From PIGOTS DIRECTORY Lancashire 1830

BOLTON The villages of Turton, Darcy Lever, Little Lever, Halliwell, Horwich, Farnworth, Kersley and Neighbourhoods

Bolton, or Bolton-le-Moors, a market-town and parish, in the hundred of Salford, in the deanery of Manchester, and in the archdeaconry of Chester, is 197 miles from London, 12 south of Blackburn, 11 northwest of Manchester, the like distance south-east of Chorley, and 6 w.s.w. of Bury. It is composed of two townships, Great and Little Bolton, divided from each other by the small rivulet, Crowell, which runs at the bottom of a deep valley from east to west. The manor of Bolton is of considerable antiquity, and through various descents became possessed by Sir Thomas Pilkington, lord of Bury and Pilkington, and who, for adhering to the couse of Richard 111., at the battle of Bosworth field, was attainted and be headed, in the first year of the reign of Henry V11., and his estates given to Thomas Lord Stanley, then created Earl of Derby. The manor is at present held by five different lords, viz. the Earl of Derby, Lord Bradford, Samuel Freconten, Esq. holding one-fourth part each and representatives of the Levers the remaining fourth part.

The lords of the manor hold a court leet annually, in October, at which are appointed a borough reeve, two constables, a deputy constable, and some inferior officers.

During the commotions which marked the reign of Charles 1., this town witnessed more of the horrors of civil war than any other place in this county: and till the spring of 1644 maintained a garrison in the parliamentary interest, in which year the town was taken by storm, by the Earl of Derby, at the head of two hundred Lancashire men, principally his tenants. In 1651 a reverse in the fortune of war was the means of conducting the earl to Bolton, as a condemned criminal, when his blood was shed upon the scaffold; his remains were conveyed to Ormskirk, and interred in the family vault of the Stanleys.

From the restoration of the Stuarts to the time of the civil wars, when the young chevalier approached the town with his army, Bolton enjoyed uninterrupted quietness; and it was soon after the period of the defeat and expulsion of the royal adventurer that Bolton took to itself a share in the important inventions, which then, in their infancy, began to exhibit themselves. It was here that Richard Arkwright, the person so often named in the annals of Lancashire, resided and during such sojournment profited by the ingenuity of Highs and Hargrave, and laid the foundation of his future fortune and notoriety, in the chronicles of fortunate industry and perseverance. The inventions of Samuel Crompton were engendered and brought to perfection in this parish, and the application of the valuable machine called the mule fully appreciated.

Bolton has arrived at a great point of consequence within the last fifty years, a rariety of causes combining to produce such effect; one of which is, its vicinity to Manchester, and the other to the abundant supply of coal with which it is surrounded; and at this period there are in the town and its immediate vicinity, upwards of twenty factories worked by more than thirty steam engines, of the aggregate power of 700 horses; and other factories are in progress of erection upon a lar(g)e scale. The bleach works, foundries, & machine makers, also employ a great number of steam engines, and it is estimated that the labour performed by steam in the town and direct neighbourhood, would require at least 1,450 horses.

Originally fustian, jeans, thicksetts, and similar fabrics, were the principal articles woven here, but they have been superseded by plain and fancy muslins, calicos, power loom fabrics, quiltings, counterpanes and dimities, which are now the prevailing manufactures. Bleaching is carried on to a great extent: six millions of pieces being the average number bleached annually in the parish.

The advantages of inland navigation, in common with numerous towns in this county, are attached in a valuable degree to Bolton; its canal to Manchester, and a branch to Bury, forming an excellent conveyance for the manufactures of the place as well as for passengers: and a rail-road is making from here to the canal at Leigh, which is expected to be of great advantage in bringing coal to the town.

The public improvements in the town of Bolton have of late years exhibited themselves in a most extensive degree, embracing both utility and ornament. The town is lighted with gas, and plentifully supplied with water: new squares have, within a few years, been formed; and within these four years upwards of six hundred and twenty new houses have been built in Great and Little Bolton.

