Stockport (city), Cheshire Genealogy
Guide to Stockport history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.
History[edit | edit source]
Stockport /ˈstɒkpɔːrt/ is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Manchester city center, where the River Goyt and Tame merge to create the River Mersey, the river on which Liverpool stands. Historically, most of the town was in Cheshire, and from the point of view of family history, will be considered as such.
Stockport was recorded as "Stokeport" in 1170. The currently accepted etymology is Old English port, a market place, with stoc, a hamlet (but more accurately a minor settlement within an estate); hence, a market place at a hamlet. Older derivations include stock, a stockaded place or castle, with port, a wood, hence a castle in a wood. The castle probably refers to Stockport Castle, a 12th-century motte-and-bailey first mentioned in 1173.
The earliest evidence of human occupation in the wider area are microliths from the hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic period (the Middle Stone Age, about 8000–3500 BC) and weapons and stone tools from the Neolithic period (the New Stone Age, 3500–2000 BC). Early Bronze Age (2000–1200 BC) remains include stone hammers, flint knives, palstaves (bronze axe heads), and funerary urns have been found in random places.
There is little evidence of a Roman military station at Stockport. Six coins from the reigns of the Anglo-Saxon English Kings Edmund (reigned 939–946) and Eadred (reigned 946–955) were found during ploughing at Reddish Green in 1789. There are contrasting views about the significance of this; Arrowsmith takes this as evidence for the existence of a settlement at that time, but Morris states the find could be "an isolated incident". The small cache is the only Anglo-Saxon find in the area. However, the etymology Stoc-port suggests in-habitation during this period.
No part of Stockport appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. It has been argued from the etymology that Stockport may have still been a market place associated with a larger estate, and so would not be surveyed separately. The Anglo-Saxon landholders in the area were dispossessed and the land divided among the new Norman rulers. The first borough charter was granted in about 1220 and was the only basis for local government for six hundred years.
A castle held by Geoffrey de Costentin is recorded as a rebel stronghold against Henry II in 1173–1174 when his sons revolted. The castle was probably ruinous by the middle of the 16th century, and in 1642 it was agreed to demolish it. Castle Hill, possibly the motte, was leveled in 1775 to make space for Warren's mill.
Stockport bridge is documented as existing since at least 1282. During the English Civil War the town was supportive of Parliament and was garrisoned by local militias of around 3000 men commanded by Majors Mainwaring and Duckenfield. Prince Rupert advanced on the town on 25 May 1644, with 8-10,000 men and 50 guns, with a brief skirmish at the site of the bridge, in which Colonel Washington's Dragoons led the Royalist attack. Stockport bridge was pulled down in 1745 and trenches were additionally dug in the fords to try to stop the Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart as they marched through the town on the way to Derby.
Hat-making was established in north Cheshire and south-east Lancashire by the 16th century. From the 17th century Stockport became a center for the hatting industry and later the silk industry. Stockport expanded rapidly during the Industrial Revolution, helped particularly by the growth of the cotton manufacturing industries. However, economic growth took its toll, and 19th century philosopher Friedrich Engels wrote in 1844 that Stockport was "renowned as one of the duskiest, smokiest holes in the whole of the industrial area".
During the growth of the textile industry, Stockport was one of the prototype textile towns. In the early 18th century, England was not capable of producing silk of sufficient quality to be used as the warp in woven fabrics. Suitable thread had to be imported from Italy, where it was spun on water-powered machinery.
Silk weaving expanded until in 1769 two thousand people were employed in the industry. By 1772 the boom had turned to bust, possibly due to cheaper foreign imports; by the late 1770s trade had recovered. The cycle of boom and bust would continue throughout the textile era.
With the combination of a good water power site (described by Rodgers as "by far the finest of any site within the lowland" [of the Manchester region] and a workforce used to textile factory work meant Stockport was well placed to take advantage of the phenomenal expansion in cotton processing in the late 18th century. Warren's mill in the market place was the first. Power came from an undershot water wheel in a deep pit, fed by a tunnel from the River Goyt. The positioning on high ground, unusual for a water powered mill, contributed to an early demise, but the concept of moving water around in tunnels proved successful, and several tunnels were driven under the town from the Goyt to power mills. In 1796, James Harrisson drove a wide cut from the Tame which fed several mills in the Park, Portwood. Other water-powered mills were built on the Mersey.
The town was connected to the national canal network by the 5 miles (8.0 km) of the Stockport branch of the Ashton Canal opened in 1797 which continued in use until the 1930s.
