infobox UK place
country = England
map_type= Greater Manchester
latitude= 53.5333
longitude= -2.2833
official_name= Prestwich
population= 31,693
metropolitan_borough= Bury
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Bury South
post_town= MANCHESTER
postcode_area= M
postcode_district= M25
dial_code= 0161
os_grid_reference= SD814034
london_distance= convert|166|mi|km|0|abbr=on SE

static_image_caption=Church of St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich

Prestwich is a town and residential suburb of Manchester within the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester, England.cite web |url= |title=A select gazetteer of local government areas, Greater Manchester County|publisher=Greater Manchester County Records Office|accessdate=2007-06-20|date= 2003-07-31] It lies close to the River Irwell, convert|3.1|mi|km|1|lk=on north of Salford, convert|3.3|mi|km|1 to the north-northwest of the city of Manchester, and convert|4.7|mi|km|1 south of Bury.

Historically a part of Lancashire, Prestwich's early history is marked by its status as the seat of the ancient parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, in the hundred of Salfordshire. The Church of St Mary the Virgin—a Grade I listed building—has lain at the centre of the community for centuries.

The oldest part of Prestwich developed around what is now, Bury New Road and is known locally as "Prestwich Village". [ [ Fun for all: Towns and Villages of Greater Manchester] ] There is a large Jewish community in Prestwich, bordering with Broughton Park in Salford to form the second-largest Orthodox Jewish community in the United Kingdom.



The name Prestwich is possibly of Saxon origin, derived from Priest Wic, which in Saxon translates to the priest's farmed land. Another possible derivation of the town's name is Priest's Retreat. "Wich" and "wych" are names used to denote brine springs or wells in England. Originally derived from the Latin "vicus" (place) by the 11th century, use of the 'wich' suffix in placenames was usually associated with towns involved with salt production. [ Domesday Book] ]

Early history

Bury New Road, which runs through the centre of Prestwich, roughly follows the line of a Roman road connecting Manchester to Longridge. It is believed that a Roman fort was built in Prestwich. Although its precise location is unknown it is thought that it may have been in the Castle Hill area, mirroring a fort on Rainsough Hill equidistant from the Roman Road. [ [ Prestwich History] Retrieved 2007-12-20] Roman coins have been found in Prestwich just off Bury New Road and near Prestwich Golf Course. Some have also been found in Prestwich Clough, about half a mile away from Prestwich village and Bury New Road.

The early history of Prestwich is inextricably linked with the church. Prestwich itself has very ancient origins, and at least for the early parts of its history, the fortunes of the village seem to have followed the fortunes of its parish church. It is known that a Rector of Prestwich existed by at least 1200. The present Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin stands at the end of Church Lane in the village centre. Parts of the building date from around 1500, although the last extensions were made at the end of the 19th century. It was the centre of the vast ancient ecclesiastical parish of Prestwich-cum-Oldham. For a time in the 19th century, the church was referred to locally as St Bartholomew's, which could be attributed either to the unpopularity of the Blessed Virgin at the time, or to sheer ignorance. The Church Wakes were traditionally held around St Bartholomew's Day, and this could have reinforced the error.

In the 17th and 18th centuries local government was based on the parish structure away from the towns. The lord of the manor administered land tenure and inheritance, but law and order was kept by the constables appointed by the parish, assisted by the church wardens. The local Justices sat in a room called the "Star Chamber" in the Ostrich Inn, now the Church Inn, close to the parish church. [Makepiece, C.E. "Prestwich, a brief history": Published by Prestwich Borough Council (1974)] The Justice's seat can still be seen in the Church Inn in the area opposite the main bar.In 1849, St Margaret's Church was erected near the gates of Heaton Park, originally as a chapel of ease to the parish church, but since 1885 as a parish church in its own right. The church was extended many times in the 19th century, in 1863, 1871, 1884, 1888 and 1899. A particular feature of St Margaret's Church, is the splendid Arts and Crafts Movement oak carving (including reredos, choir stalls, rood screen, panelling, pulpit, bishop's chair, altar rails, etc.) by Arthur Simpson of Kendal, widely believed to be the finest collection of his ecclesiastical work.

