Bury, Lancashire Family History Guide


Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BURY, a township, a town, a parish, two subdistricts, and a district in Lancashire. The township lies all within the town’s assigned boundaries. Acres, 2,370. Real property, £263,333, of which £171,785 are in railways, £1,040 in mines, and £80 in quarries. Pop., in 1841, 20,710: in 1861, 30,397. Houses, 5,971. The town lies on the river Irwell, 2 miles above its confluence with the Roach, and 8 NNW of Manchester. A branch canal goes south-westward to the Manchester and Bolton canal; and railways go westward, northward, eastward, and southward. A Roman station is thought by some to have been on the town’s site; a Saxon fort seems certainly to have been here; and a baronial castle, of early date, stood in Castle Croft, in the town’s vicinity, and was demolished, in 1644, by the troops of Cromwell. The manor belonged, in the time of Henry II., to John de Lacy; and passed to successively the Burys, the Pilkingtons, and the Stanleys. A muster of 20,000 men, in the royalist cause, was made in 1642, on a heath in the neighbourhood, by Lord Strange, afterwards Earl of Derby.

The town was described in 1738 as “a little market town;” but it must then have been only a village; and it has risen rapidly to magnitude under manufacturing enterprise. It, not long ago, contained old dilapidated buildings, and had a dingy appearance; but it has undergone great improvement, at once by re-edification of houses, by formation of new streets, and by construction of drainage-works; and it now presents a well built and cleanly appearance, and is plentifully supplied with water. The new market place was constructed in 1840; has a triangular on line, with open centre; is surrounded by piazzas and shops; and, in 1868, was covered with a roof of wrought iron and glass. A bronze statue of Sir Robert Peel, on a massive pedestal of granite, was erected in the old market place in 1852, at a cost of £2,500. The town hall is a handsome edifice, in the Italian style; contains an assembly-room, 54 feet by 36; and includes courthouses and police-office. The athenæum adjoins the town hall; was erected in 1851; is a handsome building; and contains a lecture-hall 85 feet by 43, a museum 43 feet by 30, classrooms, and reading rooms. The banking offices, the savings’ bank, the railway station, the public baths, and the grammar school are good buildings. St. Mary’s church was rebuilt in 1780; and has a tower and spire, rebuilt in 1844. St. John’s church was built in 1770; St. Paul’s, in 1841; Holy Trinity, in 1865; St. Thomas’, in 1867; and the last is a highly ornate structure in the first pointed style, with tower and spire. A Wesleyan chapel and a Roman Catholic chapel are handsome edifices; the latter in the pointed style, and built in 1841. There are three Independent chapels, two Baptist, 6 Methodist, a Unitarian, a Swedenborgian, and two Roman Catholic; a new cemetery, opened in 1869, comprising 33 acres, with two ornate chapels; a grammar school, founded in 1726, and with an endowed income of £442, and three exhibitions at the universities; a choristers’ school; ten national and six denominational schools; a dispensary; and a variety of other local institutions. The town has a head post office, two railway stations with telegraph, two banking offices, several chief inns, a weekly market on Saturday, and three annual fairs; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and publishes four weekly newspapers. Woollen manufacture was formerly the main industry; and is still carried on in several large factories. Cotton manufacture, in various departments, is now the staple; received a great impulse from inventions by two natives, John and Robert Kay, and from the enterprise of the late Sir Robert Peel’s father; and maintains at present upwards of twelve factories for spinning and weaving, two for printing and bleaching, and two for dyeing. There are also three large iron foundries, several smaller ones, machine-making works, hat-making houses, and other manufacturing establishments. The town was made a parliamentary borough by the act of 1832; and is governed by a body of commissioners under a local act of 1846; and sends one member to parliament. Its boundaries, in addition to all Bury township, include most of the township of Elton. Direct taxes, £27,513. Electors in 1868, 1,366. Pop. in 1851, 31,262; in 1861, 37,563. Houses, 7,257.

