Ancient parish in Allerdale below Derwent ward, Cumberland, comprising townships of Bolton High and Bolton Low, which were united to form Boltons CP 1887. Main centres of population were Boltongate (location of parish church), Bolton Low Houses and mining village of Mealsgate.
8,456 acres [3,422 ha], divided between townships thus: Bolton Low: 4,523 acres [1,830 ha]; Bolton High: 3,933 acres [1,592 ha]. Extensive commons, totalling 5,178 acres [2,095 ha], enclosed 1781.
rising from 695 in 1801 to 1,245 in 1831, then slow decline to c.900 by end of 19th century and to 501 in 1981; slight increase to 585 by 2001.
manor of Bolton was in hands of Lascelles family by early 13th century; male line failed c.1260. In Crown hands by 1318, having been forfeited by Sir Roger de Mowbray for his support for Robert Bruce. Returned to Mowbray family, but had passed to Nevilles of Raby by 1388, through whom it descended until 16th century, when it passed by marriage of Katherine, daughter and heir of John Neville, Lord Latimer, to Henry Percy, 8th earl of Northumberland, from whom it descended with other Percy estates in Cumberland to Wyndhams.
farming; coal mining by 16th century (Bolton colliery supplied coal to Mines Royal from 1560s); had ceased by 1900. Extensive limestone quarrying and lime-burning in mid-19th century. Copper mine tried c.1825 but not very fruitful; tile works in mid-19th century.
Places of worship:
medieval parish church of All Saints in Boltongate, ‘one of the architectural sensations of Cumbria’ (Hyde & Pevsner). Quaker meeting house at Bolton Low Houses, built 1702; closed 1874; demolished 1904. Wesleyan Methodist chapel at Bolton Low Houses built 1817; rebuilt 1881; closed c.2000 (converted to dwelling). Mission room at Bolton Low Houses by 1929.
Schools and other institutions:
several unendowed schools in early 19th century. Parochial school at Boltongate built 1854; closed (now parish room, the Bell Institute); replaced by Boltons CE Primary School at Bolton Low Houses. Reading room built 1885.