The parish consists of four distinct communities, or possibly five, as Backford Cross is about a mile from Little Stanney. Depending on various definitions of village and hamlet, the only village is Stoak, as it has a church (and a pub), and possibly Little Stanney, as that’s where the village hall is, the remainder are hamlets.
The main features of the parish are all man made: the Shropshire Union Canal; the M53/M56 junction (Stoak Interchange); the A5117; St Lawrence Church, Stoak.
The Stoak/Stoke conundrum
Below is an extract from the Inspector’s Report into M56/M531 (now M53) Motorway Proposals – Jan/Feb 1974
STOAK OR STOKE
I understand that the village is “Stoak”, the parish “Stoke” and the Interchange “Stoak” and reproduce below a cutting dated 5th October 1972 from the Ellesmere Port Pioneer.
“Stoak not Stoke
Motorists looking for that small village just off the A5117 arterial road will in future be directed by road signs to STOAK – and not STOKE as previously.
This news brought big smiles and a cheer at Thursday’s meeting of Little Stanney Parish Council when the Clerk, Mr L Sewell, read a letter from the Cheshire County authority agreeing to alter the signs which once read STOKE.
It was at their July meeting that the Parish Councillors protested at the County’s spelling and agreed to request the change.
There has always been uncertainty about how the name should be spelt, supported by a 100-years old map produced by Councillor W Pate which clearly names the community – STOKE”.