Wythull, 1242; Whythill (or Whithull) in the Wode, 1304.
The northern half of this hilly township is traversed by the Lostock, here flowing from east to west and then north. In the angle thus formed lies the village, with the hamlet of Rip Row to the north. The ground here rises to over 400 ft. above sea level. The larger part of Whittle south of the Lostock has Shaw Hill on the western side, the ground rising to 360 ft., and other hills on the eastern side, attaining 460 ft. at the boundary of Chorley. The area is 1,355 acres,and in 1901 the population was 2,333.
The principal road is that from Chorley to Preston, which goes north, by Rotherham Top and Waterhouse Green, through the village. From this point other roads branch off to Heapey in the east, Brindle in the north-east, and Leyland in the west. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal winds through the eastern part of the township, a part or branch of it (the Lancaster Canal) going north-west through Rip Row.
The soil is sand, and the land is chiefly in pasture. Cotton is manufactured and calico printing carried on. There are excellent quarries, from which millstones are obtained. There is also a large brewery, and an alkaline spring discovered in 1845 is utilized for brewing. The springs and the scenery attract many picnic parties in the summertime. At the end of the 17th-century a lead mine was worked on Sir Richard Standish's land.
In 1666 there were sixty hearths to be taxed in Whittle-le-Woods. The largest house was Crook Hall with nine hearths; Swansey House had five. The township is governed by a parish council. A hoard of Roman coins was found in 1837. Pedestals of ancient crosses remain at Dolphin Hill and Gorse Hall.