The parish is chiefly in Bury district, but partly also in the district of Haslingden; and it includes the townships of Bury, Elton, Heap, Walmersley-cum-Shuttleworth, Tottington-Lower-End, Tottington-Higher-End, Musbury, and Cowpe-Lenches, Newhallhey, and Hall-Carr. Acres, 24,320. Real property, £.424,274; of which £3,544 are in mines, and £982 in quarries. Pop. in 1841, 62,125; in 1861, 80,558. Houses, 15,754. The property is much subdivided. The surface is hilly; and the strata yield coal and building-stone. Chamber-Hall, now the seat of Thomas Price, Esq., in the vicinity of the town, was the birthplace of the late Sir Robert Peel. St. Mary’s is a rectory, St. John’s, St. Paul’s, and Holy Trinity are vicarages, and St. Thomas’ is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Manchester. Value of St. M., £1,937; of St. J., £240; of St. P., £30s; of H. T. not reported; of St. T., £150. Patron of St. M., the Earl of Derby; of St. J., H. T., and St. T., the Rector; of St. P., Trustees. The rectories of Holcombe and Heywood, the vicarages of Edenfield, Elton, Musbury, Ramsbottom, Shuttleworth, Tottington, and Waterfoot, and the p. curacies of Heap and Walmersley are separate benefices.

The two subdistricts are North Bury and South Bury. Pop. of the former, 15,375; of the latter, 15,726. The district comprehends the subdistrict of North Bury, containing part of the township of Bury; the subdistrict of South Bury, containing parts of the townships of Bury, Elton, Heap, Pilsworth, and Pilkington, and part of the parish of Radcliffe; the subdistrict of Elton, containing parts of the townships of Elton, Ainsworth, and Walmersley-cum-Shuttleworth, and part of the parish of Radcliffe; the subdistrict of Pilkington, containing part of the township of Pilkington; the subdistrict of Radcliffe, containing parts of the townships of Bury, Elton, Ainsworth, and Pilkington, and part of the parish of Radcliffe; the subdistrict of Holcombe, containing parts of the townships of Tottington-Lower-End and Walmersley-cum-Shuttleworth; the subdistrict of Tottington-Lower-End, containing part of the township of Tottington-Lower-End; the subdistrict of Walmersley, containing parts of the townships of Elton, Walmersley-cum-Shuttleworth, Tottington-Lower-end, and Birtle-cum-Bamford; the subdistrict of Birtle, containing the township of Ashworth, and parts of the townships of Heap and Birtle-cum-Bamford; and the subdistrict of Heywood, containing the township of Hopwood, and parts of the townships of Bury, Heap, and Pilsworth. The intersections of Radcliffe parish and of the several townships, throwing them into different subdistricts, are made chiefly by the rivers Irwell and Roach. Acres of the district, 32,990. Poor-rates in 1866, £34,113. Pop. in 1861, 101,135. Houses, 19,881. Marriages in 1866, 975; births, 3,579, of which 222 were illegitimate; deaths, 2,560, of which 1,021 were at ages under 5 years, and 31 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years, 1851-60, 7,817; births, 34,325; deaths, 21,986. The places of worship in 1851 were 20 of the Church of England, with 16,431 sittings; 1 of the Presbyterian Church in England, with 600 s.; 13 of Independents, with 5,192 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 1,680 s.; 3 of Unitarians, with 1,463 s.; 17 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 6,968 s.; 3 of New Connexion Methodists, with 1,205 s.; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,276 s.; 3 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,598 s.; 4 of the New Church, with 830 s.; 2 of Roman Catholics, with 550 s.; 2 of Latter Day Saints, with 400 attendants; and 1 of Jews, with 14 at. The schools were 54 public day schools, with 6,528 scholars; 97 private day schools, with 3,363 s.; 92 Sunday schools, with 20,716 s.; and 14 evening schools for adults, with 630 s. The workhouse is in Bury township.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

Lancashire Archives

Lancashire FH & Heraldry Society

Manchester Archives and Local History


Lancashire BMD

England, Lancashire, Parish Registers 1538-1910

England, Lancashire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1647-1996

Catholic Parish Registers of Liverpool 1741-1773

St James’ Cemetery Burials Liverpool

Manchester Burial Records

England, Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers, 1797-2004

England, Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery 1821-1933

Oldham Burial Records

Tameside Burial Records

Chorlton Upon Medlock Burials 1821-1933


Lancaster Convict Database 1800s

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Lancashire Infantry Museum

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Records for England

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Death Records

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England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


England and Wales Census, 1841

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United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

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United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

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United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

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