HALLIWELL as an area is a fascinating subject.

One of the most well attended history groups in this town is Halliwell Local History Society.

Halliwell is first mentioned by that name in a manuscript of King John, dated 1203.

These dates will give some idea of the antiquity of Halliwell, and there is no reason to suppose that Harpers Lane is not as old as the village itself. The old lane is almost certain to have been one of the ways leading to the well of St Catherine of Sienna, from which the district takes its name. Tradition, which is often right, records that the holy well was much frequented in the 15th century — explains an article in the Bolton Journal from the 1950s.

The name of Harper goes back to 1644, when a parliamentary ordinance was made, empowering 21 persons to ordain ministers in the County of Lancaster. Included in the number were four local names: Alexander Horrocks, John Tildesley, John Angier and John Harper.

In the records of the Parish Church there is an account of a vestry meeting, held in 1672, whereby ‘Robert Harper, clerk, undertook to make the clock “goe orderly, striking duely the houres and quarters, till Easter next ensuing, upon condition that 40 sgs. be payd him for the year which will then be past”.

A descendant of this family built a farm in the old lane, which afterwards bore his name. The Halliwell Road end was once known as Coopers Lane. There is little left of Harpers Farm, and nothing of Harpers cottages. Later known as Clegg’s Farm, the place became derelict when John Clegg died a few years ago. “The building had no special beauty, so there is no need to mourn its passing.”

In little more than 50 years Harpers Lane has changed from a rural, lonely lane into one of the handsome of modern streets. “Its architecture is excitingly alive. Victorian grandeur and the ‘new look’ seem here to blend together most happily.”

Ben Hardy is a name linked with the area and he was one of the best known local horticulturists.

His work was continued by his son-in-law Mr Colin Hamer.

Ald James Seddon lived in Harpers Lane when he was Mayor of Bolton.

He was actively involved in mayoral duties during the First World War.

Read more about Halliwell in next week’s Looking Back.