Bolton, or Great Bolton, a market town, parish, and township, in the hundred of Salford, 11 miles N.W. from Manchester, and 196 from London. Inhabitants 22,037. A vicarage in the archdeaconry of Chester, value 10. 3s. Patron the bishop of Chester. Market on Monday. Fairs July 30th and 31st, October 13th and 14th, for hourses, horned cattle, and cheese. The petty sessions for the Bolton division, in the hundred of Salford, are held here. The chapelry of Little Bolton to the north is separated by the small river Croal; together they form the large and populous town of Bolton-le-Moors; each of the townships is governed by its own borough reeve and two constables, annually elected. Bolton is situated among the moors, in a soil sufficiently sterile. Little is known of its origin and early history. The manor for many ages belonged to the Pilkington family, till it became forfeited by Sir Thomas, who, for his adherence to Richard III., was attainted and beheaded, and his estate bestowed on Thomas Stanley, earl of Derby. Nothing remarkable seems to have occured at Bolron till the era of the civil wars, when declaring for the parliament, and having raised some fortifications for its defence, it was stormed by prince Rupert in 1644, but the first time without success. The attack, however, being in a few days renewed, under the command of the earl of Derby, the town was carried with the usual concomitants of plunder and bloodshed : the republican commander, colonel Rigby, escaped with his shattered forces into Yorkshire. Seven years after this event, October 15th, 1751, the same high spirited nobleman, James earl of Derby, was brought to the scaffold at Bolton, having been taken prisoner in Cheshire after the battle of Worcester, in which Charles II., in his advance from Scotland, was utterly defeated. From the unwearied exertions of the earl in the royal cause, much forbearance could not be expected in Oliver Cromwell : the only illegality in the sentence was, that it was pronounced by a court martial, instead of a civil tribunal : as a law had been enacted making it treason to correspond with the king. The earl arrived at Bolton under a military escourt, and the apartment is yet shown, with a feeling of reverence, in which he passed a short time, chiefly occupied in prayer, before he ascended the fatal platform : he suffered with much dignity and composure, in the presence of many sympathising spectators. This nobleman was passionately devoted to the royal cause; his character is thus given by lord Clarendon :-"He was a man of great honor and clear courage, and all his defects and misfortunes proceeded from his having lived so little among his equals that he knew not how to treat his inferiors." The church of Bolton is an ancient edifice, exhibiting nothing remarkable, unless it be the preservation in its windows of the coats of arms of the families of Chetham and Bridgman. A new and handsome church, in the Gothic style, has lately been erected in Bradford Square. All Saints and St. George's Chapels are both in Little Bolton. The places of worship belonging to the Dissenters are numerous, amounting to sixteen; and Bolton abounds in various schools and charitable institutions. The grammar school was founded by the will of Robert Lever in 1641, in which Robert Ainsworth, the eminent lexicographer, received a part of his education. The principal streets of Bolton, two of which are nearly a mile in length, unite at the market place; the houses, having most of them been erected within the last fifty years, present a very handsome and respectable appearance; and new streets and a square are in daily progress. Here are a theatre, and assembly and concert rooms : a town-hall for the transaction of public business has been recently erected. The market is well supplied with provisions and the town with water and gas. The canal to Manchester, from which is a branch to Bury, has added materially to the prosperity of the place; and the new railway to Leigh, by affording facilities for an additional supply of coal, has reduced the price of  that indispensable fuel. Bolton is noted as one of the earliest stations of the cotton trade in England, if not its original seat. Leland's account of the place is extremely characteristic:-"Bolton upon Moore Market standeth most by cottons and course yarne; divers villages in the moores about Bolton do make cottons; nether the site nor ground abowte Bolton is so good as it is abowte Byri; they burn at Bolton sum canale, but more se cole, of the wich the pittes be not far off; they burne turfe also." These cottons, however, were in reality woollens. The vegetable substance, the produce of the cotton shrub, the Gossypium of botanists, not being manufactured in England before the reign of James I., and even till about the year 1773, the fabric called cottons generally consisted of a warp of linen yarn, imported from Ireland or Germany, and shot with a cotton weft; however velvets, counterpanes, and some other articles, were made here as early as 1756, entirely composed of cotton. Originally fustians were a great branch of the Bolton manufacture, introduced, it is said, by some Protestant refugees soon after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, 1685; but at present the muslin, dimity, and quilting branches, seem most to prevail. A large proportion of the goods manufactured here are sold to the Manchester merchants, which was not formerly the case, as the dealers from various parts of England came hither to make their purchases. At Bolton originated the machine first called the Hall in the wood, from an old mansion, the residence of the inventer Mr. Samuel Crompton, then a weaver in humble life. This machine combining the powers of two former inventions, the spinning-jenny and the water frame, was subsequently termed a mule, which name it still retains; and it is in universal use throughout the cotton manufacture. Mr. Crompton having given his invention to the public in 1780, and not having secured its possession by a patent, was rewarded, if reward it could be called, by a subscription of 100 guineas; twenty years afterwards the sum of 400 was added; and in 1812 parliament awarded the sum of 5000 to the ingenious inventor. Sir Richard Arkwright resided in this town in the capacity of a barber about the year 1768, at the period that he had the address (to call it by the softest appellation) to possess himself of a model of  the water frame for spinning twist by rollers, just invented by Thomas Highs of Leigh, the original inventor also of the spinning-jenny, and by the appropriation of which to himself, by a patent, he ultimately acquired an immense fortune. Bolton is distinguished for the extent and excellency of its bleaching concerns. The parish is extensive, abounding in moors, the soil for the most part sterile, but compensated by its hidden wealth, an abundant supply of coal. The following is an enumeration of its townships and chapelries :-

Anglezarke 215
Blackrod 2436
Bolton, Great 22,037
Bolton, Little 9258
Bradshaw 713
Breightmet 963
Edgworth 1729
Entwistle 677
Harwood 1809
Lever Darcy 956
Lever, Little 1854
Longworth 238
Lostock 576
Quarlton 320
Rivington 583
Sharples 2065
Tong with Haulgh 1678
Turton 2090
Entire population 50,197

Bolton and Bury Canal. This work, for which an act of parliament was obtained in 1791, begins on the west side of Manchester from the river Irwell, to which it runs parallel in a northerly course, crossing it at Clifton by an aqueduct, and again near Little Lever, near which place a branch runs to Bury. Its total length is fifteen miles, with a rise of 157 feet; the country with which this canal opens a communication abounds in coal, together with other mineral products.

(3) The New Lancashire Gazetteer or Topographical Dictionary 1830