Westhoughton was the largest district council by area in Lancashire before local government reorganisation. As the work in the area in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries was predominantly agriculture, textiles and coal, there were numerous farms within the boundary. While it is not possible to include these scores of Westhoughton farms in this series of photos, this page shows a selection of the oldest and most significant.
F1 – Brinsop Hall Farm was the administrative headquarters of the Cockersand monks who owned the land of Westhoughton from 1200 to the 1500’s. Brinsop was farmed by the Laythwaite family from 1451 – 1537 when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and acquired all their land. In 1545 James Browne, a master clothier, occupied the property which was passed down to his heirs. In the 1700’s the property passed to the Milnes Gaskell family. In
1841, the farmer was Mr Gregory and his family still farm there.
F2 – Dog Holes Farm is one of the oldest in Westhoughton and is recorded in 1592 as occupied by the Laythwaite family who farmed Borsdale and Brinsop areas as tenants of Cockersand Abbey from late 1400, possibly when the first house was built.
In 1784, John Wesley preached in the open air at F3 – Barnaby’s Farm, Wingates.
F4 – Landedman’s Farm is located at the junction of George Street and Howarth Street. George Street and Howarth Street were originally named Landedman’s Lane. Lower Landedman’s is on the other side of Leigh Road. Higher Landedman’s is reputed to be
the oldest surviving building in Westhoughton dating from 1609/13 and was used in many occupations, e.g. silk weavers, nail makers.
F5 – Lee Hall and Farm were the homes of the Leigh family who owned considerable land in the area e.g. Captain Lees and Lee Common.
Captain William Leigh was High Constable for Lancashire in 1731. He died in 1733 and his daughter Mary, married William Hulton in 1735 when much of the estate became Hulton
property. Contemporary text suggests that this property was the local Manor House (Bradleigh Hall) before Brinsop Hall.
F6 – Greenfield Farm, School Street was originally Pendlebury’s farm and later Grundy’s farm. It was built in 1723 by James Pendlebury and is therefore one of the oldest properties in the
F7 – Crow’s Nest Farm – built 1666, located off Jack’s Lane, Hart Common.
See 1849 map.
F8 – Hart Common Farm
The Hargreaves family have occupied the Hart Common Farm since 1736 and built up a carrier business of national significance over several generations. They have utilised the
most modern and efficient means of transport available at each particular period. The initial mode of transport in the 1700’s was pack mules, then as roads improved horses and carts were utilised. As soon as canals were completed in the late 1700’s barges were purchased to deliver to Liverpool and Manchester.
In 1828 the Bolton – Leigh railway was constructed and William Hargreaves,( 1822 – 1889 an engineer and public benefactor), was a major investor in the development and ultimately owned the contract for operating this railway and also the Manchester to Liverpool railway.
His brother John married into the Hick family, owners of the Soho Iron Works, that ultimately became world famous for the manufacture of boilers and steel production.
Undoubtedly the Hargreaves family are the richest people that emerged from Westhoughton.
F9 – Rodger’s Farm, Mill Lane , Daisy Hill ( Rylands House)
Originally named Rylands House. In the 1200’s the Rylands granted lands to the Abbey of Cockersands. Peter Rylands built the house in 1637. He fought against the King in 1642 in the Civil War as Lieutenant to Captain Risley Browne of Brinsop and was captured.
From 1665 to 1714 the house was owned by Roger Lowe but from 1714 the owner was James Rodgers who farmed there for many years.
Subsequent owners were the Bridgewater Estates, Westhoughton District Council and United Utilities.