Hartford shown within Cheshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Cheshire West and Chester|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Weaver Vale|
Hartford is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies at the intersection of the A559 road and the West Coast Main Line (between Liverpool and Crewe) and is less than 2 miles (3.2 km) south west of the town of Northwich. It forms part of the Weaver Vale parliamentary constituency.
Hartford is an educational hub and unique in Europe. There are roughly the same number of students attending the numerous schools in the village as inhabitants.
Hartford is situated in the Cheshire Plain to the south west of the town of Northwich, and is surrounded by the following civil parishes, starting due north and proceeding in a clockwise direction:
Population figures for Hartford are:
- 1801: 472
- 1851: 950
- 1901: 850
- 1951: 2919
- 2001: 5515
Hartford was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, when the Manor was held by Gilbert de Venables as part of the Barony of Kinderton. Prior to the reign of Edward III it was held by a family who assumed the local name, from which it passed to the Horton, Massey, Holcroft, Marbury and Davies families.
Hartford was formerly a township divided between two ancient parishes, with the greater part belonging to Witton chapelry of Great Budworth ancient parish, and a much smaller part in Weaverham cum Milton ancient parish. It also formed part of Eddisbury Hundred, and in 1836 was placed in Northwich poor law union. It was constituted a civil parish in 1866, and in 1875 was added to the newly formed Northwich rural sanitary district. Part of Hartford was transferred to the Northwich urban sanitary district when the boundaries of the latter were extended in 1880.
The civil parish has experienced three boundary changes. In 1894, the easternmost part (in Northwich urban sanitary district) was lost when the area between Beach Road and Darwin Street — including Greenbank railway station — was transferred to Northwich civil parish. There were very small boundary adustments with neighbouring parishes in 1936, and in 1955 the newly built Greenbank Estate was transferred from the parish of Hartford to Northwich.
From 1894 to 1974 the whole of Hartford was part of Northwich rural district, and it was served by Vale Royal borough council. In April 2009 the latter ceased to exist, and Hartford is now a civil parish within the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester.
Hartford has a number of interesting grade II listed buildings and large period homes as well as many other smaller properties of historical merit. Properties of particular interest include: Sandiway House, Sandiway Cottage, The Beeches, Weaverham Grange, Whitehall and The Green lodges (Toll cottages).
Blue plaques have been displayed on bulidings and places of note displaying their historial importance.
The beginning of the church in Hartford was 1821 when a meeting of the inhabitants of resolved to raise sufficient funds for the building of a church. At that time most of the township was served by Witton Chapel, 2 miles away, except for a small area south of Chester Road which formed a detached part of Weaverham parish.
Building started in 1822 and the new church and churchyard were consecrated by the Bishop of Chester in 1824 as a chapel to Witton. The building cost about £1,450.
Population growth in Hartford over the next forty years meant that this church was soon too small and so in 1873 a new building dedicated to St John the Baptist was commissioned. It was designed by John Douglas and the new church was consecrated in 1875 by the Bishop of Chester.
The tower was built and dedicated by the Bishop of Chester in 1887 to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria. In 1897 a ring of six bells was installed to commemorate her diamond jubilee.
In 1998 a new entrance hall and extension was added to the church.
Hartford also has a Methodist Church, situated on Beach Road. The current building dates from 1891, replacing an earlier building nearby which was constructed in 1833 and is now used as the Methodist Church Hall.
Hartford is home to several schools namely St. Nicholas Catholic High School, Hartford High School, a specialist sports and languages school, Hartford County Primary School (locally known as "Riddings Lane"), St. Wilfrid's Catholic Primary School and Hartford Manor Community Primary School.
The private Grange School is also located in Hartford (both the prep and senior schools) and is frequently placed in the top fifty mixed schools in the country. Hartford is also home to the main campus for Mid Cheshire College and two schools which cater for children with learning disabilities called Cloughwood and Greenbank.
Hartford has two shopping parades. The larger is on Chester Road. This includes the newsagents, the Red Lion pub, a children's clothes shop, a hair salon, a florist, a butcher, St. Lukes Charity shop, a bakery, a video store and a Co-op. The smaller parade, on School Lane, includes a dry cleaner, a nail studio, women's and gents' hairdressers plus Relish an established contemporary cafe, bar and bistro opened in 2009.
A new wine bar and restaurant next door to the Red Lion called 'Chime' has now officially opened. A Sainsbury's Local store will also be opening in the Village in early 2015. This will be located opposite Mid-Cheshire College on Chester Road.
Sport and leisure
Sports facilities around the village include: Hartford Tennis Club, Cricket Club, Bowling Club, Golf club and Driving range. Youth football is played on the playing fields accessed from The Green.
A Theatre owned by the independent school, The Grange, is located at their Senior school off Bradburns Lane. A production of Cinderella will be performed regularly over the 2014 Christmas period. It will feature Anne Hegerty of Chase and Dane Bowers formerly of Another Level.
Hartford is bisected by the A559, known as Chester Road. The A556 road bypasses the village as part of the Northwich bypass. The bridge that carries the road over the River Weaver is known as Hartford Bridge or Blue Bridge, and was built in 1938.
Hartford is served by Hartford railway station on the West Coast Main Line between Liverpool and Crewe and by Greenbank railway station on the Mid-Cheshire Line between Chester and Manchester Piccadilly.
Hartford contains the registered office of Holidaybreak Plc. Until recently it was also a key location for AMEC plc, with offices at Sandiway House off Littledales Lane. The site (Sandiway House) has now been sold and is being redeveloped for residential use.
Notes and references
- "Education in Hartford". Hartford Parish Council. n.d. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Kelly's Directory of Cheshire (1939), p. 189
- Youngs (1991, pp. 20,40)
- Youngs (1991, p. 20). Ordnance Survey (1875). Cheshire Sheet XXXIV (SW), 1st edition. "Hartford C.P.". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- Youngs (1991, p. 20). Ministry of Health and Local Government Order No. 4238. The County of Chester (Northwich U.D.) Confirmation Order, 1955
- Ordnance Survey (1875). Cheshire Sheet XXXIV (SW), 1st edition
- Chime (2014), http://www.chimehartford.co.uk/
Media related to Hartford, Cheshire at Wikimedia Commons