Samuel Lewis - A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831)


OVER, a parish having separate jurisdiction, locally in the first division of the hundred of Eddisbury, county palatine of CHESTER, comprising the town of Over (formerly a market-town), the chapelry of Wettenhall, and the township of Little Oulton, and containing 2514 inhabitants of which number, 2157 are in the town of Over, 16 ¼miles (E.) from Chester, and 168 (N.W. byN.) from London.

The town is situated on the road from Middlewich to Chester, and consists chiefly of one long and irregular street, in which are remains of several crosses; over the river Weever, between the parishes of Over and Davenham, is Winsford bridge, on each side of which houses have been built, in consequence of the extension of the salt manufacture in this neighbourhood; on both sides of the river, which bounds this parish on the east, and is navigable to Winsford, are brine pits, and by means of it salt is conveyed in flats to Liverpool.

The market, formerly held on Wednesday, under the authority of a charter of Edward I., has been disused for about a century: fairs are held on May 15th and September 25th. The town, called in ancient records the borough of Over, has been from time immemorial under the government of a mayor, who is chosen annually at the court leet and baron of the lord of the manor, held in October; two juries are then empannelled, one for the borough, called the Grand Jury, the other for the subordinate townships called the County Jury: the former return six inhabitants of the lordship of Over to the lord of the manor, by whom, at an adjourned court held fourteen days afterward, one of them is nominated mayor for the year ensuing, and, during his mayoralty, acts as justice of the peace within the borough and lordship, including the parishes of Over and Whitegate, and has a sworn Serjeant who executes all processes within his jurisdiction; on quitting office he takes the title of alderman, but is no longer invested with any authority.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Chester, rated in the king's books at £7. 4., endowed with £1000 private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Chester. The church, dedicated to St. Chad, was rebuilt in 1543, by Hugh Starkey, gentleman usher to Henry VIII.; it is in the later style of English architecture; in the interior is a font with a decorated niche over a water basin, some good stained glass, tabernacle-work, and an altar-tomb, supporting an effigy in brass to the memory of Hugh Starkey. There is a place of worship for Independents.

The free grammar school, near the church, was founded in 1689, by Mrs. Elizabeth Venables, and her son, Thomas Lee, Esq., at Darnhall, in the adjoining parish of Whitegate, and endowed with lands, the present value of which is £53 per annum: the school is open to children of Over and Whitegate, also to those of the township of Weever; it was removed to its present situation in 1803.

From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England  (1831) ©Mel Lockie