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Chorley

Gazetteers

1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

"CHORLEY, a parish and market town, in the hundred of Leyland, in the county of Lancaster, 32 miles S.E. of Lancaster, and 208 N.W. of London by road, or 206 by the North-Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire railways, on the latter of which it is a principal station. The town is pleasantly situated on an eminence in the centre of the country, on the great western road from London to the N., near the Leeds and Liverpool canal, which, in conjunction with the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, affords facilities for the carriage of goods to all parts of the kingdom. The small river Cner falls into the Yarrow about a mile below the town. From the former stream Chorley derives the first syllable of its name, and the last from the family of Loy, its ancient proprietors, who have also given their name to the hundred. In ancient times the town was of small importance, and Leland describes it as a "wonderful poore, or rather no market town;" but of late years it has been fast rising in prosperity, and has more than quadrupled in extent and population during the present century. The town is Lighted with gas, and is well supplied with water, which can be raised to the roofs of the highest buildings. Chorley has some beautiful scenery round it, and in the neighbourhood are several elegant mansions. The chief articles of manufacture are calicoes, muslins, and ginghams. The town contains nine cotton factories, two print-works, two weaving sheds, bleach-works, and a paper-mill, and in the vicinity are found, in large quantities, coal, slate, iron-ore, and millstone, all of which are worked, and afford employment to a great number of the inhabitants. Four miles from the town are several mines of lead-ore and alum-shale, with carbonate of barytes. A new patent brick and drain-tile manufactory has been recently established. The government of the town is vested in a chief constable and visiting magistrates, who hold their weekly meetings in the town hall, a neat stone building, erected in 1802 at the sole expense of the late John Hollinshead, Esq. The under part of the building is open, and is used as a market-house. There are also a dispensary, established in 1828, a savings-bank, and a bath-house attached to the mineral spa, which takes its rise in the vicinity of the town. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Manchester, value £1,022, in the patronage of the Rev. J. S. Master, incumbent. The, church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, is an ancient edifice, with a beautiful porch in the Norman style on the S. side. The tower, which is embattled and has pinnacles, is of later date. It formerly possessed a relic, brought from Normandy by Sir Rowland Stanley, said to have been the head of its tutelary saint. Besides the parish church there are two new churches, one dedicated to St. George, the other to St. Peter; the livings of both are perpetual curacies in the gift of the rector. St. George's church is an elegant modern structure, with a square embattled tower, containing 2,012 sittings, 1,590 of which are free. It was completed in 1825, under the direction of the Parliamentary Commissioners, at a cost of near £14,000. St. Peter's church is of recent erection. The Independents, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics have chapels. There is a grammar school adjoining the churchyard, with a small endowment, besides National, infant, Roman Catholic and Dissenting schools. An almshouse for six aged persons was endowed in 1652 by Hugh Cooper, and there are other charities for the benefit of the poor. Chorley is the head of a County Court district and Poor-law Union, containing 26 parishes and townships. Petty sessions for the division are held weekly, and a court-leet annually by the lord of the manor, H. H. Fazakerley, Esq. Tuesday is market day, and fairs are held for horned cattle on the 26th March, and the 5th May; for horses on the 21st October; and for woollen cloth, hardware, and pedlery on the 4th September and two following days."