Atherton

ATHERTON, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Leigh, hundred of West Derby, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 12 miles (W. by N.) from Manchester, and on the road from Leigh to Bolton; containing, with the village of Chowbent, 4475 inhabitants. This place was held of the barons of Warrington by Robert de Atherton, in the reign of John; and in this knightly family the manor descended through many generations, successively allied to the Byrons, Warrens, Ashtons, Butlers, Catterals, Conyers, Irelands, and Bolds: by the marriage of the late Lord Lilford with the heiress of Atherton, the manor came to his lordship's family. The chapelry comprises 2323a. 3r. 35p., and abounds with valuable stone and extensive coalmines. Two-thirds of the population are employed in the cotton and silk manufactures, in the working of the collieries, and in making nails; and the remaining third in agricultural pursuits. A cattle-fair is held in January, and holiday fairs on the 29th of June and 24th of August. Atherton Hall, a superb edifice, built by the Atherton family in the early part of the 18th century, at an expense of about £63,000, was taken down in 1825; Alder House, an ancient mansion of stone, of peculiar architecture, is the residence of Alfred Silvester, Esq. The village of Atherton includes that of Chowbent, the name of the latter being now in disuse. Petty-sessions are held every alternate Monday. The living, endowed about 1720 by Sir Richard Atherton, is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Lord Lilford, with a net income of £100: the tithes have been commuted for £118 per annum. The present chapel is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and is a plain structure, built in 1810: the former edifice originally belonged to dissenters, and was consecrated in 1723, for the service of the Church, by Dr. Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man. There are places of worship for Unitarians and Baptists; and infants' and day schools, in connexion with the chapel, built in 1840.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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