Sharples, Greater Manchester

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Township / Civil parish
 • Created Middle Ages
 • Abolished 1898
Status Township (until 1866)
Civil parish (1866–1898)

Sharples, a suburb of Bolton, was a township of the civil and ecclesiastical parish of Bolton le Moors in the Salford hundred of Lancashire, England. It lay 2½ miles north of Bolton.[1][2] It contained the smaller settlements of Banktop, Sweet-Loves, High-Houses, Gale, Folds, Belmont, Piccadilly, Water-Meetings, Old Houses and part of Astley Bridge.


Sharples was recorded in documents as Charples in 1212, Sharples and Scharples in 1292[1] and the manor was part of the Barony or Lordship of Manchester in the Middle ages and was separated and then further divided into shares by subinfeudation. Sharples was the name of a local family who lived at Sharples Hall, the Lawson family owned the Hall at the time that the manor became partitioned after the death of Dr John Sharples Lawson who died in 1816.[3][4] The next family to live and own the hall were the Rothwells.[5]

Sharples contained forty-three hearths liable to the hearth tax in 1666. During the Industrial Revolution coal was mined on a small scale and cotton mills, calico print-works, extensive bleach-works were built in Belmont and Astley Bridge.[4]

Malcolm Howe, Lord of Sharples had purchased the rights to the manor as an historic relic for £15,000 in 2006 and then gifted the rights to the local authority, whilst retaining rights to the use of the title.[6][7]


Historically, Sharples formed part of the Hundred of Salford, a judicial division of southwest Lancashire, whilst administered from St Peter's Church, at Great Bolton.[8] Under provisions of the Poor Relief Act 1662, townships replaced parishes as the main units of local administration in Lancashire.[9] Sharples became one of the eighteen autonomous townships of the parish of Bolton le Moors.[1] In 1837, Sharples became part of the Bolton Poor Law Union, which took over the responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in that area.[10]

In 1864 Lower Sharples and part of Little Bolton became Astley Bridge Local Board of Health and in 1894 Astley Bridge Urban District before being merged in Bolton County Borough in 1898. Upper Sharples became Belmont civil parish in the Bolton Rural District from 1894 to 1898 when it became part of Turton Urban District and in 1974 became part of Blackburn District in Lancashire.[11]


The township, on ground rising to the north of Bolton, had an area of 3920 acres divided into two portions.[4] Upper Sharples on the slopes of Winter Hill and Whimberry Hill contained the districts of Hordern, Belmont, and the hamlet of Bromiley and a reservoir built by Bolton Waterworks formed the boundary between Sharples and Longworth. Lower Sharples was separated from the upper portion by a detached portion of Little Bolton. Astley Bridge is in Lower Sharples.[1] The old road over the West Pennine Moors from Bolton to Preston via Astley Bridge and Withnell, now the A675 passed through the township for five miles. Much of the land is high moorland.


The main secondary school serving the area is Sharples School, located on Hill Cot Road.


St Peter's church in Belmont was built in 1850.


  1. ^ a b c d Farrer, William; Brownbill, J., eds. (1911), "Sharples", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5, British History Online, pp. 260–262, retrieved 20 November 2010
  2. ^ Sharples Township Map,, retrieved 20 November 2010
  3. ^ Thorpe, Julian (29 October 2008), "Self-styled Peer unveils coat of arms for Bolton village", The Bolton News, Newsquest Media Group, retrieved 12 January 2010
  4. ^ a b c Lewis, Samuel, ed. (1848), "Sharples", A Topographical Dictionary of England, British History Online, pp. 56–58, retrieved 21 November 2010
  5. ^ Howe, Malcolm. "The Lordship of the Manor of Sharples". Halliwell Local History Society. Halliwell Local History Society. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Malcolm Howe, Lord of Sharples". Sharples School. Sharples School. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  7. ^ Bolton Evening News, 2008, Malcome Howe Unveils Sharples Coat of Arms
  8. ^ Lewis, Samuel, ed. (1848), "Bolton-Le-Moors (St. Peter)", A Topographical Dictionary of England, British History Online, pp. 295–302, retrieved 26 August 2010
  9. ^ Local Authority Records: Townships And Civil Parishes, Bolton Museum and Archive Service, archived from the original on 29 May 2008, retrieved 26 August 2010
  10. ^ Bolton, Lancashire, The Workhouse, archived from the original on 5 June 2011, retrieved 9 August 2010
  11. ^ Greater Manchester Gazetteer, Greater Manchester County Record Office, archived from the original on 18 July 2011, retrieved 21 November 2010
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