways, and £2,096 in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 20,800; in 1861, 24,050. Houses, 4,571. The parish contains also the townships of Burtonwood, Poulton-with-Fearnhead, Woolston-with-Martinscroft, and Rixton-with-Glazebrook; and comprises 12,168 acres. Pop. in 1851, 23,651; in 1861, 26,960. Houses, 5,138. The manor came to the Botelers in the time of Henry III.; passed to the Earl of Leicester in the time of Elizabeth; went afterwards through many hands; and belongs now to J. I. Blackburne, Esq. The living of St. Elphin is a rectory; and the livings of Trinity, St. Paul and St. Ann are p. curacies, in the diocese of Chester. Value of St. E., £1,300; of T., £135; of St. P., £210; of St. A., £300. Patron of St. E., Lord Lilford; of T., the Bishop of Sodor and Man; of St. P., the Hon. L. Powys; of St. A., W. Beamont, Esq. The p. curacies of Burtonwood, Hollinfare, and Padgate are separate benefices. The district includes also three other parishes and two parts in Lancashire, and another parish and a part in Cheshire; and is divided into the sub-districts of Warrington, Latchford, Rixton, Sankey, Winwick, and Newton-in-Mackerfield. Acres, 29,984. Poor rates in 1863, £19,840. Pop. in 1851, 36,164; in 1861, 43,875. Houses, 8,223. Marriages in 1863, 373; births, 1,902, of which 107 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,580, of which 887 were at ages under 5 years, and 17 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3,948; births, 16,384; deaths, 9,581. The places of worship, in 1851, were 15 of the Church of England, with 9,823 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 970 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 408 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 655 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 620 s.; 8 of Wesleyans, with 2,351 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 389 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion, with 710 s.; 1 of Southcottians, with 80 s.; and 4 of Roman Catholics, with 1,287 s. The schools were 30 public day-schools, with 3,602 scholars; 36 private day-schools, with 1,161 s.; 37 Sunday schools, with 4,255 s.; and 4 evening schools for adults, with 142 s.

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

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Warrington, 188 m N.W. London. Mrkt. Wed. and Sat. P. 21,901

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

WARRINGTON (St. Helen), a borough, market-town, and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of West Derby, S. division of the county of Lancaster; the parish containing, with the chapelry of Burtonwood, and the townships of Poulton with Fearnhead, Rixton with Glazebrook, and Woolston with Martinscroft, 21,901 inhabitants, of whom 18,981 are in the town, 18 miles (E.) from Liverpool, 19½ (W. S. W.) from Manchester, 52 (S. by E.) from Lancaster, and 188 (N. W. by N.) from London. Warrington is supposed by Mr. Whitaker, in his History of Manchester, to have been originally a British town, and on the invasion of the Romans under Agricola in the year 79, to have been converted into a Roman station. This opinion rests chiefly on the circumstance of three Roman roads leading respectively from the stations of Condate, Coccium, and Mancunium, to a ford here over the Mersey: the vestiges of a castrum and fosse are still discernible; and the discovery of some coins on both sides of the river, near the ancient ford, and other antiquities which have been subsequently dug up, strengthen the result of Mr. Whitaker’s investigations. On its occupation by the Saxons, the place obtained the appellation of Weringtun, from the Saxon Wæring, a fortification, and tun, a town, and became of sufficient importance to give name to a wapentake, which afterwards merged into the hundred of West Derby, and formed part of the demesne of Edward the Confessor. It was also made the head of a deanery, of which the jurisdiction still remains. In Domesday book it is noticed under the name of Wallintun; and in the reign of Edward I. was in the possession of William le Boteler, who obtained for it the grant of a market, and other privileges. From the earliest period, the Mersey at this place was passed only by the ancient ford, till the close of the 15th century, when Thomas, first earl of Derby, in compliment to Henry VII., on his visit to Lathom and Knowsley, erected a bridge of stone, soon after which the passage of the river by the ford ceased. In the reign of Henry VIII., Leland, speaking of Warrington, says, “it is a pavid towne of a prety bignes: the paroche chirch is at the tayle of the towne; it is a better market than Manchestre.”

Nothing of importance is recorded of it from this period till the commencement of the civil war, when the inhabitants openly declared in favour of the royal cause, and the town was garrisoned for Charles. In 1643, a detachment of the parliamentary forces, stationed at Manchester, laid siege to it, on which occasion the royalists under Colonel Norris, the governor, took refuge in the church, and, fortifying that edifice against the assailants, obstinately resisted their attack for five days; but the enemy having erected a battery, which they brought to bear upon it, the king’s party was compelled to surrender. Their number was 1600, of whom 300 were taken prisoners; and ten pieces of ordnance, with a large quantity of arms and ammunition, fell into the hands of the enemy. The royalists seem, however, to have soon regained possession of the town, for in less than three months it was again attacked by the parliamentarians, who carried it by storm, when the former lost 600 men and eight pieces of cannon. In 1648, a numerous body of Scottish troops, under the command of the Duke of Hamilton, on their retreat from Ribbledale, rallied at Warrington; and after an obstinate but unsuccessful encounter with the parliamentarian troops under General Lambert, in which 1000 men were slain, the remainder, in number about 2000, surrendered themselves prisoners of war. In 1651, Lambert encountered and repulsed the Scottish army under the command of the young king, near the town. Towards the close of the interregnum, in 1658, Sir George Booth, who had been a strenuous opponent of Charles, being dissatisfied with the conduct of public affairs, and anxious for the re-establishment of a free parliament under a legitimate head, raised a considerable force; but after a severe engagement with the troops under General Lambert, at Winnington Bridge, near Delamere Forest, he was defeated, and part of his army retreating to Warrington, the men were arrested in their flight by the parliamentary garrison stationed in the town.

