The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868
"WARRINGTON, a parish, township, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, locally in the E. division of West Derby hundred, county Lancaster, 17 miles E. of Liverpool, 22 S.W. of Manchester, and 1821 from London by the London and North-Western railway, on which it is a first-class station; there are besides stations on the Warrington and Stockport and Warrington and Garston railways. It is situated on the river Mersey-, which is navigable for small craft to the quay, and near the Sankey and Bridgwater canals. The parish includes, besides the borough of Warrington, extending into the adjoining townships of Latchford and Thelwall in county Chester, the townships of Burton-Wood, Poulton-with-Fearnhead, Rixton-with-Glazebrook, and Woolston-with-Martinscroft. The soil is a fertile loam, and the land chiefly in rich pasture and market gardens. The town, which is a place of great antiquity, though one of the new boroughs, is traversed by the old Roman way to Condate, and by the old mail-coach road from London to Liverpool. In the Saxon times it was called Weringtun, and is mentioned in Domesday survey as Wallintun or Walentunae, at which time it was the head of a hundred now merged in that of West Derby, and in the reign of Henry III. came to the Botelers of Bewsey, who founded an Austin friary here in 1380. It subsequently passed by marriage to the Stanleys, who built the bridge here across the Mersey for Henry VII. to cross over on his visit to Lathom Park, and afterwards to Dudley, Earl of Leicester. During the civil war it was twice taken from the Royalists by General Lambert, who routed the Scotch forces under Bailie in 1648, and again under Charles II. in 1651. In 1745 the old bridge was partly demolished, in order to stop the forces of the Pretender, but was rebuilt in 1812.On the passing of the Reform Act in 1832 it was made a parliamentary borough, with the privilege of returning one member, and in 1847 was incorporated, as a municipal borough, including four wards in Lancashire and one in Cheshire. It is governed by a mayor, who is also returning officer, 9 aldermen, and 27 common councillors, with the style of "mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the borough of Warrington." Its revenue is chiefly derived from the market tolls, farmed by the corporation now. A court leet is held occasionally by J. Ireland Blackburne, Esq., who is lord of the manor. Borough sessions are held before the mayor and justices, a court of sessions before the recorder, and petty sessions for the division every Monday. A county court sits on the first Thursday in each month, and the Board of Guardians weekly. The population of the municipal borough in 1861 was 24,643, and of the parliamentary 26,000. The town consists of several narrow streets, which have recently undergone much improvement, especially in paving and sewering. The principal public buildings are the townhall, in the Market-street, built in 1820; market-house, with some ancient timbered buildings adjoining; the sessions house and bridewell, in Irlam-street; the county-court house; union workhouse, in Froghall-lane, with a general hospital, fever hospital, and lunatic ward; assembly rooms, theatre, mechanics' institute, savings-bank, two branch banks, museum and library, in Bold-street, erected in 1857 at a cost of £3,000; public baths, to Leigh-street; and the Clergy Orphan Institution and Training School, occupying a site called "the Mount." There are also the depot of the 4th Royal Lancashire Militia; gasworks, established in 1822; a dispensary, agricultural society, musical society, church institute, and public library, containing 6,000 volumes. The trade of the town is various, including wire-drawing, the manufacture of files and tools, glass works, nail, pin, and rope factories, shoe-making, sailcloth weaving, once the staple industry, cotton and fustian mills, but these three last have recently much declined. There are also iron foundries, breweries, maltings, chemical works, soap manufactory, besides weavers and turners. The salmon fishery has long been destroyed, owing to the pollution of the river by chemical and dye works. The Poor-law Union comprises 13 parishes and townships in Lancashire, and 3 in Cheshire. The principal residences are Bewsey Hall, the old seat of the Botelers, now belonging to Lord Lilford; Orford Hall, the old seat of the Blackburnes; and Bank Hall, the seat of J. Wilson-Patten, Esq., M.P. for North Lancashire. Two weekly newspapers, the Guardian and the Advertiser, are published on Saturdays. The works of Mrs. Barbauld, John Howard the philanthropist, Roscoe, Dr. Farrar, and others were printed here. Of the academy, lately pulled down and sold, founded in 1757, "the nursery of men for future years," Barbauld was a scholar, and Taylor, author of the Hebrew Concordance, Enfield of the "Speaker," Priestley, and G. Wakefield were masters. Warrington gives title of earl to Earl Stamford. It is the head of a deanery in the archdeaconry of Liverpool and diocese of Chester. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Chester, value £800, of which the Rev. W. Queckett is the present rector. The church has lately been restored at a cost of £14,000, with tower and spire 300 feet high, dedicated to St. Helen, or, as it is called in Domesday book, of St. Elphin, and contains effigies and monuments of the Boteler, Booth, and Patten families, of Bank Hall. In addition to the parish church are the district churches of Trinity, St. Ann's, St. Paul, Hollinfare, Burton Wood, and Padgate, the livings of which are all perpetual curacies, varying in value from £300 to £160 and £96. The Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, General and Particular Baptists, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Wickliffites, Unitarians, and Society of Friends have chapels. The local charities produce about £1,300 per annum, besides almshouses. The schools are numerous and well-attended, including the Botelers' free grammar school, founded in 1526, with an income of about £800, where Tierney was educated; the Blue-Coat school, founded in 1665 by John Allen, with an income of £1,000 and 100 scholars; the Clergy Daughters' school, supported by voluntary contributions; the Training College for Schoolmistresses, besides National, infant, Sunday, ragged, and ladies' schools. Market days are Wednesday and Saturday. Fairs are held monthly for the sale of cattle, and on 18th July and 30th November for horses, cattle, and sheep."