Manchester's Ten  Metropolitan Boroughs




Town & Borough of Bolton

Bolton Town HallBolton, Lancashire - The Old Man and Scythe Inn, BoltonPlaque markin execution of James Stanley
Bolton Town Hall, The Old Man & Scythe Inn
and the Plaque marking James Stanley, Earl of Derby’s last resting
place before execution..

The township of
Bolton has developed over the centuries from a small village settlement
set in the moors of Lancashire to a major modern township. Situated
about 15 miles to the north-west of Manchester city centre, along the
M60 & M61 motorways and the A666. It was considered important enough
to be attacked three times during the course of the English Civil War.
However, Bolton is best known for its industrial heritage, its inventiveness
and its cotton manufacturing and thereby to the establishment of Bolton
as one of many Lancashire’s mill towns that led the way in the Industrial
Revolution. Effectively, Bolton became a boom town in the 19th century,
as its population grew from around 17000 in 1800 to 10 times that number
by 1900.
Cotton was always
the dominant local product, though there were other industries that
flourished in the locality – trades such as engineering, the building
of the railways which fostered all late 19th century industry, as well
as the now extinct local mining industry.

Aerial Photograph of Bolton Town Hall
Bolton Town Hall: Aerial Photograph Image Courtesy of © 2005

Bolton Origins

After the Norman
Conquest of Britain, Bolton was given by William the Conqueror in
1067 to Roger de Pitou, whose family, the Montgomerys, held it until
1200 when it passed by marriage to the Earl of Derby. The coat of
arms shows an arrow (or “bolt”) through a crown. The arrow may have
referred to the key role which Bolton archers are said to have played
in the defeat of the Scots at Flodden Field in 1513. The crown itself
represents the wooden stockade which surrounded the Saxon village
– known as a “tun” or “ton” (the origin of the word town) – hence
In 1251,
William de Ferrers obtained a Royal Charter from king Henry III for
a market and fair to be held in Bolton. By 1253, Bolton had been granted
another Charter making it a free borough and a market town. It still
boasts one of the largest and finest shopping centres of any of the
towns around Manchester – from the new shopping complex at Knowsley
Street to the big Market Hall, and the excellent fish and vegetable
markets at Moor Lane.

Bolton during
the Civil War

In the 17th century,
Bolton was a Puritan stronghold and sided with the Parliamentarian
cause against the Royalists. It is said that the Civil War began in
Preston, the first battle was in Manchester, but at Bolton the fight
was bloodier and at its most intense. Bolton suffered three attacks
during the Civil War, led by James
, the Earl of Derby and Prince Rupert. Bolton finally
fell to the Royalists in 1644 when their forces entered the town and
carried out the only massacre of the Civil Wars. After the war, when
the Royalist cause was lost, Derby was tried and sentenced for the
massacre. Ye Olde Man & Scythe pub, (pictured above left) is the place
where James, the seventh Earl of Derby stayed the night before his
execution on Churchgate in 1651. A cross outside the pub bears plaques
which relate stories of Bolton through the ages.


Until the 19th
century, Bolton was properly known as “Bolton-le-Moors” and the Parish
Church of St Peters is still officially called “St. Peter’s, Bolton-le-Moors”.
Before 1830, the town was run by 2 authorities, Great Bolton with
40 representatives, and Little Bolton with 30, the two separated by
the River Croal. Locally, the trustees for Great Bolton were known
as the “Forty Thieves”. Its wealth was built on textiles; Flemish
émigré weavers settled in Bolton around 1337 and introduced
spinning and weaving to the area, as well as bringing clogs, which
were absorbed into the local culture. Cotton spinning and weaving
was a large concern, employing over 15,000 men and 21,000 women by
1911. By
1929 Bolton had 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dyeing works.
Sadly the 20th century decline in the Lancashire cotton industry took
a heavy toll on Bolton’s workforce – by the 1980s it had fallen to
around 2,500 men and women.

Bolton’s Eight

Bolton Borough
is made up of eight towns: Farnworth, Kearsley, Blackrod, Little Lever,
Westhoughton, Horwich, South Turton and Bolton. Presently it has a
population of around 261,000 and covers an area of some 54 square
miles – 93,000 people presently work in the borough.


Books on
Bolton Dialects

  • Graham Shorrocks: “A
    Grammar of the Dialect of the Bolton Area. Part I”.
    Introduction, Phonology”.
    Bamberger Beitr�ge zur Englischen
    Sprachwissenschaft (University of Bamberg Studies in English
    Linguistics) 41. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Paris,
    Vienna: Peter Lang, Europ�ischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1998.
    ISSN 0721–281X; ISBN 3–631–33066–9; US-ISBN 0–8204–3565–1.

  • Graham
    Shorrocks: “A Grammar of the Dialect of the Bolton Area. Part
    II. Morphology and Syntax”.
    Bamberger Beiträge zur Englischen
    Sprachwissenschaft (University of Bamberg Studies in English Linguistics)
    42. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Paris, Vienna: Peter
    Lang, Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1999. ISSN 0721–281X;
    ISBN 3–631–34661–1; US-ISBN 0–8204–4323–9.

Bolton follows



Custom Search

Animated Papillon Graphics Butterfly Logo
Papillon Graphics


Copyright © John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 16 Nov 12.