A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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The surface in this township has a general slope to the south-west, from over 800 ft. at the north-east corner to less than 300 ft. at the border of Breightmet and Tonge. Bowstone Hill, 825 ft., is at the junction of this township and Bradshaw in Bolton parish, and Elton and Tottington in Bury. The area is 1,239½ acres. The township as such ceased to exist in 1898, being incorporated with Turton, (fn. 1) and thus the population was in 1901 numbered with that of Turton.
The principal road is that south-east through the centre from Bradshaw to Ainsworth, passing through Harwood Lee; another road goes north-east to Tottington; the village or hamlet of Harwood lies on the southern boundary.
There were forty-two hearths liable to the tax in 1666, but only one house had as many as three hearths. (fn. 2)
The manor of HARWOOD, originally including Bradshaw also, was a member of the fee of Manchester, held as one plough-land by knight's service. In 1212 it had become divided, being held of Robert Grelley by Roger de Samlesbury and Alexander de Harwood. (fn. 3) The Samlesbury portion seems to have descended in the same way as the neighbouring manor of Breightmet, (fn. 4) and the Harwood moiety to the Traffords of Trafford. (fn. 5) The matter, however, is not quite clear, the separation of the manor of Bradshaw causing some confusion. (fn. 6) The Trafford moiety was sold in 1589 to Nicholas Mosley, (fn. 7) and he in turn sold it to five partners, who appear to have been acting for a number of others, for in 1615 the manor had been divided into thirty-five portions, of which Giles Ainsworth held one. (fn. 8) Large portions came into the possession of William Hulme, and form part of his endowment fund. (fn. 9)
A grant of free warren in Harwood was obtained in 1266–7. (fn. 10)
The Radcliffes and Bartons of Smithills (fn. 11) and the Hollands of Denton held lands in 'Harwood' for many generations. (fn. 12) Adam Mort of Astley in 1630 held a messuage and fulling mill of Edward Mosley, lord of Manchester. (fn. 13)
Manchester Church had lands in Harwood in 1528. (fn. 14)
Goodwin Fold was once the property and residence of Richard Goodwin, the ejected vicar of Bolton. (fn. 15)
In 1797 it appears from the land tax returns that the land was held by a number of small proprietors. (fn. 16)
The commons were inclosed in 1801. (fn. 17)
Christ Church was erected in 1840 and the patronage is vested in three trustees. (fn. 18) It contains old carved oak fittings which have been brought from various places.