Links in a Chain - the Mayors of Bolton
Links in a Chain - The Mayors of Bolton
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James Rawsthorne Wolfenden

Mayor of Bolton: 1861-63 (Liberal)

Born: Bolton 5 November 1811

Died: Westwood, Chorley New Road, Bolton 14 May 1886

Educated: Bolton Grammar School

Sharebroker and master cotton spinner - Wolfenden & Sons of Derby Street.

Brother of Charles Wolfenden, Mayor of Bolton 1875-77.

Began work as a clerk at Springfield Paperworks, the Haulgh, Bolton. He then succeeded his father, James Wolfenden, as a stocks and shares broker in Silverwell Street, Bolton. He was Agent to Pilkington Estates. In 1860 he purchased Flash Street Mill from Messrs Bolling and he then improved the cotton business, building Columbia Mill on Chorley Old Road, trading in partnership with his brother Henry. His son later joined the business.

In 1842 he became Clerk to Little Bolton Trustees and from 1845 to 1858 he was Treasurer to the Corporation.

Represented Exchange Ward 1858-59. Alderman for Church Ward 1859-70.

He was appointed as a Borough Magistrate in 1860 and a County Magistrate in 1869.

Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

On election as Mayor he was presented with 3 sets of Morocco-bound Church Services for the Corporation Pew at the Parish Church. He had the Royal Coat of Arms emblazoned over the Mayors seat there and renovated the regimental standards of the Bolton Troop, Lancashire Yeomanry and the Bolton Light Horse Volunteers.

In 1862 he represented Bolton as Mayor at the Great International Exhibition in London and at Preston Guild.

He helped to bring about the erection of the statue of Samuel Crompton in Nelson Square, Bolton which was presented to the town by Henry Ashworth and accepted by Wolfenden as Mayor on 24 September 1862.

The devastating Cotton Famine caused by the American Civil War began to take its toll in 1862 with almost 6000 people thrown out of work in Bolton alone by October. A fund was begun for the distressed cotton workers of the town.

He was an enthusiastic advocate of the building of a new Town Hall and became the first Chairman of the Town Hall Committee in 1865.

He was a prominent Freemason - member of the Anchor and Hope Lodge from 1832 rising to Provincial Grand Secretary from 1846 to 1854. He was largely responsible for the establishment of the Masonic Benevolent and Annuity Fund.

His wife, Caroline, was Mayoress.


Click for larger image Formal portrait of James Rawsthorne Wolfenden as Mayor of Bolton.

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Click for larger image Commemorative medal issued by Bolton Corporation to mark the Wedding of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra on 10 March 1863.

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James Rawsthorne WolfendenWolfenden Family Tree • pdfClick for larger image

James Rawsthorne Wolfenden's link on the Mayor of Bolton's Chain of Office.

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Sable a chevron or between three wolves' heads erased argent.

An example of canting arms (Wolf = Wolfenden).

No source found.


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