infobox UK place
official_name= Westhoughton
latitude= 53.5487
longitude= -2.524
population= 23,056 (2001 Census)
os_grid_reference= SD652059
civil_parish= Westhoughton
metropolitan_borough= Bolton
metropolitan_county= Greater Manchester
region= North West England
country = England
post_town= BOLTON
postcode_area= BL
postcode_district = BL5
dial_code= 01942
constituency_westminster= Bolton West

static_image_caption=Westhoughton Town Hall

Westhoughton is a town and civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester, England.cite web |url= http://www.gmcro.co.uk/guides/gazette/gazframe.htm |title=A select gazetteer of local government areas, Greater Manchester County |publisher=Greater Manchester County Record Office |accessdate=2007-09-26] It is convert|5|mi|km|0 southwest of Bolton and convert|15.5|mi|km|1 northwest of Manchester. [http://www.theaa.com/travelwatch/planner_main.jsp AA Route Planner] . URL accessed 29 May 2007.]

Historically a part of Lancashire, Westhoughton was once a centre for mining, cotton-spinning and textile manufacture. However, today it is predominantly a residential town with a total population of 23,056. [http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadTableView.do?a=3&b=790583&c=westhoughton&d=16&e=15&g=349474&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&enc=1&dsFamilyId=779 Neighbourhood Statistics - Westhoughton CP (Parish)] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

As well as the central town area, Westhoughton is made up of several "villages" which have (or at least had) their own distinctive character, sports traditions, amenities including railway stations, these include: Wingates (famous for its Wingates Brass Band), Whimberry Hill, Four Gates (or locally Fourgates), Cooper Turning, Marsh Brook, Hilton House, Chequerbent (which was all but totally destroyed by the building of a motorway), Snydale, Hart Common, Daisy Hill and Dobb Brow.



The name Westhoughton is derived from the Old English words "halh" (dialectal "haugh") for a nook or corner of land, and "tun" for a farmstead or settlement - meaning a "westerly settlement in a corner of land". [http://www.englishplacenames.co.uk/ English Place Names - The Anglo-Saxons] . URL accessed 23 May 2007.] [http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/towns/gazetteer5.html#W Gazetteer of Greater Manchester Placenames - Westhoughton] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=52993 Townships: Westhoughton, "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 20-5"] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] Billington, W.D. (1982). "From Affetside to Yarrow : Bolton place names and their history", Ross Anderson Publications (ISBN 0-86360-003-4).]

The town has been spelt various ways, often the "West-" affix was omitted. In 1210 it was spelt as "Halcton", 1240 as "Westhalcton", 1292 as "Westhalghton", 1302 as "Westhalton", and in the 16th century as "Westhaughton" and "Westhoughton". [http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/towns/gazetteer5.html#W Gazetteer of Greater Manchester Placenames - Westhoughton] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=52993 Townships: Westhoughton, "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 20-5"] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] Billington, W.D. (1982). "From Affetside to Yarrow : Bolton place names and their history", Ross Anderson Publications (ISBN 0-86360-003-4).]

The people of Westhoughton are known as "Keawyeds" (cow heads) and the town is known as "Keawyed City". There are two local stories how this name came about. In one tells that in 1815 a celebration was held to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars and that an ox's head was roasted, which was mounted on a pole and was fought over by two opposing factions in the town. The victors were dubbed "Keaw-Yeds". In another story tells that a farmer in Westhoughton found his cow had got its head stuck in a five barred gate (or fence), and rather than cut the gate, the farmer cut the cow's head off, since the cow cost less than the gate. [http://www.btinternet.com/~troubleatmill/speak.htm#k Trouble at' Mill - Keawyed City] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

Civil War

During the English Civil War, a battle was fought on Hart Common in 1642 between Lord Derby's forces on the one side and Parliamentarians on the other. Later in the war, it is believed that Prince Rupert of the Rhine to have gathered his troops in Westhoughton prior to the attack and ensuing massacre at Bolton in 1644. [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=52993 Townships: Westhoughton, "A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 20-5"] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]


On the 25 March 1812 a group of Luddites torched a Westhoughton mill, owned by Wray & Duncroff, in one of the first major terrorist acts in Britain. Twelve people were arrested on the orders of William Hulton, the High Sheriff of Lancashire. [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRluddites.htm Spatacus schoolnet - The Luddites] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] [http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/luddo02.htm Cotton Times - Luddites: War against the machines - Page 2] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] Four of them, James Smith, Thomas Kerfoot, John (or Job) Fletcher and Abraham Charlston, were sentenced to death for taking part in the attack. The Charlston family claimed Abraham was only twelve years old but he was not reprieved. [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRluddites.htm Spatacus schoolnet - The Luddites] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] They were publicly hanged outside Lancaster Castle on the 13 June 1812. [http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/1800.html Capital Punishment U.K. - Public executions 1800-1827] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] It was reported that Abraham cried for his mother on the scaffold. [http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/luddo02.htm Cotton Times - Luddites: War against the machines - Page 2] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] By this time however (contrary to popular belief) the hanging of those under 18 was rare and for those under 16 in practice abolished. [ [http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/child.html The execution of children and juveniles] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] Five others arrested were transported to Australia. [http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Westhoughton/history.html Westhoughton Calendar of Events] . "Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks". URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