Other Anglican churches in the area include churches dedicated to St Gabriel, St Hilda,and St George.

The Roman Catholic Church in Prestwich began to reappear in late Victorian times. Mass was celebrated in 1889 for the first time since the Reformation. The present Catholic church, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, was opened in 1931 and consecrated in 1956. There are two local Methodist churches, Heaton Park Methodist Church and Prestwich Methodist Church.

In more recent times, the migration of Jewish families, mainly from Cheetham area of Manchester and Broughton Park in Salford, and later arrival of Muslims into this thriving urban area of Greater Manchester, resulted in the additional presence of synagogues and mosques, alongside Christian places of worship.


The list of rectors is continuous from the 14th century, albeit for a rather confused period around the time of the Commonwealth. A particularly famous rector was the Revd. John Lake, inducted to the living in 1668, who later became one of the Seven Bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by King James II. The Revd. Henry Mildred Birch, rector from 1852 to 1884, was the first tutor of the future King Edward VII.

Rectors from 1900:

:1900 - 1940 The Revd. Canon Frederic W. Cooper:1940 - 1966 The Revd. Canon Francis Paton-Williams:1967 - 1978 The Revd. Canon David E. Ratledge:1978 - 1985 The Revd. Canon Thomas N. Evans:1986 - 2002 The Revd. Canon Frank Bibby

The living of Prestwich was suspended by the Diocese of Manchester in 2002. A priest-in-charge, The Revd. Bryan Hackett residing in the Rectory, was appointed.


There are cemeteries at the Parish church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Margaret's Church. There are also three Jewish cemeteries:
* Philips Park Cemetery
* Prestwich Village Cemetery, Bury New Road (in use from 1841 to 1951)
* Rainsough Cemetery, Rainsough Brow (in use from 1923)


Prestwich was the ecclesiastical centre of Prestwich-cum-Oldham an ancient parish in the Salford Hundred of Lancashire, [ [ Map of the ten parishes of the Hundred of Salford] retrieved 2007-11-02] and became the Prestwich Urban District under the Local Government Act 1894. It was granted a charter to become a municipal borough in 1939. Under the Local Government Act 1972 it became an unparished area in the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, now one of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester.

Prestwich is a part of Bury South Parliamentary constituency, which has been represented by Labour MP Ivan Lewis since 1997. Since the year 2007 Prestwich has had a Mayor to help Ivan Lewis with his duties in and around Prestwich. The current mayor of Prestwich is Mr Frank Hindle, a life time resident.


Prestwich is bounded on the north by Whitefield on the east by Heaton Park, to the west by the Prestwich Forest Park and the Irwell Valley (Agecroft and Clifton) and to the south by the City of Salford. The two main north-south roads passing from central Manchester to Bury, Bury New Road (A56) and Bury Old Road, traverse the district.

Districts of Prestwich include:
* Sedgley Park
* Rainsough
* Brooklands

The nature of Prestwich village changed massively in the 1970s, with the erection of the Longfield Shopping Centre. The construction of the motorways near Prestwich also altered the life and habits of the townspeople.


From the 1991 census the population of Prestwich was estimated at 33,047. [ [ Bury MBC Contaminated land inspection strategy section 2] Retrieved on 2008-03-11] An estimated 19% of the population of Prestwich and Whitefield are Jewish and are part of the second largest Jewish Community in the UK outside London. [ [ Adweb: Prestwich location report] Retrieved on 2008-03-11]

The area of south Prestwich known as Sedgley Park, has a sizeable Jewish population and is served by five synagogues. [ [ Jewish Communites and Records: Synagogues of Greater Manchester] Retrieved on 2008-03-12] There are many Jewish businesses, specialist shops and delicatessens along King's Road, Bury New Road and Bury old Road.

There is also a large Irish Catholic community in Prestwich and the surrounding area, served by St Monica's RC High School Specialist Language College, located alongside Bury Old Road, and Our Lady of Grace Primary School on Willow Road.


