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West Houghton St Bartholomew [in modern times spelled as Westhoughton] was a chapel from ancient times lying within the boundaries of Deane Ancient Parish. The modern parish is within the Diocese of Manchester but the site has a much more ancient history.
A chapel existed on the site of the present church in 1509, when Henry VIII came to the throne, and that this is the earliest record. However, it is likely that a chapel existed here even earlier when the Abbots of Cockersand were the lords of the manor of “Westhalghton.”
In 1541, Henry VIII, by letters patent, created Deane Parish out of the northern half of the large parish of Eccles.
Westhoughton became the largest of the ten townships making up the new parish, and its chapel, along with that of Horwich, was served by curates of the mother church of Deane.
The first known chapel dedicated to St. Bartholomew, existed in 1577 (believed to have been built in 1509) and a thatched roof, in the midst of the moors, the floor being covered with rushes which the people brought at certain times of the year, and from which custom the ancient rush-bearing festival, and in later years the Wakes, became an annual event.. This humble edifice had to be demolished on account of it being “very ruinous and in decay because of its great antiquity.”
A new chapel was built in 1731 and because it was built as a district chapelry, Westhoughton Parish Registers began in 1732.
Before this: baptisms, marriages and burials of Westhoughton people were recorded in the Deane Church registers. In the 1720’s there occurred what was called “The dreadful Sickness” (which was probably typhoid fever), traditionally said to have killed one-third of the inhabitants of Westhoughton; and although other parts of Deane parish were affected the death toll was higher here. Westhoughton burials at Deane before this time had averaged out about 20 a year, but in 1727 there were 83.
This new chapel, built on an ancient site was consecrated by Bishop Peplo of Chester, had a seating capacity of 530. The accommodation was increased by the addition of galleries on all four sides – the first of them only a year after the chapel had been opened. Seating was increased to 703, and it is significant that only 16 of them were “free” and that they were in the three remote pews in the north-west corner of the gallery.
The Church was the gift of John Seddon of The Mortons, Church Street, in the year 1869. It had several unusual stained glass windows. The East window was erected by parishioners at a cost of £300 to commemorate the generosity of John Seddon; others were memorial windows to the Hargreaves family of Hart Common, the Chadwicks, 19th century silk manufacturers, and the Ditchfield family. This church had accommodation for 830 people and the registers date back to 1732.
By 1860 Westhoughton had taken a step towards parochial autonomy, but it was still to some extent under the jurisdiction of Deane, the last church rate payment to which was made in 1867 so that Westhoughton could become a free parish.
The Church sadly was gutted by fire in December 1990. Only the tower remained intact, and a new church was consecrated on October 28th 1995. The old building stood from 1869 to 1990.
"HOUGHTON, WEST, a chapelry, in the parish of Deane, union of Bolton, hundred of Salford, S. division of Lancashire, 4 miles west by southwest of Bolton. An episcopal chapel, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, existed in West Houghton in 1662, when it had a roof of thatch; the edifice was rebuilt in 1731, and is now dedicated to St Mary. There are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and the Society of Friends. 
HOUGHTON (WEST), a village, a township, a chapelry, and a sub-district in Deane parish, Bolton district, Lancashire. The chapelry is less extensive than the township, and was constituted in 1860. The church was rebuilt in 1731; and re-rebuilt in 1869-70. There are chapels for Independents, Quakers, and Methodists, and a national school."
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD
Church of England
West Houghton chapelry's registers of christenings, marriages and burials, along with those of the ancient parish of Deane to which it is attached, have been mostly transcribed and are displayed online at the following web sites and ranges of years:
|AC = Ancestry.co.uk (£)|
|FMP = FindMyPast.co.uk (£)|
|FREG = FreeReg|
|FS = FamilySearch.org|
|LBMD = LancashireBMD.org.uk|
|LOPC = Lancashire Online Parish Clerk|
|WESTHOUGHTON ST BARTHOLOMEW Chapelry (1732) Indexes|
| DEANE PARISH ST MARY THE VIRGIN (1636) Indexes (ancient parish containing WESTHOUGHTON Chapelry)|
|LOPC||1604-1750||1604-1750; 1837-1890||1604-1684; 1813-1887|
For a full list of all those chapels surrounding West Houghton and comprising the whole ancient parish of Deane to which it was attached, be certain to see "Church Records" on the DEANE ST MARY PARISH page.
Westhoughton- St Bartholomew
Baptisms-1732-1852- MFPR 148
Baptisms-1853-1905- MFPR 1605
Burials-1732-1839- MFPR 148
Burials-1840-1886- MFPR 2100
Marriages-1733-1754- MFPR 148
Marriages-1860-1900- MFPR 1606
The Manchester Room and Greater Manchester County Record Office
The Manchester Room@City Library (Local Studies)
Parish registers for St. Bartholomew's Church, West Houghton, 1732-1929 Microfilm copy of originals at the Manchester Central Library, Manchester, England.
West Houghton is a village, a township, and a chapelry in Deane parish. The chapel is known as St. Bartholomew's.
Manchester Archives Central Library call nos.: L 122/1/3/3-5; L 122/1/4/2; L 122/1/6/1-4.
| Baptisms and burials, 1732-1793. Burials, 1739-1748. Marriages, 1733-1754. Baptisms and burials, 1793-1812 (some duplication). Baptisms, 1813-1852. Burials, 1813-1839.
|| FHL BRITISH Film |
2113219 Items 1 - 21
| Baptisms, 1853-1905. Marriages, 1860-July 1898.
|| FHL BRITISH Film |
| Marriages, July 1898-1900. Banns, 1860-1929.
|| FHL BRITISH Film |
2356302 Items 1 - 5
| Burials, 1840-1886.
|| VAULT BRITISH Film |
2357499 Item 3
Bishop's transcripts for West Houghton, 1755-1839 Microreproduction of original manuscripts housed at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
West Houghton is a chapelry in the parish of Deane.
Lancashire Record Office: DRM/2/80-81a
| Baptisms and burials, 1755-1839
|| FHL BRITISH Film |
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 306925.
Poor Law Unions
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
Maps and Gazetteers
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