Local places of historical interest
A more detailed account of the historical section is available at Westhoughton Library.
Manchester / Chorley Road A6
Although some believe this to have been a Roman Road, it is unlikely to have been
more than a trackway in those far off days. However if, as has been suggested, the
Romans had an encampment at Blackrod (a distinct possibility) then their cavalry
would have certainly followed the same line of today’s heavy traffic as they advanced
from their station at Manchester. In any event, we may be sure that the road has
been the scene of great events in the past.
We know, for example, that Jacobite soldiers, fleeing from their defeat at Preston
in 1715 and hoping to find shelter with sympathisers in Manchester, made their way
along it. It is recorded that one of their number was flogged for insubordination
in the yard of The Red Lion at Four Lane Ends.
At the time of the later Jacobite rebellion in 1745, when the dispirited army of
Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, decided to retreat to Scotland, they marched
along Manchester Road, in a surprisingly orderly fashion it seems. A certain Richard
Kay, who was a doctor living in Bury, tells in his diary how he and a party of his
friends walked to Four Lane Ends in Hulton, to see them. He writes “The rebels marched
from one o’clock till betwixt four and five o’clock in the afternoon as throng as
the road could well receive them”. The party from Bury were mightily impressed never
before having seen “the rebels or any in highland dress”. To see a great army in
retreat must have been, even by today’s standards, a wonderful spectacle. One supposes
the landlords of The Hulton Arms and The Red Lion did record business.
Doghole(s) Farm, Hilton House, Chorley Road
The earliest recorded reference to this house is dated 1592 and is of “Isabella
Laythwaite, late of Doghole”. It was then part of a farm in the possession of the
Laythwaite family who farmed the Borsdane/Brinsop area as tenants of Cockersand
Abbey from the late 1400s when the first house was probably built. It was then a
“wattle and daub” construction on a solid stone base. It was “modernised” in 1689
by Oliver Peake who replaced the wattle and daub with pink brick and put up the
1689 date stone. It was again modernised in the late 1980s by Mr Philip Smith, who
has retained the date stone which may be seen from the road.
Brinsop Hall Farm
The farm was described in the Listed Buildings Schedule as 18th century with a remodelled
front. It occupies the site of a very much older building. From the early 1200s
until the mid 1500s Brinsop was the estate farm or grange of Cockersand Abbey. (The
Abbey was situated between Pilling and Glasson Dock. It acquired property in Lancashire
and Cheshire but after the Reformation, fell into ruin and today only the Chapter
House remains to be seen.) According to the record of Abbey Rentals, 1451 – 1537,
Brinsop was farmed by the Laythwaite family who also farmed Borsdane, Doghole and
another “next to Brinsop.” After the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry V111,
the Abbey’s property in the town was bought in 1545 by James Browne, a master clothier,
who made Brinsop his home. James’ great grandson was Captain Risley Browne, who
was taken prisoner at the battle of Westhoughton Common. A later Rilsley Browne
is mentioned in the Enclosure Award of 1726. Brinsop Hall and property passed to
the Milnes Gaskell family by the 1700s and then became the home of a colliery owner.
In the 1841 Census it is recorded that the farmer was Mr Gregory. His family still
Toll bar at Dicconson Lane
Chorley/Manchester Road was Turnpiked in 1753 as part of the Manchester to Duxbury
Stocks (near Chorley) Turnpike. There was a gate at the junction with Dicconson
Lane where travellers had to pay a toll.
John Wesley in Wingates
John Wesley preached in April, 1784 to a crowd at Barnaby’s Farm. Houses now cover
the site but the stone from which he preached stands outside Grove Lane Chapel.
The row of cottages opposite the farm was known as “Methody Row”. Services were
held there before the building of the “Old Church” in 1835 and the Methodist Church
in Dixon Street in 1871. The Westhoughton Carol was composed by James Winward (a
Methodist) in 1820 and the Wingates Band began as the Church’s drum and fife band,
part of the temperance movement. Sadly, the final service was held at the Methodist
Church, Dixon Street on Sunday, 6th May, 2001 and the church has been demolished.
