The Early Years

Early history of the Adlington District is obscured by the mists of time although the title itself provides clues to its origins. The last element of the name 'ington' possibly dates it as one of the Lancashire Anglo-Saxon settlements dating from about 650 A. D., while the first element contains a reference to the one time owner of the lands, Prince Eadwulf. Therefore Adlington is derived from the fact that Prince Eadwulf chose to settle with his people in the area and the place became known as Eadwulf's Tun (settlement) or the Tun of the Aethling or Prince. Down the centuries the spelling of the name has changed. In 1190 it was Edeluinton, in 1202 Adelventon, in 1246 Adelinton and, finally, in 1288 Adlington

References to Adlington can only be traced back as far as the twelfth century. In 1184 Hugh Gogard made a grant of land in Adlington and Heath Charnock to Cockersand Abbey. Some eighteen years later, in 1202, Lord Walter de Adlington granted land in Adlington to Siward de Duxbury; while in the following year, 1203, Adam de Adlington, Knight, is referred to as being in residence at Adlington
A vast area of land, including the township of Adlington was sold to Ranulph de Blunderville, Earl of Chester in 1230. The Vendor was Roger de Maresheya and in the deed of sale Adlington is referred to as Adelvinton.

There is much documentary evidence of Adlington changing hands frequently through the ages. Hugh de Adlington and Adam de Duxbury held moieties (halves) of Adlington Manor in 1288. Their respective properties were possessed by homage and the payment of 5s 2d (26 pence) by the former and 2s 9d (14 pence) by the latter. John Adlington, son of Hugh de Adlington, mentioned above, gave the rents for Adlington, together with lands in Duxbury and Chorley, to Sir Gilbert Standish in 1307; while in 1325 Richard Hogeson, W-le-Scaitcliffe, and Matilda his wife released to Thomas de Adlington their right to the common pasture in Adlington. "On the morrow of the apostles Peter and Paul"

June 30th 1469 Hugh de Adlington the elder gave the Manor of Adlington, with its appurtenances and lands in Duxbury, Coppull. Worthington and Chorley to his Son Robert. Two days later, on the 2nd July'. 1469, Robert conveyed the estates to John Tarleton and Hugh Culcheth chaplain.

Image copyright Paul Lacey/ Translation provided by Paul Lacey

line 1. Be it known to everyone that I Robert son of Nicholas le Norreys of Burton heved? have remitted, released and
line 2/3.  entirely quitclaimed for myself and my heirs  to Hugh of Standish , his heirs and assigns, all right and claim which I have, had, or in any way might have had over two parts of the manor of Duxbury with appurtenances and also
line 4.  in all his lands and tenements with appurtenances  which were (occupied) by Robert of Burgh in the farmstead of Duxbury and Adlington.    So......
lines 5 - 8  in truth  neither I, the aforesaid Robert son of Nicholas, nor my heirs nor anyone else in my name will be able to demand any right or claim in the two parts of the aforesaid manor and in the aforesaid lands and tenements with appurtenances, and secure by the present document will be excluded forever from all legal action .And I in truth the said Robert
lines 8 - 9. son of Nicholas and my heirs will guarantee against all people the legal rights of the aforesaid Hugh and his heirs and assigns in the aforesaid two parts of the aforesaid manor and all the aforesaid lands and tenements with their appurtenances and we will defend this (right) in perpetuity.
These are witnesses to the above:   William
line 10.  de Athirton Esq  John Botiller Esq   Roger de Bilkyngton Esq  Chr(istoph)er de Hoghton   Hugh de Jucos(?)
line 11-12.  and others.      Given at Lancaster on Sunday the 19th day after the feast of the Assumption of the blessed Mary, in the seventh year of the reign of King Richard the Second, after the conquest of England.

Thus Adlington fell into and out of the possession of the Adlington family. The influence of this noble household lasted for almost five centuries from their first mention in 1202 to the death of the last surviving male, Peter Adlington of Adlington Hall, in 1688. Following the death of Peter Adlington the Adlington estate and manor house were purchased by Thomas Clayton. He was descended from Robert de Clayton who came to England with William the Conqueror and was granted lands known as Clayton-le-Moors for his important military services. In addition to the Manor of Adlington, Thomas Clayton bought the adjoining manor of Worthington from Edward Worthington.

