Friday, 6 August 2010

Cronton Stocks


I am trying to contact the Liverpool History Society regarding a query about Cronton stocks. I have read that they are unusual because they have five holes, unlike others that have pairs of holes. Is there anyone who would be able to offer a reason why the stocks have five holes?

I should be most grateful for any information that you can offer regarding this query.

Jayne Williams

Unicorn pub Cronton near the stocks

1 comment:

  1. Cronton, whose Saxon name Crawenton means ‘Settlement of Crows’, is a small village that appears in the Norman document the Testa de Nevill. The conservation area has some outstanding buildings in various architectural styles ranging from the impressive manor house, Cronton Hall, to the localised architecture of local sandstone and brick. There was once an important tool-making industry in Cronton, pre-dating the Industrial Revolution. It seems likely that files were made here, probably for use by the clock and watch makers in Prescot. Later the tools were used to finish off and re-sharpen the drawing dies used in the Warrington wire works. The last of these small workshops was on Upton Lane, finally closing in 1926.

    As mentioned the township of Cronton, in the West Derby Hundred, appears in the Norman document the Testa de Nevill as Grohinton and Crohinton, in other sources it appears as Croynton (1292); Croenton (1348) and Crawenton (1562) this later spelling reflecting its Saxon origin as a 'settlement of crows'. The manor formed part of the ancient Barony of Widnes until about 1250 when Edmund de Lacy gave the township, his land and feudal rights to Stanlaw Abbey as alms. The Abbey retained ownership until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537 when the manor was sold to Thomas Holt of Gristlehurst.

    This part of the township contains the village stocks a surviving testimony to local crime and punishment. Originally introduced in England in 1350 to punish minor offenders, they were usually used for drunkeness and are often located close to an Inn. This is exemplified at Cronton with The Unicorn being sited directly opposite. The design is two stone uprights and wood leg stocks for two people. It is now located in a Council park at corner of the cross roads in the village centre. The five-holed stocks are almost unique to Cronton with few other specimens found anywhere. Despite referring to various SW Lancs history resources I have been unable to determine the reason for this unusual arrangement.


    Rob Ainsworth

    Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society
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