Heywood can trace its roots back to the Anglo Saxon period. Although Heywood's earliest hint of settlers were the Saxons, whose clearing of thickly wooded areas into 'Heys' or fenced clearings probably gave the area its name. The Anglo Saxon word "haga" means a hedge, thus Heywood possibly means "the wood surrounded by a hedge." At one time Heywood was spelt as "Eywode" which points strongly to its derivation being from the Anglo Saxon "ea" meaning water - thus "the wood surrounded by the stream" is another possible source of the name.
Originally part of the township of Heap, Heywood grew to be the town we know and love due to the Cotton Trade. With excellent transport links thanks to the M62 and M66 Heywood has become the centre for the distribution of goods.
Heywood has a vibrant sense of community and its regular programme of events includes a Christmas light switch on and an annual 1940s Day. Heywood’s Magic Market is open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
The Heywood Sports Village offers a huge range of activities for energetic types, while visitors who prefer a taste of history can hop aboard a steam train on the East Lancashire railway from its base at the Heywood railway station.
The perfect place to unwind, Heywood Queen’s Park was recently voted the nation’s favourite park, whilst the war memorial offers visitors a tranquil haven in the town centre.
On a lighter note, it is not known exactly when Heywood first got the nickname “Monkey Town” but the term was being used as far back as 1857. Bob Dobson in ‘Lancashire Nicknames & Sayings’ states that the nickname originated from Irish immigrants pronouncing ‘Heap Bridge’ as ‘Ape Bridge,' and believes that the name ‘Monkey Town’ derived from this. With the nickname came the stools with holes in them- supposedly for the monkey’s tails. In fact the holes were for carrying the stools.