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Newton-le-Willows (29).JPG
High Street, Newton-le-Willows
Newton-le-Willows is located in Merseyside
Location within Merseyside
Population22,114 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSJ580949
• London171 mi (275 km)[1] SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtWA12
Dialling code01925
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
53°27′00″N 2°37′59″W / 53.450°N 2.633°W / 53.450; -2.633Coordinates: 53°27′00″N 2°37′59″W / 53.450°N 2.633°W / 53.450; -2.633

Newton-le-Willows is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, Merseyside, England. The population at the 2011 census was 22,114.[2] Newton-le-Willows is on the eastern edge of St Helens, south of Wigan and north of Warrington.

The Newton township was historically largely pastoral lands, with the mining industry encroaching from the north and the west as time went on. The township (often referred to as Newton in Makerfield at that time) is documented since at least the 12th century. In the early 19th century the township saw significant urban development to support the construction of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The presence of the Sankey Canal running through the Sankey Valley necessitated the construction of the Sankey Viaduct by George Stephenson, and the town of Earlestown developed around the industrial works there. Earlestown gradually became the administrative and commercial centre of the township, with the historic market and fairs moving to a purpose built square.

The town is part of the historic county of Lancashire.


Historically, Newton was known as both "Newton-le-Willows" and "Newton in Makerfield" to differentiate it from other towns of the same name.[3] The name Newton means "new town", while Makerfield is an ancient name for the district from the Brittonic word "mager" meaning "wall" combined with the English word "field".[4][5] "Neweton" was mentioned in the Domesday Book while the spelling of Makerfield evolved and was recorded as Makeresfeld in 1205 and 1351, as Makefeld in 1206, Makerefeld in 1213 and Makerfield since 1242.[3]


Randall's Arch

Before the Norman Conquest, Newton was head of a hundred. The Domesday hundred was assessed at five hides one of which included Newton. The lord of the manor was Edward the Confessor at his death in 1066. The Newton Hundred was subsequently combined with the Warrington and Derby Hundreds to form the West Derby Hundred.[5][3]

The fields between Newton and Winwick were the site of the battle of Winwick, the last battle of the Second English Civil War.

Newton has two railway stations. Newton-le-Willows railway station and Earlestown railway station, opened in 1830. They are two of the oldest railway stations. Earlestown was an important junction where the original Liverpool and Manchester Railway line was joined by the 1837 line running south to Birmingham. The town also had three other railway stations, situated at Parkside, the Vulcan Village, and the old racecourse (which closed when Haydock Park Racecourse was opened). Parkside is notable as the site of the world's first fatal rail accident, at which a notable MP at the time, William Huskisson died. Two other local railway related landmarks are Newton Viaduct and the Sankey Viaduct which is locally known as the "Nine Arches".


Forming part of the historic county boundaries of Lancashire from a very early time, Newton-le-Willows is an ancient town. It was initially part of the Fee of Makerfield, which was part of the West Derby Hundred. It was later made a parliamentary borough from 1558 until 1832, one of the earliest in Lancashire. From this date until 1894, the town came under the control of a court leet and improvement commissioners. The developing industrial town was then created into an urban district under the name Newton in Makerfield. The name of the urban district was changed in 1939 to Newton-le-Willows. On 1 April 1974 Newton-le-Willows Urban District Council merged with a number of neighbouring local authorities, to create St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council in the new ceremonial county of Merseyside.[6]

Newton-le-Willows is split into two wards, Newton East and Newton West, each ward returns three councillors to serve on St Helens Borough Council. As of May 2022, the East ward is represented by three Labour councillors, while Newton West has two Independent councillors and one Labour.


Newton-le-Willows is located off the A580 East Lancashire Road between Liverpool and Manchester in north-west England. It is in the east of the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens in Merseyside, near to the border with Wigan in Greater Manchester. To the south is the Borough of Warrington in Cheshire. The wider built-up area of Newton-le-Willows includes Earlestown and areas of Wargrave and Vulcan Village.

The town is considered as part of the Greater Manchester Built-up Area for statistical purposes despite being situated within Merseyside.


Newton-le-Willows railway station

The M6 and M62 motorways and A580 East Lancashire Road pass close to the town. This has helped Newton become an important commuter town now that most of its industry has gone. There have been many new housing estates built around the outskirts of the town.

The Sankey Canal passes through the town and is crossed, on the Sankey Viaduct, by the world's first passenger railway, also within the boundaries of the town.

Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown railway stations have a regional service with regular trains running to Liverpool and Manchester, St Helens, Warrington, Chester, West Yorkshire and along the North Wales coast to Llandudno. Earlestown is a very large station for the size of the town, with 5 platforms. On platform 2 is the old waiting room, regarded as one of the oldest remaining railway buildings in the world.

There is a small bus station in Tamworth Street, with a number of bus routes running around the town, and out of town services connecting neighbouring Burtonwood, Haydock, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lowton, Garswood and major towns of Warrington, St. Helens, Wigan and Leigh.