St John’s Church, Wingates
This church was listed in 1968. It was built in 1860. This appears to have been
the result of a break-away group who objected to the vicar of St Bartholomew’s High
The name “le Werkokhull” on the earliest records comes from the old name for the
grouse or capercailzie. It was mentioned in documents of the early 1200s. Warcock
was the site of the battle of 1642.
The Battle of Westhoughton Common
The outbreak of Civil War in 1642 between King Charles 1’s supporters (Royalists)
and the Parliamentarians provided an opportunity for settling old scores, religious
and otherwise. One contemporary account reports that in December 1642 a “Plundering
Array” issued out of Wigan (the Royalist garrison) “to stir up the courage of the
neighbourhood.” About this time James Browne’s house at Brinsop was plundered, so
that was probably their objective. As a result the local Parliamentary commander
sought help from the Manchester garrison and two companies under Captains Venables
and Bradshaw were sent to reinforce Captain Risley Browne’s company and “to plunder
another Papist’s house” (possibly the home of Anderton of Lostock). However, as
Venables and Bradshaw approached Houghton Common in December 15th or 16th (different
accounts give different dates), they found a thousand horse and foot of the Wigan
forces drawn up “on close of ground on the side of the Common,” that is on Warcock
Hill. During the fight which ensued “God fired their magazine” so the Parliamentarians
decided to surrender. There is no report of the dead but the three companies were
taken prisoner, the three Captains to Lord Derby’s home at Lathom, the rest to Wigan
where they lodged at the homes of Royalist gentry.
The list of prisoners and letters of exchange are in the papers of Mr Hugh Anderton
in Wigan Record Office. The exchange began in early January 1643 and was concluded
by the beginning of March. The correspondence between Mr Anderton and Major General
Bradshaw of Bolton is most gentlemanly and shows concern for the sick and wounded.
One of the contemporary accounts reports “This disaster was a great grief and discouragement
to the Parliament party” another refers to it as “the first and foulest blow God
The Bolton and Leigh Railway
This was the FIRST PUBLIC RAILWAY in Lancashire. The textile inventions of the 1700s
and Bolton’s rapid expansion demanded a more efficient transport system than was
provided by turnpike roads or canals. So the businessmen of Bolton saw the answer
to their problems in the railway which would provide easier, cheaper and speedier
access to markets in Manchester and Liverpool. To that end plans were drawn up,
under the supervision of George Stephenson, for the Bolton and Leigh and the Liverpool
and Manchester railways; and Bills were brought before Parliament in 1824. The Bolton
Bill was passed and the Bolton and Leigh Railway Company was incorporated in 1825.
The Liverpool Bill was defeated but passed on the second attempt in 1826.
Mr Hulton of the Park was Chairman of the railway committee, which comprised textile
manufacturers, iron founders, lawyers, merchants and a “gentleman of property,”
which does rather prove wrong those who say it was “only a colliery line.” Estimates
of tonnage and costs include iron, timber, stone, cattle, sheep, grain – and passengers.
The gate house: the line crossed the A6 at the point now fenced: ran into back Brancker
Street and down the inclined plane towards Leigh. The railway was opened, with some
ceremony, as far as Mr Hulton’s collieries on 1st August, 1828. Mrs Hulton christened
the engine “the Lancashire Witch,” The original line from Crook Street, Bolton,
ran parallel with St Helen’s Road to Adelaide Street (the site of the first Daubhill
Station), in front of Sunnyside Mill (now demolished). It then crossed St Helen’s
Road and ran across fields on an embankment to Chequerbent where it crossed Manchester
Road at Hope Cottage; then down to Chequerbent Bank (1 in 30 gradient) to the canal
in Leigh. It was impossible to go further until it was known which route the Liverpool
line would take and where the junction would be. The embankment which carried the
line to Chequerbent (now cut by the M61) may be seen from Snydle Way. In 1885 the
line was altered because of the steep gradients. It now ran under St Helen’s Road
and under Manchester Road at Chequerbent Station. The 1828 line was kept in use
to serve the Hulton Collieries.
