OS Grid ref:- SJ734558
The pleasant and historic village of Haslington, once the site of a civil war skirmish, lies about 2 miles (3 km) north-east of Crewe.
The earliest mention of Haslington occurs in 1256, when it was referred to as "Hesinglinton". The name is possibly derived from the phrase "tun among hazels", or "enclosure amongst hazel trees". The alternative theory that Haslington's name derives from Thomas de Heslynton, an archer in the King's Bodyguard and a resident of Haslington, has been largely discredited due to de Heslynton's life being after the earliest recorded mention of the village.
Timber framed Haslington Hall (pictured left) which lies 1 km to the east of the village, was built by Admiral Sir Francis Vernon ( who sailed with Sir Francis Drake against the Spanish Armada) in 1545, and contains parts of the original medieval manor house,which are said to date back to 1480. It is difficult to trace the early history of the hall as records were destroyed during the Second World War. The manor of Haslington was acquired by the Vernon family as a result of the 14th century marriage of Sir Thomas Vernon to Joan Lostock, the heiress of Haslington. During alterations in the 16th, 17th and 19th century it is claimed that some of the timbers used in the early construction were salvaged from ships of the Spanish Armada. The hall, a Grade I listed building, is now used as a wedding venue, it is set within 25 acres and also boasts 2 private lakes.
The Hawk Inn (pictured right) is situated on the main road through the village, and dates from the 17th century. The pub boasts carved woodwork both inside and out, including various carved faces and a number of engraved phrases on the exterior beams. The pub was once used for stabling horses and the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin is reputed to have stayed there. It is rumoured to have a resident ghost known as the 'the Lady in Grey'.
Almost directly across the road from The Hawk Inn is a house dating from the 17th century, now known as the Old House, (pictured below) it was formerly two houses which have had the shared wall demolished in order to form a single dwelling. While the building is 17th century, the date 1510 is inscribed on a board over the door.
The small village church of Saint Matthew's was built in two phases, the first phase which is the west part in 1810, and the second phase or east part in 1909.
During the Civil War, there was a great deal of unrest in this area, Haslington and nearby Crewe were ruthlessly pillaged by marauding Royalist troops. On Christmas Eve 1643 a party of Royalist Soldiers attacked Barthomley where the population took refuge in St Bartoline's Church in the village. The soldiers smoked them out then stripped and killed twelve of the villagers in cold blood and wounded most of the others. In Malbon's words:-
‘The Kinges p[ar]tie comynge to Barthomley Churche, did sett upon the same; wherein about xxtie Neighbours where gonne for theire saufegarde. But maior Connaught, maior to Colonell Sneyde,...w[i]th his forces by wyelcome entred the Churche. The people w[i]thin gatt up into the Steeple; But the Enymy burnynge formes, pewes, Rushes & the lyke, did smother theim in the Steeple that they weire Enforced to call for quarter, & yelde theim selves; w[hi]ch was graunted them by the said Connaught; But when hee had theim in his power, hee caused theim all to be stripped starke Naked; And moste barbarouslie & contr[ar]y to the Lawes of Armes, murthered, stabbed and cutt the Throates of xii of theim;...& wounded all the reste, leavinge many of theim for Dead. And on Christmas daye, and Ste Stevens Daye, the[y] Contynued plu[n]dringe & destroyinge all Barthomley, Crewe, Haslington, & the places adiacent...’
By 26 December Lord Byron, royalist commander in Chester, wrote to the Marquis of Newcastle: ‘the Rebels had possessed themselves of a Church at Bartumley, but wee presently beat them forth of it, and put them all to the sword; which I finde to be the best way to proceed with these kind of people, for mercy to them is cruelty.’ He earned himself the nickname of the "Bloody Braggadoccio" when the letter was intercepted. Accounts vary but one such account was used as evidence against King Charles I in 1649 when on trial for his life in the first war crimes trial.
Around the end of January, 1644, Nantwich, which was then the northern headquarters of the Parliamentarian Commander Sir William Brereton, had been relieved of a Royalist siege by Sir Thomas Fairfax's army moving against the Royalist troops under Lord Byron and Major General Gibson. Hundreds of Royalist troops were taken prisoner.
Some of the Royalist troops fled but the River Weaver was in flood at that time. Due to the flooding and absence of bridges, they would have had to have made their way across the fields generally north or south of Haslington. A skirmish between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians that took place on the southern outskirts of Haslington, at a place called Slaughter Hill, which resulted in a minor victory for the Parliamentarians. Haslington Gap is steep-sided, the brook at the bottom is normally narrow and shallow but, at this time the local rivers and streams were flooded. The Royalists, weary from battle and faced with this obstacle, turned to fight the pursuing Parliamentarian troops rather than be trapped crossing the flooded brook. The fighting was apparently fierce, fanned no doubt by smouldering local anger following the Battle of Nantwich, the siege of Crewe Hall and the massacre of Barthomley. The dead washed away by the flooded brook and the wounded lying in the melting snow caused the brook to run red for several days.
A perfectly preserved civil war sword was found embedded in the bank of Valley Brook. Although the name Slaughter Hill suggests it may be named after this skirmish, it may alternatively be more likely a corruption of "Sloe Tree Hill". Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), the fruit of which are sloes, can still be found in the hedgerows down the lane named Slaughter Hill.
In springtime the slopes down to Valley Brook are carpeted with wilflowers, including bluebells and wood anemones. Winterley Pool, an old mill pond that was first recorded in 1572, is now one of the most important refuges for mute swans in Cheshire.
Battlefield Trail- A walk from Haslington
Distance - 7 miles
Duration around 2 and a half hours
*Commencing at Haslington's free car park, proceed down Waterloo Road. Turn right into Cross Road then right out of cross Road and left down South Avenue to join the footpath over the fields to Slaughter Hill.
*Turn left at the bottom of the second field, keeping the golf clubhouse on your left while crossing the car park and follow the track, keeping to ther left of the pond taking the footpath to Hall O' the Heath Farm.
* Turn right along the track to the farm and left at the metal gate. Cross a stile on the left en-route to Holmshaw Lane. Turn right and take the first road on your left and continue on to Stockton Farm.
* After passing the farmyard cross the fields up the hill and cross the stile on the left following the diagonal track in the direction of Barnfields Farm. Cross Holmshaw Lane to Haslington Hall. In the yard outside the hall, walk to your right and follow the path back to Haslington, turning left at Crewe Road to return to the car park.
Nearby places of interest
Bridgemere Garden World, covering fifty acres and Britain's largest garden centre, is located south of Nantwich and lies on the borders of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire. A gardener's paradise, the centre makes a great day out for the enthusiast.
The Anderton Boat Lift, the world's first and England's only boat lift. Dating from 1875, the Anderton Boat Lift is one of the greatest monuments to Britain's canal age and known as the "Cathedral of the Canals". It provides a fifty foot vertical link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal.