What/where is Hoole

From Hoole History and Heritage Society

A selection of articles describing the development of Hoole as a unique community.

Hoole's Coat of Arms[1]

Coat of Arms featured on the badge of office of the Chairman of Hoole U.D.C 'Without the Lord Everything is in Vain'

The Hoole Local Board of Health, the first democratically elected body to be responsible for the Civil Parish of Hoole, came into being in May 1864. It was created under reforms following the Public Health Act of 1848. One of its first tasks was to commission a seal to authenticate its deeds. It asked one of its members, Frank Palin, a surveyor who lived in Hoole Park, to come up with some designs and at its second meeting several drawings were submitted. It was reported that they finally selected “one more handsome than the rest”.

Article from Chester Chronicle 4th June 1864

In the year 2000, the Coat of Arms appeared on the front of Hoole’s Millennium Book which shows the Chairman of Hoole Urban District Council’s badge of office. It was in a setting which included both the ‘English Rose’ and the ‘Prince of Wales’ Feathers’. The Urban District Council succeeded the Local Board in 1894.

The arms of Chester, which were (and are still) three lions and one and half wheat sheaves are well known but the use of the white lion (not an heraldic one) on a red background and the indistinguishable arms on the quarter have not been traced in heraldic sources, or through the family names of Hamilton and Titherington, as may be expected from the Chester Chronicle article.

Some Hamilton family arms contain the cinque-foil (five petalled flower), but there is no evidence that Martha Hamilton used it. Her personal history, coming from Beaumaris, Anglesey as Martha Panton and marrying c.1815 the Rev. Peploe William Ward (who had to change his name to Hamilton to enable him to succeed the inheritance of his Uncle, William Hamilton) make the arms she may have owned a mystery. She out-lived her husband by 29 years and became the owner of the lands and wealth of the Hamilton family from 1854 to her death in 1883.

William Titherington was a cotton merchant from Prescot in Lancashire carrying out his business in Liverpool. He married Eliza Grace Fluitt, the daughter of a wealthy Chester family who owned Dee Hills Park in Boughton. The 1861 Census shows William and Eliza Titherington living there with 3 children and a large number of staff.

Cover of the Festival of Britain Programme 1951

Besides being a cotton merchant, William Titherington was on the Board of the Royal Insurance Company in Liverpool; Chairman of the Birkenhead, Lancashire & Cheshire Junction Railway; held shares in the Minera Mine Company and the Queen Hotel; and set up the Rhyl Hotel Company. He was a churchman and a warden at St. John’s Church. When subscriptions opened in 1864 for the building of All Saints Church in Hoole, he undertook to furnish all of the stone required for its building, delivered to the site.

He received the most votes in the Hoole Local Board elections in 1864 and was elected Chairman. Soon after he started selling Dee Hills Park in lots and as a result Sandown Terrace, Deva Terrace and Beaconsfield Street were built. In May 1868, he was arrested at the behest of the North Western Bank for a debt of £9,150 and was immediately put into Lancaster Castle Prison. The subsequent bankruptcy case took 4 years to resolve when he had to pay 2d. for every 9d. owed. He resigned from the Hoole Local Board in 1868. Heraldic sources have failed to reveal which part of the coat of arms was associated with William Titherington.

The motto on the Hoole Coat of Arms, “Nisi Dominus Frustra” means in three words “Without God Frustration” and has been translated as “Without the Lord Everything is in Vain”. It is the first three words in Latin of Psalm 127 and is also the motto of the City of Edinburgh.

The late Gordon Smith, a Hoole Councillor recounted that when he was the Mayor of Chester and had to travel abroad, the Urban District Council’s Chairman’s regalia had to be worn instead of the more expensive Mayoral chain because of insurance costs.

The Coat of Arms appears on the Chairman’s badge and on a pin for his Lady, photographs of which have been taken by the kind invitation of Cllr. Alex Black serving Cheshire West & Chester Council for Hoole Ward during his year as Lord Mayor. Both are kept with the Civic Plate at the Town Hall. The Arms were also used on the covers of the Hoole Handbook produced in 1947 and the Festival of Britain Programme which took place in 1951.

The Society would be interested to learn of the existence of any other examples of its use e.g. as a letterhead, in publications or even on a celebration mug or local medals?

Hoole: The origin and early use of the place name[2]

In this first of a series of articles exploring the origin of the place name, and how it was used before the emergence of local government systems affected what was given the name of Hoole in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

When I came to live in Hoole I became familiar with its busy, popular Victorian centre, radiating out from Faulkner Street and Charles Street. The ‘Chester Cross 1 mile’ signpost on Hoole Road told me daily how close the area known as Hoole today is to the centre of Chester.

I became interested in the origin and early use of the place name, also where the Hoole Road led to when it was constructed, which meant looking at the topography of Cheshire before the mid-nineteenth century, from when modern systems of local government were introduced.

These systems of local government were overlaid on, and obscured from view, an administrative system of far greater antiquity, which helps us to learn about the origin and the early use of ‘Hoole’ as a place name in Cheshire.