In the early 19th century, there was a revival of the early hatting trade, and the number of hatters in the area began to increase, and a reputation for quality work was created. The London firm of Miller Christy bought out a local firm in 1826, a move described by Arrowsmith as a "watershed". By the latter part of the century hatting had changed from a manual to a mechanized process, and was one of Stockport's primary employers; the area, with nearby Denton, was the leading national center. Support industries, such as block-making, trimmings, and leather-ware, became established.
he First World War cut off overseas markets, which established local industries and eroded Stockport's eminence. Even so, in 1932 more than 3000 people worked in the hatting industry, making it the third biggest employer after textiles and engineering. The depression of the 1930s and changes in fashion greatly reduced the demand for hats, and the demand that existed was met by cheaper wool products made elsewhere, for example the Luton area.
Since the start of the 20th century Stockport has moved away from being a town dependent on cotton and its allied industries to one with a varied base. It makes the most of its varied heritage attractions, including a national museum of hatting, a unique system of underground Second World War air raid tunnel shelters in the town center, and a late medieval merchants' house on the 700-year-old Market Place. 
Resources[edit | edit source]
Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]
Stockport Crematorium and Cemetery
Stockport SK2 6LS
Phone: +44 161 480 5221
Stockport SK2 5NP
Phone: +44 161 439 5963
3BZ, Highfield Ave
Bredbury, Stockport SK6
Mill Lane Cemetery
Cheadle SK8 2PX
Phone: +44 161 491 0629
Church Records[edit | edit source]
Parishes[edit | edit source]
Woodford, Stockport SK7 1PR
Phone: +44 161 439 2286
Christ Church Stockport
112 Shaw Heath
Stockport SK2 6QS
Phone: +44 7770 824190
Hazel Grove, Stockport SK7 4RF
Phone: +44 161 483 6325
St George's Parish
28 Buxton Rd
Stockport SK2 6NU
Phone: +44 161 480 2453
St Mark's Parish
38 Stockport Rd E
Bredbury, Stockport SK6 1AL
Phone: +44 161 430 6617
St Mary's Parish
Disley, Stockport SK12 2NP
Phone: +44 1663 762068
St Matthew Parish
Stockport SK3 9EE
Phone: +44 161 480 5896
St Paul's Parish
St Paul's Rd
Stockport SK4 4RY
Phone: +44 161 432 1227
St Thomas the Apostle
Stockport SK4 5AE
St Thomas' Parish
17 Canley Cl
Stockport SK1 3QB
Phone: +44 161 429 9524
Non Conformists[edit | edit source]
Other Christian groups follow:
- Chirstian Science
- Church of Christ
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
- Heaton Christian Church
- Jehovah's Witnesses
- Roman Catholic
- Salvation Army
- Seventh Day Adventists
- Spiritual Church
Non Christian faiths include the following:
Civil Registration[edit | edit source]
Stockport Civil Registrar Office
John St, Stockport SK1 3XE
Phone: +44 161 217 6007
Online Civil Registration Records:
As historically part of Stockport resided in the County of Lancashire, the following might help:
Local Histories[edit | edit source]
- A Brief History of Stockport
- VisionofBritain: Stockport
- Workhouses.org: Stockport
- Stockport, a History by Peter Arrowsmith
- Stockport through Time by Coral Dranfield
Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]
- Michelin map of Stockport
- Oldmapsonline: Stockport
- Old maps of Stockport
- Forebears.io: Gazetteer of Stockport
- BBC Domesday: Stockport
Newspapers[edit | edit source]
Stockport does not have a dedicated newspaper. The following all have news of Stockport:
Occupations[edit | edit source]
Historically, the North of England provided the workers and industries for the country, while the south of England consisted more of the landed gentry and the nobility. When England lost most of its manufacturing base, shortly after the end of WWII, and as the manufacturing might of first, Japan, and then China emerged, it was the North that suffered the most.
Fortuitously, Stockport is located in the larger megalopolis of Manchester, and has benefited from both the national drive to rebuild the major cities of the north, but also due to the ease of commuting either into Manchester or from Manchester, commuting into workplaces in Stockport.
Such large companies as P. International Holdings Ltd, Beckhall Property Management Ltd., Broadstone Mills Ltd, Central Glass Ltd., and Potomac Capital Ltd., have chosen to make Stockport their National Headquarters. Others, such as SKY TV, Payzone, Landys and Gyr, the Royal Mail, and British Gas have selected Stockport as their regional headquarters.
This has provided employment for, and attracted qualified candidates to Stockport in such disciplines as: Engineering, IT, architectural planning, pharmaceutical manufacture, banking and finance, and education. In fact, Stockport has been one of the fastest growing towns in North England, and has had steady economic and population growth for the past seven years.
Societies[edit | edit source]
- The Family History Society of Cheshire
- The Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society
- Stockport Historical Society
Archives[edit | edit source]
Websites[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Stockport" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockport, accessed 16 March, 2018.
- bizbd.co.uk, big companies in Stockport, http://www.bizdb.co.uk/city/stockport/, accessed 21 March, 2018
- Glassdoor UK Ltd, Stockport Reviews, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/stockport-reviews-SRCH_IL.0,9_IC3293907.htm, accessed 21 March, 2018.