Place:Withington, Lancashire, England

Alt namesFallowfieldsource: neighbourhood in parish
TypeTownship, Parish
Coordinates53.433°N 2.229°W
Located inLancashire, England     ( - 1904)
See alsoSalford Hundred, Lancashire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Manchester, Lancashire, Englandancient parish in which it was located; municipal borough into which it was absorbed in 1894
Manchester (metropolitan borough), Greater Manchester, Englandmetropolitan borough covering the area since 1974
the text in this article is based on one in Wikipedia

Withington has been, since 1974, a part of Greater Manchester, England. Before 1974 it was located in the county of Lancashire. It lies 4 miles (6.4 km) from Manchester city centre, 0.5 miles (0.8 km) northeast of Didsbury and 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Chorlton cum Hardy. The community of Fallowfield is on its northern edge. Withington has a population of just over 14,000 people, reducing at the 2011 census to 13,422.

In the early 13th century, Withington occupied a feudal estate that included the townships of Withington, Chorlton cum Hardy, Moss Side, Rusholme, Burnage, Denton and Haughton, which was held by the Hathersage, Longford and Tatton families. The manor was within the "Manor of Manchester" and the Hundred of Salford.

Withington was largely rural until the mid-19th century when it experienced rapid socioeconomic development and urbanisation due to the Industrial Revolution, and Manchester's growing level of industrialisation. Withington became part of the County Borough of Manchester in 1904.

Today, the residents of Withington comprise a mixture of families, university students and affluent "young professionals"—often themselves former students. This is in a large part due to its education links—particularly the proximity to the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. As a consequence, Withington is predominantly an area of mixed affluence. It is also a centre for clinical excellence with one of the largest cancer treatment centres in Europe—Christie Hospital—and Withington Community Hospital.

Image:Manchester ancient parish.png


Following the Norman Conquest the lands of south Lancashire were granted to Roger of Poitou and by the early 13th century the Manor of Withington appears to be a sub-manor of the Manor of Manchester. The first recorded description of Withington dates from 1186 and comes from the word "withy" for willow branches cut for fencing or fuel. In the early 13th century, the Manor of Withington covered a wide area including Withington, Didsbury, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Moss Side, Rusholme, Burnage, Denton and Haughton. The first Lord of the Manor of Withington is thought to have been William, son of Wulfrith de Withington.

In the 13th century, Robert Grelle (sometimes Grelley), Lord of the Manchester Manor, granted free warren in Withington to Matthew de Hathersage (or Haversage), son of William. Little is known of the Hathersage family, except that they descended to the Longford family, and are connected with the manors of Hathersage and Longford, both in Derbyshire. The lordship of Withington remained in the Hathersage/Longford family for over 300 years.

At the end of the 16th century, Nicholas Longford sold Withington to the family of Nicholas Mosley (c. 1527–1612) (originally 'Moseley'), an influential Anglo-Irish family of wool merchants who subsequently became wealthy landowners in Staffordshire: Nicholas Mosley later became Lord of the Manor of Manchester. Hough End Hall was built by Sir Nicholas Mosley in 1596 as the new Withington manor house—-the original medieval manor house was situated south-east of the modern junction of Mauldeth Road West and Princess Road, which was surrounded by a moat. In 1750 it was demolished to make way for a farm building, but some of the moat was left. An Ordnance Survey map of 1845 shows it as "Withington Old Hall", and it later came to be known as "Chorlton's Farm" or "Old Hall Farm". Today, the site is occupied by Eddisbury Avenue and no trace remains of the old house. In the early 18th century, the Withington Manor was once again sold, this time to the Egertons of Tatton.

Withington as a village developed around Wilmslow Road, a main road, connecting Manchester to Wilmslow which was the only direct route between Manchester and Wilmslow at the time. Farming still dominated the area, although there is evidence in maps of a substantial cotton house on Cotton Lane, which later appears to become Withington Hall. Some historians dispute the cotton house as there is little record of it, and claim "Cotton Lane" comes from land in the area which was jointly held by the townships of Withington, Didsbury and Burnage (a relic of the medieval open field system). This area was the old village centre.

