Westhoughton is located in Greater Manchester
 Westhoughton shown within Greater Manchester

23,056 (2001 Census)

OS Grid Reference

Metropolitan Borough

Metropolitan County
Greater Manchester

North West


Sovereign State
United Kingdom

Post Town

Postcode District

Dialling Code

Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester

North West

EU Parliament
North West England

UK Parliament
Bolton South East

Westhoughton Online
Westhoughton is a town and civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester, England.

It is 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Bolton, 5 miles (8 km) east of Wigan and 13 miles (21 km) northwest of Manchester.

Historically in Lancashire, Westhoughton was once a centre for coal mining, cotton-spinning and textile manufacture.

Today it is predominantly a residential town with a population of 23,056.

Westhoughton incorporates several former villages and hamlets which have their own distinctive character, sports traditions and amenities including railway stations.

They include Wingates (famous for the Wingates Brass Band), White Horse, Over Hulton, Four Gates (or Fourgates), Chequerbent which was all but destroyed by the building of the motorway, Hunger Hill, Snydale, Hart Common, Marsh Brook, Daisy Hill and Dobb Brow.


The name Westhoughton is derived from the Old English, "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".

It has been recorded variously as Halcton in 1210, Westhalcton in 1240,Westhalghton in 1292, Westhalton in 1302 and in the 16th century as Westhaughton and Westhoughton

The people of Westhoughton are known as "Howfeners" or "Keawyeds" (cow heads) or a combination of the two "Keawyedners", and the town is known as "Keawyed City".

Folklore describes a farmer who found his cow with its head stuck in a five barred gate, and, rather than damage the gate, cut the cow's head off, as the cow cost less than the gate.

Banastre Rebellion

In 1315 a group of men led by Sir William Bradshaigh of Haigh Hall, Sir Henry Lea of Charnock Richard and Sir Adam Banastre met at Wingates to plan a campaign of violence against Sir Robert de Holland of Upholland, chief retainer of the powerful Earl of Lancaster.

The campaign came to be known as the Banastre Rebellion and ended with the deaths of most the main protagonists.

Civil War

During the English Civil War in 1642, a battle was fought on Westhoughton Common between Lord Derby's Cavalier forces and Parliamentarians.

It is believed that Prince Rupert of the Rhine gathered his troops in Westhoughton before the attack and ensuing massacre at Bolton in 1644.

The street named Whitsundale is the site of the Battle of Warcock Hill.

Civil War activity is known to have occurred around the site of Hunger Hill.

A sword claimed to be from the time of the Civil War was discovered in the garden of one of the cottages at Pocket Nook in Chew Moor during the 1950s.

Industrial Revolution

On 25 March 1812 a group of Luddites burned Rowe and Dunscough's Westhoughton Mill, in one of the first terrorist acts in Britain.

Twelve people were arrested on the orders of William Hulton, the High Sheriff of Lancashire.

James Smith, Thomas Kerfoot, John (or Job) Fletcher and Abraham Charlston, were sentenced to death for their part in the attack.

The Charlston family claimed Abraham was only twelve years old but he was not reprieved.

The men were publicly hanged outside Lancaster Castle on 13 June 1812.

It was reported that Abraham cried for his mother on the scaffold.[10] By this time, however, hanging of those under 18 was rare and of those under 16, in practice, abolished.

Nine others were transported to Australia.

The riots are commemorated by a blue plaque on the White Lion public house opposite the mill site.

In 1891 the Rose Hill Doubling Mill had 8,020 spindles and Higson and Biggs' Victoria Mill had 40,000 spindles.

Bolton Road Mill housed 564 looms weaving shirtings and Perseverance Mill had 600 looms manufacturing twills, sateens and plain cotton cloth. The looms in John Chadwick's Silk Mills produced broad silks, tie silks, scarves and handkerchiefs.

The Lancashire Hosiery Company produced vests. Thomas Welch was a calico printer at the Green Vale Print Works.

The family of William Hulton of Hulton Park owned many small collieries from the 16th century.

After 1828 the pits at Chequerbent were served by the Bolton and Leigh Railway. The Hulton Colliery Company sank Chequerbent Colliery in 1892 and Bank Pit Nos 1–4 between 1897 and 1901.

The company mined the Trencherbone, Plodder and Arley seams.

Bank Pit No 3, known as the Pretoria Pit, was the site of one Britain's worst coal-mining disasters when on 21 December 1910, 344 men and boys died in an explosion of firedamp.

The Pretoria Pit Disaster was the third worst in British mining history, after the 1866 Barnsley Oaks Disaster in Yorkshire and the 1913 Senghenydd Colliery Disaster in Glamorgan.

A memorial erected in 1910 is grade II listed.

In 1896 the Wigan Coal and Iron Company's Eatock Pits employed 484 underground and 89 surface workers whilst the Hewlett Pits, at Hart Common, employed 981 underground and 182 on the surface.


Lying within the boundaries of Lancashire since the early 12th century, Westhoughton was a chapelry and township in the ecclesiastical parish of Deane, in the Salford hundred.

In 1837, Westhoughton joined with other townships (or civil parishes) to form the Bolton Poor Law Union and took joint responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in that area.

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.

Westhoughton Town Hall was built in 1903 to a plan by Bradshaw and Gass, architects of Bolton replacing the Local Board Offices at the junction of Market Street and Wigan Road.

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.

