History of the Society

Bolton and District Archaeology Society owes its foundation in large part to a slight earlier society. Chorley & District Historical and Archaeology Society was set up in 1954 though the efforts of two enthusiasts who had explored the moors around Chorley, Horwich, Rivington and Anglezarke in search of evidence of prehistoric occupation, especially flint chippings, flakes, cores and microliths. Jack Smith and John Winstanley, along with Alderman Charles Williams, gathered together a group of people dedicated to “fostering and encouraging interest in archaeological and historical matters by lectures, field-walking and, where appropriate, excavation”. John Winstanley was the first Secretary of the Chorley Society, and encourged investigation of areas such as Lead Mines Clough and Winter Hill, where a Bronze Age burrow was excavated under the direction of Dr. Bu’lock and Mr. Charles Rosser of Manchester University.


Contact with Bolton was centred on the town’s Museum and its specialist staff, including a research student, Merrick Posnanski, a former pupil of Canon Slade School, and Frank Willet. A further connection with Bolton lay in the fact that John Winstanley worked as the custodian of Hall i’th’ Wood Museum, and various factors led to his calling of a meeting, of interested people at St. Aidan’s Church hall, near Hall i’th’ Wood, on 20th June 1958. The numbers attending, over 30, encouraged the setting up of a steering committee, which met a month later under the chairmanship of the Rev. john Mitchell, Vicar of St. Phillip’s Church, Bolton, and an enthusiast of classical and Biblical archaeology. Others officers elected were Colin Harding, a classics master at Bolton School who had excavated at Verulamium [St. Albans], and John Metcalfe as vice-chairman and treasurer respectively. John Winstanley accepted nomination as secretary of the fledgling society.

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