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The Parish of Westhoughton
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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Calendar of Events in the History Westhoughton to 1910

54BC - 410AD This part of Britain was occupied by the Brigantes.
410 - 1086
Domesday Book Settlement by English; mostly English place names; Halcton, Halghton, same derivation as Haulgh in Bolton; meaning land or enclosure usually by a stream
  Wingates or Wynd yate could mean a windy pass; or possibly Wigangate (as in Deansgate etc.)
  Borsden = Balla's dean which would be a valley belonging to Balla.
  Snydle = Snipe Hill or this could be a derivation of Swinhill where the pigs were kept.
  Brinsop = Bryn's hop, a small valley belonging to Bryn.
  Warcock Hill = pheasant or capercaillie
By 1200
In the Reign of
King John The Hulton family was established at the Park (Over Hulton)
  The Pendlebury family was established as Lords of Snydale
  The Rylands family was established in Daisy Hill
By 1250
In the Reign of
Henry III Land was being granted to "God and the Abbey of Cockersand in return for prayers for the souls of the ancestors and descendents of the families concerned" The monks administered the estate from their grange at Brinsop and also a grange by Conware (Corner Brook). The abbot of Cockersand was a good landlord, and made many improvements, it is said he erected at chapel on Westhoughton Common, which is the site where the present church of St Bartholomew now stands, in the centre of the town. Chet.Soc.NS43
  Abbey Rental gives names of tenant farmers in 1251. Chet.Soc.NS64
1272 The King's Justices settled the boundary between Lostock and Westhoughton "for all time". Chet.Soc.NS43
In the Reign
Edward II Inquisition before the Lord King at Wygan; various knights gave evidence upon oath that Sir Adam Banastre, Sir Henry de Lea, and William Bradshaw of Haigh had entered into a confederacy at Windyates in the town of Haulton. Chet.Soc.3rd series
In the Reign of
Edward III Lay Subsidy: William de Rylands paid the highest amount. Lancs & Chesh.Record Soc.31
In the Reign of
Henry VI Abbey Rentals: List of tenant farmers Chet.Soc.NS64
In the Reign of
Edward VI Nicholas of the Rylands, in Leigh Parish Church, swore that he had never given his land to his son, nor permission to anyone to sell or alienate any land. He "received a Purgation". His son William, with his associates, was cursed by bell, book and candle Shakerley Deeds
In the Reign of
Henry VIII Abbey possessions surveyed and valued for the Crown at the Dissolution of the monasteries Chet.Soc.NS64
1538 Westhoughton became Crown Land
In the Reign of
Henry VIII Lay Subsidy: Robert Pendlebury appears as most substantial land owner in Westhoughton. Chet.Soc.NS83
1545 Manor of Westhoughton sold to James Browne, a London haberdasher; for £1035.11.8d, he came to live at Brinsop (site of Brinsop Hall Farm).
In the Reign of
Elizabeth I Lay Subsidy: James Browne, John Leghe, Roger Pendlebury - most substantial landowners in Westhoughton; Adam Hulton in Hulton. Chet.Soc.NS62
1574 Mr Hulton de Park and Mr Browne were to furnish a horse and arms for the General Levy. Chet.Soc.1XL
In the Reign of
Elizabeth I Fear of uprisings in favour of Mary, Queen of Scots, led Elizabeth's Protestant Council to list Catholic gentry; Lord Burghley's, map of Lancashire shows Hilton of Hilton Park as "obstinate" Catholics
  List of persons "ill-affected" to the state contains Mr Hilton of Hilton Park
  Divers Priests were harboured at the house of Ralph Holme in Checkerbent. Chet.Soc.1XL
1587 Mr Hulton and Mr Browne listed as "armiger"....liable to contribute arms to the General Levy (see 1574 above) Chet.Soc.1XL
1588 Westhoughton shared in the cost of watching the Beacon of Rivington Pike (Armada year)...from the tenth daie of July until XXXth of September.-4 score and 2 daies at xvj d. the daie & night...Chet.Soc.X11X
1590 Anne Brown, wife of James Browne....a Recusant. QS Records
1590 The Pendlebury's heir was female. Her husband James Worthington became lord of the manor or Snydale. VCH
1600 Lay Subsidy: James Browne, James Worthington and Robert Leigh - most substantial landowners in Westhoughton; Adam Hulton in Hulton. Chet.Soc.NS83
1603 Reference to the cutting of hollins in "Baldersden Gladen" -the land of Edmund Laithwaite (Bordsen Wood). Chet.Soc.NS77
In the Reign of
James I Will of Adam Pendlebury (farm in School Street and Red Lion) makes very early mention of cotton being woven locally.
