In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Lees like this:
LEESFIELD, a parochial chapelry in Prestwich and Ashton-under-Lyne parishes, Lancashire; containing the post office village of Lees, and including a portion of Oldham borough. It was constituted in 1846. Pop. in 1861,5,358. Houses, 1,066. Pop. of the Prestwich portion, 1,902. Houses, 374. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Manchester. Value, £300. Patron, alternately the Crown and the Bishop. The church was built in 1848, at a cost of £5,200; is in the later English style; and has a fine tower. There are chapels for New Connexion Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Brethren. There are also national schools and a large British school; and the former were built shortly before 1865, at a cost of £1,500.
We are defining Lees and Leesfield as the same place because the latter does not appear on any topographic map we have found, and the modern Leesfield church and primary school are in the middle of Lees.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Lees has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Oldham. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Lees and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Lees, in Oldham and Lancashire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 10th March 2014
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Lees".