A farming community

1844 Map © Crown Copyright. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey®

The historical map above, shows there were several farms sited where the
current estate sits and within the surrounding area. You can still walk up
Greenway and across the field to a path past the remains of Great Oak
Farm (now a private residence; see photo right) The street names also
refer to what was here: Tonge Head Avenue refers to Tonge Head Farm
and The Stray – it’s thought this name links to a “pinfold” on the site, where lost animals were held.

Above: Great Oak Farm buildings today.

1872 Local farmer’s gold and silver robbed.

At the Salford Town Hall, two women named Eliza McEvoy and Ann Henderson were charged with stealing £40, the money of Mr Jabez Parker, Tonge Head Farm, near Bolton. The Prosecutor said that on Friday night he was crossing from New Bailey Street to Smelt’s Vaults, in Chapel Street, when the prisoner McEvoy came up, pulled him about and asked him to stand a glass. He told her to go away, but she and the other prisoner followed him into the public house. After being there for some time the witness went out. When he returned both the women were gone, and he missed his purse which contained £38 in gold and £2 in silver. The prisoner Henderson was apprehended in Chapel Street on Saturday afternoon, and McEvoy was apprehended in Wilmott Street, Gartside Street, Manchester, on Saturday evening. They were both remanded.

above article: Manchester Evening News – Monday 22nd April 1872

Local Memory: “I remember my brother Robin and I walking through the fields to Oaks Farm with a can for the family’s milk.” Resident, Yvonne Miller

Uncovering the barn by by Ian Trumble – Archaeologist & Collections Access Officer – Archaeology, Egyptology and World Culture at Bolton Library and Museum Service, Bolton Council.

Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society have had a long relationship with Hall i’th’Wood, not least because they were founded by John Winstanley, custodian of the hall, in 1958. Winstanley was an avid amateur archaeologist, investigating a great number of things from different periods, all over Bolton. In the 1950s and 1960s Winstanley undertook some investigations on the land around Hall i’th’Wood. During its working life as a farm in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the hall had several ancillary buildings, one of which was a half-timber framed barn which may have dated from much earlier. Winstanley concentrated his excavations around the hall and around this barn, possibly prior to installation of the paved garden, pond and water fountain. The remains of part of this barn building can be seen to this day, as one of its walls now makes up the boundary wall on Hall i’th’Wood Lane, no preserved as a kink in the wall that is otherwise parallel to the road.

In 2018, the society began to instigate some new investigations into the land around Hall i’th’Wood. The grassed area between the hall, the estate and Crompton Way has been devoid of buildings on every historic map, and so has the potential to preserve some much earlier archaeology. The team started to undertake some geophysical surveys on the grassed area using a resistivity machine. This machine measures resistance in the ground using probes and shows areas of high resistance – drier ground through which electrical currents struggle to pass (possible walls), and areas of low resistance – wetter ground making it easy to conduct electricity (possible ditches). Even without the survey there are some early features preserved in the landscape; a ridge running along the field from the hall is the possible remains of the early pathway to the hall, before the construction of Hall i’th’Wood Lane.

Local memory: I remember them sterilising the bottles up at Oaks farm for the milk. We used to go on the van – standing on the back of the van when they were delivering bottles of milk on Sundays. Ex-resident Susan Bury