1622 Thomas Richardson (son of Richard Rogerson) listed as "Gentleman" on the Subsidy Roll. Lancs & Chesh. Rec.Soc.12
In the Reign of
Charles I Letters between Rigby of Kenyon Hall, Hulton of the Park, and Browne of Brinsop.... (Cousins). DD/Ke LRO
1633 Richard Laithwaite's petition to the Justices in keep "Bellwards and their Beares" to the King's Highways and prohibit their taking short cuts (via Dobb Brow). QSR in LRO
1641 List of the adult male population of the town, who "took the Protestation"
1642 Battle of Westhoughton Common: Royalist (Wigan) victory. Parliamentarians (Bolton) defeat. Captain Risley Browne and Lieutenant Peter Rylands were taken prisoner. Chet.Soc.NS11-Chet.Soc.LX11-Anderton Papers
Cm/wealth Land and house in Failsworth settled on John Richardson on his marriage to Ruhanna, daughter of Henry Molyneux of Westhoughton, gentleman. He was a manufacturer, an organiser of cottage industry, a man of some wealth. He lived in Daisy Hill. Chet.Soc.NS44
In the Reign of
Charles II William Leigh was one of the two High Constables for Salford Hundred. Lancs & Chesh.Rec.Soc.121
1662 Will of Henry Molyneux
1663 Will of Peter Rylands; he was a Parliamentary Sequestrator during the Commonwealth and lived locally.
 Hearth Tax  1664  1666
 William Worthington Esq.  6 hearths   6 hearths
 Raphe Browne, gentleman  3 “   5 “
 William Leigh, gentleman  3 “   4 “
 Nathaniel Molyneux  6 “   6 “
 Adam Hulton de Park  8 “   9 “
 Bolton Ref.Lib.    
1668 Raphe Brown was one of two High Constables for Salford Hundred Lancs & Chesh.Rec.Soc.121
1678 Assessment for the Pole Money (List of those paying Poll Tax): excerpt: everyone else paid 1s.0d per head
 Two maids Herst att Brinsop  2s.0d
 Nathaniel Molyneux Gent  
 His wife and 2 children 1£. 1s.0d 
 Raphe Brown Gent  
 His wife and 2 children 5£. 4s.0d 
 William Worthington Gent  
 His wife and 3 children 1£. 5s.0d 
 William Leigh  
 His wife and 3 children 1£. 5s.0d 
1681 John Johnson one of the High Constables for Salford Hundred Lancs & Chesh.Rec.Soc.121
1685 Agreement between Mr Worthington and Mr Hulton that the latter should have the right to mine all coal between Snydale and Wingates
In the Reign of
James II The "two maids Herst" at Brinsop were indicted for witchcraft: but the Petitioner (Roger Gregory) could not produce witnesses willing to give evidence against them. QSR in LRO
In the Reign of
William & Mary
  Jacobite Trials : Henry Hulton of Hulton, served on the Grand Jury Chet.Soc.XXV111
In the Reign of
Queen Anne Public Subscription to raise £300 to provide a House for the Parson (Vicar) DD/Ke
1714 Will of Nathaniel Molyneux, a man of some wealth, whose marriage to Margaret Bootle resulted in his property passing to the Bootle-Wilbrahams, now Lord Skelmersdale. His daughter Ellen Molyneux married James Rogers of Rogers Farm, Daisy Hill, and their descendents were "Gentlemen of Ardwick".
In the Reign of
George I Enclosure of Commons & Waste. After attempts in 1630 and 1685 to enclose by agreement, and much acrimonious correspondence between the most substantial landowners, the Commons were enclosed by Act of Parliament. William Worthington was named as Lord of the Manor. William Leigh is Collector of Tythes. DD.Hu/38 - Act of Parliament -Enclosure Award & Maps.
In the Reign of
George II A new chapel replaced the thatched Westhoughton Chapel
1744 On the bankruptcy of William Worthington, the Manor of Snydale was bought by Starkie of Huntroyd, which family still owns the land but does not exercise manorial rights.
1745 Dec 10th...Eye witness account of the retreat of Bonnie Prince Charlie's forces, north from Manchester via Four Lane Ends in Hulton (via the present A6 Road). Lancashire Diarists by JJ Bagley.
1753 The Manchester-Adlington Road was turnpiked: there was a gate and tollbar at Fourgates (between the school and Dicconson Lane).
