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The Parish of Clitheroe
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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This is an ancient and respectable market town and borough, occupying a pleasant and healthy situation, east of the river Ribble, 11 miles N.N.E. from Blackburn and 22 miles N.E. from Preston. The chief object of attraction from whatever quarter we approach Clitheroe, is its Castle Keep, which consists of a tower 20 feet square, with walls 10 feet thick. This, the only portion of the Castle now remaining, is supposed to have been built by Robert de Laci, Lord of Blackburnshire, in the reign of Rufus. His second son, Henry de Laci (his oldest brother, Ilbert, dying without issue) founded a Cistercian Abbey at Barnoldswick, which was afterwards translated to Kirkstall, near Leeds.

After passing through several successive generations of the de Lacies, the honour of Clitheroe became vested in the Crown in 1848; as part of the Duchy of Lancaster; and it was conferred at a later period upon General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, by Charles II., as an acknowledgment of the services rendered by him in the restoration of the Stuarts. His son, Christopher, dying without issue, left his estates to his wife; by her they were bequeathed to her second husband, Ralph, Duke of Montague, and are now vested in the Duke of Buccleuch. In the castle grounds is a handsome modern mansion, the residence of the steward, A.I. Robinson, Esq.

The Municipal Borough is co-extensive with the township, which covers an area of 2,375 acres; but the Parliamentary Borough includes the townships of Clitheroe, Chatburn, Downham, Mearley, Little Mitton, Pendleton, Twiston, Whalley, Wiswell, and Worston. Its present parliamentary representative is Richard Fort, Esq., of Read Hall.

The rateable value of Clitheroe is £33,020 10s.; and of the Castle £100. In 1851 the township contained a population of 7,244; in 1861 it had reduced to 6,990; but in 1871 it had advanced to 8,208; and in 1881 the population was 10,176. The town participates largely in the cotton trade, and here are also two paper mills, lime and cement works; and in the adjacent village of Barrow is an extensive calico printing establishment.

Gas Works were established here in 1836, and were transferred to the Corporation in 1874. The works are situate in Back Commons and consist of two gas holders, capable of containing 180,000 cubic feet of gas; and the annual consumption amounts to about 22,000,000 feet.

The price to consumers various from 3s. 7d. to 3d. per 1,000 feet, subject, however, to a liberal discount.

There is an excellent supply of water from the reservoirs at West Bradford, three miles from the town.

The Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene occupies an elevated position, and commands extensive and varied views. The ancient edifice is known to have been in existence in 1135; but the present building only dates from 1828-9, the cost of its erection being £8,500; and the upper part of the spire was added in 1844.

Considerable repairs and improvements were made in 1854.

The east window contains 15 representations of armorial bearings of the successive lords of Clitheroe.

In the church there are two broken effigies of a knight and his lady, in alabaster, supposed to be those of Sir Richard Radcliffe, who died in 1441, and Catherine his wife. The Radcliffes were long connected with Clitheroe, and resided at the ancient manor-house called "The Alleys." The church contains 900 sittings, of which 800 are free. The benefice is a vicarage of the annual value of £200, in the patronage of J.E. Anderton, Esq., and is held by the Rev. Edward Hughes Thomas, B.A. St.James' Church, Salford, was built in 1839, at a cost of £2,500.

At the west end is a gallery, and several of the windows are of stained glass. It contains 858 sittings, of which 118 are free. The benefice is a rectory of the annual value of £150, in the patronage of five trustees, and held by the Rev. George Fielden.

St. Paul's Church, Low Moor, is a Gothic building with tower and spire. It was consecrated July 31, 1870, and the cost of its erection, exclusive of the site, which was a gift of the late Miss Barnett, amounted to £5,000. There are 600 sittings, all free. The benefice is a vicarage of the annual value of £300 and vicarage house, in the patronage of the Bishop of Manchester, and held by the Rev. John B. Waddington.

The Catholic Church, dedicated to SS. Michael and John the Evangelist, is a neat building, completed in 1850, and much renovated in 1866 and subsequent years.

