HURST, an ecclesiastical parish, in the division of Hartshead, parish and union of Ashton-under-Lyne, hundred of Salford, S. division of Lancashire, 1 mile (N. E.) from Ashton-under-Lyne; containing about 4500 inhabitants. This parish was constituted under the provisions of the act 6th and 7th of Victoria, cap. 37. It is on the old road from Ashton to Mossley, and forms a circle whose radius is about half a mile; the land is all pasture, and stands high, commanding fine views of the country around, especially in a western and south-western direction. Coal is abundant, and several cottonmills are in operation. In the village of Higher Hurst, a suburb of the town of Ashton, is the manufacturing establishment of the Messrs. Whittaker, commenced about forty years ago by the late John Whittaker, Esq., and now carried on by his sons, who have enlarged, and propose further to extend, the buildings, already among the largest cotton-factories in the kingdom, and at present employing 1300 hands. The gardens and pleasuregrounds around the dwelling-houses of these gentlemen have been greatly improved by tasteful culture, and attract the attention of visiters. The village of Hurst-Brook, which in 1442 was the patrimony of Nicholas de Hyrst, and for more than three centuries was an obscure rural spot, has, owing in part to its vicinity to Ashton, become a considerable place, having a population of several hundred persons, and containing two cotton-mills.
The church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, was commenced in 1847, on a site presented by the Earl of Stamford and Warrington. It stands near Hurst Cross, another small village in the parish, and at the junction of four roads, and has accommodation for 645 persons, 495 seats being free; the cost of erection is estimated at £2476. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester, alternately; net income, £150; incumbent, the Rev. J. H. Greenwood, who, previously to the church being built, performed divine service in a room licensed by the bishop. A handsome place of worship belonging to the New Connexion of Methodists has been erected at a cost of nearly £2000; and in union with it is a school-house, sufficiently capacious for 600 children, and serving both for week-day and Sunday schools.