1902 Encyclopedia > Lancashire

Lancashire




LANCASHIRE, or COUNTY OF LANCASTER, a maritime IV. x county in the north-west of England, lies between 54° 40' and 55° 33' N. lat., and between 3° 15' and 1° 58' W. long. A detached portion in the north, known as Furness, is situated between Cumberland and Westmoreland. The remainder of the county, separated from Furness by Morecambe Bay, is bounded N. by Westmore-land, E by Yorkshire, S. by Cheshire, and W. by the Irish Sea, which forms also the southern boundary of Furness. The outline of the county is irregular. Its greatest length is 76 miles; south of the Ribble the average breadth is about 40 miles, while to the north it is only about 10 miles. The total area is 1,207,926 acres, or 1887 square miles. With the exception of a narrow tract of country along the south coast, the Furness division consists of hilly moorlands, a continuation of the Cumberland mountains, intersected by deep valleys. The highest summits of this region are Coniston Old Man (2633 feet) and Seathwaite Fells (2537 feet). A similar elevated district, forming part of a mountainous chain stretching from the Scottish border, runs along the whole eastern boundary of the main portion of the county, and to the south of the Ribble occupies more than half the area, stretching west nearly to Liverpool. The moorlands in the southern dis-tricts are covered chiefly with heather. Towards the north the scenery is frequently picturesque and beautiful, the green rounded elevated ridges being separated by pleasant cultivated valleys variegated by woods and watered by rivers. None of the summits of the range within the boundaries of Lancashire attain an elevation of 2000 feet, the highest being Blackstone Edge (1323 feet), Pendle Hill (1831 feet), and Boalsworth Hill (1700 feet).

Along the sea-coast from the Mersey to Lancaster there is a continuous plain occupied at one time by peat mosses, many of which have, however, been reclaimed. The largest is Chat Moss between Liverpool and Manchester. In some instances these mosses have exhibited the phenomenon of a moving bog. A large district in the north belonging to the duchy of Lancaster was at one time occupied by forests, but these have wholly disappeared. The coast is very irregular in outline, the principal inlets being the estuaries of the Mersey and Ribble, Lancaster Bay, and Morecambe Bay. To the south of Furness, between Morecambe Bay and the estuary of the Duddon, there is a small group of islands, the largest of which is Walney, 9 miles long, and with a breadth varying from a quarter to three-quarters of a mile. The principal river is the Mersey, which divides the county from Cheshire, and flowing by Stockport and Warrington opens into a fine estuary before reaching the sea at Liverpool. It drains an area of 580 square miles, and receives on its north bank the Irwell and the Sankey. For large vessels it is navigable to Warrington, and there is a proposal to connect Manchester with the sea by a ship canal. The Ribble, which rises in the mountains of the West Riding, forms for a few miles the boundary be-tween Lancashire and Yorkshire, and then flows south-west to Preston, receiving the Hodder from the north and the Calder aud Darwen from the south. The Wyre enters Morecambe Bay at Fleetwood. The Lune rises in West-moreland, and falls into the sea at Lancaster Bay. The Winster separating Lancashire and Westmoreland, the Leven from Lake Windermere, the Crake from Lake Coniston, all flow south into Morecambe Bay; and the Duddon forming the boundary of the county with Westmoreland enters the Irish Channel. Windermere, the largest and most beauti-ful of English lakes, is partly included in the couuty. Some miles to the west and parallel with Windermere is Coniston Lake, 5^ miles long and 2 miles broad; and between the two larger lakes is Esthwaite Water, 2 miles in length by half a mile in breadth.

About the middle of last century the Sankey Canal, 10 miles long, the first in Britain, was constructed to bring coals from St Helens to Liverpool. Shortly afterwards the duke of Bridgewater projected the great canal, completed in 1761, from Manchester across the Irwell to Worsley. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, begun in 1770, connects Liverpool and other important towns with Leeds by a circuitous route of 130 miles. The other principal canals are the Bochdale Canal, the Manchester Canal, between Manchester and Huddersfield, the Lancaster Canal, and the Ulverstone Canal.