In March, 1954, passenger traffic ceased except for “holiday specials” to North
Wales. The removal of the track began in 1964, since when it has been landscaped.
Dame School (1835)
This school was established by the Hulton family for the education of the children
of their colliers, “at an almost nominal rate.” There were, on an average, 70 children
attending the school. Mr Hulton commented in 1855 that early pupils were then parents,
“rendering incalculable benefit....by their moral, orderly and respectful demeaner.”
The Hulton family were established at the Park since time immemorial. It is from
the Hulton Muniments deposited in the County Record Office that we know so much
about the town’s past, especially material relating to the Common Land and the Bolton-Leigh
Railway. In the 1200s, the family were Lords of Ordsall and Hulton. In 1521 Adam
was deputy steward of the Lordship of Westhoughton (for the Abbey of Cockersand).
In the 1580s Lord Burghley’s map of Lancashire (for Queen Elizabeth 1) shows Hulton
de Park. In 1684 Henry served on the Grand Jury which tried those members of the
Lancashire gentry accused of plotting against the King and Queen (William and Mary).
In the 1820s William Hulton was Chairman of the Bolton-Leigh Railway Company. He
had seven collieries, viz. Hulton Arley mine (th’ Owd Arley), Deep Arley, School
Pits, Park Pits, Chequerbent Pits, Klondike and Pretoria. All were to be closed
In 1835 he established the Dame School for the children of his miners.
The Hulton family used to open the Park for the Scout Movement to hold meetings
and have camps. The Hall was demolished in 1958.
The Hulton Estate was purchased by The Peel Group in 2010. In 2014, the Westhoughton
History Group sited a Blue Plaque on Hulton Cottage, the property that the Hultons
moved into when Hulton Hall was demolished in 1958. It stands approximately on the
kitchen wall, right on the A6 elevation. The Blue Plaque is to commemorate the Hultons
who were prominent in the area since 1167.
The 1849 Ordnance Survey Map shows a moted site on the south side of Park Road,
east of the brook. All traces of the moat have gone, as have the remains of the
Hall and Lee Hall Farm. It is suggested that this was the site of the “Abbey’s Grange
by Conware” (ie: Corner or Hall Lee Brook).
It is certain that this was an ancient site and a house of some importance the home
of the Leigh family (spelt variously Lee, Leghe, Lighe) who owned considerable land
in that area. Captain William Leigh was High Constable of the County in 1731. His
shield may be seen in Lancaster Castle. He died in 1733. His daughter and heiress,
Mary, married William Hulton in 1735 when much of the estate became Hulton property.
The areas known as Captain Lee’s and Lee Common were, or course part of his estate.
No. 76 Park Road
This house, built in 1752, was demolished when Cricketers’ Way was constructed.
The house stood where the road now joins Park Road. The property was the last of
Wade Lane Fold. It had been a silk handloom weaver’s cottage and loom shop. The
complete records of the property deeds from 1752 to 1959 (when the late Dick Pollard,
County and Test cricketer, took up residence there) are now in Bolton Archives Department.
This old house stands at the junction of George Street and Howarth Street. It was
originally a farmer/nailer’s house. Leigh Road, between Higher and Lower Landedman’s
was known as Landedman’s Lane. In recent times the farm was the home of Mr Francis
Lee, celebrated footballer.
The burning of Westhoughton factory (Factory Nook)
About the same time that the French were building up their Revolution, the English
were starting an Industrial Revolution. We all know that the French Revolution led
to terror and war. Perhaps this obscures the fact that our Industrial Revolution
brought a great deal of misery and injustice. The mechanisation of manufacture reduced
the value of labour and made many workers redundant. In an age with no cushion for
the unemployed, hardship was severe. Bitterness between haves and have nots rose
to a dangerous degree. Then war with France broke out, damaging trade and making
matters even worse. The unfortunate victims of this situation believed their only
hope for the future was to destroy the hated machines. Thoughtful men in authority
feared that England, like France, might soon suffer bloody social revolution, knowing
that many of the desperate unemployed were joining the Luddites, an illegal society
dedicated to disorder and the destruction of machinery. By the year 1811 there seemed
to be real danger of a workers’ uprising.
The Government had only one policy to repress rebellion: namely to punish offenders
severely. This was misguided but the nation was at the time still fighting Napoleon,
a fact hardly inclined to make authority sympathetic towards trouble makers. In
April, 1812 Luddite disorder reached crescendo in and around Manchester, Middleton,
Bolton and Westhoughton. In the same month five thousand British soldiers lost their
lives in Spain; a fact we should bear in mind. The incident at Westhoughton was
the most frightening event of that troubled month but it was by no means the only
one. A mill was attacked at Middleton, Manchester saw food riots and, in the very
same week that Westhoughton’s mill was destroyed, arson attempts were made on a
rope walk and a factory in Bolton, and a farmer selling potatoes at the new market
of that town was forced by a threatening mob to sell at a price they dictated. At
about the same time an attempt was made to destroy the bleach works at Horwich.
The events at Westhoughton were reported in Manchester newspapers. The following
account appeared in “Cowdray’s Manchester Gazette.” The unnamed correspondent lived
in Chowbent (Atherton). “On Friday last our little village, with the surrounding
neighbourhood, became the theatre of a dark disorder and confusion. A large body
of poor weavers and other mechanics began to assemble at about mid-day with the
avowed intention of destroying the power looms together with the whole of the premises
of a Westhoughton factory. Immediate information was given to the authorities at
Bolton, and Scots Greys instantly despatched from thence to the scene of the riot,
a distance of five miles.
On their arrival all was quiet and no symptoms of disorder whatever appeared. The
presence of the military was therefore deemed unnecessary and the whole force consequently
returned to Bolton. Scarcely had they reached their quarters, ‘ere a messenger arrived
with the alarming intelligence that the whole factory and all it’s contents were
in flames. Again the military flew to Westhoughton, and on their arrival were no
less mortified and surprised to find that the premises were entirely destroyed,
while no individual could be seen to whom attached any suspicion of having acted
a part in the dreadful outrage. During the evening, however, a partial assemblage
of the most active of the rioters took place in the village and again alarmed the
inhabitants by levying contributions in meal and drink or money on some of the more
respectable among them. These demands were made as some remuneration for the very
important service they had rendered the community that day by the destruction of
the power looms. Their audacity appeared to rise with the success which attended
their lawless demands, and was beginning to develop itself in a more alarming manner
when, at this critical juncture, the arrival of the military put nearly the whole
mob to flight. A few, however, of the more desperate kept their ground upon which
the Riot Act was read and tranquility restored. The whole of the succeeding night
was spent in collecting information of the names of those incendiaries who had rendered
themselves conspicuous by their activities on this occasion and in securing their
persons; on consequence of which, 24 were escorted to the town of Bolton …. Parties
of horse are still scouring the neighbourhood and numbers are daily apprehended.
We are now all quiet ….” The Lancaster Castle Calendar of Crown Prisoners records
the fate of not only the Westhoughton arsonists but of prisoners taken as a result
of other Luddite disorders.
