Neston was probably a Saxon settlement. ‘Nes’ means headland and ‘ton’ is a Saxon ending for a township – thus ‘a town on a headland’. An old map of the area shows this headland jutting out into the Dee Estuary – however, time and tides have long since eroded that. According to the “History of the Hundred of Wirral”, the parish of Neston in its early days, was the largest in Wirral, extending up to 9,000 acres and was valued in the county books at £13,600 per annum. The Domesday Book of 1085 states that the inhabitants of Neston and Little Neston numbered 16. The population in Great Neston in 1841 stood at 1,212 and by 1851 the Neston area population had risen to 3,578
Until less than 200 years ago there was a port here, moving from Burton to Neston and later to Parkgate as the River Dee silted up and was finally diverted.
The last vestiges of the old manorial system that had controlled the area vanished with the sale of Mostyn lands, which had been considerable in size, leaving a vacuum in local administration. The Local Government Act of 1858 authorised local communities to elect boards, empowered to assume responsibility for matters such as water supply, drainage, sewage disposal and street lighting – and to raise a Rate to carry out these duties. The board met for the first time in August 1867 in the Church School. A Rate of 6d in the £1 was set. It was subsequently decided that better premises were required for meetings and social events within Neston, and leading local residents decided to form a limited liability company to sell shares to finance the building of a suitable hall. The site, purchased for £500, was a garden on which stood the Drill Shed, used by the Neston Volunteer Rifle Corps, had previously been the National School.
The foundation stone of Neston Town Hall was laid on 6th September 1888 and it was completed in February 1889. In 1894 the Board was dissolved, being replaced by Neston-cum-Parkgate Urban District Council. This became Neston Urban District Council in 1933. In 1934, the Neston Urban District Council purchased the Hall from the Town Hall Company and all meetings were held in the Council Chamber upstairs. In Government re-organisation in 1974, Neston Urban District Council merged with Ellesmere Port Urban District Council, and Neston Town Hall’s Council Chamber was no longer the seat of Local Government. The basement, once used as the Drill Hall, houses part of the Friday market. In 2013 Cheshire West & Chester employees moved from the Town Hall to Neston Library. In 2014 Neston Town Council moved in.
The area is the birthplace of Nelson’s mistress, Emma Hamilton, and Wilfred Grenfell, a medical missionary to Labrador. Others who where born in or lived in the Neston area are listed under “Some Local Notable People”. Find out more about the people, places and activities that helped make the Neston area what it is today:
World War I Heroes – can you help?
Why Does Neston Have a Mayor?
Timeline for CH64
Some Local Notable People
An Exhibition on the life of Emma, Lady Hamilton
Scheduled Monuments in the Neston Area
Blue Plaques in Neston and Parkgate
Neston Past – A website on Neston’s History – established in 2015, providing in-depth history of the area.
Neston Pictorial – old photographs of the Neston area.
A huge collection of old photographs of Neston and Parkgate, many with comments, can be see on this Facebook Page.