Greater Manchester UK




The Townships of Lancashire

Including Lancashire cities, boroughs, towns and major

Alphabetical order – continued:


Darwen dates its history back
to Anglo-Saxon times though evidence is scarce, depending mainly on
an ancient burial ground uncovered in the Whitehall area. It takes
its name from the river which runs through the narrow valley from
the south through the town. From the 19th century passing trade giving
rise to regular markets in Over Darwen and during the Industrial Revolution
the town grew into a booming cotton mill town and by 1911 its population
reached around 40,400.
The Borough of Darwen was created in 1877 and remained intact until
Local Government reorganisation of 1974 when it became part of the
Borough of Blackburn. Currently around 33,000 live in the town. Overlooking
the town stands the dominant Jubilee Tower, (locally known as Darwen
Tower), built in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen
In 1998 Darwen became part of the new Blackburn with Darwen Unitary
Authority which made it completely independent of Lancashire County


See Main


Formby is located on the coast
of south-west Lancashire, 13 miles north of
and 7 miles south of Southport
beside the River Alt. The village was founded by Scandinavian settlers
in the early 9th century in a remote and inaccessible part of the
county, isolated by forests, lakes and marshland. In the nineteenth
century the arrival of the railways connected the village directly
with Liverpool and Southport, which sentenced Formby to eventually
become a major dormitory area for the Metropolitan Borough of Merseyside
to the south.


Garstang is a small market town, located
in Lancashire where a main north-south road crosses the Wyre. The
name of the town probably comes from the Saxon word “Gaerstung”
(meaning common or meadow land). In the Doomsday Survey of 1086
it is described as “Cherestanc” . In 1314 King Edward
II granted a Charter for a market to be held in the town. Two annual
horse and cattle fairs were also held up until quite recent times.
The Market Place still exists as a focal point for the township, with
food produce market days on Thursdays, and is nowadays marked by a
Market Cross which was first erected in 1887 to commemorate Queen
Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Also in the Market Place stand the old
village stocks; there were also several large stones (the Fish Stones)
which were used to display fishmonger’s wares.
On the outskirts are the ruins of Greenhalgh Castle, built by Thomas
Stanley, the Earl of Derby in 1490. In the end it fell to Cromwellian
forces during the English Civil Wars


Great Harwood, in the Parish
of Blackburn, has evidence of Bronze Age activity and may have existed
for many centuries. Hoards of ancient gold and bronze implements have
also been uncovered nearby. The origin of the town’s name has at least
two possible explanations, with the “har” indicating
“grey” (hence “grey wood”). Another possibility
is that “hara” comes from the Old English for “hare”
(hence a wood where hares are found). “Great” distinguishes
it from Little Harwood, 5 miles west.
At the time of The Norman Conquest of 1066 Great Harwood was predominantly
moor and marsh land with sporadic clearings of cultivated land. It
had many springs and small streams on its hillsides where the first
settlements and farmsteads were built. The whole area was in the possession
of the de Lacy family until 1177, when it was bequeathed to Richard
de Fitton.
In 1338 King Edward III granted a Royal Charter to Adam Nowell, Lord
of the Manor of Netherton, for a weekly market and annual fair to
be held at Great Harwood. The market still survives today, but the
last fair was held in 1931 until revived by the Great Harwood Civic
Society in 1973.
In the 19th century Great Harwood saw weaving as its main form of
employment, carried out as a cottage industry on hand looms at weaver’s
cottages. By the 1870s, increasing industrialisation and mass produced
textile manufacture in larger surrounding towns saw the death knell
of hand weaving and by the 20th century the craft had completely died


Haslingden is a small town in
the Rossendale Valley with a population of around 16,000. Its name
means ‘valley of the hazel trees’. Haslingden has the oldest recorded
history of any of the borough towns of Rossendale and was granted
Borough status in 1891. Its parish church, St James is built on the
site dating from 1284. Haslingden is celebrated for its fine stone
quarries, and many famous locations boast paving slabs from Haslingden,
(including Trafalgar Square in London). Much of the town’s industrial
and historical past is now housed in the local museums, including
Helmshore Textile Museum, Higher
Hill Museum and Museum of Lancashire Textile Industry. Haslingden
is also birthplace of the famous Hollands Pies.


Heysham is a small village on
the edge of
Morecambe Bay, which
began as a small fishing village which grew up to become a major port
in the 19th century. Today, it has a busy cargo terminal and its ferries
still operate out of the port to the Isle of Man and to Ireland. The
village is also somewhat dominated by Heysham nuclear power station,
which produces most of Lancashire’s electricity.
Its parish church, St Peters, dates back to 976 AD, but an even older
chapel once stood on the site. By the time of Viking incursions into
Heysham in the 10th century, the chapel was already around 300 years
old. Located on the Fylde coast, the unmistakable silhouettes of nuclear
reactors Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 at Half Moon Bay can be seen for
miles in all directions.


Hornby is a small, picturesque
stone built village in the Lune Valley between Kirby Lonsdale and
Lancaster, located on
an old traditional pack horse route through the county. It sits astride
the River Wenning, and was originally part of the parish of Melling,
but its history really dates back to the construction of Hornby Castle
in the 13th century, though there were probably small settlements
there well before this time. Hornby Castle was founded in the reign
of King Stephen by Roger de Montebegone, who held several lordships
in the county of Lincolnshire. The castle is well known as the subject
of one of William Turner’s paintings. The church
of St Margaret holds several pre-Norman decorated crosses.


Originally the Parish of Kirkham
was one of the largest in the county of Lancashire and contained 17
townships. In pre-Roman times it was probably the main settlement
of Setantu . Later, it was occupied by the Romans as temporary
site on the Roman military road that ran through the district on its
way from the fort at Ribchester. Hence, virtually the whole of its
main street lies on the Roman road. The name Kirkham comes from times
when Danes occupied the land and settled in this area. Kirkham’s name
is a combination of the Danish “kirk” (meaning “church”)
and the Saxon word “ham” (meaning “township”
or “settlement”).
After the Norman Conquest of 1066 it was in the estate of Amounderness
Hundred. By the Domesday Survey of 1086 the Hundred was recorded as
having three churches, at Kirkham, Preston and Poulton and it here
that settlements grew up in an otherwise sparsely populated landscape.
Kirkham was granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1296, making
it a Free Borough and thereby entitled to hold a market and and a
five day fair twice a year on certain feast days.
By the 14th century a parish committee known as “Thirty Sworn
Men” handled parish affairs. The poor of Kirkham were entitled
to a free education in the grammar school which adjoined the parish
In medieval Kirkham the growing of flax and hemp to produce linen,
rope and coarse cloth was a common occupation. By the 17th century
employment prospects in Lancashire were so poor that outside workers
came to the more prosperous Kirkham to seek employment.
The town still boasts a cobbled market place and so-called
Fish Stones which date back to 1683 – here fish were laid out by traders
on market days.


See Main

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This page last updated 3 Mar 09.