Turton, Bolton, Lancs
Extracts relating to my family from "Horrobin
Mill....Bleachworks in the Jumbles"
by J.J.Francis (1992)
A Publication of Turton Local History Society.
Horrobin Mill Bleachworks, one of
the oldest Bleachworks in the Bolton area of Lancashire ceased trading in 1937
after over 150 years activity. In 1964 the land was purchased by the County
Borough of Bolton to enable the Jumbles Reservoir to be built and the remains
of the Horrobin Works can only be seen in the mud levels of a drought year.
Turton was the largest of the
eighteen Townships making up the ancient parish of Bolton le Moors. The name
Horrobin can be attributed to an early family of that name and records of
Horrobine, Horobyn and Horobin are found. In 1748 there is a reference to
Horrobin Mill, indicating possibly a corn mill or fulling mill. It was probably
an agrigultural holding alongside some hand crofting ( bleaching).
At that time all the land in the area was owned by the Lord of the Manor of
Turton. The maintenance of the roads, fences, gates, small bridges and culverts
was the responsibility of the tenants bordering the road etc, Defaulters were
examined by the Manor Court of Turton, consisting of thirteen jurors selected
from the area. These Court records give many clues as to the occupants of
various properties and their problems.
The Ainsworth and Cort Era
James Ainsworth became the tenant
of Horrobin Mill around 1780. He was the youngest son of Peter Ainsworth and
Alice, one of eleven children. His father Peter Ainsworth (1713-1780) had
started in bleaching at Halliwell, and his son James himself started at
Breightmet Fold before coming to Turton. James was engaged in Hand Crofting,
which was open air bleaching ( described later) . The Horrobin Mill land was
well wooded and included at least 42 oak trees. James was made bankrupt in 1798
but apparently still continued. He died in 1810, aged 62.
was first recorded as a Court juror in 1801. In 1821 his entry in the Court
Records was as Peter Cort &Co. He was also mentioned in the Manchester
Mercury on 30th May 1820 viz: Thomas Ainsworth of Bolton, Richard Ainsworth,
late of Cheapside now of Bolton, James Thornley of Warrington and Peter Cort of
Turton, Whitsters, Dealers, Chapmen and Partners (surviving partners of
Jeremiah Thornley, deceased) carrying on business at Turton under the firm of
Peter Cort & Co.
The partnership became bankrupt but
recovered and in 1828 Peter Cort was succeeeded by his son Peter Cort Jnr. He,
in partnership with Thomas Ainsworth, also operated both Bradshaw and Turton
Bleachworks. Over the next few years there were continual developments and
mergers. Thomas Appleton, a banker, had become a partner in the Bleachworks. In
1833 the Horrobin tenancy was 51 acres including 5.5acres of works. Following
the death of Peter Cort from consumption in 1850, the Horrobin Works passed to
the Appleton family.