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Audenshaw, with the Audenshaw Reservoirs
and the City of Manchester Stadium beyond
Grid reference: SJ925975
Location: 53°28’23"N, 2°7’19"W
Population: 11,419  (2011)
Post town: Manchester
Postcode: M34
Dialling code: 0161
Local Government
Council: Tameside
Denton and Reddish

Audenshaw is a town in south-east Lancashire on the River Tame two miles south-west of Ashton-under-Lyne and five miles east of Manchester. In 2001, Audenshaw had a population of 13,000.[1] By the 2011 Census the population had decreased to 11,419.[2]

The name Audenshaw derives from Aldwin, a Saxon personal name, and the Old English suffix shagh meaning woodland. Nico Ditch, an early-mediæval linear earthwork possibly built as a defensive barrier against Vikings, runs through the area. During the Middle Ages, Audenshaw was a division of the township of Ashton. Audenshaw's urbanisation and expansion largely coincided with developments in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. In the 1870s, many of Audenshaw's inhabitants were employed in hat-making, cotton-spinning, calico-printing, and silk-weaving.[3]


Audenshaw Reservoir

The name Audenshaw is a corruption of its earlier name Aldwinshagh which derives from Aldwin, a Saxon personal name, combined with the Old English suffix shagh meaning woodland.[4]

Nico Ditch, a mediæval linear earthwork, runs through the area. Stretching six miles from Ashton Moss in the east to just east of Stretford in the west, the origin of the ditch is unclear.[5] According to legend, it was completed in a single night by the inhabitants of Manchester, as a protection against Viking invaders in 869–870,[6] and that it was the site of a bloody battle between Saxons and Danes and that Gorton and Reddish got their name from the battle, "Gore Town" and"Red-Ditch".[7][8] Despite the legend, the U-shape of the ditch – as opposed to the usual V-shape of military earthworks – and the absence of an associated bank indicates that Nico Ditch was probably a boundary marker.[9] Although it is thought to be earlier, the earliest documented reference to Nico Ditch is in a charter detailing the granting of land in Audenshaw to the monks of the Kersal Cell. In the document, dating from 1190 to 1212, the ditch is referred to as "Mykelldiche", and a magnum fossatum, Latin for "large ditch".[10]

In 1877, part of the original village of Audenshaw was demolished to make way for the three Audenshaw Reservoirs. Also destroyed to allow the construction of the reservoirs was a section of Nico Ditch.[11]


St Stephen's Church

There are nine Grade-II listed buildings in Audenshaw, although no Grade I or II*.[12] These include two lodges which were originally a single barn,[13][14] a trough and pillar,[15] and St Stephen's Church. The church was constructed in 1846, at a cost of £2,900 and provided space for a congregation of 750.[16] Ryecroft Hall, a Grade II listed building,[17] was donated to the people of Audenshaw by the local Member of Parliament, Austin Hopkinson, in 1921.

Ryecroft Hall

The war memorial at the entrance to Audenshaw Cemetery is also a Grade II listed building and commemorates the 140 men from Audenshaw who lost their lives in World War I. Standing 15 ft tall, it features a bronze statue of a soldier standing on top of a square column. There are slabs of black granite on the fours sides of the column with the names of the deceased. Unveiled in 1920 before a 10,000 strong crowd, it cost £1,300.[18]


There are two nursery schools, five primary schools, and one secondary school in Audenshaw. Opened in 1932 as Audenshaw Grammar School for Boys,[16] Audenshaw School is now the only secondary school in the town. Until 1964, secondary education was also provided by Poplar Street School which was built in 1914, although its primary school still exists.[16]


The Audenshaw Greyhound Racing and Sports Ground existed from the turn of the 20th century, initially as an athletic and coursing ground and then as a trotting track, speedway dirt track and greyhound racing track until 1934. This is not to be confused with the Athletics stadium that existed on the south side of the Manchester Road.[19]



  1. "Census 2001 Key Statistics – Urban area results by population size of urban area", (Office for National Statistics): KS01 Usual resident population XLSlink, 22 July 2004,, retrieved 7 December 2008 
  2. "2011 census.Retrieved Feb 2015". 
  3. Great Britain Historical GIS Project (2004), "Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Audenshaw", A vision of Britain through time (University of Portsmouth),, retrieved 4 September 2009 
  4. Lewis 1848, pp. 112–116.
  5. Nevell 1998, p. 40.
  6. Hylton 2003, p. 8.
  7. Booker 1857, p. 197.
  8. Harland & Wilkinson 1993, pp. 26–29.
  9. Nevell 1998, pp. 40–41.
  10. Nevell 1992, p. 78.
  11. Nevell 1992, p. 81.
  12. Select "Audenshaw" from the district drop-down menu. Tameside Council, Listed buildings,,, retrieved 4 September 2009 
  13. Tameside Council, 1 Audenshaw Lodge Cornhill Lane Audenshaw Tameside M34 5PG,,, retrieved 4 September 2009 
  14. Tameside Council, 2 Audenshaw Lodge Cornhill Lane Audenshaw Tameside M34 5PG,,, retrieved 4 September 2009 
  15. Tameside Council, Trough And Pillar (Structure) Manchester Road Audenshaw Tameside,,, retrieved 4 September 2009 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Tameside Council, Facts about Audenshaw,,, retrieved 3 September 2009 
  17. Tameside Council, Ryecroft Hall Manchester Road Audenshaw Tameside M34 5GJ,,, retrieved 4 September 2009 
  18. Tameside Council (5 June 2007), Audenshaw War Memorial,,, retrieved 1 July 2013 
  19. "OS County Series Lancashire and Furness (partial) 1934". 


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Audenshaw)