Manchester's Ten  Metropolitan Boroughs




Districts of Bury


is located in a semi-rural setting framed by the West Pennine Moors
and was originally a coal and cotton district – it takes its name
from ‘red cliff” (rock) on the River Irwell. Its many old buildings
include the Parish Church, a Tithe barn and Radcliffe Tower. It is
the most westerly of Bury districts and has a regular old market,
a small shopping centred and is served by the Metrolink Rapid Tram
Railway Station linking Manchester to Bury.


Aerial Photo of Ramsbottom, Bury, Lanchire
Aerial Photograph
of Ramsbottom. Image courtesy of Copyright
© 2005

at the extreme north of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury in the Irwell
Valley lies Ramsbottom. This sleepy village almost tucked away in the
hills and valleys of Rossendale, has seen considerable rebirth since
the reopening of the East Lancashire Railway and has become a popular
and much sought after place to live out of town. It boasts some of the
most attractive countryside in the borough and is a popular place to
visit. Within the Ramsbottom district are several other pretty villages,
including Summerseat, with its conservation area and the beautiful Irwell
Gorge. The name probably/possibly derives from the old English “Ramsons
Bottom”. In former times the village was sometimes known locally
as “Tupp’s Arse” (“tupp” being an old regional word
for a sheep or ram), though the name actually has nothing to do with
sheep or bottoms, but probably meant “the valley of wild garlic”
(or “ramson” as the wild garlic is often called). Known locally
simply as “Rammy”.


small village of Edenfield used to sit on the main A56 trunk road, until
it was by-passed by the M66 motorway. The area is sometimes referred
to as Tottington Higher End. In the 19th century Edenfield, Ramsbottom,
and Tottington grew increasingly popular with the middle classes eager
to move out of the industrialised town centre into more pleasant and
rural settings – this still tends to be true of these districts. Known
since 1324, formerly “Aytounfeld” meaning “farmstead
on well-watered land”.


once included part of what is now Ramsbottom, and as open farmland has
long been regarded good hunting land where traditionally deer and wild
boar were hunted. This quiet little backwater saw the resident population
increase considerably during the early 19th century. Tottington, or
“Totty” as it is known locally has a local Heritage Society
which publishes a number of useful booklets on surrounding areas, including
Tottington, Shuttleworth, Summerseat, Cheesden and Birtle.


is a predominantly residential community, much favoured by the Jewish
community who have a large settlement in the district. The district’s
proximity to the M60 Orbital Motorway and City of Manchester has ensured
that there are many flourishing industries as well as retail parks located
There are at least two theories for the origin of the placename. One
is that the name comes from the Flemish weavers who used to lay out
their fabrics to bleach in the sun – hence “white fields”;
the other relies on the fact that historically Whitefield has been a
farming community of open fields and that the name is a corruption of
the word “wheatfields”. Apart from Morrison’s Supermarket,
the village is now dominated by the splendid Stand Church, (All Saints
CofE Church), which was a so-called ‘Waterloo Church’ fund, having been
built to celebrate Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. This can be seen from
many miles around and stands out as a recognisable local landmark dominating
the landscape for many miles around. The old district of Stand is also
located in Whitefield, and used to be evidenced not only by All Saints
Church, but by Stand Grammar School for Boys ( where the author once
taught – now demolished – no connection!), Stand Girls Grammar School
(where the author’s wife was a pupil, now Philips High School), Stand
Cricket Club, Stand Golf Club and Stand Lane.


comes from the Saxon meaning “a Priest’s retreat”, a pub in
the village has recently adopted this as its new name. It is situated
about 3½ miles north of Manchester City centre and 4 miles south
of Bury centre. In earlier times the district was predominantly farmland,
but the area grew considerably during the Industrial Revolution. Along
with Whitefield it boasts the second largest Jewish community in the
United Kingdom. It is located immediately south and adjacent to the
M60 Outer Ring Road, with access to the entire northwest motorway network.
Nowadays the village shopping centre is busy and popular, with a profusion
of local specialist shops and major supermarkets. Lying as it does on
the main A56 trunk road northwards, midway between Manchester and Bury,
and with a local Metrolink Railway Station it is an accessible and convenient
shopping venue.
Just to the north of Prestwich across the M60 motorway lies Besses O’
Th’ Barn. This oddly named area, known locally simply as “Besses”,
is actually an old industrial town whose name has potentially colourful
origins. One improbable explanation of the placename involves the highwayman
Dick Turpin’s famous horse, Black Bess. But, in all probability the
name derives from one its most infamous pub landladies.
One Elizabeth “Bess” Bamford was a notable landlady of the
local Dog Inn from 1674-1699. Elizabeth was known as Besses o’th Barn
and this almost certainly became the eventual name of the pub and of
the district. ( Source: Prestwich & Whitefield Heritage Society ).
Besses is probably best known nowadays for its celebrated brass band,
multiple prize and championship winners, one of the oldest surviving
brass band ensembles in the world.


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This page last updated 16 Nov 12.