Neston Civic Society

We love our town!

A brief insight into the origins of Neston

Neston was probably a Saxon settlement, and "The Origins of Place Names" tells us that 'Nes' means headland and 'ton' is a Saxon ending for a township - thus 'a town on a headland'. An old map of the area shows this headland jutting out into the Dee Estuary, but time and tides have long since eroded that.

According to the "History of the Hundred of Wirral", the parish of Neston in its early days was the largest in Wirral, extending to 9,000 acres, and was valued in the county books at £13,600 per annum.

The Domesday Book of 1085 states that the inhabitants of Neston and Little Neston numbered 16.

The population of Great Neston in 1841 stood at 1,212 and by 1851 the Neston area population had risen to 3,578.

The last vestiges of the old manorial system that had controlled the area vanished with the sale of Mostyn lands, which had been considerable in size, leaving a serious vacuum in local administration. The Local Government Act of 1858 authorised local communities to elect boards, empowered to assume responsibility for certain matters such as water supply, drainage, sewage disposal and street lighting - and to raise a Rate to carry out these duties. The board met for the first time in August 1867 in the Church School. A Rate of 6d in the £1 was set.

It was subsequently decided that better premises were required for meetings and social events within Neston, and leading local residents decided to form a limited liability company to sell shares to finance the building of a suitable hall.

The site chosen was purchased for £500 and was a garden on which stood the Drill Shed, used by the Neston Volunteer Rifle Corps: it had previously been the National School. The foundation stone of Neston Town Hall was laid on 6th September 1888 and it was completed in February 1889.

In 1894 the Board was replaced by Neston-cum-Parkgate Urban District Council. This became Neston Urban District Council in 1933.

In 1934, the Neston Urban District Council purchased the Hall from the Town Hall Company and all meetings were held in the Council Chamber upstairs.

In further Government re-organisation in 1974, Neston Urban District Council merged with Ellesmere Port Urban District Council, and in 2009 further re-organisation saw that replaced by Cheshire West & Chester Council, and at the same time Neston Town Council was established, initially with a Chairman, but from 2010 with a Mayor.

Neston Town Hall remains at the centre of Neston, and the basement (once used as the Drill Hall) houses part of the regular market every Friday. In 2014 Neston Town Council moved into the Town Hall.