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BURNLEY, a town, a township, four chapelries, a sub-d., and a district in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Burn, immediately above its influx to the West Calder, 22 miles N of Manchester. The Leeds and Liverpool canal is adjacent; and railways go in three directions, toward Skipton, Todmorton, and Blackburn. The town itself is almost wholly modern; has undergone vast increase since the latter part of last century; and owes its character to the rise and enterprize of manufactures. It is built chiefly of freestone; and presents a fair appearance. The town has a head post office, two railway stations, a telegraph office, a banking office, four chief inns, a mechanics' institute, and a public reading room; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Monday; and fairs on 6 March, Easter-Eve, 10 July, and 11 Oct. Woollens were the first great manufacture; but cottons are now the staple. There are three worsted mills, and about thirty cotton mills. There are also calico printing-works, corn mills, iron foundries, brass foundries, machinery-works, rope-walks, tan-works, and breweries. Much trade is carried on likewise from neighbouring collieries and freestone quarries. The town was enfranchised by the reform act of 1867, and sends one member to parliament. Pop. in 1851, 20,828; in 1861, 28,700. Houses, 5,085. The township is of less extent than the town, which extends into the township of Habergham-Eaves. Acres, 1,839. Real property, 71,779; of which 10,136 are in mines. Pop., 19,971. Houses, 3,515.

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

Archives and libraries

Burnley Central Library,
Grimshaw Street,
BB11 2BD



Details about the census records, and indexes for Burnley.

Church History

Church Records

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Burnley area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Burnley area is Burnley and Pendle.

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Burnley which are provided by:


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

Historical Geography

In 1835 Burnley was a chapelry and township in the parish of Whalley.


View maps of Burnley and places within its boundaries.

Maps of Burnley East and West around 1890.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SD836320 (Lat/Lon: 53.784060, -2.250389), Burnley which are provided by:

Poor Houses, Poor Law

The Workhouse site has an interesting description of Burnley workhouse.

Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Burnley 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.