Geology and Minerals.—The greater part of Furnes3 is occupied by slaty Silurian rocks belonging to the mountain formations of Cumberland and Westmoreland. This ia mingled occasionally with Carboniferous Limestone, and in the lower region along the coast there is an Old Bed Sand-stone district and also a very rich deposit of iron ore. To the north of the Lune the country is occupied with Carboni-ferous Limestone. Near the sea are some low Old Bed Sandstone cliffs, and the formation is also seen on the borders of Westmoreland, near Kirkby Lonsdale. South of the Lune the greater part of the higher ground is formed of Millstone Grit. Along the valley of the Mersey there is an extensive bed of New Red Sandstone, containing rock-salt, and the same formation occurs along the western boundaries of the county, but it is covered for the most part by the glacial drift deposits, which occupy nearly all the low ground, and in some cases fill up the valleys between the mountains. The coal-field of Lancashire occupies an irregular area of 217 square miles lying between the Ribble and the Mersey, its length being about 30 miles and its average breadth about 7 miles. The field extends into Cheshire and North Wales, and is separated from the Yorkshire field by the Millstone Grit which crops out beneath the Coal-measures. To the south of the Lune, near Ingleton, there is also a small coal-field which extends into Yorkshire. The upper Coal-measures consist chiefly of shales, sandstones, and limestones, with a bed of blackband ironstone. The middle measures contain a considerable variety of workable seams, the lowest being very valuable, and there is an important mine of cannel coal. The lower measure consists of flags, shales, and thin seams of coal, with gannister floors and roofs of slate. This coal is extensively mined in the mountain districts to the north-east of the bed. The coal district is traversed by immense dislocations which divide the field into several belts. Nearly all the marine fossils obtained are molluscs allied to Aniliracosia, with the exception of a remarkable series obtained on the banks of the Tame near Ashton-under-Lyne.

The available coal supply of Lancashire is estimated at 5,165,000,000 tons. The amount raised in 1852 was 8,225,000 tons ; in 1871 it was 13,851,000 tons, but for several years it has exceeded 18,000,000 tons, and in 1880 reached 19,120,294 tons. The amount of coal carried from Lancashire is about 11,000,000 tons, of which about 7,000,000 tons are shipped. The produce of the West Lancashire coal-field in 1880 was—coal 9,600,436 tons, fireclay 18,960 tons, and iron 1540 tons, the latter being obtained from the rubbish sent out of the pits. The coal is produced in the neighbourhood of Wigan, St Helens, and Prescot, and the fireclay in the St Helens district. In the North and East Lancashire district 9,519,858 tons of coal were raised, 110,379 tons of fireclay, 4830 of alum shale, and 579 of copperas lumps. Through the kindness of Mr Joseph Dickinson, inspector of mines for this district, we are enabled to give the produce of the field in seven principal divisions, viz.:—(1) the small uetached field of Lunedale (lower series of measures), coal 410 tons; (2) the Burn-ley coal-field (lower and middle series), coal 1,036,015, fireclay 15,279; (3) an adjoining field lying south-east of a line drawn from Chorley to Blackburn (lower series), coal 388,274, fireclay 45,749; (4) a group lying further south-east and extending to Bacup, Rochdale, and Littleborough (lower series), coal 309,388, fireclay 13,298 ; (5) the part west of Chorley and southwards adjoining the Wigan coal-field (lower series), coal 2,030,027, copperas lumps 579 ; (6) the part east of the former division (middle and upper series), coal 4,789,495, fireclay 19,217 ; (7) the extreme south-east part, south of Rochdale, and east of the city of Manchester (lower and middle series), coal 966,249, fireclay 16,836, alum shale 4830. Rich red hsematitic iron is obtained in great abundance in the dis-trict of Furness, the quantity raised in 1871 being 931,048 tons, and in 1880 it was 1,188,543 tons. Only a small quantity of sulphur-ore is raised, 2000 tons in 1879, valued at £900. Some copper is obtained in the Furness district, but the total quantity of ore raised in 1880 was only 442 tons. There are in various districts of the county large quarries for freestone and flagstone, the quantity raised in 1880 being 2404 tons. A fine blue slate is obtained in Furness. As much as 2973 tons of hydraulic limestone was in 1880 dug out of the Ardwick mine near Manchester. There is a mine of native oxide of iron at Warton, near Carnforth, from which, in 1880, 189 tons were obtained. Lead-ore and zinc-ore are being explored between Clitheroe and Chatburn, and rocksalt at Preesal near Fleetwood.





