Leigh in 1839
Leigh is in the hundred of West Derby, 197½ miles from London, on the road from Newton to Bolton. The parish comprehends an area of 11,820 acres, with a population in 1831 of 20,083. It is subdivided into the six townships of Astley or Astleigh (East Leigh) (population 1,832) ; Atherton (pop. 4,181) ; Bedford (pop. 3,087) ; Pannington (pop. 3,165) ; Tyldesley with Shakerly (pop. 5,038) ; and West Leigh (pop. 2,780).
The townspeople are engaged in the manufacture of cambrics and fustians. There are collieries and stone quarries in the parish. The district round the town is occupied by dairy farms, and is famous for cheese. Leigh communicates with Manchester by the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal, and with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal by a branch canal to Wigan. A railway from Bolton by this town communicates with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
The living is a vicarage in the archdeaconry and diocese of Chester, of the clear yearly value of £263, with a glebe-house. Atherton and Astley townships constitute distinct chapelries. There were in the six townships in 1833, six infant or dame schools, with 162 children ; two partially endowed day-schools, with 90 scholars ; twenty-six other day-schools, with 923 scholars ; and eighteen Sunday-schools, with 3,940 scholars.