In 1835 Over Darwen was a chapelry and township in the parish of Blackburn
Historically, Darwen was (and still is) divided into two districts, originally known as Upper Darwen and Nether or Lower Darwen. Upper Darwen later became Over Darwen and finally just Darwen, while the other remains as Lower Darwen to this day.
In the 1600's the only place of worship in Upper Darwen was the chapelry of St. James', situated on high ground on the eastern flanks of the valley wherein flows the River Darwen and lies the town itself. As the separatist movement within the established church of the middle 1600's spread, Upper Darwen became quite a stronghold and a chapel was built, close to St. James', but in a position slightly lower down the hill. To avoid confusion (little did they realise!!) the two chapels became known as Higher Chapel (St. James') and Lower Chapel (the independent church). Both chapels lay within the Parish of Blackburn, with St. Mary the Virgin as the Parish Church. At that time, the two chapels were restricted to performing baptisms and burials, while marriages could only be performed at St. Mary's, Blackburn. Hence, records quote Darwen as part of the parish of Blackburn, although in reality the town was fiercely independent of it's bigger neighbour (and still is to this day, in spite of the recent re-organisations in local government which has combined the two into "Blackburn with Darwen" or, as the locals prefer, "Darwen with Blackburn"!).