About Adlington.

Something of the history,
and some interesting stuff.

A Place of Princes

The Adlington estate goes far back in history. 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 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.

Walter de Adlington was Lord in 1202. The Adlingtons were of sufficient status to marry into other landed families such as the Asshawes of Hall o' th' Hill (now a golf club). Their arms were a chevron between three antelopes' heads.

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. The deed reads as follows:

"To all present and future, inspecting, this charter, Roger, the son of Ranulph de Maresheya, greetings: Know that I have sold, and perpetually from my heirs demised, to the Lord Ranulph, Earl of Chester and Lincoln, the manor of Boulton (Bolton) with all its appurtenances, and whatever I or my heirs may have in the said manor of Boulton, in Little Boulton, in Tonge, and in Halgh, in Brethmet (Breightmet), in Radeclive (Radcliffe), in Ormeston, Appleby, Sharpley (Sharples), in Haghe (Haigh), in Standishe, in Chernoc, in Hedchernoc (Heath Charnock) and Dacbera (Duxbury) in Adelvinton (Adlington), in Whithall (Whittle), in Hirelton, in Scarisbreck, in Heton juxta Lancaster, in Meols, in Derwente (Darwen), in Eccleshill and in all other homages, fees, customs, lordships, wardships, reliefs, rents, escheats, presentation of churches, and in all things which I or my heirs have or can have from the said lands without reservation. To be had and held from me and my heirs, by the said earl and his heirs, freely and quietly, peacefully and entirely, with hereditary right, in woods and plains in meadows and pastures, and in all places to these manorial lands pertaining; rendering to me and my heirs one penny at Easter for all services; the said earl paying me 200 marks in silver, ...and so on..."
The Lord Abbot of Chester; William, Justiciary of Chester; Rudolf de Bray; Richard de Burney; Godfrey de Dalton; Godfrey de Appleby; John de Lexington; Gilbert de Uxton (Euxton) and Roger de Derby, along with many others.

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 posessed by homage and the payment of 5s 2d (26 pence) by Hugh de Adlington, and 2s 9d (14 pence) by Adam de Duxbury. John Adlington, son of Hugh de Adlington, gave the rents for Adlington, together with lands in Duxbury and Chorley, to sir Gilbert Standish in 1307; while in 1325, 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.

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. The Clayton's coat of arms - a cross engrailed between four torteaux must have been displayed on the White Crow coaching house nearby, for it was known as the White Cross. There is also a Clayton Arms pub in Adlington. In addition to the manor of Adlington, Thomas Clayton bought the adjoining manor of Worthington from Edward Worthington and his wife, Jane, in 1690.

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 Irelend 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. He was also a noted translator with many published works to his credit. 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. The title and estate went to Robert, who lived to the age of 92. In that, he had exceeded the span of the original Thomas Clayton by one year. Robert built new barns at Adlington and Worthington halls in 1835 and the datestones bear his initials and a hand for the hand of Ulster - the baronet's badge.

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. According to Canon Porteus, he was no doubt the Major Browne in a painting of British officers being presented to Pope Pius VI in 1794. This painting used to hang in Adlington Hall and is now in South Kensington Museum.

The General's son, Richard Clayton Browne-Clayton married Catherine Jane Dobson in 1830. Their only child, Robert, was killed at Redan, Sebastapol 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 the 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 Reverand James Dawbeny and the Adlington and Worthington estates passed to their children on the death of Richard Clayton Browne-Clayton in 1886. Adlington Hall went to their son, James Robert Browne Clayton Daubeny. The Adlington Hall estate, comprising 129 acres, was bought by Wigan Corporation, from the Dawbeny family, in 1921 for 4,000.

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 built on the existing site in or about the year 1771. The replacement manorial seat was a typical Georgian House built of red brick with pediment and pilasters. It stood on rising ground amid verdant pasture and is reported to have one of the loveliest effects of architecture and scenary 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, a number of outbuildings and the distinctive Egyptian Pillars at the Chorley lane entrance. The site of the Hall is now covered by a poultry house belonging to Bowling's farm.

Another old family, the Allansons are still remembered by Allanson House near Rigshaw Bridge on the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Reginald Allanson was a notable landowner in the days of Elizabeth I.

Prior to the battle of Bosworth Field, John Adlington said that he

"sware that King Richard should wear ye Crown"

In 1664 another John Adlington was killed trying to save the crown of King Charles I at the siege of Chester. For this his father Hugh's estate was entreated by Parliament until he showed his title. It descended in 1664 to John's sister, wife of Samuel Robinson of Chester.

Another local landholder John Pilkington seems to have had second thoughts about the King's cause at the Civil war. Having borne arms for the King he went over to the other side. This did him no good however, for he had to compound to save his estate in 1651.

The Claytons, mentioned earlier, carried out their manoral duties in Adlington and in 1839 when Christ Church was built, Sir Robert gave 500 towards the cost. He also gave the site for the National School.
An even earlier school was built in 1815 on Adlington Common. It still stands and the datestone over the door announces that

"This school for pious and useful learning was built by voluntary subscription."
The initials R.P.R. stand for Richard Perryn, Rector (of Standish).

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.

By 1851 the poulation 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 two 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.


Last updated 3 September 1999

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