Bryant Map 1831

Below is a description of Hoole in 1831, in which the township is described as lying two and a half miles North East from Chester, one and a half miles further on from the mile post near the entrance to Faulkner Street. It answers the earlier question of why it is that the Hoole Road, the eighteenth-century turnpike from Flookersbrook, now runs through the area known as Hoole today, and is no longer the road leading to Hoole.

On the Bryant Map, the place name ‘Hoole’ is shown as lying much nearer Mickle Trafford close to Hall Farm.

"HOOLE, a township in that part of the parish of PIEMONSTALL (sic.) which is in the lower division of the hundred of BROXTON, county palatine of CHESTER, 2½ miles (N. E.) from Chester, containing 237 inhabitants. A court leet is held here annually."[3]

The Hundreds of Cheshire

The Hundreds of Cheshire were introduced some time before the Norman Conquest, and they were the geographic divisions of Cheshire for administrative, military and judicial purposes. Hoole was in the lower division of the hundred of Broxton.

Hoole, along with Mickle Trafford, Picton and Bridge Trafford, was part of the ancient parish of Plemstall. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the Vestry Committee of the parish became responsible for some aspects of civil administration e.g. the new Poor Relief Law, and, for a time, maintaining the highways which passed through the parish boundaries. It was the mid-nineteenth century before the non-ecclesiastical duties of the parishes became the responsibility of civil parishes and civil administration.

George Ormerod, in ‘The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester’, described the land of Hoole township as being a component part of the manor of Dunham, descending from the Fitzalans (Earls of Arundel), through the Troutbecks, then to the Talbots, ancestors of the Earls of Shrewsbury over time. The land of the township was part of the manor of Dunham, nowadays Dunham on the Hill. The name did not appear in the Domesday Book.

In 1831 Hoole is described as a town, the word derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘tun’, land held and worked by an agricultural community. This is not what we think of automatically in using the word ‘town’ today.

Under the feudal system, promoted by the Normans, tenants-in-chief held land directly of the king. Tenants holding land under the king or other superior lord in the hierarchy, could then carve out new tenures in their turn, by sub-letting a part of their lands. The de Hole family held a mesne (or middle) manor, holding land from a superior lord and then letting land to their tenants. A manor was a community held together by these feudal ties.

‘Inquisitions Postmortem’ are public records of inquiries, undertaken after the death of a feudal tenant-in-chief, to establish what lands were held and who should succeed to them. Although the records are only of those who hold land directly of the king, many other landholders are mentioned, as are their relationships to each other.

Inquisition records from the reigns of Edward I to Edward III contain references to land held by the de Holes. There are financial recognitions by family members of John de Assheby, the parson of the parish church of Plegmondstowe, or Sir John of Plegmondstow.

During this period it appears that Hole and Hole–Hey came into use as place names and became established.

However, by the reign of Henry VI only one name from the family occurs, Edward de Hole, which may afford a clue as to the future descent of the manor.

During the reign of Henry VIII, there is a record of the name of the township of Hole as Hoole. Hole-Hey later became Hoole Heath. Another spelling of the name is Howl on seventeenth century maps, e.g. Ogilby

York to West Chester, showing Warrington to Derby 1675 Map by Ogilby

Followed by sections 1-3 Chester to Morley Hall/Wimbolds Trafford Route in sections[4]

1675 Map by Ogilby, Section 1
1675 Map by Ogilby, Section 1
1675 Map by Ogilby, Section 3

The development of the Urban District Council of Hoole[5]

Hoole 1840-1920s

In the early 19th century Hoole was still part of a world where the ancient parish boundary shaped people’s identity and an appreciation of what was lawful. Social hierarchy was based on a landowning aristocracy and ownership of land, with shared certainties in religion and politics and matters of taste.

Greenwood 1819: Hoole at the beginning of the 19th century

Counties, with subdivisions into hundreds, were the two ancient tiers of government, and Cheshire later became the administrative boundary for Cheshire County Council. Hundreds were the administrative sub-divisions of Cheshire in the 19th century, for taxation and for census reporting until 1881, but the Hundreds had very few government functions.

Cheshire County Council Pack 106, produced by Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, gives the population of Hoole in 1841, the year of the first national census of population, as 294.

Bagshaw’s Directory, nine years later in 1850, describes Hoole, and its “gentile houses”, as “47 Houses and 294 inhabitants” within a boundary which “contains 743 acres of sandy soil”.

However, between 1841 and 1861, on the same acreage, the population rose from 294 to 1,596, and, by 1881 there were just over 3000 people living in Hoole.

Hoole developed rapidly from the small nucleus around Faulkner Street in 1841. Census information helped Hoole History and Heritage Society to begin to plot the development of the street plan of Hoole as it emerged in each decade.

The arrival of the railways and the building of Chester General Station resulted in an influx of population, leading to the building of terraced houses in nearby Hoole.

The railway also made the manufacture and transporting of new building materials possible, allowing for development. By 1899, many residents of Hoole travelled to Liverpool and to Manchester each day for work and for business. In the same year, the Sanitary (Public Health) Report for Hoole records the fact that houses were being built at the rate of 300 per year, by which time Hoole had become an Urban District Council.

