The history of the parish has been comparatively uneventfuL No Roman or other early remains have been found here.
The Bolds were for long the leading family resident in it. Sir John Bold was governor of Conway Castle in the first part of the fifteenth century. By 1600 the family had conformed to Protestantism, and during the Civil War the youthful squire adhered to the Parliament, but seems to have taken no active part in the strife.
The Ecclestons and many of the smaller families persevered in professing the Roman Catholic faith and suffered accordingly3, alike from king and Parliament.
John Travers was executed in 1586 for his share in the Babington plot, and the Jesuit father Thomas Holland for his priesthood in 1640. On the other hand, Roger Holland was burnt at Smithfield in 1558.
Generally speaking, the gentry took the royal side in the Civil War, including Protestant families like the Ashtons of Penketh.
Nonconformity was, however, very prevalent in the seventeenth century, and the Revolution seems to have been accepted without demur, so that the risings of 1715 and 1745 found no noteworthy supporters, except perhaps Basil Thomas Eccleston.
In modern times great manufacturing towns have grown up at St Helens and Widnes, which have altered the character of the district. The town of Prescot has also some manufactures, though it has ion its ancient relative importance.
The agricultural land in the parish is (1905) occupied as follows4
- Arable land, 25,120 acres
- permanent grass, 3,146
- woods and plantations, 928
The most noteworthy of its natives appear to be
- William Smith, Bishop of Lincoln, co-founder of Brasenose College, Oxford
- Archbishop Bancroft
- John Philip Kemble, the Shakespearian actor
Pennant5 who crossed the parish from Warrington to Knowsley in 1773, after noticing the Sankey Canal and mentioning Knowsey Hall and Bold Hall, proceeds
The parish of Prescot commences at Sankey Bridges: eight miles further is the town, seated on a hill, and well built and flourishing, the intervening country flat and full of hedge rows and the whole parish rich in collieries.
A The Rev William MecRitchie, a Presbyterian minister, passed through it in 1795 on his way from Liverpool and writes
Breathe again the air of the country. See on the rising grounds above a view of Cheshire and the Welsh mountains towards Snowdon and Anglesey. At Prescot pass by, on the left, Knowsley, seat of Lord Derby. A large pottery work carried on at Prescot of clay found in its neighbourhood.6
|3||John Lister, a seminary priest, was captured at Prescot in 1585, very soon after being sent to England, and imprisoned for many years; Misc. (catholic Record Society, ii, 241, 273, 279.nbsp;|
|4||The following are details in acres supplied by the Board of Agriculture:nbsp;|
|5||Downing to Alston Moor, 21nbsp;|
|6||Antiquary, xxxii, 139.nbsp;|