From the erection of the bridge over the Mersey, Warrington, as a military station, was regarded as commanding the entrance into Cheshire from the north; and in 1745, on the approach of the army under Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, who was advancing from Wigan, the central arches of the bridge were demolished by the Liverpool Blues, who, having thus intercepted their progress, captured part of the rebel army, whom they sent prisoners to Chester Castle. The bridge was repaired in 1747, but afterwards becoming much dilapidated, it was taken down, and a wooden one on stone piers was constructed in 1912, at the joint expense of the counties of Chester and Lancaster. This in 1837 was replaced by the present stone structure.

The town, which is pleasantly situated on the river Mersey, consists of four principal streets diverging from the centre, and intersected by several smaller ones. They are in general narrow, but have undergone considerable improvement, under the superintendence of commissioners appointed by an act of parliament obtained in 1813; the shops are, for the greater part, of handsome appearance, and the town is interspersed with numerous respectable public edifices. Prior to the construction of the railroad from Liverpool to Manchester, it was the great thoroughfare between these two places, and seventy stage coaches passed through it daily. The town is well paved, under the provisions of the act just mentioned, and is lighted with gas by a company incorporated in 1822 and 1847, whose extensive works in Mersey-street were originally erected at an expense of £15,000, advanced on shares of £20 each. In 1846 an act was obtained for its better supply with water. A public subscription library was established in 1760, now forming part of a public museum established by the corporation; there is a floral and horticultural society, and a mechanics’ institute has been formed several years. A neat and well-arranged theatre is opened occasionally for public lectures and other objects, and there is a spacious assembly-room or concert-hall.

Warrington has been long celebrated as a place of trade. Until the early part of the 18th century, the principal branches of manufacture were coarse linen and checks, to which succeeded sailcloth, which was manufactured so extensively, that one-half of that used by the British navy is computed to have been made here. On the decline of this branch of business after the peace, cotton-spinning was introduced, with the manufacture of muslin, calico, velveteen, and other cotton goods, which, with that of sailcloth on a less extensive scale, constitute a very great portion of the trade of the town, and for which three cloth-halls have been erected. There are several pin-factories, pins being a staple article of trade here; and the making of files, for which the artificers have obtained a high degree of reputation, and other articles of hardware, employs a great number of men. The manufacture of glass and glass bottles is also largely carried on, there being several establishments, of which the Bank-Quay Glass Company’s is the chief. Considerable business is done in malt, and there are several tanneries, soap-factories, and breweries: the ale of the place is in high repute. The soil in the neighbourhood is extremely fertile, and productive of early vegetables for the supply of the neighbouring markets.

The Mersey and Irwell navigation affords a direct communication with Manchester, and the districts with which that town is connected by various canals. The Sankey canal, commencing at the river Mersey, about one mile westward of Warrington, and approaching very near its northern extremity, was the first canal formed in the county, the act for its construction having been obtained in 1755; it extends about twelve miles to the collieries near St. Helen’s. In 1830, a railway, with two collateral branches, was constructed from Warrington to join the line between Manchester and Liverpool, at Newton-in-Mackerfield; subsequently this railway was purchased by the Grand Junction Company, and converted into a part of their line from Birmingham to Liverpool, which has a principal station here. In 1846 an act was passed for completing a railway communication between Birkenhead and Manchester, by way of Warrington; and in the same year acts were obtained for making railways from the town to Parkside, 4½ miles in length, to Kenyon, 5 miles, and to Huyton, 12 miles. On the Mersey was formerly a valuable fishery, which, about 1763, was let for £400 per annum; it abounded with salmon and smelts of a very superior kind, but has now greatly declined, not only in the quantity, but also in the size and flavour, of the fish. At spring tides, the water in the river rises to a height varying from about ten to twelve feet at Warrington bridge, at which time vessels of 120 tons’ burthen can sail up to the quay, at the town, where convenient warehouses and other accommodations have been erected. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday, of which the former, being the principal, is abundantly supplied with corn; there is a large cattle-market every alternate Wednesday, and fairs are held on July 18th and November 30th, each continuing ten days, for the sale of woollen-cloth and other goods, and for horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. The market-hall is a neat and convenient building, over which is a good suite of rooms forming the concert-hall already mentioned, where the winter assemblies were formerly held. Adjoining it is the principal cloth-hall, occupying three sides of a quadrangle; and there are others on a smaller scale, in Buttermarket and Bank-street.