Prestwich has a wide range of traditional and superstore shopping. The shops of the Jewish community in Prestwich give it a particular distinction. [ [ Prestwich Advertiser - Community - Rochdale Observer ] ]


Prestwich has good transport links with Manchester city centre, Bury and other parts of Greater Manchester. The high frequency services along Bury new road and Bury Old Road, and other services, are mostly provided by First Manchester. There are more locally orientated bus routes, linking Prestwich village to northern areas of Salford including Pendlebury, Swinton, Monton and Eccles. 'The Lancashire Way' and 'The Witch Way' express services link Prestwich to Manchester, Burnley and Pendle.

Prestwich is served by four tram stations on the Metrolink line from Manchester to Bury -
*Besses o'th' Barn on the Whitefield border to the north.
*Prestwich in the centre of the village.
*Heaton Park in the centre-east.
*Bowker Vale on the Blackley border to the south-east.

Bury Old Road and Bury New Road both run north-south through the town and there are several east-west routes, including Sheepfoot Lane, Scholes Lane and Hilton Lane.

Places of interest

Heaton Park

One of Europe's largest municipal parks at 259 hectares (640 acres), Heaton Park, is situated to the east of Prestwich, within the City of Manchester. This was the ancient seat of the Earls of Wilton but was sold to Manchester Corporation in 1902. The park is four miles from Manchester city centre and although officially part of the City of Manchester, has a Prestwich postal address. [ [ Manchester Art Galleries: visitor information] Retrieved 2007-10-26]

Prestwich Forest Park

Prestwich Forest Park consists of 200 hectares of land on the western side of Prestwich incorporating:

* Philips Park
* Prestwich Clough
* Mere Clough
* Waterdale Meadow
* Drinkwater Park

While much of the area of the present park was industrialised during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it has mostly now been returned to a more natural state with extensive woodlands, reservoirs and grasslands. While this area has become a haven for wildlife there are still remnants to be found of the area's industrial past. Philips Park, Prestwich Clough and Waterdale Meadow are described in excellent downloadable illustrated leaflets produced by the Metropolitan Borough of Bury Environmental Services Department describing the history, wildlife and points of interest. [ [ A Walk in Philips Park] Retrieved 2007-10-26] [ [ A Walk in Prestwich Clough] Retrieved 2007-10-26]
Drinkwater Park is described in a separate Wikipedia article. Philips park has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Prestwich Clough as s Site of Biological Importance (SBI) due to the important contribution they make to the wildlife heritage of Greater Manchester. The Irwell Sculpture Trail, The Irwell Valley Way and a National Cycle Route all pass through the Park. The Friends of Prestwich Forest Park and the BTCV coordinate volunteer activities and events such as the Prestwich Clough Centenary Celebrations. [ [ Prestwich Clough Day 2007] Retrieved 2007-10-26] [ [ Prestwich Clough Centenary Committee ] ] The BTCV have a permanent base in the renovated Philips Park Barn which has become a major environmental education and countryside centre for the borough. [ [ Prestwich Forest Park] Retrieved 2007-10-26]

Local media

One local newspaper that covers the area of Prestwich (as well as neighbouring Whitefield and Radcliffe) is "The Advertiser", (one of the GWN Greater Manchester Weekly News newspapers) a weekly freesheet, based in Salford. "The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide" and "The Bury Times" are sold in many local shops. For the Jewish community there is the "Jewish Telegraph" which is produced and printed in Prestwich.



The local amateur team which represents Prestwich is Prestwich Heys FC. For many years, Prestwich Heys played on the fields just off Heys Road, a site known as Grimshaw's. The local high school, which is now Prestwich Arts College, obtained the land for use as their sports fields and the Team found a new home on Sandgate Road, just over the border in Whitefield. This field was near the site of the old St Joseph's RC High School (which merged with St Peter's RC High School, rebadged itself as St Monica's RC High School and relocated to the St Peter's site) and has been redeveloped to include enclosed concrete "fencing", a car park and club facilities. Prestwich Heys currently play in the Manchester Football League. Other local sides include Bury Amateurs who play their home games at Drinkwater Park, Rainsough and also Prestwich Marauders who have various places where they play their home matches. These teams are usually in the North Bury League or the Bury and Radcliffe League.


