Preston, Lancashire genealogy

PRESTON, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Lancashire. The town stands on a tabular eminence, adjacent to the S end of the Lancaster canal and to the N bank of the river Ribble, at aconvergence of railway s, near the expansion of the Ribbleinto estuary, 14 miles E N E of that estuary's mouth, and 21¼ S by W of Lancaster; is so situated, with referenceto the Ribble's navigation, as to be a head port; and has railway communication with all parts of the kingdom, by lines diverging at or near it toward Lancaster, Fleetwood, Liverpool, Warrington, Manchester, Blackburn, and Longridge.

History.- The town arose from the ruins of the ancient Coccium or Ribchester; and it received its name of Priests-town corrupted into successively Prest-town and Preston from the early settlement at it of religions residents. It was held by Earl Tosti before the Norman conquest; and belonged, in the time of Richard I., to Theobald, brother of Archbishop Hubert. It was burnt, in 1323, by Bruce of Scotland; taken, in 1643, by Fairfax; occupied, in 1715, by Foster, Derwentwater, and other partisans of the Pretender; witnessed a rout of the forces of these partisans by Gen. Willes; and was occupied, in 1745, both in his advance and in his retreat, by Prince Charles Stuart. A Roman road passed through it from Manchester to Lancaster; and Roman coins have been found. A grey friary was founded at it, in 1221, by Edmund of Lancaster; a monastic hospital of St. Mary Magdalene also was founded at it; but both have completely disappeared. The notorious Lady Hamilton and the famous mechanician Arkwright were natives; and the latter made his first machine in 1768, in a house adjacent to the grammar school. A. Kinloch, who constructed the first power-loom, and who died in 1849, was a resident.

Streets and Public Buildings. The town is well built; declines gently, on all sides, from the centre; is well supplied with good water; presents a clean and healthy appearance; and enjoys pleasant environs, with many beautiful walks and some good scenery. Advantage was promptly taken of the Public Works act, to effect great improvements; and the local board, prior to Feb. 1865, had expended upwards of £100,000 in draining houses, improving streets and executing main sewerage; while a plan was formed, prior to the close of the same year, to utilize the sewage by purchase and reclamation of marshlands, near the outlet of the drains, at a cost of £73,000. Fishwick suburb, on the S E, is mainly modern. The town hall presents a chief front to Fishergate; occupies the site of a previous town hall, rebuilt in 1780; was erected in 1863-7, after designs by G. G. Scott, at a cost of about £45,000; is in the French Gothic style, with octagonal turrets 85 feet high at the angles, and with a tower and spire 160 feet high; and includes an official portion about 73 feet by 70, a concert-hall 89 feet by 60, and an exchange-room 82 feet by 39. The magistrates'court and police station stands in Lancaster-road; and is an ornamental building, in the Italian style. The county jail stands at the end of Church-street, in an enclosed plot of about an acre, with attached grounds of about 5 acres; was constructed on the penitentiary plan, with capacity for 242 male and 33 female prisoners; underwent extensive alterations, improvements, and enlargements from 1825 till 1864, so as to have capacity for 930 prisoners; and was proposed, in 1866, to be further enlarged by new cells for females and by an hospital, at a cost of £10,500. The quarterly sessions court-house adjoins the jail; and includes a hall, 45 feet by 45. Militia barracks and stores stand in the jail grounds, were erected in 1856, and present an ornamental appearance. The corn exchange and market house stands on the W side of Lune-street; was erected in 1822-4, at a cost of £11,000; is an oblong structure, three stories high; and incloses a corn-market area, 133 feet by 62 A large room for lectures and public meetings, a range of shops, and the shambles are adjacent to the corn exchange. The public baths and wash-houses stand in Saul-street; were erected in 1851, at a cost of £11,000; and are well arranged and commodions. The theatre stands in Fishergate, and is a plain building. Three public parks, formed under the Public Works act, were opened in 1867.

Places of Worship. The places of worship within the borough, at the census of 1851, were 10 of the Churchof England, with 11,800 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 1,630 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 976 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 528 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 145 s.; 3 of Wesleyans, with 2,213 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 800 s.; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 490 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 800 s.; 1 of the New Church, with 250 s.; 1 of an isolated congregation, with 200 s.; and 4 of Roman Catholics, with 4,810 s. The places of worship in 1867 were at least 13 of the Church of England, 3 of Independents, 4 of Baptists, 1 of Quakers, 1 of Unitarians, 3 of Wesleyans, 2 of Primitive Methodists, 1 of United Free Methodists, 1 of Episcopalian Primitives, 1 of Free Gospel, 1 of the New Church, and 6 of Roman Catholics.