The public buildings are two handsome town-halls, assembly rooms, theatre; and the recent erections, adding consequence to the town, are the exchange buildings, and a handsome new church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity; towards the erection of which a sum was contributed by the parliamentary commissioners: it is in the patronage of the Bishop of Chester and incumbency of the Rev. John Jenkins. The parish church of St.Peters, an ancient structure, is a vicarage in the same patronage, and in the incumbency of the Rev. J. Slade. All Saints chapel, in Little Bolton, is in the patronage of the lord of the manor, and incumbency of the Rev. Robt. Bullock. The living of St. Georges church, also in Little Bolton, is in the presentation of the proprietors, and the Rev. W. Thistlethwaite is the incumbent. There are besides, episcopal chapels in the parish, in the gift of the vicar of Bolton, and the lords of the manor. The dissenters chapels in Great and Little Bolton are, for the various denominations of Methodists, the Unitarians, Swedenborgians, Baptists and atholics.

The charitable institutions are numerous, and consist of a dispensary; a ladies clothing society, for the necessitous poor; a lying-in charity, &c.: besides which, the free, national, and Sunday schools, nineteen in number, impart instruction to more than 7450 children. Bolton has its mechanics instituts; philosophical and Bible societies; and a branch society, for the propogation of Christianity amongst the Jews.

For the gratification of the student and politician, news and reading rooms are established; and two weekly journals, the Bolton Chronicle and Bolton Express are published on Saturday. The market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are exceedingly well supplied with provisions of all kinds. Fairs are 30th and 31st of July, and 13 and 14th of October, for cattle, horse, pigs, and pedlary; a fortnight fair is also held for lean cattle, on Wednesdays, from 5th of January to the 12th of May.

The progress of population has been very rapid in Bolton; in the 1773 only 5,339 inhabitants were in the two townships; in 1801 Great Bolton contained 12,549, and Little Bolton 4,867; in 1821 Great Bolton contained 22, 037 and Little Bolton 9,258 inhabitants. The whole parish contains twelve townships and six chapelries, and in the last named year 50,197 persons.

Turton, a chapelry and village, in Bolton parish, 5 miles north of that town, is situated upon the site of a Roman road, and in the vicinity have been found many antique relics. The chapelry contains the villages of Chapel Town and Walmsley. A fair is held here on the 4th & 5th September for cattle.

Darcy Lever, two miles E.S.E. of Bolton, and Little Lever, three miles from that town, are two small villages in the parish of Bolton. At the former place is a stupendous aqueduct of three arches over the Irwell; and the neighbourhood abounds with coal. At Little Lever is Lever hall, an ancient structure, once the residence of Bishop Bridgeman.

Halliwell, a township, in the parish of Dean, contains a very pleasant village, two miles W.N.W. of Bolton, in which is Smithills hall, the residence of Peter Ainsworth, esq. who has repaired the ancient edifice at a very considerable expense. The great bleaching works of Messrs. Ainsworth & Co. are also here, giving employment to a great number of the inhabitants.

Horwich, a chapelry and populous village, in the same parish as Halliwell, is five miles W.N.W. of Bolton. A new road is nearly finished leading from hence to Bolton, which, when completed, will shorten the distance considerably. The bleaching works of Messrs. Ridgeways at this place are upon a very large scale.

Farnworth, a chapelry, in the same parish as Horwich, is 3 miles S.S.E. of Bolton. A large church is nearly completed upon Halshaw moor, which will be a great accommodation to the inhabitants of this populous district. At Farnworth mills are the extensive paper works of Messrs. Cromptons, the sole proprietors of the patent paper drying machinery.

Kersley township, situated four miles and a half S.S.E. of Bolton, is dependent upon extensive bleaching works, and the spinning and manufacturing (of) cotton, for the prosperity it enjoys.

The population of the foregoing townships and villages, in 1821, was as follows: Turton 2,090, Darcy Lever 956, Little Lever 1,854, Halliwell 2,300, Horwich about 3,000, Farnworth 2,044, and Kersley 1,833.

Definitions (in 2000 AD)

court leet - a court of record held by the lord of the manor
reeve - chief magistrate of a town or district
in the hundred of - subdivision of a county or shire having its own court
borough - town with corportation & privileges conferred by royal charter/
- town sending member(s) to parliament
borough by prescription - uninterrupted use or possession from time immemorial or for period fixed by law as giving title or right
county palatine - the territory of a Count having jurisdiction which elsewhere belong only to the sovereign
court of chancery - division of the High Court (formerly for dealing with cases which had no remedy in Common Law)
assizes - periodical sessions in each county for administration of civil and criminal judgement.

Transcribed and provided by Cassie Thornley cassethor[at]ozemail.com[dot]au