Marple, Greater Manchester

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Peak Forest Canal at Marple
Marple is located in Greater Manchester
 Marple shown within Greater Manchester
Population 23,686 
OS grid reference SJ971893
Metropolitan borough Stockport
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SK6
Dialling code 0161
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Hazel Grove
List of places
Greater Manchester

Coordinates: 53°23′51″N 2°03′42″W / 53.3974°N 2.0617°W / 53.3974; -2.0617

Marple /ˈmɑːpəl/ is a small town within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on the River Goyt southeast of Stockport.

Historically in Cheshire, Marple has a population of 23,686 (2011 Census).



Known as Merpille by the early 13th century, probably from the words maere and pyll meaning "a pool or stream near the boundary".[1]

Early history[edit]

It is believed the earliest residents settled here several millennia ago.[citation needed] There are clues to their existence around the Ludworth area where there are standing stones and tumuli. This was confirmed around 1998 when an archaeological dig in Mellor revealed many clues about the existence of Marple's earliest residents.

The area was predominantly within the Macclesfield Forest, and was omitted from the Domesday survey. The first mention of the area was in 1122[citation needed] in a deed for the sale of land. In 1220 the land passed to the Vernon family where it remained for several generations[citation needed] The pre-Industrial Revolution inhabitants of the village mostly worked on small farms and others specialised in linen weaving and hatting. After 1790, Samuel Oldknow transformed much of this lifestyle, with the construction of lime kilns and mills.[2] The Industrial Revolution had arrived, and the population of the village began to rise with the construction of terraces to house mill workers and the formation of a village centre filled with private businesses.

Recent history[edit]

In the early 1900s the town prospered from the success of cotton in nearby Stockport and Manchester, the canals in the area served as a vital link with other industrial towns. The railway arrived in the mid-1800s[citation needed] and this caused the demise of the canal as a transport link. The railway opened the village to commuters from Stockport and Manchester.


Goyt Mill was one of several cotton mills in Marple processing cotton goods.

Marple is close to Derbyshire and is bordered by Hawk Green, High Lane, Marple Bridge, Mellor, New Mills, Moor End, Strines and Mill Brow.

The area covers just over 11 square miles (28 km²) of countryside, ranging from heavily wooded valleys to hill-top moorland. It rises from around 262 feet (80 m) above sea level at the River Goyt to 1,073 feet (327 m) at Cobden Edge. On a clear day it is possible to view the Beetham Tower in Manchester as well as the city centre, the Winter Hill TV transmitter and the surrounding counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire and West Yorkshire and the mountains of North Wales from the top of these hills.


Footbridge over the River Goyt between Marple Bridge and New Mills

In 1866 Marple became a civil parish in Cheshire and in 1894 the parish formed an urban district.[3] The parish and district was expanded in 1936 by gaining Ludworth and Mellor from the Chapel-en-le-Frith rural district, an area of around 4,000 acres (20 km2).[4] In 1974 the urban district was abolished and its former area was transferred to Greater Manchester to form part of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport.[5]

Marple is twinned with the town Motril in the province of Granada in Spain.[6]


All Saints' Church, a grade II listed building

Marple is notable for its series of canal locks close to the village centre. The Peak Forest Canal skirts the village, running alongside Marple Memorial Park and Brabyns Park until it reaches the Marple Aqueduct and beyond. The canal served as a vital link during the Industrial Revolution. Nowadays it provides an area of relaxation for walkers, anglers and boaters.

The Roman Lakes leisure complex is popular with walkers, anglers, nature lovers and horse riders. It is located in the valley bottom close to Strines. The area was named in the Victorian era as an attraction to tourists not because it had links with the Romans (also true of Roman Bridge, a packhorse bridge over the Goyt). In the area closest to the river there was a mill built by Samuel Oldknow; it is now ruined and overgrown. In 2011, volunteers uncovered the wheelpit and entrance footings to the mill and are currently seeking funds to continue the exploration. The wheelpit, which when built was the largest in the world, is now viewable.

The Middlewood Way is a 10-mile walking/cycling path between Marple and Macclesfield, following the line of the former Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple Railway.[7]

In 2008, Marple was used as the setting for the BBC drama Sunshine. Marple featured in a BBC documentary on Dr Beeching and the effect of axing the railway. The programme highlighted the transport issues and how getting the train from Marple to Stockport was impossible, and road traffic made the journey one of the most difficult in the UK. In 2010 it was the location for BBC3's White Van Man.

Marple Hall[edit]

Marple Hall is located close to where Marple Hall School now stands. The remains of the hall can be explored, though very little remains. The hall was the ancestral home of the Bradshaws and passed to the Isherwoods. It was demolished in 1959 after it was offered to the council in 1954 by the writer Christopher Isherwood, who had inherited it. By this time the hall had been ransacked by vandals and looters. Much of the estate is now residential housing or the school. The old hall foundations can be seen on the corner of Marple Hall Drive. There is a plaque on a piece of stone which is the only remaining lintel from the house. The shutters from its windows are restored and on display in Marple Library. The hall overlooked the River Goyt and it is still possible to walk from there to the river following a pathway which once led to the Dooley Lane entrance to the estate. There are cobbles from Marple Hall Drive to the hall. Nearby Brabyn's Hall suffered a similar fate. Wybersley Hall, now in private ownership, stood ruined for a time.


