The Hulton Dynasty of Hulton Hall
William Hulton, 1787 – 1864
The Hulton family dynasty had been a major influence on the life of Westhoughton and Lancashire for centuries. Several of the family had been appointed the High Sheriff of Lancashire.
William Hulton ( b1787 – d1864) was one of the magistrates who charged the Luddites who attacked Westhoughton Mill in 1812. He also was the magistrate who ordered the charge on the crowd at Peterloo in 1819 by local militia and police which resulted in 18 deaths and hundreds of peaceful demonstrators being injured.
William Hulton was the chairman of the committee that developed the Bolton – Leigh railway in 1828 in order to transport coal from his mines to the steam powered cotton factories located in Bolton, and this led to some prosperity in the entire area.
However in 1910 the Pretoria Pit disaster, in which 344 men and boys were killed in the Hulton Collieries at the southern border of the estate, was the largest mining accident in Lancashire. The Pretoria Pit was closed in 1934.
The Hulton Family were a veritable dynasty for some nine centuries. The story of the family through the ages is told in the following presentations. Click each link to start your selection and click “down” to move to the next slide.
The Hulton Family from Norman times to 17th century
The Hulton Family from 17th to 20th century
Sir Geoffrey Hulton, 1920 – 1993
Sir Geoffrey Hulton (b1920 – d1993) was involved with the scouting movement and held numerous related events on Hulton Park Estate.
Sir Geoffrey was the last of the Hulton family which occupied Hulton Park Estate, from about 1200 until 2010, when he died without sons or daughters and the estate was passed to distant relatives who sold the land to Peel Holdings.
Other Notable Westhoughton People
John Seddon, 1795 – 1884
John Seddon is reputed to be Westhoughton’s greatest benefactor. Among his achievements was to create the parish church. Click this link to see his life, his achievements and how Westhoughton has benefitted.
Sgt. William Brown
Police Sergeant William Brown is renown in Pretoria history because he was responsible for recording the details of the victims of the explosion as they were brought to the surface. The notebook that he used can be viewed in a display cabinet upstairs in Westhoughton library.
Edward Ewins enlisted in the first World War and gave distinctive service. Click here to see a presentation of his story and conditions around service in WW1.
Robert Ratcliffe is shown laying a wreath on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph. He was the secretary of the Westhoughton Branch of British Legion which was commended as one of the foremost in he country. Closed as a charity in 1996.
Sydney Ratcliffe was the president of Wingates Band up to 1980’s and including the centenary year 1973 and this was a period when the band enjoyed success winning a number of national competitions. The disc shown is a recording of the winning performance in 1931 which was presented to Westhoughton library.
The Houghton Weavers
The above photo shows the Houghton Weavers Folk Group who were formed in 1975, They went on to enjoy great success on TV, radio, pantomime and recoding their popular music.
Nora Bateson – “a Shining Sword”
Nora Bateson was born in Westhoughton in 1896. She went on to have an illustrious career in many parts of the world.
In January 1956, a brief letter to the Halifax Chronicle newspaper (Nova Scotia, Canada) drew attention to the untimely passing of Miss Nora Bateson, a librarian “famous for pioneering work” in many parts of the British Commonwealth. With deep respect the author – philosopher George Grant, went on to reflect that those “who had the privilege to know Miss Bateson will always think of her spirit as ‘a shining sword, which never faltered in the faith that it is only the truth which makes men free.’” The subject of this stirring prose was a small, feisty, principled and passionate woman whose life’s work had a lasting impact on the library profession in Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand.
See a fuller account of her life here. Click the link to open the presentation, then click down to advance or up to go back.
The Roundthorn octogenarian twins
Mary Hampson Martha Hampson died 1907 aged 85 died 1904 aged 82
The twin sisters were born in 1822 at Roundthorn, and lived in the same house all their life. They were never married. They never saw the sea and although they had seen the smoke of railway locomotives, never travelled on a train. They lived in the humblest style, earning their livelihood by handloom weaving.
They had a sister Ann, who whilst walking home towards Green Fold between her sisters was struck by lightning and killed on the spot. The twins escaped without injury. They were interred in the burial ground connected with the Friends Meeting House, Westhoughton.
The Carnival Queen of Great Britain
Miss Barbara Roberts from Westhoughton was the Carnival Queen of Great Britain in 19 date to be confirmed