Westhoughton’s History


The name Westhoughton is derived from the Old English words "halh" (dialectal "haugh") for a nook or corner of land, and "tun" for a farmstead or settlement - meaning a "westerly settlement in a corner of land"

The town has been spelt various ways, often the "West-" was omitted. In 1210 it was spelt as Halcton, 1240 as Westhalcton, 1292 as Westhalghton, 1302 as Westhalton, and in the 16th century as Westhaughton and Westhoughton

The people of Westhoughton are known as "Keawyeds" (cow heads) and the town is known as "Keawyed City". There are two local stories how this name came about. One tells that in 1815, a celebration was held to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars and that an ox was roasted. This was mounted on a pole and was fought over by two opposing factions in the town. The victors were dubbed "Keaw-Yeds".

Another story tells that a farmer in Westhoughton found his cow had got its head stuck in a five barred gate (or fence), and rather than cut the gate, the farmer cut the cow's head off, since the cow cost less than the gate

As well as the central town area, Westhoughton is made up of several "villages" which have (or at least had) their own distinctive character, sports traditions, amenities including railway stations.

For more information over the centuries, please refer to

Early History

17th & 18th Centuries

19th Century

20th Century