St. John's church stands in Church-street; was rebuilt in 1853-4; is in the decorated English style; and consists of nave, aisles, and chancel, with tower and spire. St. George's church stands in Chapel-walks; was built in 1723; and is a neat brick edifice, cased with stone. Trinity church stands in Trinity-square; was built in 1815, at a cost of £9,080; and is in the pointed style, with a fine tower. St. Peter's church stands in St. Peter's square; was built in 1824, at a cost of £6,639; is in the pointed style; and comprises nave, aisles, and chancel. St. Paul's church stands in St. Paul's-square; was built in 1826, at a cost of £6,064; and is in the early English style. Christchurch stands in Bow-lane and Jordan-street; was built in 1836, and enlarged in 1852; and is in the Norman style, with two octagonal towers. St. Mary's church stands in St. Mary's-street; was built in 1837; and is in the decorated English style, with a Norman arch and a lofty tower. St Thomas' church stands in Lancaster-road; was built in 1838, at a cost of £4,500; and is partly in the pointed style, with tower and spire. St. James' church stands in Knowsley-street; was built in 1837, as a dis-senting chapel; and is a plain brick building. All Saints' church stands in Elizabeth-street; was built in 1847, at a cost of nearly £4,000; and has a vestibule supported by six Ionic columns. St. Luke's church stands in Fletcher-road; was built in 1859; and is in the early English style, with tower and spire. St. Mark's church stands at Maudlands; was built in 1863, with design to have a tower and lofty spire; and is in the pointed style of the 14th century. St. Saviour's church stands in Lesming street, York-street, and Queen-street; was built in 1859, at a cost of £4,500; and is in the early English style, withsome details of early geometric character.

The Independent chapel in Grimshaw-street was built in 1860, at a cost of £3,000; and has a stone front in the early decorated English style. The Independent chapel in Cannon-street is a brick and stone building, with about 1,000 sittings. The Baptist Chapel in Fishergate is in the Norman style, and has a tower. The Baptist chapel in Pole-street was built in 1784, and enlarged in 1831. The Wesleyan chapel at Moor-Park was built in 1862, and is in the Norman style. The Wesleyan chapel in Lune-street is a handsome and spacious edifice, and has a Norman entrance with columns. The Roman Catholic church in St. Austin's-place has a tetrastyle Ionic portico, and contains upwards of 1,000 sittings. The Roman Catholic church at the end of Pedder-street in Mandlands was completed in 1864, at a cost of nearly £13,000; is in the style of the 12th century, 165 feet long and 55 feet wide; and has a tower and spire. The Roman Catholic church in Chapel-street was enlarged and embellished in 1839, and contains about 300 sittings. The Roman Catholic convent in St. Ignatius-square was founded about 1840; is a handsome pile of buildings; and includes spacious schools for girls and infants. The general cemetery is in Ribbleton township; comprises 45 acres; and has three handsome chapels for respectively Churchmen, Dissenters, and Roman Catholics.

Schools and Institutions.- There were, within the borough, at the census of 1851, 22 public day-schools, with 5, 12 scholars; 66 private day schools, with 8,365 s., and 35 Sunday schools, with 11,178. The public schools in 1867 comprised a grammar school, a bluecoat school, 4 Church schools, 7 national schools, a British school, 8 Dissenters' schools, and 7 Roman Catholic schools. The grammar school stands in Cross-street; is a handsome stone edifice, in the pointed style; and has £55 a year from endowment. The blue coat school is an ancient building, and has £70 a year from endowment. The Useful Knowledge institution stands at Avenham; was built in 1850, at a cost of £5,800; and contains the valuable library founded by Dr. Shepherd. The Literary and Philosophical institution stands in Winckley-square and Cross-street; was built in 1843-5, at a cost of about £5,000; is in the Tudor style, 198 feet by 80; and contains a large news-room, a large library, a spacious collegiate hall, a museum, a billiard-room, and a chess-room. The temperance hall and lecture-rooms are in North-road. There are a law library, an art union, mutual improvement reading-rooms, a working men's club and reading-room, Roman Catholic news and reading-rooms, a natural history society, a botanical society, and a choral club.

An infirmary, called the Preston and Lancashire royal infirmary, was built in 1866-8, at a cost of about £12,000; is in the French Italian style, with steep-crested pavilion roofs; embodies all the recent improvements in hospital construction; and was designed to be endowed with a subscription fund of £10,000. The house of recovery stands in Deepdale-road, immediately E of the new infirmary; and was built in 1829. The workhouse also stands in Deepdale-road; and, at the census of 1861, had 282 inmates. The Overseer's buildings, where the guardians and officials hold their meetings, are in Lancaster-road, and were erected in 1849. There are a dispensary, two suites of alms-houses, and aggregate charities £642.