Ten were discharged without trial, 30 found not guilty, seven went to prison and
12 were transported for seven years. For “having willfully and maliciously set on
fire and burnt a Weaving Mill, Warehouse and Loom Shop in the possession of Thomas
Rowe and Thomas Dunscough at Westhoughton.” Job Fletcher aged 34, James Smith aged
31, Thomas Kerfoot aged 26 and Abraham Charlson aged 16, were sentenced to death
and hanged at Lancaster. Their fate was shared by three men and a woman who had
been charged with “riotous assembly” in Manchester and with damage to property and
stealing food (mostly potatoes). Naturally, we all feel shocked at the severity
of the punishments but perhaps are not as aware as we should be of the consequences
of the burning from the point of view of Westhoughtoners. A main place of employment
had been destroyed and now no manufacturer would invest in the township. Thirty
years later a Bolton industrialist speaking of Westhoughton, said “Manufacturing
enterprise has not again been attracted thither, the destitution of the people has
continued gradually to augment; and at the present time the place is the poorest
of the 25 townships composing the Bolton Union, nearly one fourth of it’s population
When eventually Mr Chadwick opened his silk mill it was remarked, “he was a bold
man to build a mill at Westhoughton”. In 2012, the Westhoughton History Group sited
a Blue Plaque on the White Lion Hotel (facing the site) to mark the burning of Westhoughton
The White Lion Inn
According to the Census of 1841 this was the home of Mr Grundy. At one time the
inn was also a Post Office. Letters were displayed in the window to be collected
by the recipients.
Westhoughton Town Hall was built in 1903 to a plan by Bradshaw and Gass, Architects,
of Bolton. It replaced the Local Board Offices at the junction of Market Street
and Wigan Road.
Local Board Offices
The Local Board was formed on 2nd December, 1872, and became the District Council
on 17th December, 1894. The original offices stood at the bottom of Market Street
(at the traffic lights). A surviving letter written on the Board’s stationery shows
the offices with the Toll Gate across Market Street.
The Toll Bar
Park Road and Market Street were part of the Manchester and Wigan Turnpike. The
Toll Gates stood at the bottom of Market Street and Church Street. The Toll House
stood on the bend of the road, roughly in front of where the War Memorial now stands.
We have, in the Library, the Westhoughton Bar Accounts for 1823.
Sunny Bank and South View
These houses were listed for preservation in 1986. They were built in 1853 and were
the homes of Mr and Mrs Ditchfield and Mrs Ditchfield’s aunts.
This was erected in 1885 in memory of two sons of Mr Chadwick who owned the silk
mill in Church Street. Frank aged 24, was drowned off the Isle of Staffa. Wyndham
died of fever at the age of 11.
Pretoria Pit disaster
The Pretoria Pit Disaster Centenary Memorial is situated in Ditchfield Garden, Market
Street, Westhoughton and is a permanent tribute to the 344 men and boys who lost
their lives in an explosion at the Pretoria Pit, on 21st December, 1910, at 7.50
The Memorial comprises of a bronze statue of a kneeling miner, which was designed
and sculpted by the sculptress, Jane Robbins and a backdrop of three granite walls,
upon which are inscribed the names of the victims, which was supplied and fitted
by Always in Our Thoughts Memorials.
The Memorial was commissioned and funded by the Westhoughton Town Council (2007-2011),
along with other donations, and was unveiled on 19th December, 2010 by the Town
Mayor of Westhoughton, Councillor Brian J Clare, who was serving his fourth term
of office as Town Mayor.
The Red Lion, Wigan Road
The Red Lion, now demolished, was a listed building until 1986. The south room retained
its ancient beams and was a part, in 1600, of a farm belonging to Adam Pendlebury.
His will and inventory, dated 1608, refers to “cotton wool and yarne” in his son
Adam’s hands. This is a remarkably early reference to cotton weaving instead of
the usual linen and/or wool. At the Enclosure of the Commons in 1725/6 the Commissioners
met at the house of James Pendlebury (the Red Lion). The Common land comprised Chapel
Common, Higher Moor, Chequerbent, Lee, Robinson, Green and Hart Commons, also “Daisy
Hillock”. All of this considerable area was measured and divided amongst those who
could prove their right to a share. The building was demolished in 2015 and a Dementia
Care Home was built on the site.
