Records of Appleton reach back almost 1000 years – the legacy of the Romans can still be seen from the A49 running through Appleton. Described in 1086 as a ‘wasteland’, much has changed in the village.
In the Domesday Survey of 1086, Appleton was valued at 16 shillings and described as a wasteland.
Prior to this survey, land in Appleton had been held by Dot, a Saxon Freeman, but he had been dispossessed of the land by Osborn Fitz Tezzon. Appleton then passed to the Aston family, and later to Adam De Dutton of Arley. The name Appleton simply means ‘a settlement where apples grew’.
The Civil War
Appleton was involved in the Civil War on several occasions – in 1643, 1648 and 1651.
It is thought that Parliamentarians fighting under Sir William Brereton marched through Appleton to the Battle of Stockton Heath in 1643, where they were repelled by the Loyalists. In 1648, the Duke of Hamilton fled through Appleton to Delamere Forest. In 1651, Charles II retook Warrington and marched through Appleton at the head of his army.
The Parish of Appleton
Until the 19th Century, Appleton included the hamlets of both Stockton Heath and Wilderspool to the north, Bradley to the east and Walton to the West. The Parish Council was formed in 1894.
A list of names, of those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars, is available here.
Appleton Thorn Village Sign
After much effort and deliberation, the village sign was unveiled on Friday 16 October 2009 by the Mayor of Warrington and the Chair of Appleton Parish Council.
The idea of a village sign for Appleton Thorn was first suggested by Cllr. Mike Stansfield at a Parish Council meeting in September 2006. Sign makers were contacted but nothing progressed until Cllr. Judith Walker provided a photograph of a village sign for ‘Appledore’ at the January 2008 meeting. This was met with wholehearted approval as a basis to move forward.
From a sketch by Cllr. John Price of a thorn tree within a sign headed ‘Appleton Thorn’, the design was developed by the artist/blacksmith/manufacturer for a galvanized, powder coated sign with the leaves of the tree hand forged before bolting onto an oak beam.
To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Schools from across Appleton, Stockton Heath and Stretton took part in a unique project, each creating a carving representing a decade of the Queen’s reign.
The Thorn Tree
Appleton Cross Monument
The Public Monument and Sculpture Association deemed the structure to be at risk.
It’s exact, original location seems to have been lost, two maps, one dated 1875, does not show the cross, only a well in Pepper Street. The roadway alignment on this map is at odds with other maps, which were produced later. A map of 1910, clearly indicates the presence of Appleton Cross, it may however have been a geographical reference, rather than a reference to the cross itself
It stands as a reminder of the days when in 1365, Friar Richard de Aputon of the Warrington Friar was ordained Sub-Deacon of Colwich. It is thought to be the only original cross in Cheshire. The cross was re-sited in 1973 to the junction of Stretton Road and Cann Lane. The work was supervised by the then director of the Warrington Museum, J. R. Rimmer. The operation led to the discovery of a small coin underneath the piece. It is about the size of a Farthing and wafer thin because of corrosion. The British Museum identified it as a Venetian Soldino of Antonio Vernier (1382-1400), and was first brought to the country in an Italian galley-fleet arriving in June 1400 to purchase wool and cloth. Because the coin had such a limited period of circulation, it allowed the dating of the cross to an unusually specific extreme. Using the coin to date the piece to the Fifteenth Century ties up speculation that it was a wayside or ‘Weeping Cross’ used as a resting place for funeral processions on their way to the nearest church or chapel of rest. The siting of this cross is convenient as a stopping place between Appleton Thorn and the Chapel of Rest at Stretton (the site of the present Stretton Church). The actual cross, long gone, would have been of wooden construction and possibly painted. It is likely that it was destroyed by the Puritans in the 17th Century, a common story throughout the country, where these hollowed out socket holes are found. The level of the road had been raised so much that the Cross was virtually buried apart from the top socket stone and it had been severely disturbed by roots from a sycamore tree which is under a preservation order.