750 BC – In the Iron Age, a hill fort was built on the sandstone outcrop Burton Point. Burton means the settlement by the fort and probably dates from Anglo-Saxon times.
902 – Vikings came to Wirral, and evidence of local Viking settlements is given by the stones displayed in Neston parish church.
1085 – Neston, Little Neston and Willaston were recorded in the Domesday Book. This was the earliest known use of the name Willaston, as the name of the Hundred of Wilaveston (later Wirral), and Willaston’s large green may have been the place of assembly for the hundred. The name ‘Edelaue’ in Domesday Book, is preserved in Hadlow Road.
1180 – Ralph Montalt, Baron of Mold, gave Neston Church to St Werburgh’s Abbey, Chester, ‘because of my evil deeds’.
1250 – The deer park was enclosed, giving Parkgate its name.
1300′s – Neston parish church dates back in part to the 14th Century.
1470 – Barn End and Church House in Burton were built about now.
1500′s – Neston established itself as a port with important coaching links to London and became the principal departure point for Spain, France and Ireland.
In Burton, Bishop Wilson’s cottage was built.
1616 – The Farm, Willaston, was built.
1619 – Willaston was sold to several local men, who decided they should act as lords of the manor by rotation; the manor court continued until 1907.
1631 – The Old Red Lion, Willaston was built, followed by Corner House Farm (now Pollard’s Inn) in 1637, Home Farm in 1661, and part of Ash Tree Farm in 1697. Willaston Old Hall, though carrying a date stone 1558, is a similar age.
1663 – In Burton Woods Quakers were buried outside the churchyard.
Thomas Wilson was born in Burton, became bishop of Sodor and Man and built a free school in the parish in the 1730′s; the present primary school is named after him.
1672 – Sir Thomas Mostyn married the heiress of Neston, Leighton and Thornton Hough, so inherited much of Neston. They sold up in 1849.
1689 – About now, Stephen Bond established a medical practice, which became Neston Surgery, and which in 1992 moved to its premises in Mellock Lane.
1600′s – Old Quay House was built as an inn. In 1750 it became the House of Correction to house Irish vagrants en route to Dublin. During World War II the Home Guard used it as target practice and destroyed it.
1700 – is the oldest date plate in Little Neston, on The Rocklands, Woodfall Lane. 1731 is the date on 26 The Green, Little Neston, and the White House has the date 1732.
1703 – is the oldest date plate in Neston, on Old Bank House at the Cross. Gittins Building was built next door, with a date plate 1744.
1711 – is the date stone on St Nicholas house, Burton.
1721 – Burton Parish Church, dedicated to St Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, was rebuilt.
The Watch House, Parkgate, was built in the 1720s. From 1799 to 1828 it was used by HM Coastguards. Coastguard Cottages were built in 1860, when Parkgate was no longer an active port, but four coastguard families lived there until 1875.
1722 – A house, which now forms one-third of The Greenland Fishery Hotel, Neston, was built. The Brown Horse was built in 1724. In 1892 the Black Bull amalgamated with the Greenland Fishery. In 1904 nine pubs stood within 320 yards of the Cross.
1728 – King George III granted a Royal Charter for a weekly Market to be held on a Friday: it was held north of Neston Cross.
1733 – Vine House, Neston was built, with a crinkle-crankle wall: during frosts, a fire was lit on one side to protect peaches on the other side.
The windmill that stands between Leighton Road and Wood Lane was built between 1732 and 1737, alongside a mill, now gone, built in 1729.
1735 – The Nag’s Head, Willaston, was built: it has been much altered.
1740 – A regular ferry started running between Parkgate and Flint. Handel disembarked in Parkgate after conducting the first performance of his Messiah in Dublin in 1742. Since the end of the 17th century, the silting of the River Dee made access to Neston’s New Quay impossible. Ships anchored in the main channel and passengers and goods were rowed to the shore. Schooners operated to Dublin: with favourable winds, the crossing took 15 hours.
1750 – The Balcony House, Parkgate was built. In 1780 the Assembly Room was added, in which dances took place.
1759 – Ness colliery opened, at the bottom of what is now Marshlands Road, and held mainly by the Stanley family. In 1819 Thomas Cottingham opened the Little Neston colliery on an adjoining site. There was bitter rivalry. The first steam engine in Wirral and west Cheshire was here and George Stephenson visited. Both mines closed in the middle of the nineteenth century but a new colliery opened in the 1870s until 1927.
