The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868
"RADCLIFFE, a parish and township in the hundred of Salford, county Lancaster, 7 miles N.W. of Manchester, and 3 S.W. of Bury. It is a station on the East Lancashire section of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway. The village is situated on the old Roman way, Watling Street, and near the Bolton and Bury canal. This parish, which includes the hamlet of Starling, is one of the smallest in the shire. It derives its old English name from a cliff of red rock on the S.E. side of the river Irwell, below its confluence with the Roach, and facing the village of Radcliffe. The village is built in two detached portions, designated Radcliffe and Radcliffe Bridge, about half a mile distant from each other. The parish is separated from the township of Pilkington by the river Irwell, which is here crossed by a bridge of two arches. A large portion of the inhabitants are employed in the cotton mills; and several coal mines are worked in the neighbourhood. The principal part of the land is in meadow and pasture, with some orchard and woodland. A market house was erected in 1851, at the expense of the Earl of Wilton. There is also a gas company. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Manchester, value £346. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient edifice, with a low square tower. It has an E. window in the chapel, which was restored in 1846, when a N. transept was added. There is also the district church of St. Thomas, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £150. This church was erected in 1819 at an expense of £6,000, defrayed by the Dowager Marchioness of Westminster. The parochial charities produce about £9 per annum. There are a National school and a Wesleyan day school, also a Sunday-school. The Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists have each, a place of worship. Bishop Kilbye, one of the translators of the Bible, was born in this parish. There are ruins of Radcliffe Tower. The Earl of Wilton is lord of the manor. Fairs for horses and cattle are held on the 29th and 30th of April, and on the 28th and 29th of September for wool, cloth, and pedlary. Races take place about the middle of August."