In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Birtle like this:
BIRTLE, a township, a chapelry, and a subdistrict, in the district of Bury, Lancashire. The township bears the name of Birtle-cum-Bamford; is in Middleton parish; and lies near the Manchester and Rosendale railway, 2½ miles NE of Bury. Acres, 1,388. Real property, £7,909,-of which £300 are in mines. Pop., 2,350. Houses, 404. The inhabitants are employed chiefly in cotton and woollen manufactures, and in calico printing. The chapelry consists of part of this township and part of Bury parish, and was constituted in 1848. Pop., 2,135. Houses, 353. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Manchester. Value, £180. Patron, the Rector of Middleton. The church was built in 1849. There are three dissenting chapels.-The subdistrict comprises parts of two parishes. Pop., 4,758.
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 Birtle has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Rochdale. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Birtle and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Birtle, in Rochdale and Lancashire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 29th March 2015
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