1762 – John Wesley preached in a small chapel house in Parkgate Road, Neston, while waiting for favourable winds to let his ship leave Parkgate. He came through several times as he conducted preaching tours in Ireland.
1765 – Amy (later Emma) Lyon was born, in Ness, the daughter of a blacksmith. She rose from poverty to become Lady Hamilton, and Nelson’s mistress. Lady Hamilton visited Parkgate for the sea bathing in 1784.
1787 – Parkgate Road took over from Moorside Lane as the main road to Parkgate.
1790 – The Parkgate Sea Bathing Charity began, to help working class invalids enjoy being by the sea and sea bathing. In 1881 they purchased a house near the Watch Tower, and men from Chester Infirmary came, usually for three weeks. In 1883 the adjoining house was purchased for women and children.
1791 – Denhall Quay, Ness was built and was used to send coal to North Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man as well as inland via canals, and to import roofing slate and limestone. Other industries here included coke and charcoal making, brick and tile making and metal smelting.
1800 – Willaston’s windmill was built, the largest in Wirral. In 1930 the sails were damaged in a storm: one of its millstones is now part of the village sign on the Little Green.
Parkgate sea wall was extended to form a promenade for visitors. In 1811 a theatre in Drury Lane (enclosed by the Ship Inn in 1860) was giving performances.
1814 – The Neston Female Friendly Society was founded to enable all the ladies help each other in times of hardship. (There is no evidence that local men were fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.) In 2003 the society dropped the word friendly, due to costs charged by the Financial Services Authority. The society’s motto is Bear ye one another’s burdens. The Ladies Day Walk takes place on the first Thursday in June.
1822 – The Parkgate Circulating Library was set up by Mary Doyle, a volunteer.
The Red Lion, Parkgate, was already built.
1838 – A Methodist church was built in Willaston, near the present Pollard Inn: the current church dates from 1889.
1841 – St Winefride’s Roman Catholic School, designed by Augustus Pugin, was opened in Little Neston, and in 1843 became the Church. A new school building was opened nearby in 1857. In 1967 children moved to the new Catholic primary school in Mellock Lane.
1843 – St Thomas’ Church, Parkgate was built as a Congregational Church, later Presbyterian, and in 1917 it was purchased by the Church of England as a chapel of ease, the responsibility of theVicar of Neston. It was closed from 1994 – 2010, when it was re-opened after renovation.
1855 – Willaston’s Anglican church was opened: until 1865 the village was one of eight townships in the parish of Neston.
Mostyn House School, Parkgate was opened by Edward Price. His nephew, A. S. Grenfell became Head, and his son Wilfred Grenfell was born in 1865. In 1892 as a medical missionary for the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen he visited Labrador, and was so shocked by the poverty and ignorance and semi-starvation that he devoted the rest of his life to Labrador. The school chapel was built in 1897, and later a 37-bell carillon is in memory of old boys killed in World War I. The last Head, Suzi Grenfell, was the sixth generation to lead Mostyn House.
1857 – The vicarage, on the east side of Neston Cross, became a girl’s school until the early 1900s. In 1931 the site was occupied by Irwin’s grocers, who were bought by Tesco.
1859 – A new vicarage was built, Woodlands, Wood Lane.
Neston Church of England Infants School was built about now, in Liverpool Road. The building has been converted to flats. The school transferred to Raby Park Road, but later closed.
The first real village school in Willaston, a single room, was built on the Green, where the copper beech tree was planted in 1935. The present school opened in 1930.
1860 – A school was built in Parkgate, now Old School House. The present Primary School was built in 1967.
The licensee of the Shrewsbury Arms, now the Hinderton Arms, was Moses Robertson, a veterinary surgeon.
1866 – A railway linking Hooton, Willaston, Neston and Parkgate opened, and in 1886 a new station was built at Parkgate, and the line extended to West Kirby. It closed to passengers in 1956 and to goods in 1962, and became the Wirral Country Park for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
There was an outbreak of cholera in Neston. The Poor Law Guardians formed a committee, which included Christopher Bushell and Rev. Richard Gleadowe, which met with Dr David Russell, the Medical Officer. In 1867, Christopher Bushell, a Liverpool wine merchant, chaired the first Neston Local Board, which installed piped water. In 1882 local people paid for a monument to him, and the Bushell Fountain still stands at Neston Cross.
1872 – The Methodist Church, Little Neston, was built.
