Bury-born Sir Robert Peel was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and founded the Metropolitan Police and Conservative Party. The Peel Memorial stands outside Bury parish church and the Peel Monument on Holcombe Hill, Ramsbottom, overlooking the borough.
The name Bury (also earlier known as Buri and Byri) comes from an Old English word, meaning castle, stronghold or fort, an early form of modern English borough.
Bury was formed around the ancient market place but there is evidence of activity dating back to the period of Roman occupation. Bury Museum has a Roman urn containing a number of small bronze coins dated for AD 253–282 and found north of what is now the town centre. Under Agricola the road–building programme included a route from the fort at Manchester (Mamucium) to the fort at Ribchester (Bremetennacum) which ran through Radcliffe and Affetside. The modern Watling Street, which serves the Seddons Farm estate on the west side of town, follows the approximate line of the Roman road.