Bolton (city), Lancashire Genealogy

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Guide to Bolton history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Victoria Square, Bolton center

History[edit | edit source]

Coat of arms of Bolton
Bolton in England.png
Lancashire flag


Bolton is a town in what is now the county of Greater Manchester in North West England. Historically it was a town in the ancient county of Lancashire. A former mill town, Bolton has been a production center for textiles since Flemish weavers settled in the area in the 14th century, introducing a wool and cotton-weaving tradition. The urbanization and development of the town largely coincided with the introduction of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. Bolton was a 19th-century boom town, and at its zenith in 1929 its 216 cotton mills and 26 bleaching and dyeing works made it one of the largest and most productive centers of cotton spinning in the world.

Bolton is a common Northern English name derived from the Old English bothl-tun, meaning a settlement with a dwelling, as opposed to a settlement without a fixed dwelling. It was recorded as Bothelton in 1212, Botelton in 1257, Boulton in 1288, and Bolton after 1307. Later forms of Botheltun were Bodeltown, Botheltun-le-Moors, Bowelton, Boltune, Bolton-super-Moras, Bolton-in-ye-Moors, Bolton-le-Moors.

There is evidence of human existence on the moors around Bolton since the early part of the Bronze Age, including a stone circle on Cheetham Close above Egerton, and Bronze Age burial mounds on Winter Hill. A Bronze Age mound was excavated in Victorian times outside Haulgh Hall. The Romans built roads from Manchester to Ribchester to the east and a road along what is now the A6 to the west. It is claimed that Agricola built a fort at Blackrod by clearing land above the forest. Evidence of a Saxon settlement exists in the form of religious objects found when the Victorian parish church was built.

In 1067 Great Bolton was the property of Roger de Poitou and after 1100, of Roger de Meresheys. It became the property of the Pilkingtons who forfeited it in the Civil War and after that the Stanleys who became Earls of Derby. Great Bolton and Little Bolton were part of the Marsey fee, and in 1212 Little Bolton was held by Roger de Bolton as plough-land, by the service of the twelfth part of a knight's fee to Randle de Marsey. The parish church in Bolton has an early foundation although the exact date is unknown; it was given by the lord of the manor to the Gilbertine canons of Mattersey Priory in Nottinghamshire, founded by Roger de Marsey.

A charter to hold a market in Churchgate was granted on 14 December 1251 by King Henry III of England. Bolton became a market town and borough by a charter from the Earl of Derby, William de Ferrers, on 14 January 1253, and a market was held until the 18th century.

In 1337 Flemish weavers settled and introduced the manufacture of woollen cloth. More Flemish weavers, fleeing the Huguenot persecutions, settled here in the 17th century. The second wave of settlers wove fustian, a rough cloth made of linen and cotton.

During the English Civil War, the people of Bolton were Puritans and supported the Parliamentarian cause. A parliamentary garrison in the town was attacked twice without success but on 28 May 1644 Prince Rupert's Royalist army with troops under the command of the Earl of Derby attacked again. The attack became known as the Bolton Massacre in which 1,500 died, 700 were taken prisoner and the town plundered.

Bolton was a core location of the spinning and weaving industry in Lancashire. A tradition of cottage spinning and weaving and improvements to spinning technology by local inventors, Richard Arkwright and Samuel Crompton, led to rapid growth of the textile industry in the 19th century. Crompton, whilst living at Hall i' th' Wood, invented the spinning mule in 1779. Streams draining the surrounding moorland into the River Croal provided the water necessary for the bleach works that were a feature of this area. Bleaching using chlorine was introduced in the 1790s by the Ainsworths at Halliwell Bleachworks. Bolton and the surrounding villages had more than thirty bleach works including the Lever Bank Bleach Works in the Irwell Valley.

Important transport links contributed to the growth of the town and the textile industry; the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, constructed in 1791, connected the town to Bury and Manchester providing transport for coal and other basic materials. The Bolton and Leigh Railway, the oldest in Lancashire, opened to goods traffic in 1828 and Great Moor Street station opened to passengers in 1831. The railway initially connected Bolton to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Leigh, an important link with the port of Liverpool for the import of raw cotton from America, but was extended in 1829 to link up with the Manchester to Liverpool Line. Local firms built locomotives for the railway, in 1830 "Union" was built by Rothwell, Hick and Company and two locomotives, "Salamander" and "Veteran" were built by Crook and Dean.