The main cricket club in Prestwich is Prestwich Cricket Club, which has been very successful over recent years. Located between Prestwich Metrolink station and Grimshaw's playing fields off Heys Road, Prestwich CC also has crown green bowling and tennis facilities as well as a spacious clubhouse. Prestwich CC has been on this site for many years, with the clubhouse having many photos on display from previous teams and players.

Crown Green Bowling

Prestwich has a very active bowling scene, with Veterans', Ladies', and Men's Leagues. Clubs involved in these leagues are usually located in the Prestwich and Whitefield areas, but also come from the neighbouring towns of Radcliffe, Bury, Ramsbottom, Heywood, Middleton and Crumpsall. Other leagues that are played by these teams are the Salford League and the Middleton League. There are also flat green bowling facilities located in Heaton Park which were built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

nooker and billiards

The Prestwich and District Snooker League brings together different clubs in the area to compete on Thursdays and occasional Tuesdays. [ [ Prestwich Snooker ] ]

Private members' clubs

* Prestwich Church Institute
* Prestwich Conservative Club
* Prestwich Liberal Club
* Prestwich Royal British Legion
* Heaton Park Social (Working Men's) Club
* The Carlton Club
* Prestwich [ Golf] Club

Notable people

Richard Broxton (1786-1865) Botanist, was born at Sedgeley Hall Farm. ["The parish of Prestwich with Oldham: Prestwich', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5" (1911), pp. 76-80. URL: Date accessed: 19 December 2007.]

The comedienne Victoria Wood was born in Prestwich. [ [ Victoria Wood to return to drama - Showbiz - News - Manchester Evening News ] ]

The band Elbow, from Bury, live in Prestwich.

Kevin Godley and Lol Creme of the band 10cc were from there.

The Fall's lead singer Mark E. Smith has lived there for most of his life.

Punk band Sham 69 also lived in the village in the early 1980s. Broadcaster and raconteur James H. Reeve is a current Prestwich resident.

One of the Atomic Kitten band members, Jenny Frost, grew up in Prestwich and attended the local Catholic high school, St Monica's.

Actress Amanda Noar was born in Prestwich in 1962.

Dr Montagu Lomax, who was an assistant medical officer at the Prestwich Asylum from 1917 - 1919, exposed the inhuman, custodial and antitherapeutic practices there in a book [Montagu Lomax, "The Experiences of an Asylum Doctor" London: George Allen & Unwin 1921] which led to a Royal Commission, increased central control and ultimately the Mental Treatment Act of 1930. [ BA Towers "The management and politics of a public expose: the Prestwich Inquiry 1922" J Social Policy (1984) 13: 41-61] [ TW Harding, "Not worth powder and shot." A reappraisal of Montagu Lomax's contribution to mental health reform" British Journal of Psychiatry (1990) 156: 180-187] However, much of what Lomax described could still be seen in parts of Prestwich Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s. [J Hopton "Daily life in a 20th century psychiatric hospital: an oral history of Prestwich Hospital" Int Hist Nurs J (1997) 2: 27-39] [J Hopton "Prestwich Hospital in the twentieth century: a case study of slow and uneven progress in the development of psychiatric care" History of Psychiatry (1999) 10: 349-369]

The amateur astronomer Michael Oates, who resides in Prestwich, has discovered 144 comets using images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and for almost 5 years, held the world record for the greatest number of comet discoveries by an individual. One other notable resident of the area was the German-born model and singer, Nico, who famously performed on the Velvet Underground's album in 1967, the Velvet Underground and Nico.

Julie Stevens (British actress), who appeared regularly in early episodes of TV series "The Avengers" and was a mainstay of younger children's TV shows "Playschool" and "Playaway", was born in Prestwich in 1936.

Actress/Director Noreen Kershaw (Albion Market, Brookside, Watching, Hearbeat, Shameless, Life on Mars etc) lives in Prestwich.


External links

* [ Prestwich Guide webpages with history links and talk page]
* [ The Prestwich Advertiser]
* [ The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide]
* [ Prestwich Heritage Society]


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