The insider's guide to Poulton-le-Fylde
PUBLISHED: 13:34 02 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:21 20 February 2013
Take a quick tour of one of Lancashire's most attractive communities
Poulton-le-Fylde is a quiet market town with considerable charm and a lot of history. In recent years, it has become a bit of a property hotspot with a population in excess of 20,000 and growing.
The town centre is quaint and having its own railway station makes it popular with people who want to commute. This, combined with better than average schools, lower crime rates and some good quality pubs and restaurants make it a destination for a day out and a draw for people looking to move. But before you dash off, get up to speed with Lancashire Lifes whistle-stop guide.
Back in the 1970s, a 12,000-year-old elk skeleton was discovered and more recent excavations for a new drainage scheme unearthed the remains of a Roman roundhouse, believed to date back to the second century AD.
A document from the late 11th century gave historians the first written mention of a church but it seems likely a place of worship has been sited here since Anglo-Saxon times. This first mention of a church in Poulton was found in a document of 1094. It was one of 60 villages in the Domesday Book listed as being part of the region known as Amoundeness.
The current church, dedicated to Anglo Saxon bishop St Chad, forms a centre-piece to the town. It has six hatchments with the coats of arms of the Fleetwood Hesketh family. The 17th century tower has eight bells. In spring, it has a magnificent display of crocuses.
In the 1880 Skippool was Poultons thriving port, dealing in hard wood and flax from Europe and farm produce from around the North West coast. It brought a colourful mix of people into the town not all them desirables!
Another source of wealth was the cattle market which saw beasts driven through the streets. It became a magnet men looking for work, farmer labourers and street vendors. The pubs were extremely lively and there was infamous lodging house known as the 20 Steps because it had two flights up to the front door.
The name Poulton-le-Fylde might sound like it owes something to the Norman times. In fact, its a fake dreamed up in the 1840s when the penny post was introduced. Letters were being delivered by mistake to Poulton-le-Sands, which is today part of Morecambe.
The market cross still stands in the square and, although the first recorded mention of the market was 1628, experts believe it dates back even earlier.
The town still has its stocks and a whipping post so behave!
In the early 18th century a fire devastated the centre. As the body of Geoffrey Hornby passed through the Market Place to the church sparks from tapers lighting the way set the thatched roofs ablaze. A national disaster fund paid for new buildings.
A 16th century cottage in Poulton was once home to singer and entertainer Two Tons Tessie OShea. She eventually made it big in Hollywood and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Another big name, George Formby, was also a resident of Poulton and he was reputed to have been a dispatch rider with the Home Guard.
Poulton in Bloom is a strong community group dedicated to making the most of this historic market town. In 2011 they helped to secure a silver gilt award.
One of the longest established businesses is the Carl Josef kitchen specialist which has just celebrated its 30 anniversary by opening a new showroom. It was set up by Caroline and Joseph Hanson.
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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