GARSTANG, a small town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Wyre, the Preston and Lancaster canal, and the Preston and Lancaster railway, 11 miles South of Lancaster. It was occupied by the Pretender, for a short time, in 1715. It is irregularly built; possesses one main street; and presents an unattractive appearance. It has a bridge over the Wyre, a town-hall, a corn-exchange, a church, three dissenting chapels, a head post office, and a railway station; is a seat of sessions and a polling-place; was incorporated in 1314, with renewal of charter in 1680; and is governed by a bailiff and seven capital burgesses. Fairs are held on Holy Thursday, 10 July, and 22 Nov.; a good corn trade is carried on; and many of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood are employed in corn mills, worsted mills, and cotton factories. A tower of Greenhaugh Castle, built by the first Earl of Derby, stands on the north-east side of the town; and a fine aqueduct of the Preston and Lancaster canal crosses the Wyre ¼ of a mile to the south. The township comprises 500 acres. Real property, £2,684. Pop. in 1851, 839; in 1861, 714. Houses, 158. The decrease of pop. was caused by the migration of operatives and the pulling down of old cottages. The parish contains also the townships of Claughton, Catterall, Kirkland, Nateby, Winmarleigh, Cabus, Barnacre-with-Bonds, Nether Wyresdale, Forton, Holleth, Cleveley, Bilsborrow, and Pilling. Acres, 31,403. Real property, £44,864; of which £55 are in quarries. Pop. in 1851, 7,465; in 1861, 7,221. Houses, 1,364. The property, in most parts, is not much divided. The Wyre, throughout its connexion with the parish, abounds with trout, chub, gudgeon, and other fish. The cattle, in the several townships, are a fine well-shaped breed, of smaller size than the ordinary Lancashire breed. The ancient parish church was so sapped by inundation of the Wyre, that it required to be restored in 1746; was restored again, with internal improvement, in 1865; is a fine edifice, situated at Church Town, about 1½ mile from the town, and is dedicated to St. Helen. The church now in the town was originally a chapel of ease, and is dedicated to St. Thomas. The living of St. Helen is a vicarage, and that of St. Thomas is a p. curacy in the diocese of Manchester. Value of St. Helen, £400;* of St. Thomas, £150.* Patrons of St. Helen, R. and T. Pedder, Esqs.; of St. Thomas, the Vicar of Garstang. The chapelries of Calder Vale and Pilling are separate benefices. There are dissenting chapels in some of the townships; and there are a Roman Catholic chapel and school, a national school, an endowed school with £6, and other charities with £180. The sub-district includes Bleasdale chapelry in Lancaster parish, but contains only twelve townships of Garstang, excluding those of Bilsborrow and Pilling. Acres, 31,034. Pop., 6,029. Houses, 1,145. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Stalmine, containing the township of Pilling in Garstang parish, the chapelry of Hambleton in Kirkham parish, and the townships of Stalmine-with-Stainall and Preesall-with-Hackinsall in Lancaster parish; and the sub-district of St. Michael-on-Wyre, containing the township of Bilsborrow in Garstang parish, the township of Myerscough in Lancaster parish, and the townships of Out-Rawcliffe, Great Eccleston, Inskip-with-Sowerby, and Upper Rawcliffe-with-Tarnacre in St. Michael-on-Wyre parish. Acres, 62,617. Poor-rates in 1862, £4,536. Pop. in 1851, 12,695; in 1861, 12,425. Houses, 2,380. Marriages in 1860, 72; births, 390, of which 28 were illegitimate; deaths, 224, of which 56 were at ages under 5 years, and 6 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 788; births, 3,984; deaths, 2,243. The places of worship, in 1851, were 11 of the Church of England, with 4,590 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 645 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 210 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 200 s.; 8 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,377 s.; and 4 of Roman Catholics, with 1,358 s. The schools were 24 public day schools, with 1,338 scholars; 20 private day schools, with 491 s.; and 28 Sunday schools, with 2,103 s. The workhouse is in Claughton.
John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72)