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Subject: Bolton, Frank Wignall, Kate Long, Mab's Cross, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
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Blackrod's parish church of St Katharine
Blackrod is located in Greater Manchester
 Blackrod shown within Greater Manchester
Population 5,300 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference
   – London  177 mi (285 km) SE 
Metropolitan borough Bolton
Metropolitan county Greater Manchester
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BOLTON
Postcode district BL6
Dialling code 01942/01204
Police Greater Manchester
Fire Greater Manchester
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Bolton West
List of places
Greater Manchester

Blackrod is a settlement and civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, in Greater Manchester, England.[1] It is 3.9 miles (6.3 km) north-northeast of Wigan and 6.6 miles (10.6 km) west of Bolton and, according to the United Kingdom Census 2001, has a population of 5,300.[2]

Historically a part of Lancashire, Blackrod was once a centre for coal mining


The name Blackrod derives from the Old English, blaec and rodu, meaning a "dark clearing". The first mention of the town dates to 1189, when it was recorded as Blacherode.[3] It was recorded as Blakerodein 1200, and Blacrode in 1220.[4] Another suggestion is that "rod" may refer to Holy Rood, Cross of Christ.[5]

Blackrod is reputed to be the site of a Roman station[6] and they built a fort on the northern side of the town, on what is now a residential area called Castle Croft.[7] The A6 road is built along the course of a Roman road that passes below the hill on which the town is built.

In the first half of the 12th century the manor of Blackrod was held by William Peverel, but was confiscated by the king and in 1190 it was granted to Hugh le Norreys. In 1212 Hugh de Blackrod was tenant. In 1223 Hugh Norreys became lord of Blackrod and the manor descended through his family. Mabel Norris heiress of Blackrod and Haigh married Roger de Bradshaw and the manor remained with the Bradshaws until the 16th century.[4]

Arley Hall was an estate in the west of the township held by William le Walsh in 1393 and later by Standishes and Norrises.[4] The hall was a moated manor house and is now the site of Wigan Golf Course.

After the Industrial Revolution the main industry of the town was coal mining and there was a brickworks. In 1869 the collieries operating in Blackrod included Anderton Hall, Dootson Vauze, Park Hall, Rigby Hill, Marklands and Blackrod.[8] The Scot Lane Colliery employed 628 men underground and 122 surface workers in 1923, it closed in 1932.[9] There were formerly bleachworks, a calico-printing works[6] and weaving mill was built in 1906.


Lying within the county boundaries of Lancashire since the early 12th century, Blackrod was a chapelry and township in the ecclesiastical parish of Bolton le Moors in the Hundred of Salford.[10] It was part of the Wigan Poor Law Union which after 1837 took responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in that area.[11] The Blackrod Local Board of Health was established in 1872 and in 1894 it became Blackrod Urban District. Blackrod was within the administrative county of Lancashire but after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972 the Urban District became part of Bolton Metropolitan Borough in Greater Manchester in 1974.[1]

It constitutes a civil parish, and has a town council and mayor.[12]


Blackrod is situated on hilly ground near the River Douglas, west of the West Pennine Moors, and covers 2,344 acres.[6] It lies west of the M61 motorway, which divides it from Horwich. In the west is Arley, now the site of a golf course and to the south is Scot Lane.

Between Blackrod, Lostock and Horwich is Red Moss, a 116.6 acre (47.2 hectare) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which was designated in 1995 because of its biological interest. Red Moss is the best example of lowland raised mire in Greater Manchester and is one of 21 SSSIs in the area.[13] The site is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.[14]


Population change

Population growth in Blackrod since 1901
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 2001
Population 3,875 3,896 3,867 3,599 3,072 3,153 3,606 4,975
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time[15]


The earliest school in the township was Blackrod Grammar School, founded in 1586 by John Holmes.[16] It had a building, now demolished, near the church and in 1875 was amalgamated with Rivington Grammar School. In 1973 the Rivington and Blackrod Grammar School became Rivington and Blackrod High School in Horwich providing secondary education for many pupils in Blackrod.

Blackrod had three primary schools. Blackrod Anglican Methodist Church School, Blackrod Primary School - formerly Blackrod County Primary School and Scot Lane End Primary School which has closed.


The earliest mention of a chapel in Blackrod was in 1338 when Dame Mabel de Bradshagh endowed a chantry priest to say divine service and mass in the chapel of St Catherine.[4] The present church, dedicated to St Katharine of Alexandria, is of Norman design but Elizabethan work can still be seen, but the parish church was enlarged in 1776, galleries added in 1837, the roof renewed in 1894, the chancel rebuilt in 1905 and nave in 1911. During this time the spelling has changed to Catherine, and now the current Katharine. There are six bells in the west tower, cast in 1776, renewed in 1922, and the clock was illuminated in 1947.


Blackrod is served by Blackrod railway station on the Manchester to Preston Line which opened in 1841 and where there was a branch line to Horwich. Mineral lines served the various collieries.

The main road through the township was the A6, Manchester to Preston road which bypasses the town centre. The B5408 goes through the town. There are roads to Horwich and Aspull. The M61 motorway, part of the national motorway network between the M60/M62 (Manchester orbital motorway) and the M6 (Preston) was opened on 28 November 1969 by Fred Mulley, Minister of Transport.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Neighbourhood Statistics - Blackrod CP (Parish). URL accessed 18 May 2007.
  3. ^ (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c d
  5. ^ Billington, W.D. (1982). From Affetside to Yarrow : Bolton place names and their history, Ross Anderson Publications (ISBN 0-86360-003-4).
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ - Blackrod. URL accessed May 4, 2007.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Kay 1966, pp. 116


External links

  • Photos and information about Blackrod
  • GENUKI: Blackrod genealogy
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