Ruchford, 1212; Rufford, 1285; Roughford, 1318; Rughford, 1332; Roghforth, 1411.
The township was separated from the parish of Croston in 1793 by an Act of Parliament. The church and village lie at the southern end of some slightly rising ground in the level tract between the Douglas, flowing north, and the former Martin Mere, while the hall (1798) and park, the principal features of the township, occupy the greater part of the elevation. Another portion, similarly a little higher than the general level, lies to the north-west, and is called Holmes Wood. The area of the parish is 3,119 acres and the population in 1901 numbered 782, mostly employed in agriculture.
The village, one of the prettiest in South Lancashire, is much resorted to in the summer by excursionists from the neighbouring towns. Many old cottages remain, one with a picturesque external stone staircase being dated 1676. Another bears the date 1692.
The following from “A Topographical Dictionary of England, Vol. 3, page 641. Samuel Lewis, 1831.
Was entered here 26 September 2005 by Lynn Ransom Burton.
A parish in the hundred of LEYLAND, county palatine of LANCASTER, 5-1/2 miles (N.E. by N.) from Ormskirk, containing 1073 inhabitants.
The living is a rectory not in charge, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Chester, and in the patronage of Pierce Starkie, Esq. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. This parish was formerly a chapelry in the parish of Croston, but was made parochial by act of parliament. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes through it. Sir Thomas Hesketh, Bart., in 1816, erected a school, which is supported at his own expense, for the education of all the poor children of the parish. The petty sessions for the division are held here once in five weeks, alternately with Chorley, Cuerdon, Leyland, and Penworthham.