A charter of incorporation was granted to the town in 1847, by Her Majesty in council. The new municipal borough comprises part of the township of Warrington, and part of the townships of Latchford and Thelwall in Cheshire; it is divided into five wards, and has a mayor, nine aldermen, and 27 councillors. The county magistrates hold a petty-session for the division on Monday in each week, and the first and third Wednesdays in every month; and constables and other officers are appointed in October, at the court leet of the manor. The powers of the county debt-court of Warrington, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Warrington, and part of the districts of Runcorn and Altrincham. By the act 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, Warrington was constituted a borough with the privilege of returning a member to parliament; the boundaries comprise by estimation 5657 acres, and include the township of Latchford, and part of Thelwall.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king’s books at £40; patron, Lord Lilford. The tithes of Warrington township have been commuted for £452. The ancient church, dedicated to St. Elfin, was of Saxon origin, and existed at the time of the Conquest: of this there are no remains. The site is occupied by the present church, dedicated to St. Helen, a spacious cruciform structure, of various styles, with a central tower, which, with the piers and arches supporting it, and the chancel, are the oldest parts, and a fine specimen of the decorated English style. The windows of the chancel, particularly the east one, are enriched with tracery of beautiful design, and contain some handsome stained glass; the north transept is later English, of an inferior character, and the nave and south transept are modern additions. Two ancient sepulchral chapels are remaining, in one of which is the magnificent tomb of Sir Thomas Boteler and his lady, with their effigies, the former in armour, and both surrounded by various sculptured figures; in the other chapel, that belonged to the family of Massey, are several monuments to the Pattens, one of which, an elegant specimen of Italian sculpture, is to the memory of T. Wilson Patten, Esq., who died in 1819. The church crypt was restored by Mr. Abraham Middleton, architect, in 1838. Trinity chapel, in Sankey-street, is a commodious edifice: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patrons, the Legh family. A district church, dedicated to St. Paul, was erected in Bewsey-street in 1830, at an expense of £5347: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patron, the Rector of Warrington. At Burtonwood, Hollinfare, and Padgate are other incumbencies. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, Independents, Wesleyans, Independent Methodists, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics.

The free grammar school was founded and amply endowed in 1526, by a member of the Boteler family; the trustees pay the master a salary of £300, with the use of the school-house, garden, and land adjoining, and there are an usher and writing-master. The late Right Hon. George Tierney was educated here. The Blue-coat school, in Winwick-street, instituted in 1677, has an income of £500 per annum; also the reversion of an estate at Sankey, worth £6000, granted by John Watkins, Esq., in 1797. A society for the relief of widows and orphans of clergymen in the archdeaconry of Chester, was established at Warrington in 1697, under the patronage of the bishop of the diocese, and is liberally supported. As a branch of this, is an institution founded in August, 1843, in connexion with the Chester Diocesan Board of Education, for the instruction of daughters of clergymen in the archdeaconry, and for the training of young persons as school mistresses and teachers. The establishment is under the presidency of the bishop, and direction of boards of trustees and management, and a sub-committee of ladies. The buildings occupy an elevated and healthy site, and are so arranged as separately to accommodate the two classes of pupils, who are lodged, boarded, and educated. A collegiate institution was formed here about the middle of the last century, to afford the sons of Protestant dissenters the advantages of an university education: it was dissolved, however, in 1783. The celebrated Dr. Priestley was for some time its head, and had for his coadjutors Dr. Aikin, Dr. Enfield, Dr. Reinhold Forster, the naturalist, and the Rev. Gilbert Wakefield. The press of Warrington, during the existence of this academy, and for several years subsequently, stood in high repute. The well-known work of Howard the philanthropist, On Prisons, and other works of that honoured man, emanated from it; as did also Dr. Enfield’s, Dr. Aikin’s, Dr. Percival’s, and Mrs. Barbauld’s works; and the highlygifted Roscoe made his literary debut from this press. It is worthy of notice also, that the first public journal of Lancashire, called Eyres’ Weekly Journal, or the Warrington Advertiser, issued from the town. A dispensary was formed in 1810, and an appropriate building erected for its use in 1818, at an expense of £1030; and there are various other institutions, and some provident societies, for promoting the instruction and the comfort of the poor. The union of Warrington comprises parts of several parishes, containing a population of 31,732. Orford Hall, about a mile from the town, was the residence of John Blackburne, Esq., a celebrated botanist, who died in 1786; and Litherland, the inventor of the patent-lever watch, was a native of the town. Warrington gives the title of Earl to the family of Grey, who are earls of Stamford and Warrington.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Poulton with Fearnhead

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Poulton with Fearnhead, 1¼ mile N.E. Warrington. P.693

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Barker Thos.; & Rich. Amsworth; Warrington, cotton spinners, July 16, 1839.

Bowker Thomas, Warrington, Lancashire, timber merchant, April 11, 1826.

Eskrigge Thomas, Warrington, cotton manufacturer, Dec. 17, 1841.

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  • County: Lancashire
  • Civil Registration District: Warrington
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Chester
  • Rural Deanery: Winwick
  • Poor Law Union: Warrington
  • Hundred: West Derby
  • Province: York

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