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Help and advice for Clitheroe

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CLITHEROE, a town, a township, a chapelry, a sub-district: and a district, in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Ribble, and on the Blackburn and Chatburn railway, at the foot of Pendle hill, adjacent to the boundary with Yorkshire, 10 miles NW of Blackburn. The town occupies a rising-ground; contains many modern houses; and presents the ordinary appearance of a seat of manufacture. It has a post office under Blackburn, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, three chief inns, a moot-hall, a court-house of 1864, two churches, three dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a cemetery of 1862, a mechanics' institute, and a free grammar-school. St. Mary's church has a fine tower and spire, and occupies the site of a previous edifice. St. James' church is a modern structure, in the Norman style, with a tower. Nearly one-third of the inhabitants are employed in extensive paper-works and four cotton factories. The town is a borough by prescription; is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; sent two members to parliament from the time of Elizabeth till the act of 1832; and now sends one. The municipal borough is conterminate with Clitheroe township; while the parliamentary borough includes also the townships of Twiston, Downham, Chatburn, Worston, Mearley, Pendleton, Wiswall, Whalley, and Little Mitton, all in the parish of Whalley. Direct taxes in 1857, £4,987. Electors in 1868, 484. Pop. of the p. borough in 1841, 11,324; in 1861, 10,864. Houses, 2,247.

John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72) more ...


Archives and Libraries

Clitheroe Library,
Church Street,



Monumental inscriptions for Clitheroe cemetery, St Mary Magdalene, and for St Michael & St John have been published by the LFH&HS.




Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Clitheroe area is Ribble Valley.


Description and Travel

Some pictures of Clitheroe.

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Ask for a calculation of the distance from Clitheroe to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

  • "CLITHEROE, a township, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, in the parish of Whalley, upper division of the hundred of Blackburn, in the county of Lancaster, 101 miles N. of Blackburn, and 217 from London by road, or 224 by railway. It is a station on the Bolton, Blackburn, and Clitheroe branch of the Lancashire and Wrest Yorkshire railway. It was anciently called Cliderhow, and is supposed to derive its name from the British Cled-dwr, signifying the hill or rock by the waters, and the Saxon word how, a hill. The town is pleasantly situated to the S. of the Pendle hills, on the picturesque banks of the Ribble. At the Conquest the honour of Clitheroe, including the greater part of the hundreds of Blackburn and Salford, and the manor of Slaidburn, in Yorkshire, were granted to Ilbert de Lacey Lord of Pontefract, whose son Robert, in the reign of William Rufus, built the castle, and Henry de Lacey, in 1149, obtained for Clitheroe its first charter from the crown. It reverted, through the marriage of Blanch, heiress of the De Laceys, with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, to the crown, and was subsequently granted by Charles II. to General Monk for his services in bringing about the Restoration. The manor is now held by the Duke of Buccleuch. The town was formerly governed by two bailiffs; but on the passing of the Municipal Reform Act, in 1835, it was incorporated under a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. It is well supplied with water, and the gasworks were established in 1837. Petty sessions are held in the townhall, and the mayor and recorder hold a borough court. It is the head of a County Court district, and of a Poor-law Union. The board of guardians meet weekly. The town contains several cotton-mills and an iron foundry. The limits of the parliamentary borough were considerably extended by the Reform Act, and now include besides Clitheroe, the townships of Chatburn, Coldcoats, Downham, Henthorne, Mearley, Mitten, Pendleton, Twiston, Whalley, Wiswell, and Worston, comprising an area of 2,375 acres, with a population, according to the census of 1861, of 10,864, inhabiting 2,247 houses, while the municipal borough contains only 7,000, inhabiting 1,433 houses. Previous to the passing of the Reform Bill it returned two members to Parliament, but now only one. In the town stand the two churches of St. Mary Magdalene and St. James.

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Historical Geography

In 1835 Clitheroe was a Township and Chapelry in the Parish of Whalley.

You can see the administrative areas in which Clitheroe has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



The history of Clitheroe from Pigot's Lancashire directory, 1830.


Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Clitheroe was in the Archdeaconry of Chester, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Chester are held at the Lancashire Record Office.


You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.