Welcome to Ashton-in-Makerfield, a charming market town located in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. With a population of 28,762, Ashton-in-Makerfield has a rich history and a strong industrial heritage. Let’s explore what this hidden gem has to offer.

Ashton-in-Makerfield was historically part of Lancashire and was a township in the parish of Newton-in-Makerfield. The town has long been a center for the manufacture of locks and hinges, but also sits on the Lancashire Coalfield and was a coal mining district. The town’s name derives from Old English and means the farmstead where the ash-trees grow.

One of the town’s most notable landmarks is St Thomas Church of England parish church on Warrington Road. The graveyard is the resting place of many of the 189 victims of the Wood Pit explosion, the worst coal-mining disaster in Lancashire at the time. Hope Church on Heath Road was founded by Protestants from St Thomas opposed to the High Church ideals brought in by a new Vicar in the 1870s. The Catholic Church of St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, on Liverpool Road was completed in 1930, replacing an earlier Catholic church on the site which was built in 1822. It houses the hand of St Edmund Arrowsmith (1585–1628).

Ashton-in-Makerfield was part of the St. Helens Area of the South Lancashire Coalfield. The district was described by one observer as having extensive collieries, cotton mills, and potteries, and famed for the manufacture of hinges, locks, files, and nails. Mills such as the Record Mill (Spinning), situated in York Road, and the Makerfield Mill (the Weaving Shed), in Windsor Road, took over from home-working. Similarly, Thomas Crompton & Sons in Gerard Street, which would eventually employ around 1,200 workers, superseded the subcontracting system that sustained substantial numbers of locally based blacksmiths and other craftsmen.

Ashton-in-Makerfield has a market held on the market square off Garswood Street on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The town is also home to Ashton Athletic F.C. and Ashton Town A.F.C. Garswood United F.C. is also nearby. The town is the inspiration for the fictional town of Ashton in the TV series and popular children’s books Horrid Henry.

Ashton-in-Makerfield has three secondary schools: Cansfield High School; Byrchall High School and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School. In November 2008, Wigan council released proposals to merge Cansfield High and Byrchall High into one school. These proposals were refused, and the schools remain separate, with Cansfield situated near to Bryn and Byrchall near to Haydock, neighboring St Edmund Arrowsmith.

Ashton-in-Makerfield is a hidden gem that is often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors. However, this charming market town has a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering local cuisine that is sure to delight any traveler. Come and discover the many treasures of Ashton-in-Makerfield for yourself!

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