Neston’s History

Neston was probably a Saxon settlement. ‘Nes’ means headland and ‘ton’ is a Saxon ending for a township – thus ‘a town on a headland’. An old map of the area shows this headland jutting out into the Dee Estuary.

According to the “History of the Hundred of Wirral”, the parish of Neston in its early days, was the largest in Wirral, extending up to 9,000 acres and was valued in the county books at £13,600 per annum.

Referring to the Domesday Book of 1085, the survey states that the inhabitants of Neston and Little Neston numbered 16. The population in Great Neston in 1841 stood at 1,212 and by 1851 the Neston area population had risen to 3,578.

The last vestiges of the old manorial system which had controlled the area vanished with the sale of Mostyn lands, which had been extensive, leaving a vacuum in local administration. The Local Government Act of 1858 authorised local communities to elect boards, empowered to assume responsibility for matters such as water supply, drainage, sewage disposal and street lighting – and to raise a Rate to carry out these duties. The board met for the first time in August 1867 in the Church School. A Rate of 6d in the £1 was set.

It was subsequently decided that better premises were required for meetings and social events within Neston, and leading local residents decided to form a limited liability company to sell shares to finance the building of a suitable hall.

The site chosen was purchased for £500 and was a garden on which stood the Drill Shed, used by the Neston Volunteer Rifle Corps – it had previously been the National School. The foundation stone of Neston Town Hall was laid on 6th September 1888 and it was completed in February 1889.

In 1894 the Board was replaced by Neston-cum-Parkgate Urban District Council. This became Neston Urban District Council in 1933.

In 1934, the Neston Urban District Council purchased the Hall from the Town Hall Company and all meetings were held in the Council Chamber upstairs. In 1974, Neston Urban District Council merged with Ellesmere Port Urban District Council, and Neston Town Hall and its Council Chamber was no longer the seat of Local Government. In 2009 Cheshire West and Chester Council and Neston Town Council were established. In 2013 CWaC employees moved from the Town Hall to Neston Library. In 2014 Neston Town Council moved in.

There is more history on part of the Town Council website that is not currently accessible by the normal route, at

There is a lot more history on Neston Past

The 1732 Mostyn Map

In 2013, when updating the Neston Town Trail, Celia Garvey of Neston Civic Society arranged to get copies of the map made in 1732 for Sir Roger Mostyn, courtesy of Bangor University Archives.

Its formal title is “A Survey of the Manors or Townships of Great Neston, Leighton and Thornton. Including Neston a Market Town and also Park Gate a Sea Port: all in the Hundred of Wirral in the County Palatine of Chester. Part of the Estate of Sir. Thomas Mostyn.”

A copy of part of the map showing Neston town centre formed the centrepiece of the Neston Town Trail, published by Neston Civic Society in 2013 and in 2019. Six numbered landmarks are named, to help viewers relate this old map to modern Neston.

Download a pdf copy of the map.

© Neston Civic Society 2023