BLACKROD, a chapelry, in the parish of Bolton, union of Wigan, hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 4½ miles (S. S. E.) from Chorley; containing 2615 inhabitants. This is the site of a Roman station, named Coccium by Antonine and Rigodunum by Ptolemy, which was situated on the Watling-street; and from its central position, and its commanding every object between Rivington Pike and the sea, it was most suitable for a military station. In the reign of John, Hugh le Norries had possessions here; and subsequently Hugh de Blakerode held a carucate of land, of the fee of William Peverel. The manor came at a later period to the Bradshaws and the Stanleys; and in the 10th of Elizabeth was found in the possession of Sir William Norreys' family, on his death: it afterwards passed to the Lindsays, and Lord Balcarres is the present lord. The township is situated on the river Douglas, and on the road from Bolton to Chorley: it comprises 2344a. 2r. 22p., of which the surface is hilly, and the soil good; 207 acres are common or waste land. Coal is obtained: the spinning of cotton and the printing of calico are carried on; and the trade is facilitated by a branch of the Lancaster canal, and the Manchester, Bolton, and Preston railway, which pass through. A fair for toys and pedlery is held on the first Thursday after the 12th of July.
The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £100, with a house; patron, the Vicar of Bolton. The tithes of the Bishop of Chester have been commuted for £98. The chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, was principally built in the reign of Elizabeth, and has a tower with a peal of bells: it stands on elevated ground, and forms a most conspicuous object for four miles in the line of road from Chorley. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. A free grammar school, under the superintendence of trustees, is endowed with about £140 per annum, being the produce of various benefactions. John Holmes, in the year 1568, founded an exhibition at Pembroke College, Cambridge, for a scholar on this foundation: the funds having accumulated, three exhibitioners are now appointed, receiving respectively £60, £70, and £80 per annum, for four years. In 1845, a handsome national school-house, with a master's residence attached, was built at an expense of £1000, for the accommodation of 500 children. In 1829, John Popplewell, Esq., M.D., a native of Bolton, among other munificent bequests to the parish, left by will sums altogether amounting to £3500 to this township, to be applied as follows: the interest of £1000 to augment the incumbent's salary; the interest of £1900 to be given annually, after certain deductions, in bread and clothing to the poor; of £400, for clothing boys or girls of the free grammar school; and of £200, for twelve pairs of blankets to old women. Anne and Rebecca, the sisters of this benefactor, left £2150 (part of a sum of £ 12,600, in the three per cents., bequeathed by them to the whole parish) to this township, for similar benevolent uses. Here stood an ancient castle, the entrance to which, the fosse, &c., were discernible within the memory of persons now living; and many relics have been found in a field which is still called the "Castle field."