Climate and Agriculture.—The climate in the hilly districts is frequently cold, but in the more sheltered parts lying to the south and west it is mild and genial. From its westerly situation and the attraction, of the mountains there is a very high rainfall, an average of nearly 50 inches annually being reached in the mountainous districts, while the average for the other districts is about 35. The soil after reclamation and drainage is fertile; but, as it is for the most part a strong clayey loam, it requires a large amount of labour. In some districts it is more of a peaty nature, and in the Old Red Sandstone districts of the Mersey there is a tract of light sandy loam, which is easily worked, and well adapted for wheat and potatoes. A considerable portion of country is still under peat, but the reclamations within late years have been very large, and at the same time great advances have been made in the methods of culture. In some districts the ground has been rendered unfit for agricultural operations by the rubbish from coal-pits. A very large area is in pasturage, and dairy farming, owing to the populous character of the district, is very common.
The following table gives a classification of holdings according to size in 1875 and 1880 :—

== TABLE ==

Nearly all the yearly tenants are subject to two years' notice to quit. Great freedom is allowed in regard to rotation and to sale of produce, and it is a frequent custom to sell hay and straw, and to purchase artificial manure for the meadow lands to about one-third of the value sold. According to the agricultural returns for 1881 the total cultivated area was 787,732 acres, a percentage of 65'2 instead of 60 in 1870. The area under corn crops was 101,651 acres; under green crops, 59,971; rotation grasses, 63,387; and permanent pasture, 560,143, more than two-thirds of the whole under cultivation. Only 2573 acres were fallow. Of the area under corn crops 59,373 acres, or considerably more than the half, were occupied with oats, wheat coming next with 26,492 acres, while barley occupied 11,559. The large area of 42,809 acres was under potatoes, turnips and swedes occupying only 10,867 acres.
The total number of horses in 1881 was 38,484, of which 24,567 were used solely for agricultural purposes. Cattle numbered 222,988 (122,683 being cows), an average of 18 '5 to every 100 acres under cultivation. They are mostly polled Suffolks, red York-shires, and Leicesters. Sheep numbered 284,317, an average of 23 '6 to every 100 acres under cultivation, the average for England being 62'4. Cheviots are kept on the higher grounds, on the low grounds Southdowns and Leicesters. Pigs in 1881 numbered 37,700.

The county in 1872-73 was divided among 88,735 proprietors, possessing 1,011,769 acres, with an annual valuation of £13,878,277. Of the owners 76,177, or 87 per cent., possessed less than 1 acre, and the average value, including minerals, was £13, 14s. 4d. peracre. Nineteen proprietors owned upwards of 5000 acres, the largest proprietor being the earl of Derby, who possessed 47,269 acres, with a rental of £156,735. Among other large proprietors are the duke of Bridgewater's trustees, the duke of Devonshire, the Marquis de Casteja, the earl of Stamford and Warrington, the earl of Wilton, the earl of Sefton, Lord Lilford, and Lord Skelmcrsdale.

Manufactures.—Lancashire is the principal seat of the cotton manufacture, not only in England, but in the world. The history of the industry in the county, and statistical details regarding it, will be found in the article COTTON, vol. vi. 489 sg. In 1879 the total number of factories was close on 2000, and the number of persons employed in these was nearly 370,000. The centre of the industry is Manchester and the neighbouring towns, especially Oldham. Previous to the American War Lancashire had less competition than at present. The wooUen, silk, and linen manu-factures employed in 1879 about 50,000 persons. There are a great variety of industries dependent on these staple manufactures, such as bobbin making, the preparation of dyes, calico printing, and the manufacture of machinery and of steam, engines. Barrow-in-Fur-ness is noted for the manufacture of iron and steel. Warring-ton has a large trade in sole leather. St Helens is celebrated for its crown, sheet, and plate glass, and Prescot for its watches. Chemicals are largely manufactured in several towns. The principal seaports are Liverpool, Barrow, Ulverstone, Lancaster, Fleetwood, and Preston, to the separate articles on which the reader is referred for particulars regarding shipping, trade, and shipbuilding. The principal watering-places are Blackpool, Lytham, Morecambe, and Southport.

Railways.—The London and North-Western, Midland, and Lan-cashire and Yorkshire Railways pass through the county, and it is intersected in all directions by a network of branch lines.