Development of Hoole by 1899. Ordnance Survey

Towns had made little impact on Cheshire’s administrative boundaries before 1850, but there was a proliferation of local government institutions in, and for, townships like Hoole which eventually paved the way for the emergence of the Urban District Council in 1894.

Following the 1848 Public Health Act, local boards of health could be elected with the aim of making improvements in social conditions in civil parishes. An elected Local Board of Health for the Civil Parish of Hoole came into being in May 1864.

Members of the Local Board served on other local bodies like the vestry committee, the school board, and the turnpike, railway and the workhouse trusts.

The local board came into being to provide for the health of the local population, but its activities had to expand over time as civil administration increased in order to bring about improvements in conditions. The Hoole Local Board meetings were reported in the Cheshire Observer.

As the street plan was extended, there were constant requests for road improvements due to the rate of development.

Increased demands on the ratepayers were recorded regularly in the minutes of the meetings of the Board. Letters from individual ratepayers were published in the newspapers. The need to plan for infrastructure and services for the growing number of households in Hoole increased the pressure.

Hoole, in its capacity as the Local Board of Health, was an Urban Sanitary Authority. Urban Sanitary Authorities became the Urban District Councils created in 1894.

Even in its early years the Local Board was concerned that Chester, with its own Town Council, harboured the ambition to incorporate Hoole within its boundaries. Although Hoole valued its own independence as a township, it did not prevent the Board from looking across the boundary of Hoole Road at another independent township, Newton, however, to improve its financial viability in 1894.

Two boundary changes were to be a consequence of Hoole Local Board being replaced by an Urban District Council. The first was that Hoole Village (including Hoole Bank), population 218 in the later 1901 census, became a separate civil parish within Chester Rural District Council.

The second was because Hoole Local Board petitioned the County of Chester, requesting two areas of land be included in an expanded boundary of the Urban District Council.

One, “a further small portion of Hoole” was not contentious. However the request to include “that part of the Township of Newton-by-Chester which lies between the Hoole Road and the Cheshire Lines Railway” was very contentious, taking the proposed boundary into a neighbouring township, to include over 77 acres of land and buildings with an estimated population of 575 within the expanded boundary.

Notice of Meeting - 1st February 1894

The names on the notice urging the owners and occupiers of all houses and land in the part of Newton-by-Chester affected by the Hoole Local Board petition to attend a meeting at the Ermine Hotel on 1st February 1894, show the importance of the development locally, but also that there was likely to be resistance, too.

The Hoole Local Board maded a Petition (Hoole Local Board Petition 1894), called a ‘Memorial’ in 1894.

The Hoole Local Board also recommended that its size should be increased to reflect the proposed expansion. It recommended adding three members to represent the area of Newton. In forthcoming elections, Hoole Ward would have 12 councillors to represent it, and three councillors being elected to represent the new Ward of Newton.

In 1894 the government created District Councils with powers for plan development. These Councils could, subject to Whitehall’s approval, raise mortgages to pay for schemes to improve the living conditions and environment in the local government area. The Local Government Board organised special public meetings between inspectors and Hoole ratepayers to discuss council proposals and their financing in order to obtain consent to funding them through mortgages which would then be paid with funds raised through the local rates.

Alexandra Park and Walker Street Playground were both created by Hoole Urban District under powers granted to it in the 1875 Public Health Act. Section 64 of the Act granted it powers to purchase and hold land in order to create parks and leisure grounds for the pleasure and enjoyment of the people of Hoole. Both were paid for from the rates.

In 1909 the Government passed the first Town Planning Act granting Councils further planning powers. In the years before the First World War private builders supplied virtually all new housing.

The war changed this and building activity came to a virtual standstill whilst the country fought.

By the time of the General Election in 1918 it was clear that the country faced an acute shortage of housing. Building costs were inflated and this, combined with a scarcity of materials and labour, made it impossible for the private developers to provide houses with rents within reach of the average working-class family.

In December 1919, Hoole Urban District Council’s Town Planning powers were extended to include Housing. The District was included in the Housing and Town Planning Act.

As the troops returned from war, like the rest of the country, Hoole faced the challenge of building ‘homes fit for heroes.’

A new social attitude focused attention on a national responsibility to provide homes, giving rise to Lloyd George's famous promise. By 1925, the Government had passed the ‘Housing for the Working Classes” Act, empowering councils to purchase land for the purpose of building homes for rent.

Hoole Millennium Book

Our thanks to the Hoole Area Residents Association (HARA) for allowing the Hoole History and Heritage Society to publish on our website a reproduction of the Hoole Millennium Book, originally printed as a booklet in 2000. The Book was based on the Hoole History Project (1981-83) and research by William G. Crampton MEd – to whom the booklet is dedicated.

Hoole Millennium Book, printed 2000


  1. Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, October 2018, Hoole History & Heritage Society
  2. Article researched and written by Linda Webb, March 2019, Hoole History & Heritage Society
  3. Samuel Lewis ‘A Topographical Dictionary of England’ (1831) © Mel Lockie
  4. Maps Courtesy of Cheshire Local History Association, Cheshire Record Office
  5. Article researched and written by Linda Webb, August 2019, Hoole History & Heritage Society