1874 – A Non-Denominational Mission Hall was built on the corner of Liverpool Road and Park Road, Neston. It was paid for by Captain Ward, a local tug boat owner, and became known as ‘The Old Tin Chapel’. His nephew, Captain Matthew Webb (the first man to swim the English Channel) spoke here on temperance.
1875 – Neston Parish Church was almost completely rebuilt to the design of Francis Doyle, after extra windows and removal of pillars made the old church unsafe. A gravestone records that John Heveran aged 22, late master in Neston National School, was killed by lightning in Heswall Parish Church in
1880 – Joseph Mealor set up a business in Ness, making ploughs and other farm implements. The business ran until 2010 as Mealor’s Mowers: the buildings were converted to houses, retaining the name Mealor’s Courtyard.
1881 – Dr Riddock established the Literary and Debating Society and Library at the Middle School, The Green, Little Neston.
Neston Races took place at Parks Field, Parkgate until at least 1895. Some of the race course was lost when the railway was extended to West Kirby.
1882 – A gas works opened in Church Lane, Neston: Gascott House is still there. Col Richard Lacey, of Springvale, Moorside Lane was managing director, and Rev. Richard Gleadowe was chairman. Later, gas came from Birkenhead, and in the 1970s North Sea Gas arrived.
A factory for electric cables was opened on Old Quay Lane, Parkgate, and in 1887 moved to Helsby and grew into British Insulated Callenders Cables.
1884 – The Presbyterian Church was built in Parkgate Road, Neston, designed by Francis Doyle, who designed Neston Parish Church. It is now the United Reformed Church.
1889 – Neston Town Hall was opened.
1894 – Neston Local Board was replaced by Neston-cum-Parkgate Urban District Council: this became Neston Urban District Council in 1933, and bought the Town Hall.
1895 – Neston Cricket Club was established.
1896 – Neston and Parkgate Hygienic Laundry and Cleaning Company opened on the site of the cable works. The site later became a garden nursery.
The Bidston to Hawarden Bridge railway opened, with stations in Neston (called Neston North while Neston South existed on the Hooton to West Kirby line), and at Burton, called Burton Point (which closed in 1955). It carried iron ore to Summers Steel Works, and now carries passengers between Bidston and Wrexham.
1898 – Arthur Kilpin Bulley had Mickwell Brow built at Ness. He established Ness Gardens, and Bee’s Seeds, which moved to Sealand in 1911. In 1948 his daughter Lois gave the house and gardens to the University of Liverpool.
1899 – The Old Tin Chapel was bought by the Rock Ferry Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The opening sermon was preached by the Rev Charles Garrett who said “… a body of hearty young people is growing up and there is every prospect of a strong cause being established in the place…”
1901 – The Royal Oak, Little Neston, an ancient single storey thatched building, burnt down and was replaced by the present building.
1902 – Neston sewage works was built.
1903 – Henry Neville Gladstone, son of the Prime Minister, bought Burton Manor from the Congreve family and enlarged and remodelled it. The Gladstones sold the manor in 1924 and in 1948 it became a college.
Neston Institute was built. In 1912, you could go to the pictures in the afternoon for a penny. In World War I it was Neston Red Cross Hospital, and is now Neston Civic Hall.
A newly-built house in Parkgate Road was bought as a vicarage, as Woodlands was too large for Rev. Edmund Turner: it remained the vicarage until 1985.
1907 – Neston Library was established, with funds from Andrew Carnegie, on land given by the family of the late Dr Russell of Vine House. From 1930 members of the public were allowed to select books themselves.
1908 – The plans of Mr Lambert of Nottingham for the erection of a new chapel were accepted to replace the Old Tin Chapel. On the 27th June, the Wesleyan Church Neston Foundation Stone was laid, and the Dedicatory Service was held 3rd February 1909. The Opening Service was conducted by the Rev J. Scott Lidgett, President of the Wesleyan Conference.
1909 – The new Council School in Burton Road, Neston was first used.
1913 – The wooden gothic-style St Michael’s Mission Church was built in Little Neston. (In 1910 services had been held at Ness Holt School.) In 1989 it was demolished, and in 1991 the new St Michael’s Church was dedicated.
1918 – During World War I William La Touche Congreve and Christopher Bushell were each awarded the Victoria Cross
1920 – The Neston War Memorial Hospital was opened in a large house by The Green, Little Neston. It closed in 1964 and was later demolished.
1921 – The New Cinema in Chester Road, Neston opened, and remained in business until 1961: it is now the Royal Arcade.
The Congregational Church in Bushell Road was built. The church later amalgamated with the Presbyterian Church to form the United Reformed Church, and the building is now used by Freemasons.
