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WIDNES, a town, a township, and a chapelry, in Prescot parish, Lancashire. The town stands on the river Mersey, at the intersection of the Warrington and Liverpool and the Ormskirk and Runcorn railways, adjacent to the new great railway viaduct over the Mersey at Runcorn Gap, 11 miles ESE of Liverpool; rose from a pop. of less than 2,000 in 1851 to a pop. of nearly 13,000 in 1869; began, in 1847, to be a seat of extensive chemical works; produces annually about 32,000 tons of the several products of soda; produces also large quantities of nitrogenised bone manure; has likewise copper-smelting-works, iron-works, foundries, soap-works, grease-works, oil and paint-works, a limestone mill, and sailcloth manufactories; acquired, about 1864, well-constructed docks, with 12½ acres of water area and 3,348 yards of berthage; exports coal to the amount of about 10,000 tons a-week; and has a post-office under Warrington, a r. station with telegraph, waterworks constructed in 1869 at a cost of 40,000, a court-house, a police station, a church of 1856, an Independent chapel, two Welsh chapels, a handsome Wesleyan chapel of 1864, another Methodist chapel, an ornate Roman Catholic chapel of 1866, and a national school. The township includes Appleton and Farnworth villages and several hamlets; and comprises 3,000 acres of land, and 330 of water. Rated property in 1841, 6,236: in 1864, 41,601. Pop. in 1851, 3,217: in 1869, 6,905. Houses, 1,257. The manor belongs to Mrs. Hutchinson. The chapelry includes only part of the township, and was constituted in 1859. Pop. in 1869, 7,072. Houses, 1,320. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chester. Value, 160.* Patron, W. Wright, Esq.

John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)



Details about the census records, and indexes for Widnes.

Church History

Church Records

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Widnes area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Widnes area is Halton.

Description and Travel

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Ask for the gazetteer for a calculation of the distance from Widnes to another place.

Historical Geography

In 1835 Widnes was a township in the parish of Prescot.


View maps of Widnes and places within its boundaries.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SJ513852 (Lat/Lon: 53.361409, -2.733265), Widnes which are provided by:

Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Widnes was in the Archdeaconry of Chester, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Chester are held at the Lancashire Record Office.


The Widnes branch of the Liverpool & SW Lancs FHS are the society covering the Widnes area. The group holds a substantial library including census, parish records and much more, all are accessible to members/visitors on members evenings.

You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.