Appley Bridge

Appley Bridge

:"Not to be confused with Apperley Bridge, in West Yorkshire."infobox UK place
country= England
latitude= 53.5790
longitude= -2.7210
official_name= Appley Bridge
shire_county= Lancashire
shire_district= West Lancashire
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Wigan
post_town= WIGAN
postcode_district = WN6
postcode_area= WN
dial_code= 01257
os_grid_reference= SD531096
population= 5,160 (2001 Census)


Appley Bridge is a village in West Lancashire, England. It is located off Junction 27 of the M6 motorway and is nestled in the Douglas valley alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.


The name "Appley Bridge" apparently comes from a large apple tree which was next to the bridge used to gain access to the village from the south over the River Douglas and apart from a few houses the tree and bridge were only main feature of the village for early settlers. The bridge has been replaced several times and is currently a flat stone bridge, the tree however is no longer there. It has also been suggested that the apple tree was cut down and used to build the first bridge but there are no official records to back up either version but it is widely accepted that one of those explanations is the correct one.

"Apple lea" (on the River Douglas), from (boscus de) Appelae, Appeleie, Appeleye, found in thirteenth century Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey; - also "Appley Moor"; within the township of Wrightington in the ancient parish of Eccleston. [Eilert Eckwall, "The Place-Names of Lancashire", (1922, Manchester University Press: reprinted 1972 by EP Publishing, Wakefield) p. 130.]


Its location is unique because the village is in West Lancashire whilst Shevington Vale, the large modern housing developments which lie adjacent to the village, are in Greater Manchester.

Once a busy industrial village, with a paint and linoleum works, several quarries and clay pits for the Wigan brick company, today the village still has several factories including a weigh bridge manufacturer and caravan factory, but is rather more sleepy, its main purpose providing housing to the many commuters who work along the M6 corridor.

Appley Bridge railway station, opened in 1855 by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, is situated on the Southport to Wigan and Manchester line. The village contains a few convenience shops, a football ground, two churches (Methodist and CofE), several country pubs, and a post office. In the adjacent village of Shevington Vale there is a row of shops including a SPAR convenience store, a Chinese takeaway, hairdresser's and a pharmacy. There is also a small children's play area and football pitch opposite the Shevington Vale primary school. The garden centre "Golden Days" is located just outside the main village on 'Back Lane' near the junction for the M6 Motorway. A waste paper recycling yard is also present on Appley Lane North offering free diposal of cardboard and paper as well as other services.


There are many open spaces in Appley Bridge where the local population play football, cricket and rugby etc. The organized football team is called Appley Bridge FC and play matches on the football pitch on Appley Lane South facing the old local pub, near the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Appley Bridge FC which is a Football Association Charter club have many junior teams from the under 8's up to the under 16's. This is complimented by senior teams and a successful over 35 team. The Senior teams enjoys good support and the junior teams have at various age groups been very successful over the past seasons.

In the Village, there is a Boys' and Girls' Brigade (19th Wigan Boys' Brigade and 1st Appley Bridge Girls' Brigade) these meet regularly on Mondays and Thursday Nights for children aged 5 - 17. The Girls' is on Monday night at 6.45 all seciton, and the Boys' Brigade 5 - 11 at 7.00 and 11 - 17 at 7.55 - 9.15 p.m.

The local Scout movement, 1st Appley Bridge/53rd Ormskirk, has three sections - Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts and the tradition Scouts. There are also Guides and Brownie groups as well as a local youth group

kull House Lane

In between Appley Lane North and Miles Lane is a road called Skull House Lane. The lane takes its name from a cottage known as Skull House, which is located about halfway down Appley Lane North.

The story goes that in the time of the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers, Oliver Cromwell ordered that the monks of England should be driven out of their monasteries and killed, with their monasteries then razed to the ground. One canny monk fled from his monastery and took refuge in a large cottage in Appley Bridge. To try to avoid discovery by Cromwell's Roundheads, the monk hid in a small cubby-hole halfway up the house's chimney. He hid there for some time, until the Roundheads eventually discovered him, and tried to drive him out. They lit a blaze in the fireplace, and the searing heat and thick smoke eventually forced the monk out, whence he was killed. Ever since then, the monk's discoloured skull has remained on the mantelpiece of the house, in the living room.

