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History of Ashton

History of Ashton in Makerfield
  • council: Wigan Council
  • population: 28, 005
  • phone code: 01942
  • postcode area: WN4
  • county: Greater Manchester

Ashton-in-Makerfield boasts a thriving shopping centre with over 200 shops and businesses. Conveniently situated close to the M6, Ashton-in-Makerfield, has plenty of free parking allowing visitors to explore the town at their leisure.This attractive centre provides a unique shopping experience with small arcades, side streets and indoor shopping centres nestled amongst the main shopping. There are two railway stations serving Ashton in Makerfield. Both are on the Liverpool to Wigan line and are in Bryn and Garswood, just a short distance from the town centre.

Traditionally a market centre, Ashton-in-Makerfield is increasingly attracting well known high street multiples which compliment the existing range of large, quality independent retailers. Gerard Street is the core shopping district. The eye-catching array of distinguished shops and exemplary service levels provide an air of vintage grandeur and make shopping in Ashton-in-Makerfield a pure delight. The Gerard Centre is located just off the main street with a host of popular multiple stores.

Opposite the Gerard Centre, the Greensway Centre provides a bustling indoor arcade for browsers, bargain hunters and those looking for specialist gifts and services. Wigan Road, Bryn Street and Garswood Street provide a colourful mix of traditional and modern retailing offering a wide range of quality goods and services, including Ashton-in-Makerfield's very own internet café. The refurbished outdoor market is a busy focal point in the town centre every Tuesday and Saturday.

Ashton-in-Makerfield means 'ash town' and Makerfield- formerly a district that stretched from Orrell to the River Mersey - means 'the ruin in the clearing.'For hundreds of years the area's fortunes were linked with the Roman Catholic Gerard family. The Gerards were Royalists during the Civil War, and in 1651 Charles II lodged at their seat, Bryn Hall, on his way to defeat at the Battle of Worcester. Coal mining in the 19th century brought the family immense wealth but they moved away to Hertfordshire after the First World War. The Sir Thomas Gerard public house on Gerard Street celebrates Ashton-in-Makerfield's heritage. Sir Thomas was twice imprisoned in the Tower of London after an attempt to rescue Mary Queen of Scots.

Look out for the Victorian St Thomas's parish church on Warrington Street. Other interesting buildings include the late 17th Century Unitarian Chapel in Park Lane and the impressive Roman Catholic Church at St Oswald which was rebuilt in 1930 French Romanesque style. St Oswald's houses the Holy Hand of St Edmund Arrowsmith, who, in 1628, was convicted of trying to convert protestants to the Roman Catholic faith, and was subsequently executed at Lancaster. The hand has been preserved ever since; it is said to possess miraculous powers and was approved for public veneration in 1934.

Make a day of it and combine a trip to Ashton-in-Makerfield with a visit to one of the North West's leading visitor attractions. Ashton-in-Makerfield is close to several local tourist destinations including the Three Sisters Recreation Area, created some 30 years ago out of three giant colliery spoil tips. The Three Sisters includes a first- class racing arena of international standard and a leisure lake. One of the country's top racecourses, Haydock Park, Gulliver's World Theme Park in Warrington and World of Glass at St Helens are also with in easy travelling distance of this attractive centre.

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