Birtle, with Bamford
BIRTLE, with Bamford, a township, in the parish of Middleton, union of Bury, hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 2½ miles (E. N. E.) from Bury; containing 1753 inhabitants. The name was formerly written Birkle and Berkle, and denotes a ley or field of birch. The township extends over 1480 acres, whereof 100 are arable, 1000 pasture, 135 woodland, 40 water, and the remainder moor. The surface is hilly, and diversified with glens: the soil of the higher part is poor; but in the lower grounds, near the river Roche (which separates the township from Heap, for a mile and a half), it is richer land. The population is chiefly employed in the cotton and woollen mills in the neighbourhood; several collieries are in operation, and quarries of good stone are wrought. Birtle is westward of Bamford, and is the larger hamlet of the two; both lie near the road from Bury to Rochdale. In the township are also the small village of Kenyon Fold; a place called Hagg Lee; and Nat Bank, a romantic spot where the Roche sweeps along a deep narrow vale, lined by meadows and wood. A church was built in 1846, at a cost of £1100; it is a neat structure with a campanile tower: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Rector of Middleton, who has given the tithes of the township, £33 per annum, to the incumbent. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have places of worship; and there is a Sunday school, established in 1833. An eminence denominated Castle Hill was probably the place where a small watch-tower stood in the ages of feudalism.