1923 – The Parkgate open-air baths were established: they closed in 1950.
1926 – The Boathouse Tearooms were built.
1928 – The half-timbered Red Lion, Willaston closed for business.
The Durham Ox public house, Little Neston closed.
Electricity supply came from Birkenhead.
Neston & Parkgate Housing Society was formed. In 2008 it joined Adactus Housing Association.
1930′s – Some 30 fishermen still worked from Parkgate, exporting shrimps, mussels and cockles to Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
1941 – During World War II, George Ward Gunn was awarded the Victoria Cross
1948 – Council Houses were built in Mellock Lane, Little Neston.
1949 – Reg Chrimes was elected to the Neston Urban District Council aged 24. In 1995 he was made a Freeman of the Borough, and when he retired in 2007 he had served for 58 years, a national record.
1953 – The Garden of Remembrance was created alongside the Neston Library.
1958 – Neston Secondary School opened. In 1972 it became Neston Comprehensive School, and later Neston High School.
1960′s – Many houses were built in Little Neston, off Lees Lane and West Vale.
1974 – Neston Urban District Council merged to form part of Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council.
1979 – The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds bought 5000 acres of the Dee salt marsh. In 1992 they opened Inner Marsh Farm, Burton, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as is the Dee Estuary.
1998 – A partnership was formed between Neston Methodist Church, Age Concern EP &N and Cheshire County Council Social Services to provide new and extended facilities, known as Project 99.
1999 – Centenary year marking the introduction of Wesleyan Methodism in Neston. Neston Methodist Church Rededication Service (After completion of Building Project) was held 15th May.
Postcodes changed from L64 to CH64
2000 – The Millennium Bridge was installed to carry walkers, horse-riders, and cyclists on Sustrans Route 56, along the Wirral Way over Bridge Street, Neston.
2003 – The Neston Market Town Initiative (MTI) was launched after a consultation (Healthcheck), with £1 million from the North West Development Agency for social and economic regeneration in Burton, Little Neston, Ness, Neston and Parkgate.
The Lottery Fund gave £75,000 for community action, which led to the Neston Community Association, later ch64inc.
Neston Library was renovated, having been extended in 1973.
2005 – Neston Civic Society organised a public meeting to explain the case for Neston having a parish council. CAN (Community Activities in Neston) was formed.
2006 – The Neston Market Town Initiative was set up, funded by Cheshire County Council, Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council, and North West Development Agency. It ran until 2008. Many Neston shops used the Shop Front Scheme to renovate their premises.
Neston Civic Society delivered a petition to EPNBC, which organised a ballot of all Neston households: 58.5% voted in favour of a parish council.
2007 – The Government accepted the petition for Neston including Parkgate, Little Neston and Ness, to have a Parish Council.
Stanney Fields Park, Neston gained the Green Flag Award.
Neston and Little Neston were runners-up in the Cheshire Community Pride Competition.
The University of Liverpool opened a new Small Animal Hospital at the Leahurst Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Chester High Road. Wood Park Farm opened new facilities for dairy cows alongside Ness Heath Farm, both later part of Leahurst.
The Neston website, www.neston.org.uk was established.
2008 – St Thomas’ Church, Parkgate was renovated.
ch64inc organised Citizens’ Week.
In the Cheshire Community Pride competition, entered by Neston Civic Society, Neston & Little Neston came first in their category for Best Kept Village, and the Audio Trails on neston.org.uk were the Best Community Project.
The website www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Cheshire/Neston/CH64 was launched.
2009 – Local government was reorganised: Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council and Cheshire County Council gave way to the unitary authority Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The first meeting of the parish council voted to become a town council, with Moira Andrews as Chairman.
Neston Youth and Community Centre opened in Burton Road, Neston.
Somerfield supermarket in Ladies Walk, Neston, closed, and re-opened as Aldi.
Neston Cricket Club opened its refurbished club house and all-weather hockey pitch.
ch64inc organised a safari for officers and councillors of the new Cheshire West and Chester Council around the CH64 area.
Stanney Fields Park won a Green Flag Award
2010 – A new Sainsbury’s supermarket, multi-storey car park, and Town Square were opened between Brook Street and Raby Road, Neston.
David Clark became the first Mayor of Neston.
St Thomas’ church, Parkgate, was re-opened after extensive refurbishment.
The Big Meadow in Willaston received Green Pennant Status.
Neston town centre and Parkgate had new Christmas lights.
2011 – Burton Manor closed.
