ASHTON-UNDER-LINE

1830

ASHTON-UNDER-LINE

Ashton-under-Line, a parish, township, and formerley a market-town, in the hundred of Salford, 7 miles E. from Manchester, and 186 from London. Inhabitants 9222.- A rectory in the archdeaconry of Chester, value 26 13s. 4d. Patron the earl of Stamford and Warrington, to whom a large part of the township and parish belongs. Fairs March 23d, April 29th, July 25th, November 21st, for horned cattle, horses, and toys. A market was formerly held on Wednesday at a place where a cross is still standing; but it has long been discontinued, although the great increase of population renders such an establishment desirable. According to a very ancient record, still subsisting, it appears that Ashton was once considered as a borough, but how the charter was lost there is no account. The custom of the yearly nomination of borough officers is still kept up by the inhabitants. The place in ancient records is termed Ashton sub Lima, but in what sense it is difficult to determine; it is pleasantly situated upon a gentle eminence, in the south-east corner of the county, on the north side of the river Tame, which stream abounds with trout and is of the highest utility in working the machinery of the various factories in the neighbourhood. The church is an ancient structure of the fifteenth century; it contains a fine organ, and a peal of ten bells. An additional church, under the recent acts of parliament, has lately been erected; and Ashton has meeting-houses for various classes of dissenters and Methodists, and also a Catholic Chapel. Near the church is a very ancient edifice, called the Old Hall, supposed to have been erected about the year 1483, formerly the manor house of the Assheton family, but now the residence of John Wood, esq. Almost adjoining this venerable relique is a building called the Dungeon, which has the appearance of a prison, and was formerly used as such. It is a strong though small edifice, with two round towers covered with ivy. It is now tenanted by different poor persons. A curious custom prevails in Ashton, called riding the black lad, which is annually performed on Easter Monday : there are various traditions concerning its origin. The general opinion however is that it is meant to perpetuate the tyranny of Sir Ralph Ashton in 1483, who under the authority of vice-constable (the commission for which office is still extent in Rymer's Foedera), exercised great severity in this part of the country. In this ceremony an image, stuffed with straw, is seated on horeseback and paraded through the town, after which it is hung up at a cross in the market-place, and there demolished by the exercise of all sorts of fire-arms, in the presence of a vast concourse of people. Whatever may have been the origin of this ceremony, it is certain that the sum of ten shillings, now reduced to five, has been reserved from the manor to perpetuate its performance. Ashton is a highly prosperous town. The cotton manufacture, both in the spinning and weaving branches, flourishes; and here is also a considerable manufacture of hats. Coal is procured very plentifully, and is conveyed to various parts of the kingdom by the Manchester, Huddersfield, and Peak Forest Canals, which meet near the town. At a short distance on the Manchester road there is an extensive moss, from the edges of which poor people cut turf for fuel. At the depth of ten feet is a tolerable soil of loam, which is easily converted into meadow. Ashton moss is a shaking bog, but it may be crossed in all seasons. It is capable, by draining, of cultivation. Trees of Scotch fir have been frequently found in its bed; their trunks, being full of turpentine, serve, when split, for candles. A great number of large oaks have also been discovered, perfectly sound, and as black as ebony. The parish of Ashton is separated into four divisions :-

Inhabitants
Ashton 9222
Audenshaw 3781
Hartshead 9137
Knott Lanes 3827
Entire population 25,967

ASHTON-UNDER-LINE CANAL

This work was undertaken in 1792. It commences on the east side of Manchester, crosses the main road to Ashton and the river Medlock, passes Fairfield, and terminates at Ashton. At Fairfield a branch goes off to the new mill near Oldham, with a subsidiary branch to Park Colliery. A mile nearer Manchester is a branch to Stockport. The length of the Ashton Canal is eleven miles, with a rise of 152 feet.

AUDENSHAW

Audenshaw, a division of the parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 4 miles E. from Manchester. Inhabitants 3781. In this place a reservoir has been lately formed by the proprietors of the Manchester and Salford works, to increase the supply of water to the town of Manchester.

BOSTON

Boston, a hamlet in the township and parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, nearly adjoining Ashton to the north. This village was built about the commencement of the American war.

BUCKLEY HILL

Buckley Hill, a hamlet in the township and parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles W. from Ashton.

CHARLESTOWN

Charlestown, a hamlet in the township and parish of Ashton-under-Line, hundred of Salford, nearly adjoining Ashton to the west. This village was built about the commencement of the American war.

COCK BANK

Cock Bank, a hamlet in the township and parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles N. from Ashton.

