infobox UK place
country = England
latitude = 53.487
longitude = -2.641
official_name= Ashton-in-Makerfield
population= 28,505 (2001 census)
metropolitan_borough= Wigan
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
region = North West England
post_town= WIGAN
postcode_district= WN4
postcode_area= WN
dial_code= 01942
os_grid_reference= SJ574992

static_image_caption=Ashton-in-Makerfield Town Hall
Ashton-in-Makerfield (or archaically Ashton-in-the-Willows) is a town both in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester, AND the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, in Merseyside, England.

In 2001 the town had a population of 28,505. Ashton straddles the local government boundary between the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and St.Helens.

The wider district of Ashton-in-Makerfield consists of Town Green, Stubshaw Cross, Bryn, Tithe Barn Hillock, Downall Green, Landgate, Bryn Gates, and Garswood. [ source: GENUKI ] It is split between the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens. Historically part of Lancashire, the district is situated in a former coal mining area.


The hand of St. Edmund Arrowsmith (1585–1628) is preserved as a relic in Saint Oswald's Roman Catholic Church, Liverpool Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Catholics have always venerated such relics. After the Reformation, however, particularly at times of great social upheaval such as the English Civil War, radical Protestants would physically destroy these relics whenever possible (see Iconoclasm). Indeed, even in this century, such relics would have been an anathema to the large number of Protestant non-conformists in the district.

The Park Lane Chapel (see Unitarianism), Wigan Road, Bryn (part of Ashton-in-Makerfield until recent times), dates back to 1697, although its congregation was founded was founded in 1662. It is the oldest non-conformist chapel and congregation in the whole district. By the 19th century Park Lane was only one of nine non-conformist chapels in the area. There was a Baptist, Congregational church (Hilton St), Evangelical (Heath Road), Independent, Independent Methodist (Downall Green Road), Primitive Methodist (see Primitive Methodism), Welsh Wesleyan Methodist, and English Wesleyan Methodist chapel. St Thomas' Church of England parish church on Warrington Road has ancient origins although the present building is barely over 100 years old. The graveyard is the final resting place of many of the 189 victims of the Wood Pit explosion (at Haydock on Friday 7 June 1878), the worst coal-mining disaster in Lancashire at the time.


Ashton-in-Makerfield was part of the St. Helens Area of the South Lancashire Coalfield. The St Helens Area lay to the South West of the Wigan area and occupied around 60 square miles, skirting Wigan, Warrington, St. Helens, Widnes and to within eight miles of Liverpool. In 1867 there were 13 collieries in the district of Ashton-in-Makerfield. Others followed (including the Mains and Park Lane Collieries), whilst some of those open in 1867 remained productive until the 1950s (Garswood Hall) and (Park Colliery). [source: Coal Mining History Resource Centre]

A number of Ashton’s coal miners made a significant impact on modern British history, including: Stephen Walsh M.P.; William Keneally, V.C. and Lance-Corporal in the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers; and Joe Gormley, President of the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the late nineteenth century, the district was described by one observer as having "extensive collieries, cotton-mills, and potteries", and famed for the manufacture of "hinges, locks, files, and nails". [Bartholomew, John (1887) "Gazetteer of the British Isles" ] Mills such as the Record Mill (Spinning), situated in York Road, and the Makerfield Mill (the 'Weaving Shed'), in Windsor Road, took over from home-working. Similarly, Thomas Crompton & Sons in Gerard Street, which would eventually employ around 1,200 workers, superseded the subcontracting system that sustained substantial numbers of locally-based blacksmiths and other craftsmen.

As recently as the 1970s the district of Ashton-in-Makerfield had one of the highest proportions of derelict land, mainly in the form of slag heaps left over from coal mining. [ source: Longman Atlas of Modern British History (1978) ] Major land reclamation schemes have since completely transformed the area.

Geography and administration

Before 1894 Ashton-in-Makerfield was a township in the parish of Winwick, part of the West Derby Hundred of Lancashire. By an Act in 1845 and the division of the Parish of Winwick, Holy Trinity Church, Downall Green, was made the principal parish church and St. Thomas' made a parish church in the same Act, both being part of the Diocese of Liverpool. By the Local Government Act 1894 Ashton-in-Makerfield was made an urban district. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the district was split administratively, with the South ward, containing Garswood and Downall Green, going to the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens in Merseyside, and the rest going to the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester. However, Ashton in Makerfield is a town in its own right and is regarded as a "standalone urban area" in the Government National Statistics.

Ashton-in-Makerfield is partnered with Bryn in the Bryn & Ashton Township, consisting of the six neighbourhoods of Bryn, Ashton, Ashton Heath, Landgate, Stubshaw Cross and Town Green, and one of the ten areas into which Wigan Metropolitan Borough has been divided for consultation purposes. Each township has a forum, with some influence over the provision of municipal services.

Present day

A market is held on the market square off Garswood Street on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Ashton's local semi-pro football club is Ashton Town A.F.C..

Cromptons, the hinge and fasteners making factory in Ashton-in-Makerfield, has closed and is now demolished. A shopping centre called The Gerard Centre now stands in its place.

The Hingemakers Arms public house, on Heath Road, is the only one in the world known to carry that name. It was run by the Corless family for decades until Walter Corless' retirement in 2006. The Hinge, as it is known by its clientele, is now operated by a local consortium called Hingemakers 08.


Ashton-in-Makerfield has three secondary schools: Cansfield High School; Byrchall High School and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School.

Notable people

'People who were either born or brought up in Ashton in Makerfield or, or have had some significant connection with the town during their life, include:

*Joe Gormley OBE., president of the National Union of Mineworkers, 1971–1982.
*June Croft, Ashton-in-Makerfield born swimmer. Won silver and bronze medals in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics respectively.
*Kym Marsh (Ryder), singer, actress, TV presenter. []
*Ian Gregson Paralympic athlete, author.
*Stewart McWilliam, philanthropist and classical artist.
*Bert Trautmann, Manchester City goalkeeper 1949–1964, was held in PoW Camp 50 in Ashton-on-Makerfield until 1948. [James, "The Official Manchester City Hall of Fame", p. 135.]




*cite book |last= James|first= Gary| title= The Official Manchester City Hall of Fame |publisher= Hamlyn |date= 2005 |id= ISBN 0-600-61282-1

External links

* [ The history of Coal-mining in Ashton-in-Makerfield]
* [ The Parish of St Thomas - Liverpool Diocese]
* [ AiM.i - Ashton-in-Makerfield Community Information]
* [ Free Function Rooms in Ashton-in-Makerfield - Bryn Labour Club]

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