The properties of Adlington and Worthington were passed by descent to members of the Clayton family, most notable among whom were Richard Clayton who became Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland from 1765 until his death in 1770, and another Richard Clayton who studied law and served as Recorder of Wigan 1815 - 1828, Constable of Lancaster Castle and British Consul at Nantes.
The latter Richard was created a Baronet in 1774 and died at Nantes on the 29th April 1828. Robert Clayton, brother to Baron Richard Clayton, succeeded to the Baronetcy and estates. He lived at the Larches in Wigan and after he died in 1832 the Adlington and Worthington Estates were put up for sale.

Baron Richard Clayton's only child, Henrietta, married Lieutenant General Robert Browne of Carrigbyrne, Wexford, Ireland in 1803. He assumed the additional name of Clayton in 1829. The couple had a son, Richard, and a daughter, Eleanor. On the death of Robert Clayton, General Browne-Clayton bought the estates of Adlington and Worthington.

The General's son, Richard Clayton Browne-Clayton married Catherine Jane Dobson in 1830. Their only child, Robert, was killed during the Crimean War while serving as a Lieutenant in the 34th Regiment. Richard inherited the estates on the death of his father in 1858. In addition to being Lord of the Manor, Richard was in the Commission of die Peace for the County of Lancaster, and for that of Wexford in Ireland, where he was also Deputy Lieutenant

Eleanor Clayton, the General's daughter, married the Reverend James Dawbeny and the Adlington and Worthington Estates passed to their children on the death of Richard Clayton Browne-Clayton in 1886. The Adlington Hall Estate comprising 129 acres was bought by Wigan Corporation, from the Dawbeny family, in 1921 for £4000.

Adlington Hall existed in the time of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). It was described as a black and white building said to be peculiar to the northern counties. A new hall was build on the same site around 1771. The replacement building was a typical Georgian house built of red brick. It stood on rising ground amid verdant pasture and smooth plantations, and is said to be one of the loveliest effects of architecture and scenery in the country. Sadly, Adlington Hall was demolished during the 1960's and nothing remains of this ancient seat apart from the two lodge houses and twin Pillars standing at the entrance to Adlington Hall Park is all that remains.

1850s - Onwards

It was not until 1842 that the district became a separate parish including Adlington, Anderton and Heath Charnock and Duxbury. In 1884, St. Paul's Church was built, Christ Church becoming a chapel at ease. Whereas in 1851 it had been remarked that Adlington had no dissenting chapel, the rest of the century altered that.

Even in 1851 Adlington had a cotton spinning mill (Thomas Gerrard), a calico printer (Pollitt Bentley), Huyton Bleachworks (Rule and Davies), a Mordant Manufacturer (connected with dyeing), and a charcoal blacking factory. In fact, industry had come early to Adlington, William Norris and Robert Anderton having weaving mills as early as 1824.

The Schooner Elephant was built at Adlington, Lancashire, in 1831 by John Breckall. She was variously described in the shipping registers as a lugger or galliot. The first master was Capt. William Bond and he was succeeded by Henry Halsall in 1842 and by Thomas Halsall in 1845. John Turner, merchant of Preston is listed as the subscribing owner with 48 shares. The other 16 shares were held by James Fowler, gentleman of Adlington.

By 1851 the population had risen in fifty years from 470 to 1,090, but the next fifty years rose even faster to 4,523.
Industrially, the township had many advantages. It was in easy reach of coal. It was also served by the canal and three railway stations, the old L. and Y. (Adlington) and the L. and N.W. (White Bear). Even in the last war this made the place look important from the air, and the enemy bombers gave it their attention.

