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. It was known in early times as Clyderhow, a name partly ancient British, partly Saxon; and it seems to have possessed considerable importance in the time of Henry I. A castle was built, contiguous to it, on an elevated lime-stone rock, in the time of Henry II., by Robert de Lacy; made a figure for the royalists in the latter part of the civil war; was dismantled in 1649; and is represented now by only a square tower and a distantly enclosing wall. Fine views of the adjaceut country are obtained from the castle tower and from Pendle hill. 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. The free grammar school was founded, in 1554, by Philip and Mary; and has an endowed income of £452. An hospital for lepers anciently stood at Edisforth, on the further side of the Ribble. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; and fairs, on 24 and 25 March, 1 and 2 Aug., the Thursday before the fourth Saturday after Michaelmas day, and 7 and 8 Dec. 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.
The township comprises 2,324 acres. Real property, £20,462; of which £794 are in quarries. Pop., 6,990. Houses, 1, 432. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged, from 1348, to the duchy of Lancaster; was given, by Charles II., to General Monk; and belongs now to the Duke of Buccleuch. Good limestone is found and worked. The chapelry is conterminate with the township or the m. borough; and includes the vicarage of St. Mary and the rectory of St. James in the diocese of Manchester. Value of St. Mary, £180:* of St. James, £85.* Patron of St. Mary, the Rev. J. H. Anderton; of St. James, Five Trustees. The sub-district contains the townships of Chitheroe, Twiston, Downham, Chatburn, Worston, and Mearley in the p. borough, and those of Bashall-Eaves, Waddington, Grindleton, and West Bradford in Mitton parish, Yorkshire. Acres, 18,776. Pop., 9,804. Houses, 2,075. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Whalley, containing the other townships of the p. borough, and that of Great Mitton in Mitton parish; the sub-district of Chipping, containing Chipping parish, two townships of Whalley parish, and three of Mitton; the sub-district of Slaidburn, containing Slaidburn parish and the Bowland forest part of Whalley, both in Yorkshire; and the sub-district of Gisburn, containing Bolton-by-Bowland parish, seven townships of Gisburn parish, and the extra-parochial tract of Sawley, all in Yorkshire. Acres, 114,697. Poor-rates, in 1862, £6,263. Pop. in 1841, 23,017; in 1861, 20,476. Houses, 4,142. Marriages, in 1860, 174; births, 640, of which 51 were illegitimate; deaths, 436, of which 130 were at ages under 5 years, and 9 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,596; births, 6,502; deaths, 4,474. The places of worship in 1851 were 20 of the Church of England, with 8,432 sittings; 11 of independents, with 2,056 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 674 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 120 s.; 16 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 2,991 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 150 s.; 7 of the Wesleyan Association, with 1,845 s.; 1 of Inghamites, with 150 s.; 1 undefined, with 40 s.; 2 of Latter Day Saints, with 230 s.; and 4 of Roman Catholics, with 1,407 s. The schools were 34 public day schools, with 2,334 scholars; 24 private day schools, with 582 s.; 53 Sunday schools, with 5,495 s.; and 8 evening schools for adults, with 157 s. The workhouse is in Bolton-by-Bowland.
John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)