Header
St John the Evangelist Walton

Walton Village

History of Walton Village

 

The Village of Walton is situated on the A56, two miles South of Warrington, bounded by the Village of Stockton Heath to the East, Moore to the West, Hatton and Daresbury to the South. The Bridgewater Canal runs through the Village and we have the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey to the North.

The Village is recorded as early as the 12th century, but grew from the purchasing of the estate by Greenalls, a local brewing family, when a hall, Church and School were built, along with many dwellings.

There are several conjectures of the name Walton;

(a)          the tun where the Britons live

(b)          the tun in a wood

(c)          the tun by a wall.

The latter is most probable as the remains of a walled Roman garrison have been found at Wilderspool, just over a mile away.

Most of the land surrounding Walton was owned from the earliest times by the Baron of Halton, but in the 13th century Margaret de Daresbury acquired part of the estate, including Walton. During the reign of Edward 111, the manor passed by heiress to Simon de Merbury, whose family held it until the middle of the 17th century when it was purchased by T.J.L. Brooke. Edward Greenall acquired a partnership in the estate, later becoming sole owner. The estate remained in the possession of the Greenall family until 1941, when Part of the estate known as Walton Gardens, was sold to Warrington Corporation and is now a well known beauty spot.

Walton Hall was begun by Edward F Greenall for his son Gilbert, who was created a Baronet in 1876. The architecture is attributed to Mr. Edward Sharp, 1809-1877, of Lancaster. The gardens are planted with many fine trees, shrubs and flowers. In its heyday, the estate employed 26 gardeners.

To the right of the Lychgate, estate cottages begun in 1912 are built of a smaller than usual brick, brought from Norfolk, but building was stopped during the First World War. At that time the Village consisted largely of estate workers and their families, including a shoemaker, coachbuilder, blacksmith and wheelwright, the blacksmith also rang the church bell and blew the organ.

A granary was situated close to the Bridgewater Canal. This building contained the Post Office and the Post Mistress made deliveries on foot. The granary also sold provisions, horse fodder to the bargees and pig food. The pig food was supplied to the piggeries in Rough Lane to feed the famous Walton and Worsley Herd; these large white pigs won numerous prizes nationwide and the strain was exported to countries as far apart as Lithuania, Mexico and South Africa. The piggeries were sold when the estate closed.

Our local hostelry, the Walton Arms, was called the Bay Horse Inn until 1880. In 1392 a horse-drawn carriage service operated between the Inn and Central Station, Warrington. The ale sold there was popular with locals, the carriage service and the horse-drawn packet boat, which stopped there.

In 1863, George Crosfield, of Persil and Laver Bros. fame, built himself a large country mansion in spacious grounds on Walton Lea. The building was in Grecian Doric and nearly one hundred hands were employed. It is said that Mr. Crosfield was like a newspaper - he visited them everyday. “They were pleased to see him as he was a gentleman”. The house was demolished in mid 1920 but the remains of the garden can be found behind the Walton Crematorium where the Municipal Plant Nursery now stands.

The Duke of Bridgewater built the Bridgewater Canal and employed James Brindley, a pioneer in canal construction, as his engineer. It was deigned to take broad river barges and “flats”; its purpose was to transport coal from Worsley collieries to manufacturing centres. Many of the bridges along the Canal are of the hump-back type and we have three in Walton. In 1807 a passenger service started to Manchester but the Canal is now owned by the Manchester Ship Canal Company and used mainly for pleasure craft and fishing.

Walton today retains an air of “old world charm” and is a popular area for recreation. The Gardens include a lake, greenhouses, bowling greens, crazy golf, pitch and putt, children’s play area and a zoo.

We have a 70 acre Municipal Golf Course and a pleasant circular walk around Walton reservoir, where we see many birds and wild fowl.