Marple Rose Hill railway station
Junction of Peak Forest Canal and the Macclesfield Canal in Marple

Marple is served by two railway stations: Marple railway station and Rose Hill Marple railway station (originally on the now-defunct Macclesfield, Bollington and Marple Railway). Both railway stations are now located on the Hope Valley Line, with both providing services to Manchester Piccadilly. The Agatha Christie character Miss Marple was named after the railway station on the Manchester to Sheffield Hope Valley line, at which Christie was once delayed. East of Rose Hill railway station is a Manchester overspill council estate constructed around the late 1940s-mid-1950s to rehouse people away from Victorian slums of inner-city Manchester or areas of the city destroyed by World War II bombings.

The town is at the junction of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. The two canals form part of the Cheshire Ring canal system.[8] Marple Aqueduct is a short walk from the village centre.

The village has many bus services, most of which go to Stockport via the A626 and Offerton, and an hourly service to Glossop in Derbyshire and Stepping Hill Hospital in the other direction. It has bus services to Hayfield and New Mills.


Memorial Park, Marple

Marple Hall School occupies the site of the ancestral home of the Bradshaw-Isherwood family. There is Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College (formerly Ridge Danyers College) a local college offering courses to young people and adults. There are two primary schools, Rose Hill, which has merged with 'The Dale' & 'Peacefield' Schools and All Saints, a Church of England school. There is an independent school and nursery Brabyns Preparatory School and Bowden House Day Nursery.


Marple Rugby Club play home matches at Wood Lane. It has three adult teams with the 1st XV currently playing in the South Lancs Cheshire 3[dead link] division. It has a Marple Minis Rugby outfit with teams from age 7 to 17.

Marple Library

Marple Athletic JFC, founded in 1985, play their home matches at Brabyns Park. Like Rose Hill Rovers, MAJFC compete in the Tameside Junior League. Rosehill Rovers football team play at the Marple Hall School site, competing in the Stockport Metro League.[9]

Marple Cricket Club was formed in about 1900 and has been based at Bowden Lane since 1951. The club is a member of the ECB Cheshire County Cricket League and its first team plays in the Premier Division. The club runs four senior teams, the first and second teams play on Saturdays and the third and fourth teams on Sundays. The club has a junior section. The cricket club built a squash section in the 1970s. The squash section has three courts and four teams playing regular club squash. A junior section has recently[when?] opened under qualified coaches from the club's membership.

Brabyns Tennis Club has four clay courts and three floodlit artificial grass courts, enabling year-round play. The club has several men's and ladies' teams in the Slazenger North East Cheshire League and mixed teams in the East Cheshire Winter League. There is a junior section and extensive coaching programme.

Marple Golf Club, founded in 1892, is located in Hawk Green, Marple. It is an 18 hole private members' course.


Regent Cinema, Marple

Since 1932 Marple has had a cinema in a building designed in 1878 as a place of worship/refuge. The building was purchased in 1932 by the "Marple Cinema Company" and became the Regent Cinema.[10] It remains open,[11] as one of the few independent cinemas in the UK. The Carver Theatre,[12] was built as a boys' club and gymnasium.[13] It hosts the 1st Marple Scout and Guide Gang Show in March.

The village has two brass bands, the Marple Band and the Hawk Green (Marple) Band.


Marple Scouts is large Scout group which contains several Beaver colonies, Cub packs and Scout troops with Explorer and Network units attached. The group was formed in 1908 and now has over 250 members. It has a hut, located by Memorial Park in the centre of Marple. Members have participated in numerous international camps over the years. There is a large Guide presence which meets at a purpose built hut near All Saints' School.

Notable people[edit]

Sister city[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Districts & Townships of the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County". 
  2. ^ Bannister, Anne (1970). The Changing Face of Marple. Marple: Gordon Mills & Co. 
  3. ^ Vision of Britain - Marple parish (historic map[dead link])
  4. ^ Vision of Britain - Marple Urban District (historic map[dead link])
  5. ^ Arnold-Baker, C., Local Government Act 1972, (1973)
  6. ^ "Toasting their Spanish twins". Stockport Express. November 12, 2003. 
  7. ^ Macclesfield Borough Council - The Middlewood Way
  8. ^ "Inland Waterways around Greater Manchester : The Cheshire Ring Canal System". 
  9. ^ "Cheadle and Marple Football League". Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  10. ^ Peter Clarke. "From Tearooms to Terminator - The Regent Cinema". 
  11. ^ "Regent Cinema Marple". Archived from the original on 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  12. ^ "Carver Theatre". Archived from the original on 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  13. ^ Peter Clarke. "Hollins Mill - Disappeared without trace". 
  14. ^ "John Stanhope Collings-Wells, V.C., D.S.O.". Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Mark Whittaker. "The Lime Kilns". 
  16. ^ "Anthony H Wilson: Excerpts from the Interview with Eyewitness in Manchester 30 April". Eyewitness. April 30, 1998. [dead link]

External links[edit]