Ashton-on-Ribble has around 20 listed buildings and monuments, although as always the numbers vary depending on what you define as Ashton-on-Ribble and how you count up the listings. Haslam Park, for example, has up to five listings. One listing covers the park as a whole, while there are specific mentions for the park’s drinking fountain, its entrance gates, the lamp posts at its entrance and the aqueduct built to carry the Lancaster Canal over Savick Brook.
Even if you know nothing about Ashton’s listed buildings, it is easy to guess some of the monuments that appear on English Heritage’s list. Ashton House and Tulketh Mill, for example, are both prominent and impressive buildings, and so it is quite clear why they should be valued at a national level. They are both grade II listed. There are less prominent listed constructions in Ashton, however – some are hidden away; some you’ll see every day without realising. Here we’ll take a quick tour of Ashton’s heritage, so that the next time you are out for a walk or a drive, you can take note when you pass by slices of Ashton’s history.
There are two grade I listed buildings in Ashton: St Walburge’s church and Old Lea Hall. All other buildings and monuments mentioned in this article are grade II listed.
If you ever drive from Lane Ends up Woodplumpton Road, you will cross over the listed bridge that carries the road over Lancaster canal. In fact, all the old bridges across the canal are listed, from Woodplumpton Road to Lea. It’s one of Ashton’s most popular routes for a quiet stroll, so next time you want a walk by the canal, take note that you are passing by some of Ashton’s oldest and most valued monuments. They were built in the 1790s when Ashton was still largely rural.
Six of Ashton’s churches are listed.
The oldest of these churches is St Peters, which is now the university’s arts centre. It was built around 1822-5 with the steeple being built in 1851-2. St Andrew’s is another pre-Victorian church, with its foundation stone being laid in 1835. St Andrew’s is part of a large complex of buildings, reflecting its role at the heart of Ashton’s community for many years. Parts of St Andrew’s primary school and the vicarage are also listed.
Three of Ashton’s listed churches are Victorian: Emmanuel, on Brook Street, the aforementioned St Walburge’s and its neighbour St Marks, which has now been converted into flats. Finally, a post-Victorian church also has listed status: St Michael’s, on the corner of Tulketh Road and Egerton Road.
Before the industrial revolution caused Preston to expand, Ashton was an outer suburb for some of the richest people in Preston. Some of their old homes are now listed, the most prominent being the aforementioned Ashton House. One of Preston’s most famous families, the Pedders, lived here. Specific listing is given to the house’s ha-ha, the wall which borders the house’s formal gardens, and to the house’s former coach house and stable block, which have now been converted into flats.
The Willows and Larches House are other houses of the wealthy that have been listed. The only terrace in Ashton to be listed, in the meantime, is the impressive Wellington terrace which stands over St Mark’s church. This terrace was built in 1850, just as Preston was beginning to grow and envelop Ashton.
We’ve already mentioned that part of St Andrew’s primary school are listed. Another former school also has listed status. The former Talbot Roman Catholic Primary School, was built in 1847-9 and is on Weston Street. It is behind St Walburge’s church, although it was built just before the church was constructed. The former school is now a Catholic library.
Many of Preston’s mills have been demolished in recent years. It is something of a relief, therefore, that some of Ashton’s mills have been listed. We’ve already mentioned Tulketh Mill –its chimney gets a separate listing – but Moss Mill and Brookhouse Mill are also listed. Moss Mill, on Fylde Road, dates back to 1796, although it has been extended and altered over the years. It was one of the first mills built by John Horrocks and is the oldest surviving spinning mill in Preston. Alongside it, the former cotton manufacterer’s house, called Moss Cottage, is also listed.
Brookhouse Mill, on Old Lancaster Lane, is perhaps at the heart of Ashton’s old mill area. The old cotton spinning mill dates back to 1844-45.
The oldest surviving buildings in Ashton aren’t actually in Ashton itself. You don’t have to go far beyond the bounds of Ashton, however, to find old farm buildings which have avoided the expansion of Preston. For example, there is a listed barn from the 18th century just beyond Lea, on a farm which lies just to the south of the point where Blackpool Road splits into Riversway at the entrance to Preston.
Old Lea Hall, one of the two grade I listed buildings in Ashton, dates back to the 17th century. Dotted around Woodplumpton and Goosnargh, in the meantime, are a number of old farm buildings and houses which date back to the time before the industrial revolution.
Thanks to Jim Goring for doing all the research.
The canal bridge photo is by Tony Worrall. His photo stream on Flickr is highly recommended. Click here to see the original photo.
See English Heritage’s website here.