infobox UK place
country = England
population = 3,245
region= North West England
postcode_district = PR4
Wesham is a town on
the Fyldein Lancashire, England, adjacent to the larger town of Kirkham. Properly called Medlar-with-Wesham, the town is now an independent parish administered by Fylde Borough Council.
:"Historically the village of Wesham is reputed to have come to the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem by the gift of Cicely, daughter of Roger de Gernet. The Lancasters subsequently gave it to the Abbey of Cockersand. On the dissolution of monasteries, the land seems to have been granted or sold to the family of Westby. In the reign of Philip and Mary, William Westbye held "Medlarghe," "Wessham," and other property in the area, and his descendants long continued to reside at what was Mowbreck Hall, now lost. Bradkirk, in the township, was owned as a manor in the reign of Edward III by a family of the same name, and was their residence for centuries. The estate later became the property of Hugh Hornby, Esq., of Ribby Hall, by purchase from a Mr. Kearsley." ['Mayland - Melbourn, A Topographical Dictionary of England' (1848), pp. 280-83, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=51141#s12]
The modern town of Wesham (pronounced variously `Wesham', `Wessam' and `Wezzum') is only about 160 years old, and developed as the railway expanded to serve the growing popularity of resort towns such as
Blackpool. From the 1920s to the 1950s huge numbers of steam trains plied their way to the coast via the station at stnlnk|Kirkham and Wesham. Situated to the north of the rail station, from ½ a mile to 2½ miles North of Kirkham. In 1870-72 it had an area of convert|1971|acre|km2|0 and property worth £3,441. Population in 1851, 170; in 1861, 563. The increase of population arose from additional employment in cotton mills. At that time the manor of Wesham, with Mowbreck Hall, belonged to J. T. Fazakerley-Westby, Esq. The Hall was a fine edifice of red brick, castellated with stone and contained a domestic Roman Catholic chapel. It was once reputed to be haunted. A large school, used also as a lecture hall, belonging to the Independents, was built at Wesham in 1864 and is now the showroom for Salisburys Electricals Ltd [http://www.salisburys.tv/] .
A large new workhouse, to replace the much older one in Kirkham, was erected in 1903-7 designed on a pavilion plan by Charles S Haywood and Fred Harrison. Modern for its time, separate pavilions were provided for mothers and infants, and for infirm females, and also a two-roomed cottage for married couples. The heating and hot water were worked from a central station, under the control of the resident engineer with rotary pumps to assist circulation. The buildings were faced with
Accringtonred-pressed bricks, and stone dressings, the work being carried out by a Mr. Sam Wilson, of Lytham St. Annes. During the First World War the buildings were used as a Military Hospital and later became Wesham Park Hospital (specialist geriatric and psychiatric). The buildings which remain today are now the administrative home to North Lancashire NHS Trust, with the remainder being a much needed brown fieldsite for housing development.
The town has two fine churches - Christchurch,
Church of Englandwas founded in 1894 and St. Joseph's Roman Catholicwas founded in 1885. Both have adjacent graveyards and affiliated junior schools nearby. St.Joseph's has a Presbytery attached.
Primitive Methodistchapel, located nearest to the small town square, was founded in 1895. It has now been converted to private dwellings, but retains its main architectural features including foundation stones.
Industry and amenities
At the cenrte of the town is the small War Memorial with its stone statue of a First World War soldier. It enjoys attractive floral displays throughout the year and has a service of remembrance on Remembrance Sunday. Around it are located the old Fire Station, the busy Post Office, the Co-Op supermarket, the Fish and Chip shop and an Off License. The Post Office recently campaigned successfully to remain open.
Wesham Bakery, now the home of
Fox's Biscuitsand the largest current commercial concern, was opened in 1957. Near Salisburys electrical shop on Garstang Road South is the Good Fortune Chinese restraraunt. There are a number of other smaller businesses including a garage/tyre fitters, car sales centre, carpets, beautician, sandwich bar and hairdressers shops. A new betting shop has recently opened on Station Road. There has been some recent light industrial and small business development in the north of the parish near Junction 3 of the M55 motorway, where a Premier Innmotel and restaurant are also situated.
On Church Road is a well used Community Centre. Adjoining are the Bowling Club and the Scout Hut. The centre is used by, amongst others, Wesham Road Runners, Medlar and Wesham Town Council, Wesham Community Pride Trust and Blackpool and Fylde College and is used as the town's electoral
On Mowbreck Lane the NHS operates a modern purpose-built 40-bed rehabilitation unit for the elderly [http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/Hospital.aspx?id=RXL07 Wesham Hospital Rehabilitation Unit] and on Fleetwood Road there is a modern Fire Station and adjoining Ambulance Station.
The town also enjoys a floodlit recreation field on Fleetwood Road, where football is regularly played by local teams. A doorstep green has recently been created on Derby Road near the former Fylde Borough Council offices.
The town has three busy public houses - The Lane Ends, The Stanley Arms and The Royal Oak Hotel. There are two natural heritage sites at Medlar Wood and Wesham Marsh.
A gala day is held each year in early June, jointly with
Kirkham. Generally known as "Club Day", it involves the various churches and their chosen "Rose Queens", together with biblical tableau floats, civic dignitaries and brass bands, walking in procession through the town in the morning.
The town's football team
A.F.C. Fylde, formerly Kirkham and Wesham, play in the North West Counties League, after being promoted from the West Lancashire League in 2007. On May 11 2008the team travelled to Wembley Stadiumto challenge Lowestoft Townin the final for the FA Vase. They returned victorious [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/7382346.stm BBC Sport report] ] . On May 12here was a victory procession through the town, with the team on an open-top bus, from Kirkham Market Square to Wesham Fire Station and back again, followed by a celebratory party in the Kirkham Community Centre car park. Thousands of spectators lined the route to cheer home the victorious team.
The town is served by its own free newspaper / advertising sheet "The Kirkham and Wesham Advertiser" (twice weekly).
The local newspapers are the "
Blackpool Gazette" (daily), the " Lancashire Evening Post"" (daily) the "Kirkham and Fylde Express" (weekly).
*Wilson, John Marius, (1870-72), [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/entry_page.jsp?text_id=997670&word=wesham "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales"]
* [http://www.wesham.org.uk town website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/actionnetwork/A19472402 BBC community page]
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