Heath Charnock Parish Council

Heath Charnock was formerly in the ancient parish of Standish and a list of  subscribers for the rebuilding of St Wilfrid’s Church, Standish, in 1582, shows that the number of dwellings in Heath Charnock was 34. A parish census of 1754 gives 57 dwellings and by 1764, the population was 393 persons.  The census of  1921 records 1,252 persons – 591 males and 661 females. In 2001 the population was 2,065.

The earliest surviving reference to Heath Charnock is in a Papal Bull of 1190 relating to the Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey, by which the Lord of Heath Charnock, Ranulph Gogard, granted land in the township to the canons in return for their prayers for the souls of the family. For a time in the middle ages, Heath Charnock was known as Charnock Gogard.

Heath Charnock has had several industries. Much of it was agricultural, and as early as 1401 crops of corn, fine wheat, barley, beans, peas and oats were recorded in Plea Rolls. By the nineteenth century, and continuing into the first half of the twentieth, there were numerous small coal pits, with larger mines just outside the parish at Ellerbeck and Duxbury.  There were also firebrick works, the largest of which is now under the M61 motorway.

Middletons’ Springfield cotton mill on Babylon Lane was a major employer from the second half of the nineteenth century. After the end of cotton manufacturing the mill site had various uses; it was finally demolished in the 1980s.