THE VILLAGE OF DITTON-HOUGH GREEN

The information is these first two paragraphs comes from the publication of recent years of various Lancashire Census - in this case the 1861 version - "Administratively and culturally the area is a complex one. For in 1851 Hale and Halebank were in the Childwall district for the purposes of the Census; Ditton, Cronton and Bold were in Prescot; whilst Cuerdley was administered from Warrington. Culturally Halebank looked to Hale, even though it formed part of Halewood township; and Cuerdley, Ditton, Bold and Cronton belonged to the Chapelry (i. e. Parish of Farnworth).

West Derby Hundred The situation is further complicated by the fact that in 1920 the eastern section of Halewood township (i.e. Halebank) and the western part of Cuerdley were incorporated along with Ditton into the Borough of Widnes. Moreover the one unifying factor of a common membership of the County Palatine of Lancaster disappeared in 1974 when Cronton and Bold joined the new metropolitan county of Merseyside, whilst the other townships became part of Cheshire."

Ditton-Hough Green township is part of the borough of Widnes being in the Parish of Prescot in the district of Farnworth, in the hundred of West Derby comprising 15 parishes (including Prescot).

The village of Ditton lies south of the village of Cronton on Highway B5178 running east-west through Lancashire/Cheshire. Before the County borders were changed in 1974 all the area SE of Cronton to the Mersey was in Lancashire but the border now passes to the west of Ditton.

"Baines' Lancashire" (1824) shows the Parish of the market town of Prescot having 17 towns in it which had grown slowly from 1801 until the 1821 Census. Some settlements were no more than villages with a few services supplying to the rural households of the area. Larger ones had a parish church (St Mary's dating from before 1611), a post office, a"smithy," a hotel, and a few shops determined by the needs of that period.

The centre of religious activity for the southern part of the parish is St Luke's at Farnworth and most of the christenings, marriages, deaths and burials were celebrated at this ancient church. It dates back to Norman times and its church records from 1538. Ditton Junction Station (of the London & NW Railway on the Warrington Line) was in operation when a railway station (called "Hough Green" to distinguish it from Ditton Junction Station) was built in Ditton in 1872. Hough Green Railway Station was built on the site of Welshman's House in 1872 on the Liverpool and Manchester line of the Cheshire Lines Railway.

The new station on the Cheshire Lines Railway caused the name of the residential area to slowly change to "Hough Green" (rather than Ditton) by which name it is known today. But prior to this time last century the town was unquestionably referred to as Ditton for publications such as the Trade Directories cite it as such.

Map of Ditton 1890s

There were a number of stately houses in the area and Ditton Lodge was lived in by Mrs Mary Rothwell in 1824.

Ditchfield Hall Ditchfield Hall was build c1750 and was owned by the Ditchfield family and later the Harwardens. John Laverick was the last person to live there keeping his horse, "Uncle Bones," in the front garden. Even though the Hall was "tidied up" in the 1940s it was demolished in the 1960s for new housing development west off Ditchfield Road.

Ditton Hall was owned by the Stapleton-Bretherton family until c1870 when it became a refuge for Jesuit students and was used as a presbytery attached to St Michael's Catholic Church.

The only stately home near Ditton itself today is Speke Hall about 5km SW of Ditton. Of the 4606 families in the Prescot parish in 1824 some 23% were engaged in agriculture, 62% in trades or cottage industries and the remainder were unemployed or engaged in professional pursuits. Many of our forebears were, therefore, "agricultural labourers."


Research, Information and Graphics by:
A. John Parker. Perth, Western Australia
Email: ajohnp@starwon.com.au
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Created: January 1999
Last Updated: 9 September 2004
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