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The Town of Wigan
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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"A considerable trading and manufacturing town in the county of Lancaster, pleasantly situated near the source of the river Douglas, about 196 miles from London, and 18 from Manchester. It is a corporation, created by Henry I and sends two members to parliament. The present members are Lord Lindsay and John Hodson, Esq. The church is a handsome structure, ancient beyond any traditionary account. There are likewise places of worship for the generality of dissenters. Among the charitable institutions, are a free grammar school, a blue-coat school, some alms-house, founded by Lady Braidshaigh, and a good and convenient workhouse. The manufacture of linen cheeks has long been a staple trade here, and added much to the benefit of the town -- calicos, fustians, &c. are also made to a very considerable extent, of a quality equal, at least, to any other town in the county. The braziery, pewtery, brass foundry, iron foundry, and iron forgery businesses also flourish here, and give employment to a vast number of hands. The whole neighbourhood of Wigan abounds with mines of most excellent coal, the cannel coal in particular, supposed superior to any in the island, is in great demand, and much used throughout the county. Wigan Spa, or New Harrogate, is a strong sulpurous water, discovered some years ago, in boring for coals in a field near Scroles-bridge. It is said to greatly resemble the water of Harrogate, in yorkshire, only that it does not contain so much saline matter. It has a considerable quantity of very fine sulphur; and has been frequently recommended in a variety of complaints with good effect. There is now a very elegant building erected for the use of those who resort to this spring, with conveniences for drinking the water, and for using it either as a hot or cold bath. Some years since, there was a well near this town, which did not appear to be a spring, but rather rain water. At first sight there was nothing about it that seemed extraordinary; but upon emptying it, there presently broke out a sulphurous vapour, which made the water bubble as if it boiled. When a candle was put to it, it instantly took fire, and burned like brandy; the flame, in a calm season, would continue sometimes a whole day, by the heat whereof they could boil eggs, meat, &c. though the water was cold. This burning well, as it is called, is lost, supposed to be owing to the coal works about the Hawkley demesne, near where it was. Experiments may be made in many places in Wigan and the neighbourhood, similar to it. The market-day is on Friday; fairs, Holy thursday and October 28, for horses, horned cattle, and cloths; and June 27, which is held at Scroles, for cattle. The population of Wigan, in 1821, was 17,1716, being an increase, since 1811, of 3,656."

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