ORMSKIRK, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Lancashire. The town stands on the East Lancashire railway, at the junction of the branch from St. Helens, 2½ miles S E of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and 12 N by E of Liverpool. It does not figure in Domesday book; yet it is known to have taken its name from a "kirk" or church, founded by Orm, a Saxon magnate who acquired large estates, in the vicinity, by marriage with the daughter of a Norman nobleman; and it appears on record in the time of Richard I., when a priory was founded at Burscough by Robert Fitz-Henry, who is supposed to have been a descendantof Orm. The manor belonged, till the Reformation, to Burscough priory; and belongs now to the Earl of Derby. The town is well-built; contains four chief streets, going rectangularly from a central market-place; is governedby a local board of health, and well supplied with gas and water; is a seat of petty sessions and county-courts, and a polling-place; publishes two weekly newspapers; and has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, two chief inns, a town hall and corn-market, a sessions-house and magistrates' rooms, a news-room and library, a church, three dis-senting chapels, a free grammar-school, a national school, a dispensary, a workhouse, and charities 354. The town hall is a very plain building, in Church-street; and contains an upper room, used for concerts, balls, and public meetings. The sessions-house and magistrates' rooms are a handsome stone building, in Derby street; include police-offices; and adjoin a neat savings' bank. The church is large and of various dates; comprises nave, three aisles, chancel, and three mortuary chapels; has a fine detached embattled tower, with an unconnected sidespire, and supposed to have been erected at the suppression of Burscough priory; and contains, in one of the mortuary chapels, an effigies of a knight, in the other, monuments of the Stanley family The dissenting chapels are Independent, Wesleyan, and Unitarian. The free grammar-school was founded in 1614, under the will of Henry Ascroft; is a Tudor structure, in Ruff-lane; and has an endowed income of 139. The national school was erected by voluntary contributions; is a stone building in the Tudor style, in Derby-street; possesses capacity forupwards of 800 scholars; and the Sunday school has an endowed income of 28. The dispensary is a small but ornamental building, in the Doric style, in Burscough-street. The workhouse stands in Wigan-road; was built at a cost of about 4,000; and, at the census of 1861, had 76 inmates. A weekly market is held on Thursday; cattle fairs are held on Whit-Monday, Whit-Tuesday, and 10 Sept.; rope-making and hand-loom silk-weavingare carried on; and there are several breweries, and an iron-foundry. Acres of the town, 572. Real property, 13, 597; of which 323 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 6,183; in 1861, 6,426. Houses, 1,193.

The township is conterminate with the town. The parish contains also the townships of Burscough, Scarisbrick, Bickerstaffe, Skelmersdale, and Lathom. Acres, 30,832. Real property, 75,995, of which 2,594 are in mines, and 62 in quarries. Pop. in 1851, 16,490; in 1861, 17,049. Houses, 3,150. Facts and objects of interest in other parts than the town, are noticed in the articles on the other several townships. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Scarisbrick, in the diocese of Chester. Value, 290.* Patron, the Earl of Derby. The sub-district is conterminate with the town or township. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Scarisbrick, containing the townships of Scarisbrick and Burscough; the sub-district of Lathom, containing the townships of Lathom and Skelmersdale, and the Croston township of Bispham; the sub-district of Bickerstaffe, containing the township of Bickerstaffe, the Halsall township of Melling, and the Walton-on-the-Hill township of Simonswood; the sub-district of Aughton, containing the parish of Aughton, and the Halsall chapelries of Maghull and Lydiate; the sub-district of Halsall, containing the Halsall townships of Halsall and Down-Holland, the sub-district of Formby, containing the parish of Altcar, the Walton-on-the-Hill township of Formby, and the North Meols township of Birkdale; the sub-district of North Meols, conterminate with the township of North Meols; and the sub-district of Tarleton, containing the parishes of Tarleton, Rufford, and Hesketh-with-Becconsall. Acres, 111,968. Poor-rates in 1863, 10,806. Pop. in 1851, 38,307; in 1861, 46,252. Houses, 8,330. Marriages in 1863, 368; births, 1,676, of which 140 were illegitimate; deaths, 994, of which 384 were at ages under 5 years, and 28 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years, 1851-60, 2,735; births, 14,349; deaths, 8,141. The places of worship, in 1851, were 23 of the Church of England, with 10,545 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 1,550 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 86 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 80 s.; 11 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,955 s.; 4 of Primitive Methodists, with 790 s.; 2 of Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, with 500 s.; and 7 of Roman Catholics, with 2,006 s. The schools were 37 public day-schools, with 3,960 scholars; 54 private day-schools, with 1,421 s.; and 46 Sunday schools, with 5,320 s.

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