Ashton Hayes parish was formed in 1849 from the parish of Tarvin. It is named after Ashton Hayes estate and comprises the civil parishes of Ashton, Mouldsworth and Horton-cum-Peel.
Evidence of a settlement by Pentre Brook in Ashton dates back to Roman times when Watling Street passed close by the village. More recently, the Domesday Book of 1086 records that Ashton, then known as Estone, and other land was given to Richard de Vernon for services to William the Conqueror, and that before then, in Saxon times, it was held by a ‘freeman’ named Toret.
A Brief History of the Ashton Hayes Estate.
Ashton Hayes estate dates back to about 1320. It passed through the hands of three generations of a family named Worthington who, in 1780, built the 72 room mansion known as “Ashton Hayes” – the building was demolished as recently as 1957 and is remembered by a number of today’s local residents. A gentleman named Booth Grey bought the property in 1805 and lived there until 1839. Then the estate, consisting of 1658 acres of land, was sold to William Atkinson, the builder of the church.
William Atkinson (1797-1883) was a textile manufacturer from Knaresborough in Yorkshire with business interests in Lancashire. He paid for the building of the church, school and vicarage and made improvements to the living conditions of his tenants. In 1872 he went to live in Southport where he built two further churches, a library and art gallery. Atkinson was very generous to Ashton and Southport, but it should be remembered that fortunes such as his came from the terrible working conditions endured by women and children in Victorian factories and workshops.
When William Atkinson left for Southport, he sold the estate to the executors of Thomas Parr, a banker of Warrington, who had died in 1870. They bought Ashton Hayes for the eldest son, Thomas Philip Parr.