In the large shafts of the Northern and Wigan districts the cages are made about 8 ft.
After the Conquest Wigan was part of the barony of Newton, and the church was endowed with a carucate of land, the origin of the manor.
Ashton, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton and Wigan form a nearly confluent semicircle of great towns, their prosperity founded on the underlying coal and iron, maintained by imported cotton.
The educational institutions include the free grammar school (founded by James Leigh in 1619 and rebuilt in 1876), the Wigan and District Mining and Technical College (built by public subscription and opened in 1903) and the mechanics' institution, also the convent of Notre Dame (1854), with a college for pupil teachers and a high school for girls, and several Roman Catholic schools.
In 1295 Wigan returned two members to parliament and again in 1307; the right then remained in abeyance till 1547, but from that time till 1885, except during the Commonwealth, the borough returned two members, and since 1885 one member.
Some time before Henry III.'s reign the baron of Newton granted to the rector of Wigan the manorial privileges.
Wigan is a name derived from the town Wigan and seems to have been originally applied to a stiff canvas-like cloth used for lining skirts.