Poulton-le-Fylde

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Blossoming Crocuses behind St. Chad's Church (1966)

Poulton-le-Fylde is a town in Lancashire in north-western England, at Template:Coor dms. The town has a population of 19,480 as of 2001 and occupies an area of 7.79 km², for a population density of 2500 people/km². It is situated about 5 kilometers to the northeast of Blackpool town and the Irish Sea coast.

The town gained its name from the Wyre estuary, which lies less than 2 kilometers to the north-east at Skippool. The name Poulton was created by combining the Old English words Pol, for pool or creek, and Tun, meaning a farmstead or enclosure. Thus the name signifies "settlement by the pool". In 1842 the suffix 'le-Fylde' was added to distinguish the village from Poulton-le-Sands, a community since renamed to Morecambe.

In 1970, the nearly intact skeleton of an Elk (nicknamed 'Harold') was discovered in the vicinity. The skeleton was dated at 12,000 years of age, and contained the remains of weapon tips embedded in the legs. This skeleton is evidence that human hunters dwelled here during that prehistoric period. The skeleton is now located in the Harris Museum in Preston.

During the Roman era, the area around this location was believed to be marshy ground, and was sparsely settled. The village was likely inhabited during the Anglo-Saxon period, and its name appears in the Doomsday Book. A church is thought to have been located in the village since before the Norman Conquest.

By the mediŠval era, Poulton-le-Fylde served as a market town for the local area, and the town square was been used as a market dating from at least 1348. The ports on the river Wyre were later used for trade during the 18th century. These were supplanted by Fleetwood and Glasson Dock near Lancaster.

Stocks were added to the square in 1351 as a punitive measure. Wrongdoers were locked in the stocks and had rotten eggs and other food items thrown at them. Both the stocks and whipping post were used up until the 19th century. These historical features are now preserved in the Market Square.

In March, 1752, a fire swept through the west part of the village, burning buildings to the ground. These structures were later rebuilt after a national collection raised the funds. Poulton-le-Fylde remained a farming community centre for the area throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Wyre Borough Council was formed during a local reorganization in 1974, with Poulton-le-Fylde acting as the administrative centre.

Places of interest

  • Black Bull Inn - This was once one of Poulton's three Coaching inns.
  • Market Square - The square is now closed to traffic and contains several features of historical note. There is an island in the center with the old stocks, whipping post, fish slab, and market cross.
  • Railway Station - the town rail station has a single platform serving rail lines that connect to Blackpool North and Preston. It was established in 1896. Formerly the station supported a branch line via Thornton to Fleetwood. Services were discontinued under Beeching, but the line was kept open for freight access to and from a works belonging to ICI.
  • Skippool - a mooring area for boats on the Wyre estuary -- the name itself a corruption of the more accurate "ship-pool" -- where ships used to moor before the river Wyre silted up.
  • St. Chad's Church - Located near the market square, this Georgian-style Parish church was built of red sandstone and dates back to 1638. In early spring the church yard provides a display of purple and yellow crocuses.

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