The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868
"ORMSKIRK, a parish, post, and market town, in the hundred of West Derby, county Lancaster, 12 miles N.E. of Liverpool, and 12 from Wigan. It is a junction station on the East Lancashire railway, where the St. Helen's branch turns off. It is situated on the old road between Liverpool and Preston, near the Douglas navigation, and near the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The parish, which is of large extent, comprises the townships of Bickerstaffe, Burscough, Lathom, Ormskirk, Scarisbrick, and Skelmersdale, with a population of 17,049, of which 6,426 are within the town limits. Ormskirk is a polling and petty sessions town, and has been much improved of late years. It is governed by a local board of health, and by a constable and other minor officers chosen at the court leet, which is held in October. It contains four streets, diverging at right angles from a central area used as the market-place. It is lit with gas, and is amply supplied with water. There are a savings-bank, townhall, and corn market, sessions house, dispensary, union poorhouse, and gas-works. The petty sessions for the division are held monthly, also a county court at the sessions house. An extensive retail trade is done for supply of the surrounding country, and some of the inhabitants are engaged in the manufacture of rope, hats, and silk weaving. There are also a large iron foundry, two breweries, and establishments for balance-making. The soil is of a mossy and loamy nature, with a subsoil of sand and clay. Great quantities of carrots and of early potatoes are grown for supply of the Liverpool market. The town has long been celebrated for its gingerbread, which is exported. There are considerable coal mines within the parish. Ormskirk Poor-law Union comprises 21 parishes or townships within the county of Lancaster, it is also the seat of a superintendent registry district. The living is a vicarage with the curacy of Scarisbrick annexed, in the diocese of Chester, value £290. The church, dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, is a commodious stone structure with a square embattled tower and a steeple, detached from each other. The bell tower is said to have been erected at the suppression of Burscough priory, from which place the peal of eight bells were removed to Ormskirk. The church contains N., W., and S. galleries, and on the S.E. side of the chancel is a mortuary chapel of the Stanley family, in which are marble effigies of the first Earl and Countess of Derby; likewise, in the Eccleston chapel is the brass effigy of a knight in armour. In addition to the parish church are the following district churches-viz: at Bickerstaffe, Burscough Bridge, Lathom, Newburgh, Lathom St. James's, and Skelmersdale, the livings of which are all perpetual curacies, varying in value from £150 to £60. The church at Burscough Bridge is a modern edifice with a campanile turret, erected in 1831. The parochial charities produce about £521 per annum. The free grammar school was founded about 1614, and is endowed with various benefactions producing about £150 per annum. There is also another endowed school in Derby-street, founded in 1724, by James Earl of Derby, for a Blue-coat school, but now called the United Charity School, with accommodation for upwards of 800 scholars, and conducted on the National plan. The Independents, Wesleyans, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics have each a place of worship. The union workhouse, situated in the Wigan road, was erected at an outlay of about £4,000. There is 6 weekly newspaper published in the town, called the Ormskirk Advertiser. The Earl of Derby is lord of the manor and principal landowner. Market day is Thursday. Fairs are held on Whit Monday and Tuesday and the 10th September."