worsley fine art

and memorabilia

a brief history of worsley

Although one of the most important events to take place in Worsley was the building of the Bridgewater Canal in the 18th century, the village has a much older history dating from the times it was a small township within the large parish of Eccles. The first reference to it by name came in 1195 when records tell us that Hugh Poutrell gave the Manors of Worsley and Hulton to Richard the son of Elias de Workesley, for his homage and service.. Some 30 different methods of spelling the place-name were recorded during the 12th to 14th centuries, but by 1450 the present version was in permanent use.

A Roman  road passed through Worsley en route from Manchester to Wigan and another of lesser importance, crossed the north of the area, roughly on the line of the present main road through Walkden and Little Hulton. Parts of the first of these roads were discovered in 1957, whilst ten years previously a hoard of 540 Roman coins had been unearthed in a stone quarry at nearby Boothstown. After the Norman period, the whole of the Worsley area came within the Manor of Barton. A member of the Barton family having acquired the Worsley lands and taken on the name "de Worsley" to proclaim his ownership.

The Worsley lands had in fact also included large parts of Swinton, Pendlebury, Kearsley and much of Chat Moss. The Worsley's continued to hold the Manor until the 14th century but with the failure of the male line in 1385, the lands passed into other hands. First to the Massey's of Tatton and then to the Brereton's of Malpas, both famous Cheshire families. A descendant of Richard Brereton married into the Egerton family, also from Cheshire and thus began the long association between Worsley, the Egerton's, the Duke of Bridgewater and the Ellesmeres. Worsley Old Hall was the home of the Dukes of Bridgewater who had vast coal mining interests in the area.

The industrial revolution brought ever-increasing demands for coal and improved transport. Francis the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater employed the engineer James Brindley to construct the Bridgewater Canal. which opened to great acclaim in 1761.

When the unmarried Duke died, the Manor of Worsley was administered by trustees on behalf of his nephew and great-nephew. The later became the Earl of Ellesmere in 1846 and the estate remained in the family until 1923 when the 4th Earl sold the Worsley lands to Bridgewater Estates Ltd, He also sold their coal mining interests to Bridgewater Collieries Ltd who ultimately became part of the National Coal Board (NCB). Much later The Bridgewater Canal came under the banner of British Waterways.

At the end of the Victorian era, the development of the railways West of Manchester led not only to an increase in industry (new deep mines had by now replaced the original shallow pits) but also saw the growth of Worsley and its surrounding villages as residential areas for those people who worked in Manchester itself.

In 1894, Worsley Urban Council was formed. In 1933, Little Hulton Urban District Council was merged with Worsley and alterations were also made to the boundary with The Municipal Borough of Eccles This remained the unit of local government until the reorganisation of April 1974 in which Worsley become a part of the City of Salford