Coal mining

Westhoughton has the sad distinction of having had one of the worst coal-mining disasters in the United Kingdom. In December 1910, 344 men and boys lost their lives at the Pretoria Pit. [ [http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Westhoughton/Pretoria/index.html The Pretoria Pit Disaster] . "Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks". URL accessed 22 May 2007.] The Pretoria Pit Disaster was the third worst in British mining history, after the 1866 Barnsley Oaks Disaster in Yorkshire (361 deaths), [http://public-art.shu.ac.uk/pmsa/barnsley/0000003a.htm The Barnsley Oaks Colliery] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] and the 1913 Senghenydd Colliery Disaster in Glamorgan (439 deaths). [http://www.south-wales.police.uk/fe/master.asp?n1=8&n2=253&n3=491 The Senghenydd Coal Mining Disaster] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

Parish Church

In 1870, St. Bartholomew’s Parish Church was completed. Its beauty and grandeur was known both locally and nationally, especially for its elegant east window, which depicted the Twelve Apostles. On the Wednesday before Advent Sunday, 28th November 1990, the church was sadly gutted by fire, but luckily the church tower was saved. [ [http://lan-opc.org.uk/Westhoughton/stbartholomew/stbartholomew.html St Bartholomew’s Church, Westhoughton] (Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project). URL accessed 26 October 2006.]

A new church was designed by architects Dane, Ashworth & Cottam. Laing North West built the church with Bradshaw Gass & Hope as project managers and structural engineers, at an approximate cost of £1 million. [ [http://www.bghbolton.co.uk/projects/?action=6&project=5&menu=1 Bradshaw Gass & Hope website] . URL accessed 26 October 2007.]

The new church was consecrated on 28th October 1995. The procession led from the top of Wingates into the church grounds, ready for the Right Reverend Christopher Mayfield, Bishop of Manchester to enter and bless the doorway. [ [http://archive.theboltonnews.co.uk/1995/10/30/864512.html Blessing for church that's risen from ashes] . "The Bolton Evening News", dated 30 October 1995.] Having a new church meant having a new organ. 'Nicholsons' of Malvern were brought in to build, erect and test a brand new 2 manual organ. There are 1,256 pipes ranging from 1/2 inch to 16 feet. They are constructed of tin, spotted metal and hammered lead. [ [http://www.nicholsonorgans.co.uk/portfolio.asp Nicholsons of Malvern - portfolio] . URL accessed 26 October 2006.]

Today the church's Organist and Director of Music is Mr. Edward McHale. As well as leading Sunday worship he also manages the churches choir, with the help of Assistant Organist, Ryan Battersby. The Current Rector since 2003 is Revd. Gary A. Lawson.


Civic history

Until the 19th century, Westhoughton was a chapelry and township in the ecclesiastical parish of Deane, in the Salford hundred of Lancashire.

In 1837, Westhoughton joined with other townships (or civil parishes) in the area to form the Bolton Poor Law Union and took joint responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in that area. [http://www.workhouses.org.uk/index.html?Bolton/Bolton.shtml Bolton Poor Law Union] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

In 1872, a Local Board of Health was established for the township, and was superseded in 1894 when Westhoughton became an Urban District of the administrative county of Lancashire. In 1898 most of Over Hulton became part of the Urban District. [ [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10077692&c_id=10001043 Westhoughton UD: Historical Boundaries] . "Vision of Britain". URL accessed 26 February 2008.] Under the Local Government Act 1972, Westhoughton Urban District was abolished in 1974 and its area became a civil parish of the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester. [http://www.gmcro.co.uk/guides/gazette/gazzt2w.htm#westhoughton Greater Manchester Record Office - Westhoughton] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

Today, Westhoughton has six councillors who are elected in two borough wards - Westhoughton North & Chew Moor ward and Westhoughton South ward - and they represent the area on the metropolitan borough council of Bolton. [http://www.democracy.bolton.gov.uk/cmiswebpublic/Members.aspx Bolton Metropolitan Borough Councillors] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.]

