A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The township of Breightmet lies between Bradshaw and Blackshaw Brooks, and has an area of 872½ acres. The highest point, Breightmet Hill, a little over 525 ft., is near the centre of the northern boundary, and from it the surface slopes away in all directions, chiefly to the south. The township ceased to have an independent existence in 1898, being included in the borough and township of Bolton by the Extension Act of that year. The population was in 1901 reckoned with that of Tonge.
Numerous roads cross the area, but the chief road is that from Bolton eastward to Bury; and next is the more northerly road called Red Lane, between the same places, having Thicketford Bridge at the west and Red Bridge at the east. Running from the one to the other is that called Church Street and Withins Lane.
A number of miscellaneous notes relating to this township are printed in Bolton Historical Gleanings. (fn. 1)
A native of Breightmet, John Crompton, 1611–69, was one of the Nonconformist divines ejected through the Act of Uniformity in 1662. (fn. 2)
The hearth tax of 1666 found forty-nine hearths liable; Peter Longworth had the largest dwelling, with six hearths. (fn. 3)
The manor of BREIGHTMET formed a moiety of the Marsey fee in the parish of Bolton, (fn. 4) and was in the 12th century held as one plough-land by Augustin de Breightmet. (fn. 5) By his wife Edith de Barton he had as his heir a daughter, Cecily, who married William de Notton, (fn. 6) the tenant in 1212. (fn. 7) Some forty years later it was held by Avina de Samlesbury, and divided among her three daughters; (fn. 8) but as Margery the eldest had no issue, the other two ultimately had each a moiety of the manor. (fn. 9)
Of these Cecily married Sir John D'Ewias, and her moiety descended to the Southworths of Samlesbury, who retained it till the beginning of the 16th century. (fn. 10) In 1510 it was in the possession of the Gerards of Aughton, (fn. 11) then of the Ainsworths, (fn. 12) from whom, in the 17th century, it passed to a branch of the Banastre family. (fn. 13) In 1725 Breightmet Hall and estate were purchased from the Baguley family by John Parker, (fn. 14) high sheriff of the county in 1732, (fn. 15) in whose family it remained for over a century. (fn. 16) No manor seems now to be claimed in respect of this part.
The other daughter, Elizabeth, married Sir Robert de Holland, (fn. 17) and her moiety of the manor descended in the male line of this family (fn. 18) until 1461, when it became forfeit together with the other possessions of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter. (fn. 19) In 1484 it was granted by Richard III to Thomas, Lord Stanley, and his son Lord Strange, (fn. 20) and this moiety of the manor has descended to the present Earl of Derby. (fn. 21)
The building known as the Old Manor House stands at the junction of Meadow Lane with Breightmet Fold Lane, a short distance north of the main road from Bolton to Bury, with its principal front facing south. The building is now divided into several tenements, and has been rebuilt at the east end in brick; but the older part, now in a rather dilapidated condition, is of stone, with long, low mullioned windows and stone-slated roofs. Part of the building is of three stories, with an abutting lower wing on the west side having a gabled baywindow in the principal front. At the back some original timber-framing remains, but the building has suffered so much from decay and has been so much patched with brickwork that it has lost most of its interest. The interior is said to have retained a shield with the date 1516 and some initials until 1908, but this has disappeared. (fn. 22) The building, however, has the appearance of belonging to the 17th century, though the earlier date may be that of a timber house to which a stone front was afterwards added. Some rebuilding was done in the 18th century, a stone on the north side high up in the wall bearing the inscription, 'James Crompton, Ann Crompton, the 9th of May, 1713.' Below is a door with a good wooden semi-domed hood.
The Manchester chantries had lands in Breightmet. (fn. 25)
In connexion with the Church of England, St. James's was built in 1855; the patronage is exercised alternately by the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester. (fn. 26)
The other places of worship are a Wesleyan chapel, built in 1848, and a Free Church. Oliver Hey wood preached in Breightmet in 1666, and later at the house of his relatives, the Cromptons, but no permanent congregation seems to have resulted. (fn. 27)