By 1900 Bolton was Lancashire's third largest engineering center after Manchester and Oldham. About 9,000 men were employed in the industry, half of them working for Dobson and Barlow in Kay Street. The firm made textile machinery. Another engineering company Hick, Hargreaves & Co based at the Soho Foundry made Lancashire boilers and heavy machinery. Thomas Ryder and Son of Turner Bridge manufactured machine tools for the international motor industry. Wrought iron was produced for more than 100 years at Thomas Walmsley and Sons' Atlas Forge.

By 1911 the textile industry in Bolton employed about 36,000 people. The last mill to be constructed was Sir John Holden's Mill in 1927. The cotton industry declined from the 1920s. A brief upturn after the Second World War was not sustained, and the industry had virtually vanished by the end of the 20th century. [1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Tonge Cemetery
Cemetery Rd
Bolton BL2 6AQ
Phone: +44 1204 334499

Overdale Crematorium
Overdale Dr
Bolton BL1 5BU
Phone: +44 1204 334499

Heaton Cemetery
Gilnow Road
Bolton BL1 4LH
Phone: +44 1204 334499

Astley Bridge Cemetery
Eden St
Bolton BL1 6NU

Ridgemont Cemetery
Co Operative St
Rossendale
4 Chorley Old Rd
Horwich, Bolton BL6 6AU

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

St Peter's Church
Churchgate
Bolton BL1 1PS

St Mathew's Church
Market St
Little Lever, Bolton BL3 1HH
Phone: +44 1204 700936

St Augustine of Canterbury
Thicketford Road
Tonge Moor, Bolton BL2 2LP
Phone: +44 1204 523899

Christ's Church
Stitch-Mi-Lane
Bolton BL2 4HN
Phone: +44 1204 525196

St Maxentius' Church
Bolton Road
Bradshaw,, Bolton BL2 3EU
Phone: +44 1204 304240

Church of St Thomas and St John
Tempest Rd
Bolton BL6 4EL
Phone: +44 1204 654016

St Peter's Church
Church Rd
Bolton BL1 5RL
Phone: +44 1204 599900

St Aidan's Church
Crompton Way
Bolton BL1 8UP

St Catherine's Church
5 Richmond St
Horwich, Bolton BL6 5QT
Phone: +44 1204 697162

St Paul with St Emanuel
1 Vicarage St
Bolton BL3 5LE
Phone: +44 1204 520837

To find the addresses of parishes in adjacent towns and villages, go to Lancashire Parishes

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

Other Christian groups follow:

  • Baptists
  • Church of Christ
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Claremont Church
  • Grace Church
  • Farnsworth Christian Fellowship
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Kingdom Life
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian
  • Roman Catholic
  • Salvation Army
  • Seventh Day Adventists

Non Christian faiths include the following:

  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Almost all of the heavy industry that Bolton was known for over the years has passed, to be replaced with service industries.

In the last quarter of the 20th century heavy industry was replaced by service-based activities including data processing, call centers, hi-tech electronics and IT companies. The town retains some traditional industries employing people in paper-manufacturing, packaging, textiles, transportation, steel foundries and building materials. The Reebok brand's European headquarters are located at the Reebok Football Stadium. Bolton is also the home of the family bakery, Warburtons, established in 1876 on Blackburn Road.

Bolton attracts visitors to its shopping centers, markets, public houses, restaurants and cafes in the town center as well retail parks and leisure facilities close to the town center and in the surrounding towns and suburbs. Tourism plays a part in the economy, visitor attractions include Hall i' th' Wood, Smithills Hall and Country Park, Last Drop Village, Barrow Bridge and the Bolton Steam Museum.

IT companies, such as Avetco are among the fastest growth companies in the UK. Other companies in this field include Converge Technologies, Media Co and Call IT Ltd.

Finance is another major employer with such companies as: Accounting Solutions and Finance Ltd.[2]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Bolton," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolton, accessed 24 December, 2017.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Bolton," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolton, accessed 6 January, 2018.