An ancient, well-built, and improving town. On the summit of a hill stands the castle, which is not ancient, but large and strong, and now serves both as the shire house and the county gaol. On the top of this castle is a square tower, called John of Gaunt's Chair, where there is a fine prospect of the mountains of Cumberland, and of the course of the Lune; the view towards the sea extending to the Isle of Man. The town hall is a handsome structure. Lancaster carries on some foreign trade, especially to the West Indies, America, and the Baltic. The exports are hardware, woollen goods, candles, and cabinet work, for the making of which last it is noted; and it has also a manufacture of sail-cloth. It is seated on the river Lune, which here forms a port for vessels of moderate size, and over which it has a new stone bridge of five elliptical arches. It is 235 miles from London. Markets, Wednesday and Saturday, and one on every other Wednesday for cattle. Population, 24,707.
(From Barclay's Complete and Universal Dictionary of 1842.)