Clitheroe Castle, Lancashire Genealogy
Clitheroe Castle is an extra-parochial place. Search surrounding parishes for records and information. England Jurisdictions 1851 can assist in this.
The castle included an ancient chapel dedicated to St Michael within the Ancient parish boundary of Whalley, Lancashire and was the private chapel of the castle. The oldest records for Clitheroe are those within Clitheroe, Lancashire St Mary Magdalene.
It is argued to be the smallest Norman keep in the whole of England. It stands atop a 35-metre outcrop of limestone and is one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire. It is also the only remaining castle in the county which had a royalist garrison during the English Civil War.
The castle's most prominent feature is the hole in its side which was made in 1649 as was ordered by the government. It was to be put in "such condition that in might neither be a charge to the Commonwealth to keep it, nor a danger to have it kept against them".
"In the Civil war the castle was among the last surrendered to the parliament, by whose directions, in 1649, it was dismantled; the keep, a square tower, being all that remains. The site, and a certain portion of ground occupied by the demesne and forests of the baronial edifice, are extra-parochial, and commonly designated the Castle parish. A modern castellated edifice has been erected within the precincts of the castle. An hospital for lepers, called the Hospital of Edisforth, founded here by some of the earliest burgesses, and dedicated to St. Nicholas, shared the fate of the smaller monasteries at the Dissolution.
The town, from its elevated position, is clean and pleasantly situated: the houses, consisting principally of shops, are neatly built; the streets are macadamized, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water from several springs. The neighbourhood abounds with an almost inexhaustible bed of limestone; at Pimlico, a short distance northward from the town, ten kilns are kept burning forty weeks in the year, and produce in the aggregate 4000 windles, or 28,000 strikes, weekly. In Hardhill Park is a racecourse; and immediately outside the town is a spa, with hot and cold baths, extremely efficacious in scorbutic affections. There are extensive cotton-manufactories and print-works, which are yearly increasing, in the town and its vicinity. The market is on Tuesday: fairs are held on the 24th and 25th of March, 1st and 2nd of Aug., the fourth Friday and Saturday after the 29th of Sept., and on the 6th and 7th of December; there is also a fair for cattle and sheep every alternate Tuesday. The first sod of the Blackburn, Clitheroe, and North-Western Junction railway, was cut, at Clitheroe, on December 30th, 1846; and an act of parliament was passed in 1846 for a railway from Clitheroe to the town of Preston.
Clitheroe is a borough by prescription: its first charter, dated in the time of Henry de Lacy, who died in 1147, was confirmed by Edward I., who granted the burgesses the same privileges as those enjoyed by the citizens of Chester, and subsequently by Edward III., Henry VIII., and James I. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of 4 aldermen and 12 councillors, and the mayor is elected annually out of that body; the municipal boundaries are co-extensive with those of the township of Clitheroe, comprising 2283 acres. The Moot-hall is a neat modern edifice, ornamented in front with the borough arms cut in stone, and surmounted by a spire 62 feet high. There is a court of pleas, having jurisdiction to an unlimited amount, in actions of debt arising within the borough; it is holden every three weeks before the recorder and mayor, and has existed from time immemorial. The powers of the county debt-court of Clitheroe, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Clitheroe. The mayor and late mayor are justices of the peace; and a police has been established under the corporation, consisting of a chief constable and assistants. The borough did not return members to parliament until the first year of the reign of Elizabeth, from which period it regularly sent two, till it was deprived of one by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45. The privilege of voting is exercised by the £10 householders, of whom there are about 400; the limits of the electoral borough embrace 13,788 acres, and the mayor is returning officer.
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 639-644. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=50885 Date accessed: 29 June 2010.
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