Greenfield Farm, School Street
This was originally “Pendlebury’s” later “Grundy’s “ farm. The datestone ‘1723’
indicates that James Pendlebury built it , almost certainly to replace the house
slightly to the West of the Red Lion, where Adam Pendlebury lived in 1608. At ‘Enclosure’,
only three years later than the date stone, the house was referred to as “James
Pendlebury’s old house,” which seems to confirm the existence of an older building
on the site. It became “Grundy’s Farm” when Thomas Grundy took it over in 1843.
Westhoughton Golf Club
The club at Long Island was formed from the British Legion Golf Club in May 1934,
Mr. St. Clair Jackson was Captain and Mr. E. Dickinson was Hon. Secretary.
The 9 hole course was constructed on 38 acres of farmland, the farmhouse being adapted
for the current clubhouse. The Captain opened the course on 29th September 1934
with Mr W.R. Gregson Captain of Hesketh Golf Club and Mr. A. Critchley President
of The English Golf Union in attendance.
The local paper reported “the greens made putting a speculation”.
In 2001 a decision was made to extend the course to 18 holes. A development team
headed by Mr. A. Slaven supervised the construction of the new 9 holes. On 2nd April
2005 the Captain, Mr. K. Walsh opened the extended course.
The course retains much of the character of the original nine holes insofar that
it is a flat parkland course of just under 6000 yards accurate driving is at a premium.
The new greens are to USGA specification making putting less of a speculation.
Membership has risen from 230 to over 350 playing members demonstrating the success
of the extension to the course.
Grove Lane Methodist Chapel
Grove Lane was the old name for Wigan Road. The old chapel was founded in 1871.
It has been rebuilt and the Wesley Stone re-sited.
Holden Stoops (Church Street)
James Holden farmed “Lee Wyndzates” as tenant of Cockersand Abbey in 1451. In 1726
Richard Holden had a cottage and two crofts on Higher Moor at Wingates. Holden House
(or Holden Stoops), now demolished, was on the site of the group of houses opposite
Chadwick’s Silk Mill
The mill stood on the corner of Peel Street and Church Street and was built by Mr
Chadwick in the early 1850’s. At that time both cotton and silk were woven in the
town. Later, the company known as Wigglesworth’s occupied the mill for many years.
They were well known for pharmaceutical products. Eventually the mill was demolished
and the site used for housing.
St Bartholomew’s Church
The Church was listed in 1986. There is a mention in the Charters of Cockersand
Abbey of “Priest’s Croft” about 1200. This was situated in what is now the Churchyard
and the Cemetery and suggests that there was a chapel on the site. There was, according
to Baines’ History, a Church dedicated to St Bartholomew in 1557. It was rebuilt
in 1731 and replaced by the present building in 1869. The new Church was a gift
of John Seddon of the Mortons in Church Street. Sadly, it was gutted by fire in
November of 1990. Only the tower remained intact. A new church was consecrated on
October 28th, 1995.
The Pretoria Monument
This was listed in 1986. In memory of 344 men and boys killed in the explosion at
the Pretoria Colliery on 21st December, 1910. It was erected in St Bartholomew’s
churchyard. A memorial service is held each year on that date.
The name “Snydale” comes from two words’ – snipe and hill. Bolton Road which ran
over Snydale without a break until the M61 was constructed, was turnpiked as far
as the White Lion in 1800. Snydale Hall Farm is what remains of the ancient Manor
of Snydale, which by 1212, was held by Ellis de Pendlebury. Snydale did not pass
into the possession of the Abbey of Cockersand but remained Pendlebury property
until the late 1500s when Anne, sole heiress of Roger Pendlebury, married James
Worthington who, at the time of the Enclosure of Commons of 1726 was “Lord of the
Manor”. In 1744 the Worthington estate was bought by Starkie of Huntroyd, hence
Starkie Colliery on Manchester Road and the Starkie Arms in Church Street/Tithebarn
Higher and Lower Damshead Fold
The land now occupied by Central Park was , in 1726 the dam for a corn mill belonging
to George Allanson who had acquired it from Captain Leigh along with Leigh Common
and Tithebarn Street which were originally part of the Leigh family’s lands. The
brook which supplied the dam was culverted when the park was made and now flows
underground to join corner Corner/Cow Lee/Hall Lee Brook. Higher Dam’s Head Fold
was between the ‘Cross Guns’ and Central Park. Lower Dam’s Head was between Park
Terrace and Bolton Road.
