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Help and advice for Burnley

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"BURNLEY, a town, a township, four chapelries, a sub-d., and a district in Lancashire. The town stands on the river Burn, immediately above its influx to the West Calder, 22 miles N of Manchester. The Leeds and Liverpool canal is adjacent; and railways go in three directions, toward Skipton, Todmorden, and Blackburn. The town itself is almost wholly modern; has undergone vast increase since the latter part of last century; and owes its character to the rise and enterprize of manufactures. It is built chiefly of freestone; and presents a fair appearance. The town has a head post office, two railway stations, a telegraph office, a banking office, four chief inns, a mechanics' institute, and a public reading room; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Monday; and fairs on 6 March, Easter-Eve, 10 July, and 11 Oct. Woollens were the first great manufacture; but cottons are now the staple. There are three worsted mills, and about thirty cotton mills. There are also calico printing-works, corn mills, iron foundries, brass foundries, machinery-works, rope-walks, tan-works, and breweries. Much trade is carried on likewise from neighbouring collieries and freestone quarries. The town was enfranchised by the reform act of 1867, and sends one member to parliament. Pop. in 1851, 20,828; in 1861, 28,700. Houses, 5,085. The township is of less extent than the town, which extends into the township of Habergham-Eaves. Acres, 1,839. Real property, £71,779; of which £10,136 are in mines. Pop., 19,971. Houses, 3,515."

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


Archives and Libraries

Burnley Central Library,
Grimshaw Street,
BB11 2BD




There are more than 30 churches identified in this place. Please click here for a complete list.

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Burnley area or see them printed on a map.


Civil Registration

The Register Office covering the Burnley area is Burnley and Pendle.


Description and Travel

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Click here for a list of nearby places.

1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

  • "BURNLEY, a chapelry and market town in the parish of Whalley, hundred of Blackburn, in the county palatine of Lancaster, 28 miles to the N. of Manchester, and 217 miles to the N.N.W. of London, by the London and North-Western and the Lancashire and Yorkshire railways, with the latter of which it is connected by a branch line of 9 miles from Todmorden. There are three railway stations in the town. It is situated in a pleasant, fertile, and wooded valley, on the hanks of the river Burn, a branch of the Calder, into which it runs about a mile below the town. It is an ancient town, and is thought to have been the site of a Roman station, numerous Roman relics having been found in the vicinity. A spot named Saxifield, near the town, is noted by tradition as the scene of a battle about the end of the 6th century. Burnley is an important seat of manufacturing industry, and has made rapid progress in population and prosperity during the present century. The cotton manufacture has become the staple business of the place, which was formerly the woollen and worsted manufacture. There are many large mills, some print-works, several flour-mills, besides iron and brass foundries, engine manufactories, several breweries, rope-walks, and tanneries. Coal is obtained in abundance in the neighbourhood, and there are quarries of good freestone and slate. The greater part of the town is of modern date; the houses are mostly built of stone, and the streets are paved and lighted with gas. The water supply is abundant. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes by the town, winding nearly round it, and greatly promotes its trade by opening easy communication with both the North and Irish Seas. Burnley is the seat of a Poor-law Union, and the head of a County Court district. It is also a polling-place for the north division of the county. Petty sessions are held weekly in the court-house, the chief public building. In the town are the Union poorhouse and a savings-bank. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Manchester, of the annual value of £1,400, in the patronage of R. T. Parker, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, has been recently repaired. It is a large and very ancient edifice of stone, exhibiting the early English and several later styles of architecture, but much altered by enlargement and repairs at various times.

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  • "ROSE GROVE, in the parish of Whalley, it is a station on the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, where the Burnley and Todmorden branch turns off, 1½ mile from Burnley."

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  • "TOWNELEY, a hamlet in the parish of Whalley, county Lancaster, 1 mile S.E. of Burnley. It is a station on the Rose Grove and Todmorden branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway. Towneley Hall, the seat of the Towneleys, is the principal residence."

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Historical Geography

In 1835 Burnley was a chapelry and township in the parish of Whalley.

You can see the administrative areas in which Burnley has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Probate Records

For probate purposes prior to 1858, Burnley was in the Archdeaconry of Chester, in the Diocese of Chester. The original Lancashire wills for the Archdeaconry of Chester are held at the Lancashire Record Office.