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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.)

Archives and libraries


The following books contain useful information about the history of Lancashire.

An index to place names mentioned in the titles of topographical articles in the published volumes of the Victoria County History of Lancashire.


The list of Lancashire crematoria opening dates may be useful.


Church History

Church Records

You may also find it worthwhile searching for churches in the GENUKI church database.


Civil Registration


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.

The list of Trade Directory Holdings in Northern Libraries contains details of holdings in those libraries in "Lancashire over the Sands".

Emigration and Immigration

Lancaster castle has provided the names of just some of the convicts transported to Australia


John Turner has made available a copy of Joseph Aston's Lancashire Gazetteer, first published in 1808. GMCRO also provide a Greater Manchester gazetteer.

You may also find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI gazetteer.



The WorldgenWeb project also has pages for Lancashire genealogy.

Surname lists:

E-mail lists:

People volunteering to lookup Lancashire information can be found at the Lookup Exchange.

Genoot has a section on Lancashire genealogy.

Historical Geography

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:



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.


Military Records

The Local Studies HQ(Preston) has a fairly good selection of Army Regimental and Battalion Histories. They also have general publications on the history of the army.

The South Lancashire Regimental Museum, which was previously at Warrington, has now been moved to Fulwood Barracks at Preston.

The number of the barracks itself is 01772 716543, but if you want to get straight through to the museum you can ring 01772 260362.

The Address is:

Major Maher
Queen's Lancashire Regiment
Fulwood Barracks

They have got a room with the South Lancashire Regimental Museum items from Warrington, and they are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.30-4-30.

The Fusiliers' Museum, Lancashire.


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].

North West Gas Historical Society
c/o The Howard Greenfield Archive
British Gas plc
Common Lane
Manchester M31 4BR

History of Policing in Lancashire.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

You can find out about the workhouse and the development of the Poor Laws with pictures of some of them. A good starting point at this site is the map of north west poor law unions.

Probate Records

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.



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

Town Records

Details of markets in Lancashire.

Voting Registers

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.

Help wanted

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.