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Blackrod is a town and civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Boltonmarker, in Greater Manchestermarker, England. It is north-northeast of Wiganmarker and west of Boltonmarker, and, according to the United Kingdom Census 2001, has a population of 5,300.

Historically a part of Lancashiremarker, Blackrod was once a centre for coal mining, and in a recent survey of dialects, its residents were found to have a dialect very far removed from Standard English.

There is a legend that the Romans built a fort on the northern side of the town, on what is now a residential area called Castle Croft. The A6 road built along the course of a Roman road runs below the hill on which the town sits.


The name Blackrod derives from the Old English, blaec and rodu, meaning a "dark clearing". The first mention of the town dates to 1189, when it was recorded as Blacherode. It has been suggested that "rod" may also mean Holy Rood (Cross of Christ).

The main industry of the town was coal mining (seven pits in 1869) agriculture (thirty farms in 1902) and a weaving mill (built in 1906), but today only a few farms remain with the pits all closed. Today it is mainly a residential area, but still retains a Town Mayor and Town Council. The M61, part of the national motorway network between the M60/M62 (Manchestermarker) and the M6 (Prestonmarker) was opened on November 28 1969 by Fred Mulley, Minister of Transport.


Having previously lay within the administrative county of Lancashiremarker, since the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, Blackrod has lay within the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, in the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester.

It constitutes a civil parish, and has a town council. Blackrod lies west of the M61 motorway, which divides it from the neighbouring town of Horwichmarker.


Blackrod has three primary schools.
  • Blackrod Anglican Methodist Church School
  • Blackrod Primary School - formerly Blackrod County Primary School
  • Scot Lane End Primary School (newly closed)

Both of these schools' pupils generally feed into Rivington and Blackrod High School in Horwichmarker.


Population change

Population growth in Blackrod since 1901
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 2001
Population 3,875 3,896 3,867 3,599 3,072 3,153 3,606 4,975
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time


A church is the earliest recorded building in 1338, dedicated to St. Katherine (spelling first documented) and of Norman design. A lot of the Elizabethan work can still be seen, but the parish church was enlarged in 1776, galleries added in 1837, the roof renewed in 1894, the chancel rebuilt in 1905 and nave in 1911. During this time the spelling has changed to Catherine, and now the current Katharine. There are six bells in the west tower, cast in 1776, renewed in 1922, and the clock was illuminated in 1947.


Blackrod is served by Blackrod Railway Stationmarker on the Manchester to Preston Line.


  1. Neighbourhood Statistics - Blackrod CP (Parish). URL accessed 18 May 2007.
  2. English Accents and Dialects URL accessed March 28, 2007.
  3. - Blackrod. URL accessed May 4, 2007.
  4. Billington, W.D. (1982). From Affetside to Yarrow : Bolton place names and their history, Ross Anderson Publications (ISBN 0-86360-003-4).

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