1760 Reference in the Atherton Poor Law Records: George Gregory of Westhoughton, tailor, took an apprentice from the Overseers of the Poor.
In the Reign of
George III Thomas, son of George Green, tradesman of Westhoughton, was a pupil at Manchester (Grammar) School. Chet.Soc.LX1X
1772 John, son of Rev. John Chisenhale (Vicar of Westhoughton) was a pupil at Manchester (Grammar) School. Chet.Soc.LX1X
1784 John Wesley preached at Barnaby's Farm, Wingates. The stone from which he preached is now situated where the farm once stood and has a commemoration plaque.
1792-1812 Westhoughton Hall (in Daisy Hill) was tenanted by Mr & Mrs Lockett. Information supplied by Mr Lockett of Clonterbrook House, Cheshire.
1800 The road from Bolton via Snydale was turnpiked "as far as the turnpike road from Manchester to Westhoughton Chapel". Park Road, Market Street and Wigan Road were probably turnpiked about 1753. A toll house was situated near the Cenotaph, and gates across Church Street and Market Street.
1804 Mr Lockett, of Westhoughton Hall, built a Factory - (one of the earliest steam-powered mills) on land opposite the White Lion.
1808 Factory leased to Thomas Wroe of Manchester DDZ/Bur.6&8
1812 Westhoughton Factory was set on fire by Luddites. 4 were hanged and 5 transported to Australia. Calendar of Crown Prisoners.
1812 Westhoughton Hall was sent on fire by the Luddites (this is in the family records of the Locketts). I think that this was the end of the Hall as a 'gentleman's residence'. The panelling and coat of arms were removed (most likely by Lord Skelmersdale, to whom the estate had passed, by 1850). The hall continued to be worked as a farm by the Lowe family and was demolished in the 1950's.
1819 The "Peterloo Massacre" Several Wingates men walked to the Parliamentary Reform meeting in St Peter's Fields, Manchester. Whispers of Wingates by E Howell.
In the Reign of
George IV The Westhoughton Workhouse re-opened. This was on the site of the Rose Hill Tavern, in Daisy Hill. The Workhouse Rules are on display in Westhoughton Library.
1828 August 1st. The first railway in Lancashire, the Bolton to Leigh, was opened. Mr Hulton was Chairman of the Company: Mr George Stephenson, the Engineer: Mr Hargreaves of Hart Common was in charge of the working of the line. Lancs & Chesh.Antiqu.Soc,LX11.
In the Reign of
William IV Miners from the Hulton Collieries came out on strike. They accused Mr Hulton of dismissing a man because he was a Union member. DD.Hu.5372 &73
1834 Samuel Holbrook, coalmaster, took Thomas Allred "a poor boy" from the Atherton Overseers, to be a coalminer.
In the Reign of
Victoria Census Returns. It is clear that silk weaving was well established in the town. Chadwick's silk mill was situated at the Peel Street - Church Street junction.
1850 The Tithe Map and Award shows field names, occupiers, owners and use in 1850
1870 The 1731 Chapel was replaced by St Bartholomew's, Parish Church of Westhoughton. The present church was rebuilt retaining the tower of this church which was the only part left intact after the fire in 1990
In the Reign of
Edward VII Foundation stone laid for the new Town Hall. The architects were Bradshaw & Gass of Bolton.
1910 The 21st December, Pretoria Colliery Disaster. 344 men and boys were killed. A service of remembrance is held each year at the memorial in the Churchyard. There is also a memorial near the site of Pretoria Colliery in Atherton. Collection of books, pictures, reports in Westhoughton Library.

Key to the references (in italic) and where the material can be found:-
Chet.Soc. = The Chetham Society, all references to Westhoughton are listed in book in Westhoughton Library –Ref :W905 CHE
Lancs & Chesh.Rec.Soc. = Lancashire & Cheshire Record Society, all references to Westhoughton are listed in a book in Westhoughton Library –Ref: W905 BAS
Q.S.R =Quarter Sessions Records, can be found in the Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston.
VCH = Victoria County History of Great Britain – publications are deposited in most large Libraries throughout UK.
DD/Ke LRO = Kenyon Documents at the Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston.
DD/Hu LRO = Hulton Documents –do-
Whispers of Wingates by E Howell- Westhoughton Library

This List was originally compiled by Lois Basnett (1919-2002) who was an authority on the History of Westhoughton and was also a dear friend and teacher to me. I dedicate this List to the On-Line Parish Clerk project for Westhoughton in her Memory.
Pam. Clarke 2004.

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