Wigan to Preston - Distance 17.4 miles - LRO ref DDX 194/23 & /24

The first part of this route is to be found on DDX 194/24. The start reading 0 : 0: 0 was taken in the Market Place at the cross by the Wigan parish church. The road to Bolton was at 83 yards along Millgate followed by the “ye Barr” at 619 yards up Standish Gate near to the Catholic Church and Little London. The “X & maypole” was 55 yards on the left beyond the bar nearer to Grayson Close. (These last two measurements are the only ones throughout the whole survey where a half of a pole was recorded.)

The buildings ended at 710 yards on the left side at Grayson Close and at 11 yards further along on the right. At this point the road changed its name from Standish Gate to Wigan Lane. At five furlongs was “a square pillar with a ball upon it” erected in 1679 by royalist Alexander Rigby when he was high sheriff, to honour Sir Thomas Tildesley of Myerscough Lodge. He was slain here in the battle of Wigan Lane during the civil war on 25th August 1651. The monument is still in place. From here the road was drawn straight for four miles with houses intermittently spaced and measured. The first side road to the right in that broad sandy lane after the monument, a scene of fierce fighting during the war led to Mr. Bradshaw’s house at “Hay” [Haigh]. At two miles after several side roads is “ye Boars head”. Of the many inns/taverns listed in this survey this is the only one to have the same name for 315 years. It is situated at the important road junction to Chorley.

<>The houses in Standish village were still spaced out like the others on the highway but here was a church and one big house Standish Hall. Also were several crossways, the one being named went “to Ormschurch”. The last entry on this sheet of paper was “ye New Hall of Langtree” at 4.7 miles from Wigan and 2 furlongs from the highway.

This route continued on LRO ref DDX 194/23. Again a straight road with intermittent housing and the features were listed as “Dike Lane Bridg”, “Coppo [Coppull] Moor”, “Hall, Mr. Worthington of Blakscore” and “Whittle bridg” [now Barker Bridge].

At a double bend in the road before Charnock Green, at seven and a quarter miles, were cross roads marked “to ye park Hall” to the left after the roadside cross and “to Chorley Chap” to the right.

This ancient highway carried on fairly straight for another five miles. The large number of side roads leading from this highway that were not at crossroads is an indicator to its age and importance. One wonders why the surveyors recorded the mileage reading of almost every house along this long stretch of road. It would make an interesting exercise to re-measure the area and find out how many of those houses are extant.

After Charnock Green was a cross shown in the middle of the highway at the junction with the “Ecclesell [Eccleston]” road. The cross has long since gone and the road is now called Back Lane in the hamlet of Bolton Green. The first dwelling on the right in this lane is called Cross End Cottage. The road then dipped to the left down to the river to “pin cock Bridg over Yarren [Yarrow] flu” and up the other side to the main highway. Approaching Euxton came Ewston [Euxton] Hall, the Church and then “ye Golden X” inn (mentioned earlier on LRO ref DDX 194/24) at the crossroads. The name “Dr. Cewerton (Keurden) Antyquary” appears on the top left hand corner of this sheet at 19.5 miles.

A cross appears in the road at 143 yards beyond the Gold Cross Inn and the next crossroads lead to Ormskirk and Chorley. Yet another cross marked “wilman X” was at the roadside at 10 : 0 : 29 on the right. There appears to be an abundance of ecclesiastical references and crosses in this region. For example Eccleston, Ormskirk, Euxton and Croston besides the crosses just recorded. Whether these crosses were made of wood or stone is not clear but large stones or boulders marked other boundaries. In the cartulary of Burscough Priory 1c 1224-1256 they refer to “a cross cut on an oak tree”. In another section again in the thirteenth century they state “ 3 good acres bounded by 4 crosses: beginning at one ditch, to another where Smith Oak used to stand, to another where Forked Oak used to stand, to another near to Sty Oak, to another near Meanygate”.

Just beyond the severe double bend was a stream called Shaw Brook. Down the Chorley side of the “Laland” crossroads was Worden windmill. The road was nearly straight as far as Walton le Dale with a similar frequency of housing. Many notes were written on the maps between this place and Preston such as “to Blackburn”, “to penerdon [Penwortham] boat” (on A5083), “to clayton”, “a farm house” [Clock House] 165 yards off the road and “Kern [Cuerdon] hall” 660 yards off the road behind the farmhouse.

At four miles from Preston was the “wt Lyon” [White Lion] inn and three furlongs opposite lived Dr Kuerden at “Kewertan Hall”; now the site of the large roundabout at the western end of M65 motorway. Quarter of a mile along the road was “plimmers bridg” over the “Lawstock” [Lostock] flue after which was the way to Clayton. At this junction the A49 joins the A6 but the surveyors carried straight ahead on what is now B6230 Station Road.

Next came Dale Hall residence of Mr. Lee and on “to Brownagh [Brownedge] common”. Yet another cross shown in the middle of the road 2.25 miles from Preston called “Odbiston X” [Osbaldeston] at the junction to Brindle. It was in Brindle church that colonel Lilburne quartered his regiment before defeating the Earl of Derby in Wigan Lane. This branch road is now called School Lane leading to Brindle Road. Then came “Walton in ye Dale” at two miles to go at the branch to Eccleston and over the “Dawwon [Darwen] flu” exactly five furlongs before the Ribble Bridge. This bridge was one furlong upstream from the confluence of the river Darwen by what is now Flats House.

Finally the road wound its way up the hill past the first houses including the almshouses at the end of Churchgate Street past the “Barrs” and the church and into the “preston markett place” by the cross. The distance was 17 : 3 : 2 that is 17 miles 3 furlongs and 2 poles.