ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE, a market-town and municipal and parliamentary borough of Lancashire, England, on the river Tame, a tributary of the Mersey, 185 m. N. W. by N. from London and 6 E. from Manchester. Area, 1346 acres. Pop. (1891) 40,486; (1901) 43,890. It is served by the London & North-Western and the Lancashire & Yorkshire railways (Charlestown station), and by the Great Central (Park Parade station). The church of St Michael is Perpendicular, but almost wholly rebuilt. In the vicinity are barracks. The Old Hall, or manor house of the Asshetons, remains in an altered form, with an ancient prison adjoining, and the name of Gallows Meadow, still preserved, recalls the summary execution of justice by the lords of the manor. In the vicinity of Ashton a few picturesque old houses remain among the numerous modern residences. Stamford Park, presented by Lord Stamford, is shared by the towns of Ashton and Stalybridge, which extends across the Tame into Cheshire. A technical school, school of art and free library, and several hospitals are maintained. Chief among industries are cotton-spinning, hat-making and iron-founding and machinery works; and there are large collieries in the neighbourhood. The parliamentary borough, which returns one member, extends into Cheshire. The corporation consists of a mayor, 8 aldermen and 24 councillors.
The derivation from the Saxon æsc (ash) and tun (an enclosed place) accounts for the earliest orthography Estun. The addition subtus lineam is found in ancient deeds and is due to the position of the place below the line or boundary of Cheshire, which once formed the frontier between the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia. The manor was granted to Roger de Poictou by William I., but before the end of his reign came to the Greslets as part of the barony of Manchester. It was held by the Asshetons from 1335 to 1515, when it passed by marriage to the Booths of Dunham Massey, and is now held by the earl of Stamford, the representative of that family. The lord of the manor still holds the ancient court-leet and court-baron half-yearly in May and November, in which cognizance is taken of breaches of agreement among the tenants, especially concerning the repair of roads and cultivation of lands. The place had long enjoyed the name of borough, but it was not till 1847 that a charter of incorporation was granted. Under the Reform Act (1832) it returns one member. One of the markets dates back to 1436. The ancient industry was woollen, but soon after the invention of the spinning frame the cotton trade was introduced, and as early as 1769 the weaving of ginghams, nankeens and calicoes was carried on, and the weaving of cotton yarn by machinery soon became the staple industry. A chapel or church existed here as early as 1261-1262.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)