This page about Westhoughton Churches provides a brief summary of the history of each major church in the town, as shown on this map. There is additional detail in the form of articles or presentations on a few of them.
CH1 – St Bartholomew’s Church is the oldest established church in Westhoughton.
There is mention of a chapel on the site of the churchyard in the papers of Cockersand
Abbey about 1200 and according to Baine’s History of Lancashire , a church dedicated to St Bartholomew, existed in 1557. The church was rebuilt in 1731 on the site of the old chapel and replaced by a larger building in 1869 which was paid for by the benefactor, John Seddon of the Mortons, who also provided employment by building the Albion and Victoria cotton mills and Green Vale bleachworks.
Unfortunately the church was burned down in 1990 and only the tower survived. The tower is Grade II listed. A replacement church alongside it was consecrated in 1995.
CH2 – St John’s Church, Wingates ( Grade II listed building)
The church was consecrated in 1859. The world wide renowned hymn “Angel Voices ever Singing” was specially composed for the dedication of the first pipe organ in 1861.
CH3 – St James’ Church, Daisy Hill ( Grade II listed building) was built in 1881 and was a gift to the village from Miss Haddock and her sister Mrs Makant. It is listed for preservation because of its architectural significance.
It is built from terracotta stone and is considered to be an architectural gem because of the style of architecture adopted is what is known as ‘flowing decorative or curvilinear.’ The Nave is 28 feet wide and 79 feet long and the chancel is 25 feet wide and 38 feet long. It was designed by the famous architects Paley and Austin.
The Church – Viewed from the South, such grandeur! The Bellcote, with its three bells.
CH4 – Wingates Independent Methodist Church
The Wingates Independent Methodist movement was formed about 1810 when they left the Wesleyan Methodist movement and eventually built Wingates Independent Methodist Church and school in the Square in 1835.
In 1871 a larger church and school was built in Dixon Street. This church was subsequently demolished in 2002.
CH5 – The Bethel
The Bethel Church owes its origin to a Congregationalist preacher from the Leigh area who first preached at Old Sirs, Daisy Hill but by 1815 needed to move to larger premises. After several moves because of increasing popularity, the meetings were held at 24 – 26 Park Road (demolished c 1969) where the congregation grew to about 220 worshippers.
The existing Bethel building was opened in 1853 and the Sunday School was added in 1870. The Bethel served an important purpose as a day school until 1915 when the local authority built a new girls school on Bolton Road and a boys school at Central Drive.
CH6 – Trinity Wesleyan Church
built 1869 was known as “daub chapel” because it was constructed of concrete slag. In 1903 the new chapel was built in front of the original one on Church Street.
CH7 – Grove Lane Methodist Chapel
The Old Chapel was founded in 1871. In 1966 the Grove Lane and Trinity Methodist Church merged to form Westhoughton Methodist Church. In 1996 this church became part of the St George’s Church, based in the primary school at the Hoskers, but the original building shown is still in use.
CH8 – Daisy Hill Primitive Methodist Church
Daisy Hill Primitive Methodist Church, known as Tranter’s 1887 new chapel.
One of the first ministers was Rev. Sam Tillotson, who came from Sowerby Bridge. His eldest son, John, was the founder of the first halfpenny evening paper, the Bolton Evening News.
CH9 – Sacred Heart Catholic Church
1873: First high mass held at Albion Street, Wingates. Parishioners originally took mass in a weaving shed acquired from Joseph Horrocks in 1873.
1895: The foundation stone for the new Sacred Heart Church was laid. The Foundation stone was solemnly blessed and placed by Bishop Bilsborrow of Salford on the 22nd June 1895.
On the 22 December the Sacred Heart Church was opened. The move to Lord Street had brought a great increase in numbers; there were 800 church members in 1898.
This building lasted just a century and was replaced by the new Sacred Heart Church on the Lord Street site in 1995.