THIS week, we take a look at part of Yates’s Map of Lancashire, which is dated 1786.

The map shows how rural Prestwich was during the late 18th century. The area consisted mainly of green fields and wide open spaces with a number of houses dotted about the countryside.

Prestwich village was made up of two parts — one being fairly close to the church and the other around Great and Little Heaton. The population was small, estimated at 670.

Rooden Lane, which later became part of Bury Old Road, was a centre for hand-loom weaving. At Simister and Bowlee, silk weaving was established.

A family of Yeoman rank living in Prestwich during the 18th century called Diggle held their land in lease from the Cokes of Norfolk. The will of Robert Diggle, dated 1758, mentions other members of the family including Elizabeth Diggle of Hardman Fold. It was from this family that Diggle Fold received its name, as shown on the map.

The family held a farm close to what is now Lowther Road and lived there until 1810. Their original house was of the half-timbered type. Members of the Diggle family are buried at St Mary’s Parish Church in Prestwich.

Along the roads, toll bars are marked on the map. The first road in Prestwich to be turnpiked was Bury Old Road in 1754. It was under the control of the Cheetham Hill Trust, which employed groups of men to carry out simple repairs.

They raised the money by erecting turnpike gates and toll houses on the road and from collecting payments from all vehicles using it.

Information courtesy of local historian Ian Pratt.