CUTLER HILL

Cutler Hill, a hamlet in the township of Audenshaw, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 5 miles N.E. from Manchester.

HARTSHEAD

Hartshead, a division of the parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 3 miles N.E. from Ashton. Inhabitants 9137. Here was a conical building, surmounted with a weathercock in the form of a hart's head; it was situated on the summit of a hill, and used formerly as a beacon, conspicuous to a large range of the surrounding country. It was rebuilt so recently as the year 1755 of solid stone, but, for the want of a little timely repair, is become a total ruin.

HAY CHAPEL

Hay Chapel, a hamlet in the division of Knott Lanes, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles E. from Oldham. Here is a chapel of ease.

HAZLEHURST

Hazlehurst, a hamlet in the division and parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles N.E. from Ashton.

HEYROD

Heyrod, a hamlet in the division of Hartshead, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles E.N.E. from Ashton.

HIGHER HILL

Higher Hill, a hamlet in the division of Hartshead, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles N.E. from Ashton.

HILL LANE

Hill Lane, a hamlet in the division of Ashton, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 1 mile E.N.E. from Ashton.

HOOLEY HILL

Hooley Hill, a hamlet in the division of Audenshaw, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles S.W. from Ashton.

HURST

Hurst, a hamlet in the division of Ashton, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 1 mile N.E. from Ashton.

KNOTT LANES

Knott Lanes, a division of the parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles N.N.W. from Ashton. Inhabitants 3827.

LEES

Lees, a populous hamlet in the division of Knott Lanes, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 1 mile E. from Oldham. In this place is a chalybeate spring, formerly much celebrated for its tonic virtues.

LIMEHURST

Limehurst, a hamlet in the division of Knott Lanes, parish of Aston under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles S. from Oldham.

LUSSLEY

Lussley, a hamlet in the division of Hartshead, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles N.E. from Ashton.

MOSLEY

Mosley, a hamlet in the division of Harts Head, parish of Ashton under line, hundred of Salford, 3 miles N.E. from Ashton. In this place is a chapel of ease of Ashton. Mosley is a populous and large manufacturing village, seated on the road to Huddersfield.

OAK

Oak, a hamlet in the division of Ashton, parish of Ashton under line, hundred of Salford, 1 mile N.N.E. from Ashton.

RIDGE HILL

Ridge Hill, a hamlet in the division of Ashton, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 1 miles E.N.E. from Ashton.

RUSH

Rush, a rivulet which rising at Audenshaw in the parish of Ashton under Line, traverses the parish of Manchester in a south-westerly course; passing near Gorton to Rushulme, and thence by Chorley it falls into the Mersey near Stretford.

SMALLSHAW

Smallshaw, a hamlet in the division of Ashton, parish of Ashton under line, hundred of Salford, 1 mile N. from Ashton.

STAYLEY BRIDGE

Stayley Bridge, a hamlet in the division of Ashton, parish of Ashton under line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles E. from Ashton. This populous and flourishing village extends into Cheshire. It is chiefly modern, the houses well built, some with stone, others with brick. Near the stone bridge over the river Tame, on an eminence, is an octagon Episcopal chapel. Patron the earl of Stamford. Here also are six meeting houses for the Dissenters and Methodists, with various schools. Formerly Stayley Bridge was famous for its woollen cloth, dyers, and pressers : the cotton spinning manufacture now predominates. Pit coal abounds in the neighbourhood, some part of which affords many picturesque views; there is one very beautiful and romantic situation called Scout's mill, many years occupied as a private mad house : it is now used as a cotton factory.

TAME

Tame, a river which rising in the wild moors of Saddleworth, in Yorkshire, reaches the county of Lancaster at Mosley; it thence forms the boundary line from Cheshire, running in a south-western direction through Stayley Bridge to Ashton, Denton, Hayghton, and Reddish, when it soon after joins the Mersey at Stockport : it is attended throughout almost its whole course by the Huddersfield and Peak Forest canals.

TANNER'S FOLD

Tanner's Fold, a hamlet in the division of Knot Lanes, parish of Ashtonunder line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles S. from Oldham.

TAUNTON

Taunton, a hamlet in the division of Knott Lanes, parish of Ashton under line, hundred of Salford, 1 mile N.W. from Ashton.

WATER HOUSES

Water Houses, a hamlet in the division of Knott Lanes, parish of Ashton under Line, hundred of Salford, 2 miles W.N.W. from Ashton.

WOOD HOUSE

Wood House, a hamlet in the division of Knot Lanes, parish of Ashton under line, hundred of Salford, 1 miles E. from Failsworth.

(3) The New Lancashire Gazetteer or Topographical Dictionary 1830