Population and Administration.—The population in 1881 was more than five times as great as in 1801. In that year it was 673,486, or only a little more than the population of Liverpool at the present time. In 1861 it amounted to 2,429,440, in 1871 to 2,819,495, and in 1881 to 3,454,225, of whom 1,667,979 were males and 1,786,246 females. The population of the northern parliamen-tary division was 273,417, of the north-eastern division 238,544, o( the south-eastern 534,963, and of thesouth-westerndivision482,148, —the population outside the limits of parliamentary boroughs being thus 1,529,072, and that of the parliamentary boroughs 1,925,153. Liverpool (552,425) is represented by three members, Manchester (population of municipal borough 341,508, of parliamentary 393,676) by three members, Salford (176,233) by two, Oldham (mun. 111,343, pari. 152,511) by two, Bolton (mun. 105,422, pari. 105,973) by two, Preston (mun. 96,532, pari. 93,707) by two, Blackburn (mun. 104,012, pari. 100,618) by two, Wigan (48,196) by two, Burnley (mun. 58,882, pari. 63,502) by oue, Rochdale (68,865) by one, Bury (mun. 51,582, pari. 49,746) by one, Ashton-under-Lyne (mun. 37,027, pari. 43,389) by one, Warrington (mun. 41,456, pari. 45,257) by one, and Clitheroe (mun. 10,177, pari. 14,463) by one. As each division of the county has also two members, the total representation for the county is thirty-two members. The parliamentary boroughs of Staleybridge and Stock-port are chiefly in Cheshire. The other principal municipal boroughs are Accrington (31,435), Barrow-in-Furness (47,111), Blackpool (14,448), Bootle-cum-Linacre (27,112), Heywood (23,050), Lancaster (20,724), Over Darwen (29,747), St Helens (57,234), Southport (32,191), Swinton and Pendlebury (18,108), and Tod-morden, chiefly in Yorkshire (23,861). There are besides a large number of other towns of over 10,000 inhabitants. The county palatine comprises six hundreds. It is attached to the duchy of Lancaster and so to the CTOWTI. It is in the northern circuit, and assizes are held for North Lancashire at Lancaster, and for South Lancashire at Liverpool and Manchester. The county has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into twenty sessional divisions. The cities of Liverpool and Manchester and boroughs of Bolton and Wigan have commissions of the peace and separate courts of quarter sessions ; and the boroughs of Ashton-under-Lyne, Blackburn, Bromley, Lancaster, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Salf ord, and Warrington have commissions of the peace. There are ten police divisions. Most of the municipal boroughs have their own police. The county is chiefly in the diocese of Manchester, formed in 1847; but the northern portion of Furness is in Carlisle, a portion formerly in Chester is now part of the newly formed diocese of Liverpool, and a small portion adjoining Yorkshire is in Ripon. The chancery of the duchy of Lancaster, still a crown office, was at one time a court of appeal for the chancery of the county palatine, but now even its jurisdiction in regard to the estates of the duchy is merely nominal. The chancery of the county palatine has con-current jurisdiction with the High Court of Chancery in all matters of equity within the county palatine, and independent jurisdiction in regard to a variety of other matters.

History and Antiquities. —Before the Roman invasion Lancashire formed part of the extensive northern province of the Brigantes, of whose occupation a few names and earthworks are the chief remains. The Romans held the district for th^ee centuries and a half, and erected various camps or stations at Manchester, Ribchester, Lan-caster, Colne, &c. They also constructed various roads, one enter-ing the county at Warrington, and passing almost north to Carlisle. Manchester appears to have been the chief centre of this district, as the roads branched out thence in every direction,—into Cheshire by Stockport, by Stretford, and by Warrington, to Yorkshire by Little-borough or by Overborough near Colne, by Ribchester to Lancaster, by Kirkham to the Wyre, and by Westhaughton and Blackrod to Preston. The Roman remains found within the county are thus summarized by Mr W. T. Watkin in'jthe Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire for 1880, p. 89:—

" Excluding perhaps Northumberland, I doubt whether any English county has produced so many elaborate articles in the precious metals and in bronze of the .Roman period. The silver arm from Littleborough, the gold bullie from Manchester and Overborough, the gold rings from Standish, the silver cup from Kmmott, the rich ' find' of silver articles from Walmersley, the bronze shield umbo from Kirkham, and the beautiful helmet from Ribchester, with the gold cup from the same place, form an almost unequalled collection of Britanno-Roman works of art."

After the departure of the Romans Lancashire was included in the kingdom of Strathclyde, which for some time retained its independ-ence ; but, although King Arthur, according to some authorities, fought several battles against them on the banks of the Douglas at Wigan, the Saxons gradually occupied the whole county, and during the Heptarchy it formed part of tho kingdom of Northumbria. How extensive was their occupation may be judged of from the Saxon names of towns and villages remaining to the present day. Towards the end of tho 9th century, however, the Danes invaded and per-manently settled in the Furness district, and also in the south-west coast of the county, and in the opposite peninsula of Wirral in Cheshire, in all which places many Danish names of villages are still found.