Westhoughton civil parish, with town council status, has eighteen town councillors who are elected in six town council wards - Central, Chequerbent, Daisy Hill, Hoskers & Hart Common, White Horse, and Wingates. [http://www.bolton.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=147,154547&_dad=portal92&_schema=PORTAL92 Town Council Election Results 2007 - Blackrod, Horwich, and Westhoughton] . URL accessed 22 May 2007.] Each year, Westhoughton Town Council elects a Town Mayor who as the town's First Citizen represents at various functions and events. This year's mayor is Councillor David Chadwick. Chadwick has asked his daughter, Victoria, to serve as his mayoress in place of his wife, who 'prefers to keep behind the scenes.' Ms. Chadwick will be one of the youngest mayoresses in Britian. [ [http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/lifestyle/health_and_beauty/style/s/1048416_young_mayoress_dressed_for_success Young mayoress dressed for success] ]

Parliamentary representation

For many years the Westhoughton constituency represented the town until it was abolished in 1983 and became part of the Bolton West constituency.


The long established County Primary schools at Wingates and Fourgates were closed in 2004.



Westhoughton is located south of junction 5 of the M61 motorway. The main roads which run through the town are the A58 (Park Road/Cricketers Way/Wigan Road), and the A6 (Manchester Road/Chorley Road). The secondary roads are the B5236 (Church Street), the B5235 (Bolton Road/Mill Street/Leigh Road), and the B5239 (Dicconson Lane).

Railways and Trams

There are two railway stations in the town. Westhoughton railway station on Church Street, and Daisy Hill railway station on Leigh Road. Both stations are served by Northern Rail and run between Wigan Wallgate and Manchester - trains from Westhoughton to Manchester Piccadilly run via Bolton, trains from Daisy Hill to Manchester Victoria run via Atherton. In the past there were stations at Chequerbent (closed 1952) [ [http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/c/chequerbent/index1.shtml Chequerbent stations ). "Disused Stations Site Record] .] and Hilton House (closed 1956), that area now served by Horwich Parkway railway station. Westhoughton was served by electric trams (to Bolton) until 1947.

In the late 1980's Westhoughton very nearly had a new third station at Dobb Brow and planning went so far as the proposed station to appear on railway maps as "may open during the course of this timetable." Sadly, at the last moment plans were shelved. [ [http://archive.theboltonnews.co.uk/2000/10/28/708192.html Top Priority On The Trains] . "The Bolton Evening News", published 28 October 2000.] Lostock and Horwich Parkway railway stations, on the fringes of the North of Westhoughton, also serve the town.

The total usage of the town's two stations (Daisy Hill and Westhoughton at over a quarter of a million passengers)is greater than that of the stations of many "important" (and well known) towns in the United Kingdom. [ [http://www.networkrail.co.uk/ Network Rail] . (see Network Rail figures).] London is reached by changing at Manchester Piccadilly (for Westhoughton) or by changing stations in Wigan (from Wigan North Western to Wigan Wallgate - just 100 yards) from Daisy Hill. These two routes give a service of at least three per hour to London on Weekdays and a journey time of around three hours (allowing for leisurely changes).


Given the success of the town's railway stations, bus services have suffered over the years (for example, the long running service 37/38 service to Manchester - in passing, the last major Greater Manchester bus service to have conductors - was finally withdrawn).Westhoughton however is still served by several bus services, linking the town with Bolton, Wigan and Leigh. The most frequent service is the 540 between Bolton and Wigan. The service is run by First Manchester and Arriva and operates every 10 minutes during the day, Monday to Saturday and every 30 minutes in the evenings and on Sundays. There are additional journeys run by Arriva between Bolton and Daisy Hill. Other bus services in Westhoughton are the 38 Daisy Hill - Walkden (peak mornings only), 516 Leigh - Horwich (Evenings only), 521 Blackrod - Little Lever, 559 Bolton - Hindley (much reduced in recent years) , 615 Leigh - Wigan and 715 Bolton - Wigan.

Notable residents

Robert Shaw

Born on King Street, in Westhoughton in 1927, he most notably appeared in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" and the James Bond film, "From Russia With Love". Robert Shaw is fondly remembered as one of the town's sons. A plaque on Westhoughton Town Hall commemorates him and his works. The J. D. Wetherspoon chain of Free Houses has also named its Westhoughton branch on Market Street, situated opposite King Street, after the actor. [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001727/ Internet Movie Database - Robert Shaw] . URL accessed 27 May 2007.]


*Francis Lee - Footballer. Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Derby County. England (27 caps).
*Nicky Hunt - Footballer
*Houghton Weavers a local folk group who had their own BBC TV series in the 1970s entitled "Sit thi' Deawn".Steve Davies - Deal or no Deal 2008


External links

* [http://www.westhoughtononline.co.uk Westhoughton Online]
* [http://www.swanonline.co.uk SWAN (Save Westhoughton Act Now)]
* [http://www.westhoughton-libdems.org.uk Westhoughton Liberal Democrats]
* [http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Westhoughton/index.html Parish of Westhoughton]
* [http://www.bolton.org.uk/westhoughton.html More information and photos of Westhoughton]

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