It is represented by six councilors elected in two borough wards – Westhoughton North and Chew Moor and Westhoughton South – on the metropolitan borough council.

Westhoughton civil parish, gained town council status in 1985, and has 18 town councilors elected from six town council wards – Central, Chequerbent, Daisy Hill, Hoskers and Hart Common, White Horse, and Wingates.

Each year the town council elects a town mayor.

Parliamentary representation

For 98 years, between 1885 and 1983 the Westhoughton constituency represented the town.

Although, since 1906, always returning a Labour candidate, the elections were, after 1950, a close run contest, due to the working class conservatism found in Westhoughton and surrounding areas.

At the 1906 general election, the birth of the modern Labour Party, William Tyson Wilson was one of 29 successful "Labour Representation Committee candidates."

The constituency had by-elections in 1921, 1951 and 1973 due to the retirement, ill-health or death of the sitting MPs.

The last MP for Westhoughton was Roger Stott (Labour) who, on abolition of the Westhoughton constituency, was elected MP for Wigan in 1983, his death later prompting a by-election.

The 1983 redistribution of seats reflected local government reforms made in 1974. In September 2011, the Boundary Commission for England proposed recreating a Westhoughton constituency to incorporate Westhoughton, Blackrod, Hindley, Atherton, and parts of Horwich and Leigh.


Westhoughton covers an area of 4,341 acres (1,757 ha) and has an average breadth of over 2 miles (3.2 km) from north-east to south-west, and an extreme length of nearly 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from northwest to south-east.

The highest ground at over 480 feet (150 m) is to the north east with the land sloping downwards to the south-west.

The lowest point at about 120 feet (37 m) is in the extreme southerly corner.

Borsdane Brook separates the township from Aspull, another brook divides it from Hindley joining a stream which rises on the northern edge of Westhoughton and flows south through Leigh to Glazebrook.

There are three Local Nature Reserves at Hall Lee Bank Park, Cunningham Clough, and Eatock Lodge at Daisy Hill.


The long established St John's, Wingates CE Primary & Fourgates County Primary schools were closed in 2004 following amalgamation to form The Gates CP School.

Westhoughton CP School closed in 2008.

An earlier round of reorganisation saw the closure of Hart Common Primary School and opening of St George's on The Hoskers, and the closure of the tiny County Primary at White Horse which is now a private nursery.

School Type/Status Ofsted Website
Eatock Primary School, Daisy Hill Primary 105202 Official site
Sacred Heart R.C. Primary School Primary 105243 Official site
St George's C.E. Primary School Primary 131038 Official site
St James C.E. Primary School, Daisy Hill Primary 105209 Official site
St Thomas' C.E. School, Chequerbent Primary 105234 Official site
The Gates Primary School Primary 133926 Official site
Washacre Primary School Primary 105199 Official site
St. Bartholomew's C of E Primary School

originally Westhoughton Parochial C.E. Primary School

Primary 105237
Westhoughton Primary School (closed 2008) Primary 105180 Official site
Westhoughton High School Secondary & Sixth form 105252 Official site


Westhoughton had a chapel in 1552. It was replaced in by a brick built church in 1731 and a third church, which became the parish church, was built in 1869–70.

The church, dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, had an east window depicted to the twelve apostles.

On 28 November 1990 the church was gutted by fire, but the tower was saved and is Grade II listed as is a sundial in the churchyard.

A new church designed by architects Dane, Ashworth & Cottam was built by Laing North with Bradshaw Gass & Hope as project managers and structural engineers.

The church cost about £1 million.

After the fire services transferred to the parochial school and the church bought the town's redundant telephone exchange as a temporary worship centre until the new church opened. The new church was consecrated on 28 October 1995.

A procession from Wingates into the church grounds preceded the Right Reverend Christopher Mayfield, Bishop of Manchester, entering and blessing the doorway.

Nicholsons of Malvern built a two manual organ with 1,256 pipes, ranging from 1/2 inch to 16 feet (4.9 m).

The pipes are made of tin, spotted metal (an alloy of lead and tin) and hammered lead.

Other Anglican churches in Westhoughton are St John the Evangelist's in Wingates and Austin and Paley's St James' Church, Daisy Hill which is a Grade II* listed building.

The Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Parish Church is in Lord Street.

John Wesley, the co-founder of the Methodist church, preached a sermon at Barnaby's Farm at Wingates in April 1784.

Houses occupy the site where Wesley stood, but the stone from which he preached stands outside the old Grove Lane Chapel, now Westhoughton Methodist Church's Church Hall, Wigan Road.

Services were held in the cottages opposite the farm, which became known as Methody Row before the first Methodist church was built in 1835 and the Methodist Church in Dixon Street in 1871.

The Wingates Band began as the church’s drum and fife band, part of the temperance movement.

The final service was held there by the Independent Methodist Church on 6 May 2001 and the church was subsequently demolished.

Daisy Hill Methodist Church was closed and demolished in the late 1980s. The remaining Methodist church is on Wigan Road at its junction with Grove Lane.

The industrial north west was a focus for non-conformism, and until the 1990s there was a Church of the Nazarene in Church Street, now replaced by a block of flats named 'Nazarene Court, a Quaker Meeting House on Wigan Road, now a Christian fellowship and a tin tabernacleoff, Bolton Road.

There is a Pentecostal church on Bolton Road and a United Reform Church, the Bethel on the old Leigh Road.[43] Following the move to St George's, The Hoskers, Hart Common Church is part of the Hindley Christian Fellowship.

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