A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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In this section
Quelton, 1276; Whelton, 1292: these are the usual forms; Quilton, 1313; Wheleton (xv cent.).
Wheelton stretches south-east from the valley of the Lostock, the north-west boundary, over a hill rising to 650 ft. above sea level, across the valley in which Brinscall lies, and up to very near the summit of the Great Hill, 1,200 ft., on the border of Anglezarke in Bolton parish. The total area is 1,696 (fn. 1) acres, and the population in 1901 numbered 1,375. The village lies by the Lostock, in the north-west corner, and has the hamlet of Wheelton Stocks to the north-east.
The principal road is that through the village, going from Chorley to Blackburn. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal goes near it, through the Lostock valley. The railway from Chorley to Cherry Tree runs north-east through the centre of the township.
The soil is partly light and clayey, the subsoil rocky; wheat and barley are grown. The excellent stone quarries have long been known and worked. There are large cotton mills and bleaching and calico printing works.
Forty-one hearths were charged for the hearth tax in 1666; the largest house, that of Henry Hoghton, had eight. (fn. 2)
The township is governed by a parish council.
Daniel Henry Haigh was born at Brinscall Hall in 1819, his father being a calico printer. Intended for the Anglican ministry he was influenced by the Tractarian movement and received into communion with the Roman Church in 1847, being afterwards ordained. He became the chief English authority on Runic inscriptions, and was the author of numerous antiquarian essays. He died at Erdington, near Birmingham, in 1879, being the founder of the Benedictine house there. (fn. 3)
WHEELTON was formerly a part of Gunolfsmoors, (fn. 4) and held by the lords of Hoghton as part of their moiety of a knight's fee. (fn. 5) They acquired lands in the township from the Wheelton family, (fn. 6) but do not seem to have accounted their estate to be a separate manor. Roger de Stanworth by his marriage with one of the co-heirs of Withnell acquired also a large part of Wheelton, (fn. 7) and this seems to have been given to Stanlaw Abbey. (fn. 8) Thus at the suppression of Whalley Abbey the 'manor of Wheelton' was among its possessions, and was in 1539–40 sold to Sir Richard Hoghton, (fn. 9) after which it was enumerated in the list of Hoghton manors, but no separate tenure is recorded. (fn. 10) It appears to have been sold in the 18th century, and to have descended with Withnell.
John de Clayton is said to have granted to Edmund de Lacy, lord of Clitheroe, the services of his tenants in Wheelton. (fn. 11) Henry de Lea in 1288 held an oxgang of land in Wheelton of Edmund Fitton by a rent of 2d. yearly. (fn. 12) In 1284 he had obtained a charter of free warren in his demesne lands of Wheelton upon Gunolfsmoors. (fn. 13) In 1321 Richard de Hoghton and Sibyl his wife required John Fitton as mesne lord to acquit them of the service demanded for Withnell and Wheelton by the Earl of Lancaster. (fn. 14)
The place occurs very rarely in the records, and no family of importance appears to have resided within it. (fn. 15) The tenant of the Whalley Abbey land about 1538 was Thomas Haydock. (fn. 16) A messuage called the Ford was in 1566 held by Hugh Swansey of Whittle of Thomas Hoghton by a rent of 12d., (fn. 17) and later by John and Oliver Pearson. (fn. 18) Other landowners occurring in the inquisitions are Browne (fn. 19) and Chorley. (fn. 20) The Andertons of Lostock (fn. 21) and Liveseys of Livesey also had land there about 1600. (fn. 22)
The estate of John Whittle the elder was confiscated under the Commonwealth. (fn. 23) William Blacklidge, yeoman, and James Critchley, linen-weaver, as 'Papists,' registered small estates in 1717. (fn. 24) In 1783 the chief contributors to the land tax were John Wilcock, widow Blacklidge and Edward Simpson, who together paid over a third of the tax. (fn. 25)
The Free Church of England has a school-chapel, St. Paul's, in Wheelton village; it was built in 1871, as the result of a dispute between the vicar of Heapey and a portion of his congregation.
A Wesleyan chapel was built in 1842.