A new sacristy was added in 1881; new confessionals in 1883; and the old ones have just been converted into a beautiful Lady Chapel. The high altar and reredos are of Caen stone, and one of the central lights over the altar represents the presentation in the temple, by Capronier, of Brussels. It was put in by C.J.B. Trappes, Esq., in memory of his mother. In the chancel are six life-size statues, by Mayer, of Munich. The organ was built in 1856, its cost being £400. Other alterations in the church have cost about £400, and these include the tiling of the sanctuary, rails of marble and alabaster, and a pulpit of the same materials, and a baptismal font of Caen stone with oak cover. The church will accommodate 750 persons, and the Catholic population is about 1,550. Revs. William Lea, S.J., and Thomas Speakman, S.J., are the present pastors. In 1870 additional school accommodation was provided by the erection of a new girls' and infants' school, at a cost of £800. In Waddington Road is a neat cemetery belonging to this body.

The Congregational Church, Castlegate, is a neat stone building, erected in 1862. It is under the ministry of the Rev. David Clegg. The Wesleyan Methodists have chapels in Parson Lane and Low Moor.

The United Methodist Chapel is in Moor Lane. The Primitive Methodist Chapel, completed this year (1884), is a neat Gothic edifice of stone, designed by J.D. Mould. The cost of erection was £2,500, including site.

It will seat 461 persons. The school is under the chapel. The old chapel was situated in Wellgate, but is now dispensed with.

The Clitheroe Royal Grammar School is situate in York Street. It formerly stood in the churchyard, but was rebuilt on its present site when the church was restored in 1829. This ancient school was founded by Queen Mary and King Phillip in 1554, "for the learning, education, and instruction of boys and young men." It is now administered by 13 governors, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, bearing date March, 1878, the chairman of the governors being Ralph Assheton, Esq., of Downham Hall.

The school course comprises all the usual branches of a liberal education, and there are two Exhibitions of £40 per annum each, tenable for four years, at any college of Oxford or Cambridge. The head master is the Rev. Edward Boden, M.A. (Cambridge). The Town Hall, Church Street, was erected in the year 1833, on the site of the old hall, at the joint expense of Earls Howe and Brownlow. The Public Hall, York Street, is a substantial stone building, erected in 1874, at a cost of about £8,000. The principal room is 100 feet long, 42 feet broad, and will accommodate about 1,000 persons. The Police Station and Magistrates' Room, in King street was opened in 1875; and in this street also is the new Post Office, a neat brick building, and well adapted for the purpose for which it was built.

The County Court House is a good building in Lowergate. W.A. Hulton, Esq., is judge, and Mr. John Eastham, registrar. In the town are a Mechanics' Institute, a Masonic Hall, Liberal, Conservative, and other Clubs. The Craven Bank and the Manchester and County Bank have each a branch in the town, and the Savings Bank, held in Church Street, is a successful institution. There are several good inns in the town, the principal being the Swan Hotel, the Starkie's Arms Hotel, and the Brownlow Arms Hotel.

The Fire Brigade Station is in Moor lane; Mr. Joseph Barrett, engineer. The Union Workhouse is situated in Chatburn Road, nearly a mile from the town. It was opened in April, 1873. The cost of the building, including site of eight acres, amounted to £13,531 4s. 8d. It has accommodation for 140 inmates.

Mr. Y. Lofthouse is governor. The Union comprises 34 townships, of which 19 are in Yorkshire. Those in Lancashire are--Aighton, Bailey and Chaigley, Bowland- with-Leagram, Chatburn, Chipping, Clitheroe, Clitheroe Castle, Downham, Mearley, Mitton (Little), Pendleton, Thornley-with-Wheatley, Twiston, Whalley, Wiswell, and Worston. Mr. John Eastman is clerk to the Board of Guardians.

Clitheroe possesses ample facilities for railway communication to all parts of the country; and by the recent extension of the line from Chatburn to Hollifield, a new and important district has been opened up. The first sod of this line was cut by Lord Ribblesdale, 8th January, 1874, on his estate in Gisburn Park. The new Cattle Market is a great boon to the inhabitants, as it has dispensed with the confusion caused by the market being held in the principal streets, which was the custom previously. It has an entrance in King Street and another in Parson Lane.

...The Rifle Volunteer Corps (2nd Lancashire) consists of two companies, under the command of Major W.A. Dewhurst and Captain E.F. Bleakley. The Market is held on Tuesdays and Fridays, and a Cattle Fair every alternate Monday. Fairs are also held March 24th and 25th, August 1st and 2nd, and on the third Thursday after St. Michael's Day.

- From Directory & Topography of Blackburn, Accrington, Darwen, Clitheroe, Great Harwood, Rishton, Church and Oswaldtwistle, Clayton-le-Moors, and Adjacent Villages and Townships By P. Barrett & Co., Preston, 1884.

Entered here 18 August 2004 by Lynn Ransom Burton.

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