The people of Westhoughton (Population 22614) are known as “Keawyeds” (cow heads) and the town is known as “Keawyed City”. There are two local stories how this name came about. In one tells that in 1815 a celebration was held to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars and that an ox’s head was roasted, which was mounted on a pole and was fought over by two opposing factions in the town. The victors were dubbed “Keaw-Yeds”.
During the English Civil War, a battle was fought on Westhoughton Common in 1642 between Lord Derby’s forces on the one side and Parliamentarians on the other. Later in the war, it is believed that Prince Rupert of the Rhine gathered his troops in Westhoughton prior to the attack and ensuing massacre at Bolton in 1644.
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