Middleton, Lancashire

Historical Description

Middleton, a township, a parish, and a municipal borough in Lancashire. The town stands in a fertile vale on the river Irk, with a station on the L. & Y.R., near the Rochdale Canal, 6 miles N by E of Manchester, and 189 ½ from London. It took its name from being situated in the centre of several circumjacent towns; was only a village of twenty houses in 1770 ; has risen since 1780 into a populous seat of manufacture ; is now an important place, well supplied with water, thoroughly drained, and is so conjoined with Tonge in both proximity and trade as practically to include or absorb that town. There are extensive silk factories, numerous large cotton factories, calico-printing, bleaching, and dyeing establishments, iron foundries, and machine, soap, and chemical works. The town is a seat of petty sessions, publishes two weekly newspapers, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Manchester; has several good inns, a police station, a market-house, public baths, two churches, several dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a Queen Elizabeth's grammar school, a public free library, and a church reading-room and library. St Leonard's Church is of the loth century; but part of it existed in the llth century, and there is a fine Norman arch of that date. It comprises nave, three aisles, and chancel, with a low square tower; and three chapels, called respectively the Rector's, Hopwood, and Assheton. It also has a very fine E window, with a representation of the Middleton archers who fought at Flodden in the banner and armour of their leader, Sir E. Assheton. It also contains a fine carved oak 15th century screen, a marble reredos, an ancient font, and some brasses. Holy Trinity Church is in Parkfield, stands on an eminence, and is a good stone structure. The grammar school was founded in 1572 by Dean Nowell, is an old structure on a low site beside the Irk, and has scholarships at Brasenose College, Oxford. The dissenting chapels are Congregational, Baptist, Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, Unitarian, "United Methodist, and Swedenborgian. A weekly market is held on Friday, and wakes are held on the last Saturday but one in August.

The municipal borough was incorporated in June, 1886, and extended by Local Government Board Provisional Orders Confirmation Act, 1891, and now has an area of 4749 acres; population, 22,162. It is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors, and has a separate commission of the peace. The civil parish, including Boarshaw, Bowlee, and Ehodes, has an acreage of 1930; population, 11,694. The manor belonged anciently to the Bartons, passed in the 15th century to the Asshetons, went afterwards to Lord Suffield, and was sold about 1848, and is now the property of the Butterworths. Parkfield House and Irkbank House are chief residences. Coal is very extensively worked, and, together with the produce of the factories, is readily conveyed to the chief markets of the kingdom by both railway and canal. The living of St Leonard is a rectory, and that of Holy Trinity a vicarage, in the diocese of Manchester; net value of the former, £900 with residence; of the latter, £234 with residence. Patron of Holy Trinity, the Rector.

Middleton Parliamentary Division of South-East Lancashire was formed under the Eedistribution of Seats Act, 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 68,540. The division includes the following:- Middleton (except such parts of the parish of Spotland as are included in the Heywood Division or in the municipal borough of Bacup)-Blatchinworth and Calderbrook, Butter-worth, Castleton, Middleton, Spotland (part of), Todmorden and Walsden, Thomham, Wardleworth, Wuerdle and Wardle; Oldham (part of)-Alkrington, Tonge; Bury (part of)- Such part of the parish of Hopwood as is not included in the municipal borough of Heywood; Rochdale, municipal borough.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The Registers of Middleton 1541-1663, are available to browse online.

The Registers of Middleton 1653-1729, are available to browse online.

The Registers of Middleton 1729-1752, are available to browse online.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Lancashire newspapers online: