CHORLTON-UPON-MEDLOCK, a township, and the head of a union, in the parish of Manchester, hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster; containing 28,336 inhabitants. The name of this place, formerly Chorlton-Row, was changed, on an act of parliament being obtained for the township, to Chorlton-upon-Medlock, as a better than its ancient designation, the river Medlock (which separates it from the township of Manchester) forming its entire boundary on the north. The old name, too, conveyed the idea of a very circumscribed population, which, in fact, it had about sixty years ago. The township was then chiefly occupied as an agricultural estate connected with the ancient Chorlton Hall, which is still standing near St. Luke's chapel, and which was the residence of the Minshull family, to whom nearly all the township originally belonged. The estates of Chorlton Hall, Garrat Hall, Ancoats Hall, and Ardwick Manor-House, on opposite sides of the river, once formed landscape scenery of the finest description.
In 1793 the Minshull estate was purchased, chiefly as a speculation for building, by Messrs. Cooper, Marsland, and Duckworth, by whom it was laid out in the main streets, Oxford-road, Grosvenor-street, Sidney-street, York-street, Ormond-street, &c.; and Grosvenor-square, now occupied by All Saints' church and churchyard, was at that time planted in the most ornamental style, and laid out as a pleasure-ground. But the anticipation of raising a new and beautiful town, with buildings corresponding with those erected by Peter Marsland, Esq., Roger Holland, Esq., Ottiwell Wood, Esq., and others, having failed, the proprietors sold the land for cottonmills and cottages, which quite altered the character of the district, and became the main cause of the vast increase of population in all those parts which lie contiguous to the river. The place affords an instance of the extraordinary rise in the value of property throughout the county. The Chorlton Hall estate was sold by Edmond Trafford, in 1590, to Ralph Sorocold, for £320, and in 1644 was again sold to Thomas Minshull, apothecary, for £300; while in 1793, or twenty years after the introduction of the cotton manufacture, the estate, as before mentioned, was purchased by Messrs. Cooper, Marsland, and Duckworth, for £42,914. The annual value of the township at the period of the land-tax (about 1690) was £256. 4. 2.: in 1815 its value had increased to £19,484; in 1829, to £66,645; and in 1841, to £137,651, the last being an increase on the first of 53,000 per cent. Guided by the county assessment, and computing the property to be worth 25 years' purchase, its value in two centuries has increased from £300 to upwards of £3,000,000 sterling.
The town now consists of several good streets, well lighted with gas, paved, and amply supplied with water; and is inhabited by many of the merchants and manufacturers of Manchester, in the trade of which it largely participates. An act to regulate and improve the district was passed in 1822-3, and amended in 1832; under this, police commissioners and constables are appointed. The town-hall, a constable's dwelling-house, and a dispensary, are connected in one building, erected at a cost of £4500. A Lyceum for educational purposes was formed in 1838; and an Institute for popular instruction in 1840. The township comprises 632 acres, and is divided into two ecclesiastical districts, All Saints' (including St. Luke's as a licensed chapel) and St. Saviour's. The first church or chapel erected was St. Luke's, which was built in 1804 by the Rev. Edward Smyth, and is a plain building, with a cemetery of considerable extent adjoining. The elegant and commodious church of All Saints' was erected by the Rev. Dr. Burton, the present minister and patron, at an expense of £13,000; it is of the Doric order, and is built of stone, with an oak roof, and window frames of copper. The pulpit cost £450, and the organ £800: over the communion-table is a beautiful painting on glass of the Saviour's Passion in the Garden, executed by Eginton, of Birmingham. The steeple, terminating with a dome and copper-gilded cross, 145 feet in height, is much admired. This church was consecrated in April, 1820, and contains 1800 sittings, of which 400 are free. The square, purchased for £2000, and consecrated as a cemetery, has an area of 12,000 square yards, whereof a fourth part is appropriated by the patron to the burial of the poor. The catacombs beneath the church are convenient and elegant; the main aisle is a broad passage between two walls of marble monuments and inscriptions, and the side aisles are remarkably wide and lofty: many respectable families have places of sepulture here. St. Saviour's church was consecrated in November, 1836. There are meeting-houses for Evangelical Friends, Presbyterians, General Baptists, Independents, Primitive Methodists, Unitarians, and Wesleyans. A general cemetery for the interment of persons of all religious denominations, comprising four acres surrounded by a wall, was opened in 1821, at an expense of £6000; the buildings are of the Grecian-Ionic order, and the entrance is from Rusholme-road, through a handsome iron-gate, on the left of which is a chapel. There are numerous daily, Sunday, and infants' schools. The poor law union comprises 16 townships, and contains a population of 93,736.