The Workhouse stood approximately where the Rose Hill Tavern stands today. The fields
behind the Workhouse were marked as Poor House fields on the 1850 Tithe Map. The
Library has a copy of the Workhouse rules dating from it’s re-opening in 1828.
Hall Lee Brook, as it flowed through Daisy Hill, was known as “Blazing Brook” because
it used to ignite from time to time due to methane gas but it is now culverted.
The same dramatic phenomenon sometimes occurred at a field of Gillibrands Farm which
used to ignite.
St James’ Church, Daisy Hill
This Church was listed for preservation in 1986 because of its architectural interest.
It was designed by Paley and Austin and is said by Pevsner to be “one of their most
masterly performances”. It was consecrated in 1881 and was a gift to the village
from Miss Haddock and her sister Mrs Makant.
This property was named after John and Richard le Sire, who are recorded as having
paid tax in 1332.
Westhoughton Hall (France Street)
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, Lancashire’s textile industry may be said
to have had its true beginnings. Spinning and weaving were then part time occupations
for people who found it difficult to make a livelihood from poor farming land. Shrewd
men turned what was a cottage industry to their advantage by introducing organisation
to the system.These men, known as “haberdashers” or “clothiers,” supplied the cottages
with wool (later cotton) to be spun and yarn to be woven, paying for their work
on completion of the cloth, which they, the clothiers, then marketed.
The man who built Westhoughton Hall in the early 1600s was a very prosperous clothier.
He was Henry Molyneux. His son Nathaniel, also a master clothier, was assessed for
the 1678 Poll Tax at the same rate as Mr Worthington (Lord of the Manor of Snydale),
Mr Brown of Brinsop, and Mr William Leigh. This indicates his standing in the community.
Nathaniel married Margaret Bootle, whose family became Bootle-Wilbraham, later to
be Earls of Lathom, Lords Skelmersdale. The family names account for Molyneux Road
and Wilbraham Street. From 1792 to 1812 the Hall was tenanted by another master
clothier, Mr R. J. Lockett. He built, in 1803/4, at the junction of Park Road and
Mill Street, the steam powered factory which was destroyed by the Luddite rioters.
Although the factory no longer belonged to Mr Locket, the rioters continued their
violent campaign by running across the fields to set fire to his home the Hall.
Sometime after the fire the Bootle-Wilbraham family removed the fine old panelling
and plaster work, almost certainly to be installed at Lathom House. The Old Hall
was converted into dwellings and, by the 1940s. was a ruin, to be finally demolished
in the 1950s. Its memory survives in the names “Old Hall Lane”, “Daisy Hall Drive”
John Drake was a sub-tenant of Cockersand Abbey in 1451. In the 1841 Census there
is a Drake Hall mentioned. Drake Hall was at that time inhabited by a coal miner.
Daisy Hill Corn Mill – Mill Lane
This was listed in 1963, de-listed in 1986. The Corn Mill, an 18th century building
is on the site of a water mill belonging to William Platt, according to the 1451
Rental of Cockersand Abbey. This is a safe assumption since it appears on a list
of Daisy Hill names and there was a stream assuring an ample water supply. The Miller
in the 1700s was Mr Haddock. After it ceased to be used as a Corn Mill it was first
a bleach works, then a cloth waste works, a pickle factory and a waste paper storage.