Trade and Commerce. The town has a head post-office, two receiving post-offices, a general railway station, two telegraph offices, five banking offices, and five chief inns; is a seat of quarter sessions, petty sessions, and county courts, and a polling place; and publishes two weekly and two bi-weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; a fair for horses begins on the Monday before the Saturday after Epiphany, and continues a week; and fairs for cattle and earthen-ware are held on 27 March, 25 Aug., and 7 Nov. A cotton trade struck root early, grew rapidly, and is now carried on in 72 factories. There are also three flax-mills, several iron and brass foundries, and a variety of establishments for the making of engines, steam-boilers, rollers, mules, and spindles. Ship-building is carried on in four yards; and the making of railway carriages, railway wagons, and all other kinds of railway stock and plant, is carried on by an extensive company. The commerce is not great, yet includes a considerable coasting trade. Improvements for the navigation of the Ribble, including a diverting of the river for a mile opposite Preston, the forming of new docks, and the increasing of facilities for loading and unloading vessels, were begun in 1867, were expected to be completed inabout 4 years, and were estimated to cost £150,000. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1864, were 62 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 2,398 tons; 51 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 4,057 tons; 3 small steam-vessels, of aggregately 110 tons; and 1 large steam-vessel, of 312 tons. The vessels which entered, in 1863, were 5 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,236 tons, from British colonies; 1 British sailing-vessel, of 108 tons, from foreign countries; 9 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 907 tons, from foreign countries; 476 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 27,065 tons, coastwise; and 1 steam-vessel, of 128 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared, in 1863, were 6 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 541 tons, to foreign countries; 2 foreign sailing-vessels, of jointly 166 tons, to foreign countries; 563 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 30,923 tons, coastwise; and 1 steam-vessel, of 128 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs in 1862 was £62,597.

The Borough.- Preston was chartered by Henry II.;received thirteen charters from subsequent kings; sent two members to parliament in the times of Edward I. and Edward II.; has always sent two since the time of Edward VI.; and, under the new act, is divided into 6 wards, and governed by a mayor, 12 aldermen, and 36 councillors. The corporation income is about £11,270. The police force, in 1864, comprised 82 men, and cost annually £6,974. The crimes committed, in 1864, were 262; the persons apprehended, 170; the known depredators and suspected persons at large, 702; the houses of bad character, 182. The borough limits are the same municipally as parliamentarily, and include the town-ships of Preston and Fishwick. Acres, 2,753. Real property, in 1860, £321,821; of which £150 were in quarries, £100 in fisheries, £87,294 in railway s, and £9,500 in gas-works. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £22,147. Electors in 1833, 6,352; in 1863, 2,818. Pop. in 1851, 69,542; in 1861, 82,985. Houses, 15,050.

The Parish.- The township of P. comprises 2,081 acres. Real property, in 1860, £314,390. Pop. in 1851, 68,537; in 1861, 81,101. Houses, 14,732. The parish contains also the townships of Fishwick, Grimsargh-with-Brockholes, Ribbleton, Elston, Haighton, Barton, Broughton, and Lea, Ashton, Ingol, and Cottam; and is ecclesiastically cut into thirteen sections in the borough, and the four sections elsewhere of Broughton, Barton, Grimsargh, and Ashton-on-Ribble. Acres, 15,834. Pop.in 1851, 72,136; in 1861, 85,699. Houses, 15,558. The living of St. John is a vicarage, and all the other livings are p. curacies, in the diocese of Manchester. Value of St. John, £665; * of St. George, £161; of Trinity, £150; of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mary, St. Thomas, and St. James, each £300; * of Christchurch, £308; of All Saints, £180; of St. Luke, £200; of St. Mark, £230; of St. Saviour, not reported. Patrons of St. John, Hulme's Trustees; of St. George, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mary, and St. James, the Vicar of Preston; of Trinity, alternately the Vicar and Trustees; of Christchurch and All Saints, Trustees; of St. Thomas, Hyndman's Trustees; of St. Luke, J. Bairstow, Esq.; of St. Mark, alternately the Vicar of Preston and the Christchurch Trustees; of St. Saviour, not reported. The other four livings are noticed in their own alphabetical places.

The District.- The sub-district of P. is conterminate with the borough. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Longton, containing the parishes of Hoole and Penwortham; the sub-district of Walton-le-Dale, containing the Blackburn townships of Walton-le-Dale, Cuerdale, and Samlesbury; the sub-district of Alston, containing the parish of Ribchester, and the townships of Grimsargh-with-Brockholes, Ribbleton, and Alston; and the sub-district of Broughton, containing the four other Preston townships, the Lancaster township of Fulwood, the St. Michael township of Wood-Plumpton, and the Kirkham townships of Whittingham and Goosnargh-with-Newsham. Acres, 68,035. Poor-rates in 1863, £82,101. Pop. in 1851, 96,545; in 1861, 110,523. Houses, 19,982. Marriages in 863, 1,005; births, 4,139, of which 382 were illegitimate; deaths, 2,693, of which 1,294 were at ages under 5 years, and 33 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 10, 669; births, 39, 176; deaths, 28, 130. The places of worship, in 1851, were 28 of the Church of England, with 20,506 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 2,030 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 976 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 528 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 145 s.; 4 of Wesleyans, with 3,867 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,034 s.; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 490 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 800 s.; 1 of the New Church, with 250 s.; 1 undefined, with 200 s.; and 13 of Roman Catholics, with 7,646 s. The schools were 50 public day schools, with 7,779 scholars; 96 private day-schools, with 3,191 s.; 78 Sunday schools, with 16,197 s.; and 16 evening schools for adults, with 623 s. There are three workhouses respectively in Preston, Ribchester, and Wood-Plumpton; and, at the census of 1861, they had 282, 113, and 53 inmates. more ...

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