Unsworth derives from the Old English Hund a personal name and worth an enclosure. It was recorded in 1291 as Hundeswrth and as Undesworth in 1322. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, Unsworth was part of the Pilkington estate before passing into the hands of the Earls of Derby in the 15th century.
Unsworth and Castle Brooks were sources of water for local industries such as bleach and dye works, there was also clay for brickworks. During the Industrial Revolution farming, cotton mills, print-works and bleach-grounds provided employment for its inhabitants. Cotton mills operating in the late 19th century were Worthington and Company whose Victoria Mills contained 220 loom producing ticking, nankeens, linen and drills and the Unsworth Finishing Company.The first major change in the 20th century was the construction of the Royal Air Force’s logistics base at nearby Pilsworth in the Second World War, parts of which remained in use in the early 1980s by shipping firms and other industries.
Unsworth was affected by the construction of the M66 motorway. The road between junctions 3 and 4 passes behind Unsworth Pole and through Back o’ th’ Moss Farm. Construction of the motorway, along with urbanisation in the mid-1970s reduced the dairy farm’s acreage from 300 to 150 acres.