The Cistercians founded an abbey at Stanlow Point in 1178. It was built on marshy and inaccessible land and the monks' problems were compounded by great storms in 1279 and 1287 and a fire in 1289. The abbey was inhabited by a few monks until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century. Little remains of the thirteenth-century abbey building and the site is now used as a farmyard.
Ince was built on the only habitable site amongst the surrounding marshland and its name comes from 'Ynys' meaning island. It had a late Perpendicular manor house, once owned by the Abbots of Chester, remains of which are located near the church. Other remnants of the building have been incorporated into nearby houses and barns. The church is a mixture of styles with a Perpendicular tower, early English parts, a seventeenth-century chancel roof and Victorian influences. The settlement still has its village stocks dating from 1671 and, despite the presence of the refinery, it still has its village square and village atmosphere.