Aspull is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, in Greater Manchester, England. Historically in Lancashire, Aspull, along with Haigh, is surrounded by greenbelt and agricultural land, separated from Westhoughton, on its southeast side, by a brook running through Borsdane Wood. The ground rises from south to north, reaching 400 feet (122 m), and has views towards Winter Hill and the West Pennine Moors. It has a population of 4,977.
The earliest notice of Aspull is that contained in the survey of 1212, when, as one plough-land, it formed part of the Childwall fee held by Richard son of Robert de Lathom, under the lord of Manchester. The fee was a composite one of 6½ plough-lands (of which Aspull formed one), held chiefly by Richard de Lathom, and partly by Roger de Samlesbury and Alexander de Harwood.
In 1302 Richard de Ince, as son and heir of Henry de Sefton, and Adam de Hindley, were found to hold Aspull, as the eighth part of a knight's fee, directly of Thomas Grelley. From this time the lordship has been held with the adjacent Ince by the families of Ince and Gerard in succession; until Aspull was sold to the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, lord of Haigh.
Hindley Hall, in Aspull, the residence of the Hindleys, became the property of James, a younger son of Robert Dukinfield of Cheshire. In the 18th century it was acquired by the Leighs of Whitley Hall, Wigan, and Sir Robert Holt Leigh lived here till his death in 1843. His estates then passed for life to his cousin Thomas Pemberton, who took the name of Leigh, and made Hindley Hall his residence; he was raised to the peerage as Baron Kingsdown in 1858.
The hearth tax roll of 1666 shows that 135 hearths were charged. The most considerable houses were those of Richard Green, nine hearths; Peter Orrell and James Dukinfield, eight each; Major Rigby and Thomas Molyneux, seven each; and Edward Gleast, six.
St. Elizabeth's C of E Church was built in 1882 by Roger Leigh. The patronage is vested in trustees. There are two Methodist chapels. In 1858 the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception was erected.
Cannel coal was found in Aspull. There were several large collieries dating back to the 18th century, also malt kilns and a cotton mill. In 1896 the Crawford, Kirkless, Moor and Woodshaw Pits in the township belonging the Wigan Coal and Iron Company employed over 1,000 workers. Aspull's long history of mining left a legacy of old mineshafts, water drainage tunnels (soughs) and abandoned mine workings.
The Great Haigh Sough in Haigh Country Park discharged iron rich minewater into the Yellow Brook discolouring the brook and River Douglas downstream with ochre deposits. In 2004 the Coal Authority provided a passive treatment plant in a scheme costing £750,000. Work was undertaken by Ascot Environmental who built a pumping station, pipelines, settlement lagoons, reedbeds and landscaped the site. The scheme has improved the water quality removing the discolouration and allowed fish to populate the brook.
The coal-mining tradition lives on in the name of the "Collier's Arms" pub on Wigan Road, which has a date plaque of 1700 .
Aspull is on a crossroads. The principal road is to the north-east/south-west, Blackrod to Wigan. Another road runs north-west/south-east, Standish to the A6 road. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through the western corner of the township. Aspull Moor lies in the northern half of the village.
The nearest railway station is at Hindley although Blackrod is only a few yards further distant. Hindley has the more frequent service, whilst Blackrod has the faster service to Manchester. Whilst having colliery (goods) railways Aspull has never had a central railway station of its own. There was, however, on the line from Wigan to Chorley (via Hindley), a station named Dicconson Lane & Aspull some distance from Aspull; that was closed in 1956, before closure of the entire line to passengers in 1960 and to goods in 1966.
The town's rugby union club, Aspull RFC, currently plays in the Raging Bull North West League Division 3 North, and also fields a veterans team. The club also a successful junior setup currently consisting of U11s-U14s. The rugby club is based at Woodshaw Park at the base of the Aspull landmark the "Woochie" where they have full training facilities function rooms and a bar. The club logo is that of an emu. This is due to regular sightings of the second-largest living bird on the nearby spoil heap the 'Woochie'. The club has had a great deal of success over the years winning both the Lancashire Cup and Lancashire Plate along with numerous promotions and relegations.
Bibliography 'Townships: Aspull', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 118–22.
Media related to Aspull at Wikimedia Commons