Church of SS Mary and John
St Peter's Church, Newton-le-Willows

Once part of the ancient parish of Winwick, the town is split into four Anglican parishes, St Peter's covering Newton, St John's covering Earlestown, Emmanuel covering Wargrave and All Saints' covering the northern parts of the town.

Similar to other towns in Lancashire, Newton has a large Roman Catholic population and there are three Catholic churches in the town: St Patrick's in Earlestown, St Mary and St John's in Newton and St David's in Wargrave.

There are also other denominations represented in the town, such as the Methodist and Baptist churches in the town centre.

Local media[edit]

From Victorian times until 2007, the town had a number of local newspapers. The Newton and Golborne Guardian was the longest established, which ceased publication in 2007. Other papers to have served the town over the years include the Earlestown Guardian, and Newton Reporter. The town comes within the distribution area of the St Helens Star and St Helens Reporter, both free newspapers. The Warrington Guardian, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News and Wigan Post are widely available within the town.

Local radio is provided by WA12 RADIO an internet-based radio station, founded in 2011 and now part of Newton Boys and Girls Club. Regional radio is provided by Heart North West, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Manchester.

The town falls within the BBC North West region and Granada region for ITV.


Newton-le-Willows racecourse closed down in 1898 and was replaced by Haydock Park Racecourse. The Old Newton Cup is the world's oldest continually competed for trophy, with a history dating back over 200 years.

Football has always been an important sport within the town, and Newton-le-Willows had its own club between 1894 and 1908. Newton-le-Willows F.C. played in the local leagues until the 1900–01 season when the club joined the English Combination where they competed for three years. In 1903–04 season the club joined the Lancashire Combination where their derby matches included Bryn Central and Wigan Town (a forerunner of Wigan Athletic). The club left the league at the end of the 1907–08 season at which point the club folded. Newton-le-Willows home ground was the Pied Bull Ground which was situated behind the public house of the same name and bordered Rob Lane (then Golborne Road), more or less where the Parchments estate lies. There has been a couple of spells that Earlestown Football Club has been quite successful. The team competed in the Lancashire Combination league which at the time (1950s/1960s) was the equivalent of today's Conference North. Earlestown enjoyed a local rivalry with a number of teams which would go on to national prominence, especially Wigan Athletic. Earlestown was a very ambitious club who hit the headlines when they signed Wilf Mannion as player manager. Crowds of one or two thousand were not unknown for local derbies. However, falling gates and the cost of a professional squad forced the club into bankruptcy in the mid 1960s. In its earlier history, Earlestown F.C. created a few pieces of history, including being defeated by Everton in the Liverpool Cup which was the Toffees' first cup final victory. A year later, Earlestown won the final beating an Everton side that would help form the football league just three years later. Earlestown also played Everton in the first ever match at Anfield stadium.[7] A number of smaller teams operated in the town, the most prominent being Vulcan Newton who have previously been in the Lancashire Combination and North West Counties League.

The area is popular for rugby league, with St Helens R.F.C., Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Wigan Warriors and Leigh Centurions all being local teams. However, Newton-le-Willows never had a rugby league team until 2002, with the formation of Newton Storm ARLFC. Storm has become one of the fastest-growing amateur rugby league clubs in the north-west. Rugby union was historically the most popular code in the town, with two teams, Newton-le-Willows RUFC and Vulcan RUFC being prominent teams in the South Lancashire and Cheshire leagues. The most prominent players in the past have been former England and British Lions international Fran Cotton, and Wigan player Steve Hampson.

Cricket is now the major sport in the town, with Newton C.C. playing in the Premier Division of the Liverpool Competition, a major north west league with teams stretching from the Fylde coast to North Wales competing in it. Vulcan C.C. also represent the town on a more localised level. Newton has produced a number of players who have progressed onto Lancashire County Cricket Club.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Coordinate Distance Calculator". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Farrer, William; Brownbill, J, eds. (1911), "Newton in Makerfield", A History of the County of Lancaster, Volume 4, Victoria County History, pp. 132–137, retrieved 3 March 2015
  4. ^ James, Alan (2019), "Brittonic Language in the Old North" (PDF), SPNS, 2: 198
  5. ^ a b Newton in Makerfield, Nottingham University, retrieved 4 March 2015
  6. ^ Newton-le-Willows, A Vision of Britain Through Time, retrieved 25 October 2005
  7. ^ Dowd, Steven. "Some Earlestown Sporting History". Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  8. ^ Price, M. J. Stanley, ed. (2013), "Newton-le-Willows", Yorkshire Deeds, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 121–123, doi:10.1017/cbo9781139566759.013, ISBN 978-1-139-56675-9, retrieved 3 January 2021


  • Liverpool & Manchester Railway 1830–1980, Frank Ferneyhough, Book Club Associates, London, 1980, (no ISBN)

External links[edit]