Heywood, a town and a municipal borough, mostly in Heap township, Bury parish, Lancashire. The town stands on the Rochdale Canal, and on the L. & Y.R., near the river Roache, 3 miles E of Bury, and 9 N from Manchester, was toward the close of the 18th century a mere village inhabited chiefly by hand-loom fustian weavers, has acquired importance from the working of coal in the adjoining townships of Barn-ford and Hopwood, and from the enterprise and skill of local capitalists, and is now a populous, busy, thriving seat of various manufactures. It was incorporated in 1881, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors, who are also the urban sanitary authority. The borough is divided into three wards and has a separate commission of the peace It is well supplied with good water.
It has a head post office, two railway stations, several good inns, a police station, a market-place, three churches, three Free and two Primitive Methodist, Wesleyan, Baptist, Congregational, and Unitarian chapels, a New Jerusalem and a Roman Catholic church; is a seat of petty sessions, publishes two weekly newspapers, and carries on the manufacture of power-looms, railway waggons, and chemicals, iron and brass founding, boiler-making, and all departments of cotton-spinning and cotton-weaving, and there are also steam sawing and moulding mills. The market-place was erected in 1853. The market-day is Friday, and there are three annual fairs. The Eeform Club, built in 1850, is neat and commodious and has an excellent library, a large hall capable of holding 1000 persons, and reading and billiard rooms. There are also Conservative and working-men's clubs, and a park of twenty acres presented by Her Majesty the Queen, called the Queen's Park, was opened in 1879 by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; it has been laid out and enclosed, and contains a gymnasium and playgrounds. The Free Libraries Act was adopted by the town in 1873.
The Corporation Swimming Baths, opened in 1891, is a commodious building, and was presented to the town by the late Mr Alfred Grundy.
St Luke's Church, on the site of the old chapel of Heywood which existed in 1640, was built in 1863, at a cost of upwards of, £10,000, is in the Decorated English style, comprises a nave of 80 feet by 24, with aisles, and a chancel of 42 feet by 22; includes a private mortuary chapel, erected at great cost additional to that of the church; is ornamented with coloured marble and alabaster, and has a detached tower, with a spire 185 feet high.
The church is one of the finest in Lancashire. It is specially noted for its stained glass windows, magnificent organ, and grand peal of eight bells.
St James' Church, erected in 1838, is a building in the Gothic style, consisting of nave, aisles, chancel, and a belfry tower.
The population of the ecclesiastical parish of St Luke's is 8267; of St James', 7239. Area of the municipal borough, 3507 acres; population, 23,185.
The living of St Luke's is a rectory in the diocese of Manchester; gross value, £400 with residence.
The living of St James' is a vicarage; gross value, £300 with residence.
Patron, the Bishop of Manchester. Heywood was the birthplace of Peter Heywood, the Lancashire magistrate who aided the discovery of the gunpowder treason, and Heywood Hall was the seat of that gentleman's family.
Taken from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5