Plaque from Bolton Council

In 1889, a J W Wallace moved to 40 Babylon Lane from Bolton.  He and a number of friends had formed a group called 'The Eagle St College'.  Their aims were to meet on a regular basis and discuss literary/political issues of the day.
Soon, the group became interested in the writings of Walt Whitman, America's leading poet.  Wallace and a few of the group went over to America to meet him and there was a great deal of correspondence.  In fact, when Wallace died most of the material was sent to Bolton Museum and it now holds the largest collection of Whitman related papers outside America.
Wallace was an influential figure at the time and people like Keir Hardie ( Founder of the Labour Party )  and Edward Carpenter ( Philosopher) stayed at 40 Babylon Lane on a regular basis.  He also was in contact with George Shaw, the Irish writer.
The house on Babylon Lane now has a plaque denoting events, which was placed by Bolton council.  Furthermore, it is it to be featured in a literary trail currently being designed by the same council. A number of people are still researching Wallace and friends, so more will be known in the near future.

By the end of the 18th Century Adlington was a small village which, since 1795, had been served by the new  Canal. This canal was built to provide quick and easy transport of coal from the Haigh pits to the newly developing cotton mills both along its route and more particularly in Preston and further north the flourishing port of Lancaster. With improved transport Adlington expanded and its population over the succeeding decades increased steadily, despite a slight reduction recorded in the 1851 census. Surprisingly, the arrival of the two railway lines - the Bolton to Preston line and the Wigan to Blackburn line - have not had a significant impact on the population of either Adlington or the surrounding Parishes.

Adlington flourished as a small market town with water mills on the River Douglas. Indeed the market in Market Street only closed with the outbreak of the 1939 / 45 war. The canal, the southern end of the canal from Haigh to Preston, reached Adlington in 1795 and promoted the easy transport of coal from the Haigh pits. By the first National Census of 1801 the population was 470 but it had risen to 1,043 in the Census of 1821 in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. With better transport via the new railway, and good supplies of coal, the cotton industry grew and the population had more than doubled to 2,606 by the National Census of 1871. The population continued to grow rapidly and by 1891 it has reached 4.190. Thereafter growth was much slower and it only reached 5,626 in 1981. Since then it has been a relatively stable population and was 5,270 in the 2001 Census. The building of nearly 400 new houses since 2001 is likely to increase the population towards the 6,000 mark.

It was not until the Great War of 1914 - 1918 that a reduction in population was again recorded in the 1921 Census followed by a further reduction recorded in the 1931 Census as a consequence of the economic depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The second World War of 1939 - 1945 again resulted in a reduction in the population of Adlington in the 1951 Census when the population fell to its lowest recorded level in the 20th or 21st Centuries. However, with increasing economic prosperity and improved transport networks the population of Adlington continued to grow through the rest of the 20th Century. Though the number of houses in Adlington grew the occupancy rates fell as families became smaller and a small decline in population was recorded in the 2001 Census. Since then house building has continued apace and the population has at least stabilised.

Adlington has flourished since the last World War with a wide range of industries - Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering have largely replace the cotton industry with only one Bleachworks as the sole survivor of a once flourishing industry. However, over the years, good communications by rail and road have increasingly meant that Adlington has also become a commuter village with a high proportion of its households travelling to work elsewhere in Chorley and further afield throughout the North West and beyond. One resident of Adlington travels every week to work in Lincolnshire, returning to his home at weekends!

In addition, Adlington also provides a wide range of services for the adjacent Parishes of Anderton and Heath Charnock. The Anglican, United Reformed and Methodist Churches are all located in Adlington and only the Catholic Church is located in Anderton. Adlington is also home to both the Adlington and District Community Centre in Railway Road, owned and run by a flourishing Community Association, and the new Fairview Youth and Community Centre in Highfield Road North owned by Chorley Borough Council and administered by a local group of volunteers. Other important services located in Adlington, but serving a wider community, are both Post Offices, the only Bank, the Railway Station, the Public Library, the Health Centre, a large medical practice, two dental practices and an optician. There is a Church of England Primary School in Railway Road and Highfield Road, Adlington, and a state primary School in Park Road, Adlington and another in Babylon Lane, Anderton. There is also a Catholic Primary School in Anderton. There is also a significant range of shops in Adlington with a Co-op Store, a butcher, baker, two chemists, a flower and vegetable shop, ladies dress shop, newsagents and many others. Anderton does have a Co-op Store but Heath Charnock no longer contains any shops.


