ECCLES PARISH

1830

Eccles, a parish in the hundred of Salford, 4 miles W. from Manchester. The population of the village of Eccles is included in the township of Barton. It is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Chester, value 6 8s. Patron the lord chancellor. The church is spacious and ancient; it formerly belonged to Whalley Abbey, but was made parochial at the dissolution of the monasteries. In this parish is the extensive morass called Chat Moss, and a part of Trafford Moss. Chat Moss formerly contained a surface of about 7000 acres, a small portion of which has been reclaimed, and brought under cultivation. From the happy circumstance of the Liverpool and Manchester rail road being now carried directly across the moss, such favorable assistance has been afforded to the operation of drainage, that in this hitherto most dreary region, "Another age shall see the golden ear imbrown the slope". Chat Moss appears to have been a low and neglected tract, which, being frequently inundated and incapable of discharging its waters, became a bog, and thus a substance was formed consisting of a congeries of the roots of decayed and of living vegetables, intermixed with a rotten mould originating from the decomposition of vegetable matter; near the surface this spongy soil is of a lighter colour and looser texture than that below; which latter when dug up and exposed to the air becomes turf or peat, used as fuel. Large trees have been discovered which had been preserved from putrefaction by the exclusion of the air. The plants most common of the moss are the different species of heath and cotton grass, the bilberry, crowberry, cranberry, Lancashire asphodel, bog myrtle, sun - dew andromeda or marsh cistus, and the gray bog - moss, sphagnum palustre; as these plants decay, a considerable addition is periodically made to the moss, and , continuing to increase, it would have burst and overwhelmed the adjacent country, unless prevented by drainage. The irruption of Solway Moss, in 1771, is well known, and such an accident occurred to Chat Moss in the reign of Henry VIII., when it disgorged its vast contents into the Mersey, and by its black waters killed the fish. In dry weather the upper part or crust of the bog will bear the foot, though the ground shakes with the tread; but cattle cannot venture upon it. The depth of the moss varies but it scarcely exceeds twelve feet in any part; at the bottom, sand or clay, the common soil of the country, is met with, and it proves usually extremely fertile, producing crops of grain; grass and potatoes, not exceeded by any lands in the neighbourhood. Marl, lime, and compost are the materials chiefly used in manuring. Eccles gave birth to Robert Ainsworth in 1660, who received his education at the Grammar School of Bolton, where he afterwards kept a school; he thence removed to London, and carried on the same occupation for several years; he died at Poplar in the year 1743. He printed a short treatise of Grammatical Institution, and possessed some turn for Latin and English poetry; but he will be known to posterity only by his Thesaurus, or Dictionary of Latin and English, still the standard work. The first edition appeared in 1736, the labour of twenty years. It has received the general approbation of a sucession of the ablest teachers and scholars, and will unquestionably be a lasting monument of the great judgment, industry, learning, and perseverance of the author. The parish of Eccles is of considerable extent, and contains five townships :-

Inhabitants
Barton upon Irwell 7977
Clifton 1168
Pendlebury 1047
Pendleton 5948
Worsley 7191
Entire Population 23,331

(3) The New Lancashire Gazetteer or Topographical Dictionary 1830