The mill has been demolished and houses built on the site. The Haddock family were
local benefactors – Miss Haddock and her sister, Mrs Makand gave the money to build
St James’ Church in Daisy Hill. An interesting little sideline, according to the
Abbey Rental of 1537 – Mrs Makand’s husband had an ancestor, Nicholaus who had a
windmill at that time.
This house, still in perfect condition, was the home of Mr James Haddock – Corn
Miller, who owned the corn mill. His will (of 1820) refers to the orchard alongside
the Duke of Bridgewater’s land. His son Richard inherited the house and lived there
in 1841. At the time of the 1861 census, Richard was still at Woodbine House and
built Vale House for his sisters. A seat in the garden of Woodbine House bears the
date 1756 which suggests the date of the house itself.
Rodger’s Farm, Mill Lane, Daisy Hill
This was once called “Rylands House.” According to Mr John Rylands (Rylands Library,
Manchester) the family took its name from the stream (Rye or Rheel), viz. Cunningham
Brook. In the 1200s the Rylands granted lands to the Abbey of Cockersands. The last
of the family to live in Westhoughton was Peter Rylands, who built the house in
1637. Peter fought against the King in the Civil War and was Lieutenant to Captain
Rilsey Browne of Brinsop. Both were taken prisoner at the Battle of Westhoughton
(December 1642). The following January he was released being exchanged for a Royalist
Lieutenant, Philip Norris.
After the war Peter held the important post of “Parliamentary Sequestrator” which
meant that he was responsible for the seizure of such Royalist property and money
which Parliament had decided was to be taken from those on the losing side.
Between 1665 and 1714 (or thereabouts) the house was inhabited by Roger Lowe and
was still known as “Lowe’s House” at the time of the enclosure of 1726 although
James Rodgers had owned it since 1714. James was son-in-law to Nathaniel Molyneux
of Westhoughton Hall. The Rodgers family farmed here for many years. The land eventually
became part of the Bridgewater Estates and was taken over by the Urban District
Council in 1920 who sold it to the North West Water Authority in 1975. The original
house was demolished and a new house built on the site.
When this area first became known as Pungle is unknown. It is recorded as Pungle
in the 1841 census but on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1849 it is shown as “Pingle
Richard Hosker was alive in 1641. He is recorded as paying tax in 1664 and he and
Nicholas Hosker paid Poll Tax in 1678. The 1841 census refers to a farm called “Hoscars
Keaw Yed Legend
A person who hails from Westhoughton is known as a “Keaw Yed” which is Lancashire
dialect for “Cow Head”. According to local legend, a farmer found one of his cows
with it’s head stuck in a five bar gate and in order to free it, he sawed off the
cow’s head instead of sawing the gate. Hence the term “Keaw Yed”. This of course
is nonsense and the term “Keaw Yed” refers to the town’s strong link with the Cotton
Industry. There were many hand weavers in Westhoughton prior to the era of weaving
cotton in local mills and a weaver carrying a roll of cloth across his/her shoulders
gave the impression of a cow’s head silhouetted against the sky line. We are proud
that poets and performers preserve the Keaw Yed Legend, Lancashire Dialect and local
Over the years there has been a decline in the traditional local industries of mining
and weaving. These have been replaced by modern industries and many local people
are employed on the industrial estates and in small units throughout the town.
We are proud that the following famous celebrities come from Westhoughton: Robert
Shaw, actor and author; Tommy Woodward and Jack Bruton, footballers; Francis Lee,
World Cup footballer; Billy Farrimond, Dick Pollard, Dick Tyldesley and Michael
Watkinson, cricketers; Ethel Johnson, Olympic Athlete; The Houghton Weavers Folk
Group and Wingates Band.
In 2009, the Westhoughton Town Council sited special “Welcome to Wingates” boundary
signs in honour of Wingates Band. In 2014, the Westhoughton History Group sited
a Blue Plaque at the entrance to Wingates Square, which was the birthplace of Wingates
Band in 1873 and is still the home of the band today.