Anderton derives its name from the Old English words 'Æthelhere' a persons name & 'tun, meaning 'Æthelhere's town'. The first recorded use of the name was in 1212 as 'Aderton' but by 1322 this had become 'Atherton'.

In 1206 a William de Anderton was recorded in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire confirming that the area was settled at least prior to this date. St. Joseph's Catholic Church on the A673, Bolton road was founded in 1863.

The manor of Anderton was for many years shared between two families, the Cunliffes whose home was Lady Hall now submerged beneath the waters, and the Andertons who lived on the southern boundary on the banks of the Douglas. Anderton Hall which used to sit on the shore of lower Rivington Reservoir adjoining Anderton Hall Farm, now in ruins was the home of the Lawrence's'

Heath Charnock

The Victorian County History of Lancashire published in 1911 says of Heath Charnock: The name derives from the Old English word 'haeth' meaning 'a settlement at the heath' and the Celtic word for cairn 'carn' resulting in 'A cairn on a heath'. Heath Charnock has in the past been recoirded by the following names; Charnock, 1271; Cernok, Heath Charnock, Hest Chernnoke, Est Chernoke, 1278; Chernocke Gogard, 1284; Hechernok, Heghchernok, Hethev chernoc, Hethchernok, Gogardeschernok, 1292; Hethchernock, 1292 and usual.

The whole of Heath Charnock Manors lay within the fee of Penwortham, and was included in the five plough-lands given by Warine Bussell to Randle son of Roger de Marsey, and afterwards held by the Ferrers family, and then by the lords of Leylandshire, or Lord Ferrers. Before 1288 two subordinate manors had been created, a third part being then held of William de Ferrers by Thomas Banastre by a rent of 1s. 9d., and the remainder by William son of Hugh Gogard, by a rent of 3s. 9d.

Of these manors the former was acquired by marriage by John de Harrington of Farleton, who at his death in 1359 was seized of certain lands and tenements in Heath Charnock held of Sir Richard de Shireburne and John de Arderne by a rent of 2s. yearly and by knight's service. With other Harrington estates it was obtained by the first Lord Mounteagle, and descended in his family during the 16th century, being sold in 1574 by William Lord Mounteagle to Thomas Walmesley the younger and Robert Charnock.

Three years later Walmesley sold his moiety [share] to Thomas Standish of Duxbury, and in subsequent inquisitions the manor of Heath Charnock was considered to be held by Standish of Duxbury and Charnock of Charnock Richard in moieties. The former descended with Duxbury, and occurs as the 'manor' as late as 1768 in a settlement of Sir Frank Standish's lands; the Charnock moiety [share]seems to have been acquired by the Standish family.

The two-thirds of the township held in 1288 had descended to William Gogard from his father Hugh, who was described as lord of Heath Charnock. The township itself was frequently called Charnock Gogard down to the 17th century. By partitions and by sale this manor quickly came to nothing, with the exception of that portion known as the HILL, long held by the Asshaw family and commonly described as a manor.

It appears that Hugh Gogard's eldest son Robert left two daughters, Cecily and Ellen; the latter died without issue, and the former married Adam son of Adam de Asshaw, giving this family a holding in the township. The Gogard estate as a whole, however, went to Hugh's younger son William as heir male, and William's son Richard made a grant to Henry de Asshaw. There is but little known about this family. Roger Asshaw died in 1540 holding the manor of Hill of the heirs of William de Ferrers by a rent of 22d. and of the heirs of Hugh Gogard by a rent of 12d., also otherlands in Heath Charnock of Lord Mounteagle by a rent of 10d.

His son and heir Thomas was twenty six years of age. Pedigrees were recorded at the visitations of 1533, 1567 and 1613, so that it is easy to trace the descent. Thomas Asshaw left a daughter and heir Anne, who married Sir John Radcliffe of Ordsall, the heir male being Thomas's younger brother Leonard of Shaw Hall in Flixton. From this time Hall of the Hill sinks into obscurity. It appears on the dispersal of the Radcliffe estates to have been purchased by William Radley, from whom it descended to Thomas Ainscough, clerk, and was acquired about 1690 by Thomas Willis, descending to Richard Willis of Halsnead and being sold to George Case of Liverpool, the owner in 1836.