Davenham (St. Wilfrid)
DAVENHAM (St. Wilfrid), a parish, in the union and hundred of Northwich, S. division of the county of Chester; comprising the townships of Bostock, Davenham, Eaton, Leftwich, Moulton, Newhall, Rudheath, Shipbrook, Shurlach, Stanthorne, Wharton, and Whatcroft; and containing 5335 inhabitants, of whom 488 are in the township of Davenham, 2 miles (S.) from Northwich. Davenham derives its name from its situation on the river Daven, or Dane. The parish comprises 8912 acres, of which the greater portion is pasture, being set out in cheese and dairy farms: there is no great extent of wood. The soil is various, comprising sand, clay, and a fine rich mould; and the country of pleasing aspect, the two valleys of the Weaver and the Dane passing through: the former vale, however, is now disfigured by numerous salt-works, the smoke of which blackens every thing on the face of the land for a considerable distance. The river Weaver bounds the parish on the west; the Dane flows from south to north, and the road from Birmingham to Liverpool runs in a nearly parallel direction: the parish is also intersected by the London and North-Western railway, and the Trent and Mersey canal. Salt is the principal manufacture, and is supposed to have been produced here as early as the time of the Romans: the brine-pits are very extensive on both sides of the Weaver.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £23. 13. 1½., and in the patronage of James France France, Esq., of Bostock Hall. The tithes have been commuted for £850, of which £82 are for the township of Davenham: there is a glebe-house, with about four acres of glebe land. The church was rebuilt, in the decorated style, in 1843-4, at a cost of £2650; it contains 921 sittings, whereof 356 are free: the former church, of which the tower and spire remain, appears to have been erected in the beginning or the middle of the 14th century. Two chapels were built in 1835, both in the Elizabethan style; the one by subscription, and the other at the expense of Mr. France. The ecclesiastical district of Wharton was constituted in 1843; and another district, Dane-Bridge, was formed in 1846, of a part of Davenham parish, and a part of the chapelry of Witton, in the parish of Great Budworth. The Independents, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyans, have places of worship. There are three boys' schools, three schools for girls, one mixed school for boys and girls, and an infants' school, all in immediate connexion with the Church. On Bostock Green is an ancient oak, which is said to mark the centre of the county.