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Downham St Leonard


Chapelry History

Downham St Leonard is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Lancashire, created in 1723 from Whalley, Lancashire Ancient Parish.

Downham is a village and civil parish in Lancashire, England. It is in the Ribble Valley district The village is on the north side of Pendle Hill off the A59 road about 3 miles (4.8 km) from Clitheroe.

The village is part of the Assheton Estate owned by the Lord and Lady Clitheroe, and the owners do not allow overhead electricity lines, aerials or satellite dishes, making the village a popular location for filming period dramas. Downham Village - features as "Ormston" in the BBC TV series "Born and Bred", and was also used in the 1961 film of "Whistle Down The Wind".

DOWNHAM, a chapelry, in the parish of Whalley, union of Clitheroe, Higher division of the hundred of Blackburn, N. division of the county of Lancaster, 3 miles (E. N. E.) from Clitheroe; containing 567 inhabitants, of whom 368 are in the township of Downham. The manor is carried up to a period before the Conquest, when it was possessed by Aufray, or Alfred, a Saxon. It was granted by the Lacys to Ralph de Rous, and afterwards to Peter de Cestria; and by Henry, Duke of Lancaster, to John de Dyneley, a member of the Cliviger family. After the dissolution of Whalley Abbey, in which the fee vested, it was sold to Richard Assheton; and Downham Hall, existing in 1308, but rebuilt in 1775, became the seat of the Asshetons. The chapelry comprises 2900 acres, nearly all tithe-free, and of which 1870 are in the township of Downham: fine limestone, containing a great variety of fossil remains, is abundant, and there are quarries of superior gritstone, used for building. About thirty persons are employed in the manufacture of druggets and counterpanes. The Roman road called Broad-street, extending from Ribchester to Ilkley, runs through the township. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £129, with a house; patrons, the Trustees of the Hulme Exhibition, Manchester. The chapel, with the exception of the tower, which is ancient, was rebuilt by Lady Assheton in 1800; it is in the later English style, and dedicated to St. Leonard. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a national school has been erected. Ralph Assheton, by will, gave £110 to be laid out in land for the support of a school; the income is £18.

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 84-88. URL: Date accessed: 29 June 2010.


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD

Lancashire Online Parish Clerks

An extremely useful resource for research in Lancashire Parishes

Church records

Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Parish registers for Downham, 1653-1900 Microfilm of original records at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
Contains baptisms 1653-1887; marriages 1653-1837; banns 1884-1900; burials 1653-1812; register of services 1893-1900. Downham is a chapelry in the parish of Whalley.
Lancashire Record Office no. : PR 3188/1/1-9

Bishop's transcripts for Downham, 1606-1886 Microfilm of original records at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
Downham is a chapelry in the parish of Whalley
Lancashire Record Office: DRB 2/244-245; DRL 2/245

Census records

Include an overview if there is any unique information, such as the census for X year was destroyed. Add a link to online sites for indexes and/or images. Also add a link to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection. for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Clitheroe Poor Law Union, Lancashire

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites

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