Dukinfield

DUKINFIELD, a township, in the parish of Stockport, union of Ashton-under-Lyne, hundred of Macclesfield, N. division of the county of Chester; adjoining Ashton-under-Lyne, and containing 22,394 inhabitants. This place is supposed to derive its name from the circumstance of the standard of the Danes having been captured here by the victorious Saxons; the figure of a raven or doken was impressed on the Danish flag, and the spot was named, in the Anglo-Saxon dialect, Dockenveldt, or the Field of the Raven. At the earliest period to which records extend, the township was included in the fee of Dunham-Massey: the third Hamon de Massey confirmed Dukinfield to Matthew de Bramhall, about 1190; and the family of Dukinfield appears to have held the place in fee of the Bramhalls, and to have been connected with it for a period exceeding five centuries. The widow of Sir William Dukinfield Daniel (a name assumed by the family) conveyed the estate, in marriage, to the Astleys, about 1767; and the present lord of the manor is Francis Dukinfield P. Astley, Esq.

The village is seated upon a pleasant eminence, at the foot of which, to the north, runs the river Tame. This river separates the township from the town of Ashton-under-Lyne, in Lancashire, as it did the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia during the heptarchy, when strong fortifications for the protection of each at this point were constructed, on opposite banks of the stream: some vestiges of the works are still discernible. Sixty years ago, the inhabitants consisted of only a few farmers and labourers, but since the introduction of the cotton-trade the place has become extensive and prosperous: two cotton-mills were erected prior to 1794; there were four in 1814, six in 1818, and seven in 1825; and at present these manufactories are numerous, and employ many thousand hands. The district is also rich in mineral treasures, and its mines and quarries are very productive. There are fifty beds or veins of coal, the greater number of them workable, the shafts of some being sunk to the depth of 300 yards; iron-ore is also abundant, and the operations for smelting it seem to have been carried on in remote times, from the otherwise unaccountable breaks that are frequently met with in the strata of one particular mine, and from the large quantity of scoriæ found in the vicinity. Fire-bricks are made in great perfection, from a superior clay; and the stone of Harrop-Edge quarry is of very good quality. The Ashton and Stockport road, and the Peak-Forest and Huddersfield canals, pass through; and in 1846 an act was passed for making a branch, nearly a mile in length, of the Manchester and Sheffield railway, to this place. Dukinfield Old Hall was originally built in the Norman era; but the gabled front and frogged pinnacles of the present edifice denote it to be a structure of the reign of Henry VIII. The building was formerly large, of quadrangular form, and surrounded by a moat, which is yet partially remaining; it continued to be the abode of the Dukinfields till the last century, but is now a dilapidated dwelling. Dukinfield Lodge, a modern house, is delightfully situated on a wooded eminence overlooking the Tame.

The township comprises 1690 acres of land, principally good pasture and meadow; the manure is chiefly lime, with marl on the lighter grounds. A church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, was erected in 1840-1841, and consecrated on May 24th in the latter year; it stands on a commanding eminence in the part of Dukinfield adjoining Stalybridge, and is a plain neat edifice containing 1200 sittings, whereof 605 are free: the cost, £4500, was defrayed by Her Majesty's Commissioners and by subscription. The living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of £280 per annum; patron, the Rector of Stockport. An ecclesiastical parish, called St. Mark's, was formed of a part of Dukinfield adjoining Ashton, in February 1846, under the act 6th and 7th of Victoria, cap. 37; the district assigned is about two miles from north to south, and a mile and a half from east to west, and contains a population of about 6000. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Bishop of Chester and the Crown, alternately; net income, £150. The first stone of the church was laid in May, 1847; the building is in the early English style, with a tower and spire, and cost £3000. Another ecclesiastical district, called Castle Hall, and situated in the town of Stalybridge (which is partly in this township), was formed, also in 1846, under the same act. The Calvinists, Independents, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, Methodists of the New Connexion, Moravians, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics have places of worship; and there are various schools in connexion with the Establishment, and with the dissenters. A village library, established in 1833, contains about 1100 volumes. Lieut.-Col. Robert Dukinfield, a distinguished officer, and a member of Cromwell's council of state in 1653, was born here.

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

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