Martin Barker was elected Neston Mayor.
The metal war memorial was stolen from Willaston.
Ponds and gutters were excavated in the salt marshes at Parkgate, in order to make a habitat for fish, which eat mosquito larvae.
2012 – Brio Leisure, a Community Interest Company (CIC) took over running Neston Leisure Centre and Neston Civic Hall.
A new footpath was opened from Ness village to Ness Gardens.
Neston Town Council started the Neighbourhood Plan.
Father Gerry Courell of St Winefride’s died, and was remembered at a memorial service at Neston Parish Church, as well as a Requiem Mass at St Winefride’s.
Burton Manor walled garden and glasshouse were opened.
Pat Hughes was elected Neston Mayor.
Carrie Spacey was Cheshire’s Rural Woman of the Year.
2013 – Alan Dawson became vicar of St Mary and St Helen Parish Church, following the retirement of Neill Robb.
Cheshire West and Chester Council moved from Neston Town Hall to Neston Library.
Neston Town Council appointed Katy Pierce as Town Centre Manager.
Neston Nomads were Wirral Sunday Premier Division champions.
Tom Marlow was elected Neston Mayor.
Burton Marsh Greenway opened as a walking and cycling route to Wales.
Park Fields, Parkgate, received a Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Field Award.
Janet Griffiths was Cheshire Rural Woman of the Year for her work for Neston Town Council, and Cheshire Community Pride competition.
There were exceptionally high tides at Parkgate, Little Neston and Burton.
The Wheatsheaf at Ness changed its name to The Inn at Ness.
Hip and Harmony was established as a Community Interest Company (CIC).
2014– Resurfacing of Cuckoo Lane, Little Neston, was stopped after protests.
Neston Civic Society published a new Town Trail, with colour photographs.
Neston Town Council moved into Neston Town Hall, and took charge of the Market Square for three years.
Neston South Wirral became European Hockey Federation Club of the Year.
Neston Nomads were the first club to win the Wirral Sunday Premier League three times in succession.
Janet Griffiths was elected Mayor of Neston.
Ladies Day Walk commemorated 200 years since the founding in 1814 of the Neston Female Friendly Society.
The centenary of World War I was commemorated with an exhibition at Neston Library.
2015 – Natwest Bank, at The Cross, Neston, closed.
Stephen Bazely came as priest at Christ Church Willaston.
Neston Parish Church hosted an exhibition to mark 250 years since the birth of Emma Lyons, later Lady Hamilton
Justin Madders was elected MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, when Andrew Miller stood down after 25 years as MP.
Martin Barker was elected to West Cheshire and Chester Council, as their only independent Councillor, representing Parkgate, after the death of long-standing Councillor Brenda Dowding.
Mike Shipman was elected Mayor of Neston.
Neston charity Northern Lights received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Liverpool to Chester and the Great Tour cycle rides both came through Parkgate and Neston.
2016 – Building of the new three-storey building for Neston High School began.
A new plaque was unveiled in Parkgate Road, Neston, marking the preaching by John Wesley in 1762.
CAN (Community Activities in Neston) closed after ten years, but Zaria Shreef moved to NC@&YC (Neston Community & Youth Centre) to continue organising events.
Ladies Day walk began at Neston Market Square, fuelling controversy.
Parkgate Heritage Trail was published.
Neston Neighbourhood Plan was officially confirmed.
Mike Shipman was elected Mayor of Neston for a second year.
Councillor Myles Hogg of Willaston became the Sheriff of Chester.
A commemorative stone was laid in Burton in honour of Major William La Touche Congreve, awarded the V.C. during World War I.
In Willaston, the 150th anniversary of the opening of Hadlow Road station was celebrated, and a plaque was unveiled.
Elephant Lounge and Bar in Parkgate won the top prize for the best designed cafe in the country, from Cafe Life.
The car park on the former Parkgate station was extended and named Ropewalk car park.
The former Natwest Bank at Neston Cross re-opened as Elephant Bank Pizzeria and Bar.
To read more about the history of the area, there are many local history books, and a website dedicated to local history.
Timeline CH64 was originally created for Citizens’ Week 2008 to list some events in Burton, Little Neston, Ness, Neston, Parkgate and Willaston. In updating the Timeline, the Annual Reviews at http://www.aboutmyarea.co.uk/Cheshire/Neston/CH64/Best-of-Neston-and-CH64 have proved most useful: they are recommended as an excellent account of what has happened in CH64 since 2008.
Please email any comments or corrections.