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1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

"CLITHEROE, a township, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, in the parish of Whalley, upper division of the hundred of Blackburn, in the county of Lancaster, 101 miles N. of Blackburn, and 217 from London by road, or 224 by railway. It is a station on the Bolton, Blackburn, and Clitheroe branch of the Lancashire and Wrest Yorkshire railway. It was anciently called Cliderhow, and is supposed to derive its name from the British Cled-dwr, signifying the hill or rock by the waters, and the Saxon word how, a hill. The town is pleasantly situated to the S. of the Pendle hills, on the picturesque banks of the Ribble. At the Conquest the honour of Clitheroe, including the greater part of the hundreds of Blackburn and Salford, and the manor of Slaidburn, in Yorkshire, were granted to Ilbert de Lacey Lord of Pontefract, whose son Robert, in the reign of William Rufus, built the castle, and Henry de Lacey, in 1149, obtained for Clitheroe its first charter from the crown. It reverted, through the marriage of Blanch, heiress of the De Laceys, with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, to the crown, and was subsequently granted by Charles II. to General Monk for his services in bringing about the Restoration. The manor is now held by the Duke of Buccleuch. The town was formerly governed by two bailiffs; but on the passing of the Municipal Reform Act, in 1835, it was incorporated under a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors. It is well supplied with water, and the gasworks were established in 1837. Petty sessions are held in the townhall, and the mayor and recorder hold a borough court. It is the head of a County Court district, and of a Poor-law Union. The board of guardians meet weekly. The town contains several cotton-mills and an iron foundry. The limits of the parliamentary borough were considerably extended by the Reform Act, and now include besides Clitheroe, the townships of Chatburn, Coldcoats, Downham, Henthorne, Mearley, Mitten, Pendleton, Twiston, Whalley, Wiswell, and Worston, comprising an area of 2,375 acres, with a population, according to the census of 1861, of 10,864, inhabiting 2,247 houses, while the municipal borough contains only 7,000, inhabiting 1,433 houses. Previous to the passing of the Reform Bill it returned two members to Parliament, but now only one. In the town stand the two churches of St. Mary Magdalene and St. James. The former is an ancient stone structure in the Gothic style of architecture, with a fine tower and spire, containing a peal of eight bells. It contains several ancient monuments and a stained-glass window. The latter is modern, in the pointed style, with a tower but no spire. The livings of both are perpetual curacies of the respective values of £200 and £90. They both have houses and glebe. The Independents, Wesleyans, Primitive and Association Methodists, and the Roman Catholics have chapels. There is a royal free grammar school, founded by Philip and Mary in 1554, and endowed with £400 per annum, besides National, British, and Roman Catholic schools. There is a reading-room and a subscription news-room at the townhall. Tuesday is market day for corn, meat, and provisions, and every alternate Monday for cattle. Fairs are held on the 24th and 25th. March, the 1st and 2nd August, the 4th Friday after Michaelmas, and the 7th December."