The inhabitants of Appley Bridge tell that, throughout the history of the house, there have been many residents who have tried to get rid of the skull, and all have experienced disastrous results from doing so. According to legend, one threw it into the River Douglas at the bottom of Appley Lane North. Shortly after, the skull returned to the house and the offending resident drowned in the river. Another tried to get it as far away from the house as possible, and shortly after, the skull returned once again and this time, the house's inhabitant fell down the stairs and severely injured himself. Others have tried many ways to banish the skull, and all have met with misfortune or fatality—sickness, the death of a loved one, bad luck ... the list goes on and on. The house's current residents have, unsurprisingly, never tried to remove the skull.

Appley Bridge meteorite

At around 8.45 on Tuesday evening of October 13th, 1914, the inhabitants of Appley Bridge (indeed Lancashire and Cheshire too) were treated to a sudden and spectacular illumination of the night sky, caused by a meteorite that was subsequently found in a farmer's field in the village the following day. Found just 18 inches below the surface of the field, with the appearance of burnt iron the small rock weighed almost 33lb (15 kg). An article in the "Scientific News" (No. 2588, Oct 30th 1914) stated "a small fragment which had been detached from the larger mass was put on view in a shop-window at Appley Bridge."

Appley Bridge, Millbank Flood, Saturday 22nd August 1987

On the 22nd August 1987 parts of Appley Bridge were affected by severe flooding - worst affected was the Millbank estate, off Mill Lane.

During heavy rain the entrance to the culvert that carries Calico Brook beneath the estate became blocked by debris (leaves, branches etc) and overtopped into the estate causing extensive flooding to most of the properties. Most residents spent the next few months - up to December '87 - in caravans parked on their front gardens, whilst repairs were carried out. The properties required extensive repair: re-plastering, new woodwork (doors, window frames etc), with only the higher houses at the entrance to the estate being unaffected.

Here are quotes from a West Lancs District Council (WLDC) Information Item and a press release, dated 11th September 1987:

From press release:

""When severe flooding occurred in several parts of the district on Saturday 22nd August 1987 - Parbold and parts of Skelmersdale were badly affected, whilst the Millbank estate in Appley Bridge was flooded out, with several houses being filled by water to first floor level and almost all of the remainder having water in their ground floor, varying from about two feet to five or six feet in depth.""An amateur meteorologist with a weather station at Hilldale recorded the fall of convert|3.8|in|mm of rain during the 48 hours beginning at 8.00am on Saturday, 22nd August: over two thirds of that rainfall - about 2.6 inches - being in a four hour period on Saturday afternoon..."
"...From preliminary information, it would appear that the storm frequency was in the order of 1 in 75 year occurrence and this led to widespread flooding throughout the region..."

from Information Item presented to a meeting of the WLDC Technical Services Committee:
"...The most severe flooding incident was at Millbank Estate, Appley Bridge, where a 60" diameter piped culvert running through the estate could not cope with the sudden flow of surface water in the Calico brook. The brook overflowed the culvert and flooded the estate, which lies in a hollow, to a depth of about 8 feet [2.4 m] . at the lower end, approximately 40 houses being involved. The Fire Brigade were called to give assistance and they and the Police helped to evacuate the residents. The North West Water Authority Rivers Division also provided assistance with workmen and pumping equipment to pump the water away. The estate was not cleared of water until about Saturday midnight..."

Soon after the flood the council undertook simple remedial works to reduce the risk of further flooding. The works that were carried out consisted of the building of a restriction to flow, as part of a bridge across the stream in the local woods (known as "the slacks"), they also cut a "notch" into the quarry side wall. In the event of heavy rain the water in the stream will back-up against the restriction in the bridge and overflow into the nearby quarry through the notch. A wider spaced grill was also placed at the entrance to the culvert allowing small items, such as leaves, to pass through the culvert without blocking it.

Notable people

*Darren Almond Artist.
*Russell Parry Author
*Eva Pope Actress


External links

* [ Photographs of the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Appley Bridge] 2006
* [ All Saints CofE Church - Appley Bridge ]
* [ Shevington Parish Council]
* [ Wigan Borough Council]
* [ Wrightington Parish Council]

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