In Domesday the portion of Lancashire between the Ribble and the Mersey was included in Cheshire and the remainder in York-shire. A great part of the lands between the Ribble and Mersey was granted by the Conqueror to Roger do Poictou of the family of Montgomery. It was then conferred by Henry I. on Stephen de Blois, afterwards king, on the decease of whose brother William it reverted to the crown, and was granted to one of the earls of Chester. That line becoming extinct in 1232, it passed to William de Ferrers, and after the second revolt of Robert do Ferrers, King Henry III. granted it to his younger son Edmund Crouchback, and with it the earldom of the county. (See LANCASTER, HOUSE OF. ) In 1351 the county became a palatinate, and again, after sixteen years abeyance, in 1377. Henry IV., soon after ascending the throne, passed an Act declaring that the inheritance and titles of the duchy of Lancaster should remain to him and his heirs for ever a distinct and separate inheritance from the lands and possessions of the crown ; and from the reign of Henry V. the sovereigns of England have held the duchy, as well out of as within the county palatine. At the Reformation most of the leading families of the county adhered to the Catholic faith, and a few, as the Blimdels of Little Crosby and the Harringtons of Huyton, never left it. Dur-ing the civil wars they were ardent supporters of the royalist cause, especially the Derby family, and the county was frequently the scene of sieges, as at Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington, Lathom House, fcc, and of battles, as at Atherton Moor, Wigan, Preston, and Winwick.

The Cistercian abbey of Furness is perhaps one of the finest and most extensive ecclesiastical ruins in England. Whalley abbey, first founded at Stanlawe in Cheshire in 1178, and removed in 1296, belonged to the same order. There was a priory of Black Canons at Burscough, founded in the time of Richard I., one at Conishead dating from Henry II. 's reign, and one at Lancaster. A convent of Augustinian friars was founded at Cartmel in 1188, and one at War-rington about 1280. There are some remains of the Benedictine priory of Upholland, changed from a college of secular priests in 1318 ; and the same order had a priory at Lancaster founded in 1094, a cell at Lytham, of the reign of Richard I., and a priory at Penwortham, founded shortly after the time of the Conqueror. The Premonstratensians had Cockersa-nd Abbey, changed in 1190 from a hospital founded in the reign of Henry II., of which the chapter-house remains. At Kersal, near Manchester, there was a cell of Cluniac monks founded in the reign of John, while at Lan-caster there were convents of Dominicans and Franciscans, and at Preston a priory of Grey Friars built by Edmund, earl of Lancaster, son of Henry III.

Besides the churches mentioned under the several towns, the more interesting are those of Aldingham, Norman doorway; Aughton ; Cartmel priory church, with choir and transepts of the Transition between Norman and Early English, south chapel Decorated, and nave and windows Perpendicular ; Hawkshead; Heysham, Norman with traces of Saxon ; Hoole ; Huyton ; Kirk-by, rebuilt, with very ancient font; Kirkby Ireleth, late Perpen-dicular, with Norman doorway; Leyland; Melting (in Lonsdale), Perpendicular, with stained glass windows ; Middleton, rebuilt in 1524, but containing part of the old Norman church and several monuments; Ormskirk, Perpendicular with traces of Norman, hav-ing two towers one of which is detached and surmounted by a spire; Overtoil, with Norman doorway; Radcliffe, Norman; Sefton, Perpendicular, with fine brass and recumbent figures of the Moly-neux family, also a screen exquisitely carved; Stidd, near Rib-chester, Norman arch and old monuments ; Tunstall, late Perpen-dicular ; Upholland priory church, Early English, with low massy tower; Urswiek, Norman, with embattled tower and several old monuments ; Walton, anciently the parish church of Liverpool; Walton-le-Dale ; Warton, with old font; Whalley abbey church, Decorated and Perpendicular, with Runic stone monuments.

The principal old castles are those of Lancaster, noticed below ; Dalton, a small rude tower occupying the site of an older building ; two towers of Gleaston Castle, built by the lords of Aldingham in the 14th century ; the ruins of Greenhalgh Castle, built by the first earl of Derby, and demolished after a siege by order of parliament in 1649; the ruins of Fouldrey in Peel Island near the entrance to Barrow, erected in the reign of Edward III., now a most dilapi-dated ruin,but "massive, great, and impressively solemn." There are many old timber houses and mansions of special interest, as well as numerous modern seats.

The principal histories of Lancashire are those by Edward Baines (1824, 2d ed. 1836, edited by Harland, 1868-70) and by Thomas Baines (1868-69), Many interesting papers on special subjects will bo found in the 110 volumes issued by the Chetham Society, instituted at Manchester in 1843, and in the 32 volumes of Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Historic Society; also in the Pala-tine Note-Book for 1881. For a fuller list of the bibliography of the county and its several towns see Fishwick, Lancashire Library, 1877; Sutton, Lancashire Authors, 1S76; and Anderson, Topography of the United Kingdom, 1881.




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