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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
St Peter's Church, Newton-le-Willows

Newton-le-Willows is a market town in the St Helens Metropolitan Borough, in Merseyside, England. The population at the 2011 census was 22,114.[2] Newton-le-Willows is geographically located between Manchester and St. Helens and is part of the historic county of Lancashire.


Randall's Arch

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".[3][4] Neweton was mentioned in the Domesday Book. "In Makerfield" was added to distinguish it from other Newtons and recorded as Makeresfeld in 1205 and 1351, as Makefeld in 1206, Makerefeld in 1213 and Makerfield since 1242.[5]

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.[4][5]

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

Newton-le-Willows railway station
Huskisson Monument
Sankey Viaduct crossing Sankey Brook

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 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 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 having been mentioned in the Domesday Book. 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 it lost its independence when Newton-le-Willows Council merged with a number of neighbouring local authorities, to create St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council.[6]

Newton-le-Willows is split into two wards, Newton and Earlestown, each ward returns three councillors to serve on St Helens Borough Council. As of May 2021, the Newton ward is represented by two Labour councillors and one Liberal Democrat, while Earlestown has two Labour councillors and one Independent.


Newton-le-Willows is located near the border of the County of Greater Manchester with the Borough of Wigan to the east and north east of the town, The Cheshire border with Warrington to the south and St Helens, Merseyside to the west of which the town is part of the wider Metropolitan Borough of St Helens. This also includes its wider built-up area with the town of Earlestown and areas of Wargrave and Vulcan Village. The town is one of many towns and villages along the main A580 road to be central to both Greater Manchester and Merseyside. All of which form nearly half the historic county of Lancashire which all of the settlements from north of the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal formed prior to the 1974 government boundary changes.


The M6 and M62 motorways, and also the 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 good 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.

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

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 many other denominations represented in the town, such as the Methodist and Baptist churches in the town centre.

Local media

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 Evening 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 North West region for the BBC and Granada region for ITV.

There is a flourishing Amateur Radio community. The local club meets every Thursday evening and is an official training and examination centre for all classes of licence.


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 operate in the town, the most prominent being Vulcan Newton FC who have previously been in the Lancashire Combination and North West Counties League.

This area is a hotbed for rugby league with St Helens, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan and Leigh being neighbouring towns, however the town never had a rugby league team until recently, when in 2002, Newton Storm ARLFC was formed. 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 this 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

  • [8]Rick Astley, pop star, most known for "Never Gonna Give You Up" which spawned the internet meme of "rickrolling".
  • Andy Burnham, Leigh MP, former government minister, Labour leadership candidate and Shadow Home Secretary was educated at St Aelred's High School in Newton. He was elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in 2017.
  • Ed Clancy, Olympic Gold Medalist for Great Britain in the Team Pursuit event at Beijing 2008
  • Fran Cotton, started playing for Newton RUFC before moving on to Sale, England and the British Lions; he runs the Cotton Traders sportswear firm in nearby Altrincham
  • Joe Fagan, the former Manchester City player and European Cup–winning Liverpool F.C. manager, who resigned his post after the Heysel disaster started his career playing for Earlestown Bohemians FC in the 1930s
  • George Formby, then an unknown local comedian from Wigan, made his first stage appearance (as George Hoy) at the Hippodrome Theatre, Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows
  • Norman Harvey, awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War for bravery on the field of battle.
  • Roger Hunt, former Liverpool and England World Cup–winning footballer, was born in the neighbouring village of Culcheth; his family's business Hunt Brothers Haulage is based in Newton-le-Willows
  • Martin Kelly, current Crystal Palace and former England U-21 international was born in Newton-le-Willows and attended St Aelred's Catholic Technology College
  • Lynda La Plante, author, screenwriter and former actress, was born on 15 March 1943 in Newton-le-Willows
  • Wilf Mannion, former Middlesbrough and England winger was the manager of the town's most successful football club, Earlestown F.C. between 1960 and 1962
  • Steve Marsh, actor, played Big Cook Ben in Big Cook Little Cook between 2004 and 2006
  • George McCorquodale founded his printing business in the town in 1846
  • Rodney Porter, scientist, won a Nobel Prize in 1972
  • John Randall, scientist, the developer of the Magnetron used in Radar Systems, was born on 23 March 1905 in Newton-le-Willows
  • Pete Waterman, the famous record producer who discovered Rick Astley, is a former resident of the town, and appropriately having once lived there has a famous interest in old railways
  • Colin Welland, writer and actor, won an Oscar for writing the script of the film Chariots of Fire


  1. ^ "Coordinate Distance Calculator". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  3. ^ James, Alan (2019), "Brittonic Language in the Old North" (PDF), SPNS, 2: 198
  4. ^ a b Newton in Makerfield, Nottingham University, retrieved 4 March 2015
  5. ^ a b 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
  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.), "Newton-le-Willows", Yorkshire Deeds, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 121–123, 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