A county of England, lying on the Irish Sea, and bounded by Cumberland, Westmoreland, Yorkshire, and Cheshire. It is 75 miles in length, and 30 in breadth. It is divided into 6 hundreds, which contain 27 market towns, 62 parishes, and 894 villages. This county comprises a variety of soil and face of country; there being mountains of more than 2000 feet high, in the north and eastern parts, with wide moorlands or heaths amongst them; extensive bogs or mosses, which yield only turf for fuel, and are very dangerous; and some most fertile land for agricultural purposes. it yields iron, coal, slate, and other building-stones; salt, &c. &c. Grazing is more attended to than agriculture. The fisheries, both in the rivers and the sea, are valuable. As a commercial and manufacturing county, Lancashire is distinguished beyond most others in the kingdom. Its principal manufactures are linen, silk, and cotton goods; fustians, counterpanes, shalloons, baize, serges, tapes, small wares, hats, sail-cloth, sacking, pins, iron goods, cast plate-glass, &c. Of the commerce of this county, it may suffice to observe, that Liverpool is now the second port in the United Kingdom. The principal rivers are the Mersey, Irwell, Ribble, Lune, Leven, Wyre, Hodder, Roche, Duddon, Winster, Kent, and Calder, and it has two considerable lakes, Windermere and Coniston Water. Lancaster is the county town. Population, 1,667,054. It returns 26 members to parliament.
(From Barclay's Complete and Universal Dictionary of 1842.)
County Library Headquarters,
P O Box 61
Lancashire County libraries have a list of addresses and telephone numbers of local libraries in the modern administrative county of Lancashire. Guide to Lancashire Local Studies Collections, published by Lancashire County Library, gives information about which libraries have local studies sections, the records they hold, and the name of the library holding the information for towns without their own local studies library.
The following books contain useful information about the history of Lancashire.
"Family structure in nineteenth century Lancashire" by Michael Anderson. Cambridge University Press 1971. The book is based on a study of the 19th century census enumerators' books, both across several decades, and also on an in depth study of the 2% sample for 1851.
Lancashire: a genealogical bibliography. 3 vols. F.F.H.S., in association with S. A.& M.J.Raymond, 1996.
Topics covered include the history of Lancashire, bibliographies and archival gu ides, journals and newspapers, pedigrees, biographical sources,occupational sour ces, family histories, parish registers, monumental inscriptions, probate record s, official lists of names, directories, estate and family papers, religious rec ords, records of national, county and local administration, educational sources, and migration. Published in three volumes:
v.2. Registers Inscriptions & Wills.
v.3. Family Histories & Pedigrees.
The CRO has a very good selection of Trade Commercial and Street Directories in Lancashire, e.g. Slaters or Kellys for every 3-4 years from 1850-1924. Prior to 1850 various years, after 1924 and up to date, many various. Microfilm of the Universal British Directory of Trade and Commerce 1791-1798, Baines History, Directory and Gazetteer of the County Palatine of Lancaster 1824-1825.
Lancashire was reduced in area as a result of the Local Government Act 1972. From 1 April 1974 the Furness area (the area of Lancashire north of Morecambe Bay) became part of Cumbria, the south east became part of Greater Manchester county, and the south west became part of Merseyside county. Warrington town and surrounding districts including the villages of Winwick and Croft and Risley and Culcheth were moved into Cheshire. A part of what was the West Riding of Yorkshire near Clitheroe, was transferred into Lancashire. Bear this in mind when deciding which current record office holds the information you require.
Hundreds: Lancashire used the term Hundred to define an ancient area of administration which probably derives from the area having to supply 100 armed knights to serve the monarch or similar. For Taxation purposes, the Hundred was used for division until into the 19c.
County Hundreds are:
Amounderness: roughly North of Preston to South of Lancaster
Blackburn: east of Preston to Yorkshire West Riding
The starting point here is to establish the name of the manor or manors within the Parish you are researching. The Victoria County Histories for Lancashire come in eight volumes. within this set, divided into Hundreds, are to be found historical and geographical detail on every village, township and manor in the County.
Each Manor may have surviving court rolls from a Court Baron or Court Leet, adjacent Rolls should be checked when looking for tenants on a Manor.
Surviving Manorial records, in various forms, should be with the County Record Office and are usually deposited from Private Collections. The Guide to the Lancashire Record Office will point to any deposited records via the index section, look up the name of the area you need. Failing that, the manorial Documents Register, Quality House, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London, holds a list of all deposited Manorial Documents in CROs.
Most District libraries will hold a collection of newspapers on film covering their own area. Harris Library Preston holds 14 different regional newspapers. Manchester Local Studies hold the Manchester Mercury from 1752-1830 amongst others.
Many years of enquiries have resulted in a lot of material being accumulated relating to different aspects of the textile industry in Lancashire and there would be useful information found on the various mills, textile giants of industry and the lives of ordinary mill workers [Local Studies HQ, Preston].
When a person dies, probate is the act of proving a will, or if none has been made, deciding who will adminster the deceased's estate. The Lancashire Probate records, require a little knowledge of geography to find the ones that may help you in your research.
The Chetham Society is the oldest historical society in North-West England. It was founded in 1843 for the publication of Remains Historical and Literary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester, and was named in honour of Humphrey Chetham.
Land Tax 1780-1832. Good survival for both Lonsdale Hundreds. Some years missing from other Hundreds or Parishes missing from some years but reasonably good overall survival, found at County Record Office. Look up the name of the town or village in the back of the guide.
Window Tax: Very little at all See Gibson Guide Land & Window Tax assessments (ISBN 1 872094 65 1)Pub FFHS 1993 £2.50
Local Studies libraries tend to have a small collection of borough or district poll books. The Harris Library, Preston, hold Poll lists for Preston 1807-1868, Burgess Rolls 1844-1864, Electoral registers for much of the 19c.
There are many pieces of basic information that you as a user have, but are invaluable to newcomers. Frequently these are based on local knowledge or personal experience. This sort of information can easily be added to the Lancashire pages, with very little effort on your part. If you would like to provide some information please have a look at the information required page.