The trade in Withington, and consequent traffic on Wilmslow Road, increased steadily as the city of Manchester flourished in the early 19th century. Turnpike roads subsequently became increasingly unpopular, and were abolished completely in 1881. In 1880 a tramway was built along Wilmslow Road and Palatine Road to the newly opened Withington and West Didsbury railway station on the Manchester South District Line, run by the Midland Railway, which provided train services to Manchester Central railway station. The horse trams ran until 1 December 1902 when the first electric trams came into operation. The railway station closed to passengers in 1961.

Withington's Parish Church of St Paul was built in 1841; the architects of St Paul's Church were Hayley & Brown and it was extended in 1864.[14] Many other chapels and churches proliferated, including Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic.

As the population increased, the need for schools grew. A day school was held in a schoolroom underneath the Wesleyan chapel on Old Hall Lane, until the Church of England established a new church school with public donations next to its new parish church in 1844, St Paul's Primary School, on land donated by benefactor Wilbraham Egerton, 1st Earl Egerton.

Withington has also been home to many well known Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Jews: synagogues opened in the late 19th century.

Withington also had a Huguenot population with family and commercial ties to Germany. Among them was the Souchay family, who lived at Withington House on Wilmslow Road. (Wikipedia has quite a bit of information on the Souchays.) Prior to 1866 --- was a township in the ancient parish of Manchester. It was a civil parish between 1866 and 1896 when it was joined with other Manchester southern suburbs to form the short-lived civil parish and registration district of South Manchester. South Manchester (not included in the WeRelate database) was abolished in 1916 when all the suburbs within it were absorbed into the County Borough of Manchester.

Research Tips

This settlement has been within the city limits of the City of Manchester from times before the establishment of Greater Manchester. Basic sources of genealogical facts will be found in those for Manchester itself. Check the sources listed in the Category named Manchester, Lancashire, England shown at the bottom of the page.

  • See the Wikipedia articles on parishes and civil parishes for descriptions of this lowest rung of local administration. The original parishes (known as ancient parishes) were ecclesiastical, under the jurisdiction of the local priest. A parish covered a specific geographical area and was sometimes equivalent to that of a manor. Sometimes, in the case of very large rural parishes, there were chapelries where a "chapel of ease" allowed parishioners to worship closer to their homes. In the 19th century the term civil parish was adopted to define parishes with a secular form of local government. In WeRelate both civil and ecclesiastical parishes are included in the type of place called a "parish". Smaller places within parishes, such as chapelries and hamlets, have been redirected into the parish in which they are located. The names of these smaller places are italicized within the text.
  • Rural districts were groups of geographically close civil parishes in existence between 1894 and 1974. They were formed as a middle layer of administration between the county and the civil parish. Inspecting the archives of a rural district will not be of much help to the genealogist or family historian, unless there is need to study land records in depth.
  • Civil registration or vital statistics and census records will be found within registration districts. To ascertain the registration district to which a parish belongs, see Registration Districts in Lancashire, part of the UK_BMD website.
  • Lancashire Online Parish Clerks provide free online information from the various parishes, along with other data of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire.
  • FamilySearch Lancashire Research Wiki provides a good overview of the county and also articles on most of the individual parishes (very small or short-lived ones may have been missed).
  • Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has a number of county-wide collections of Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials, some from the 1500s, and some providing microfilm copies of the manuscript entries. There are specific collections for Liverpool (including Catholic baptisms and marriages) and for Manchester. Their databases now include electoral registers 1832-1935. Another pay site is FindMyPast.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1888 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time includes the boundaries between the parishes and shows the hamlets within them.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1954 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time is a similar map for a later timeframe.
  • GENUKI provides a website covering many sources of genealogical information for Lancashire. The organization is gradually updating the website and the volunteer organizers may not have yet picked up all the changes that have come with improving technology.
  • The Victoria County History for Lancashire, provided by British History Online, covers the whole of the county in six volumes (the seventh available volume [numbered Vol 2] covers religious institutions). The county is separated into its original hundreds and the volumes were first published between 1907 and 1914. Most parishes within each hundred are covered in detail. Maps within the text can contain historical information not available elsewhere.
  • A description of the township of Withington from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1911
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Withington. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.