Return to the Lancashire page.
This is the Lancashire parishes (and chapelries) page.
Lancashire is by far one of England's most populated counties. Yet from early times Lancashire possessed only about 75 ancient parishes, making it exceptionally unique among all of England's counties.
For example, Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucestershire and most other less populated counties were comprised of hundreds of parishes. By contrast, each of Lancashire's parishes were ecclesiastically subdivided by an average of 8 chapels of ease, often referred to as chapelries, district churches and/or an ecclesiastical parish (though usually not the ancient or 'mother' parish).
Overall, the county was also comprised over 400 of these smaller chapels of ease of the Church of England! A majority of them however, were created mostly from the 1820's to 1900. Still, many of Lancashire's chapels were established from ancient times.
Each chapelry (church) kept their own separate church registers of christenings, often burial and sometimes marriage registers as well. The vast majority of its chapels and district churches never received "parish" status. Those that did so, were granted parish status by the twentieth century. Most of those that did not obtain "parish" status were not granted 'licence' to marry couples.
Due mostly to the Industrial Revolution, Lancashire had by the 19th Century, become one of England's most populated counties. To handle the dramatic population explosion within its county boundaries, the Established Church, that is the Church of England, created hundreds of chapels of ease (or chapelries) and district churches, each one attached to an ancient parish.
Note to all Lancashire Researchers:
The following list of 'Lancashire parishes" is actually a list of its 75 parishes and approximately 400-plus chapels of ease (chapelries, district chapels, parochial chapelries,etc). Note that it is not yet a complete list.
However, to help you determine all chapelries within an ancient parish, see or view the "Lancashire Ancient Parishes" page or, click on any of the ancient parishes listed below (see double asterisked ["**"] names below); then click the "Comprehensive List of Parishes and Chapelries" link found at the top of each parish's main page. You will find each chapel listed with 1) the year it was created, 2) the name of the ancient (or 'mother') parish to which it was attached, and 30 with a link which takes you directly to the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) for available microfilms to view for that chapel or parish.
Critically, and unlike all other England counties (except Cheshire, parts of West Yorkshire, Greater London and most big cities), identifying, listing and then researching Lancashire's parishes used to require that you identify all chapelries attached to each ancient parish. Until now, this was quite difficult to accomplish, and yet a crucial step in order to conduct thorough research in Lancashire. Each Lancashire parish averaged close to 8 chapelries (additional separate churches with baptism and etc., registers) each. But no single reference aid, tool, or source is complete or accurate in identifying all chapels of ease within each ancient parish.
The above "Comprehensive Lists", (see links found in each parish's Main page), are printable and provide as complete a listing of all chapels in each parish as may be found in one single place--anywhere.
After completing research in the ancient parish registers, be certain to ask yourself if you have also searched in the church registers of each chapelry attached to that parish (as listed in the "Comprehensive Lists" of parishes and chapels). To not follow this strategy in your research will result in less-than thorough searching, and failure to solve your research problems or objectives. These lists will greatly aid you as you attempt to progress your research into surrounding, contiguous parishes and their respective attached chapels, and so on. Aside from the sheer magnitude of its population, incomplete lists of chapels and chapelries lying within an ancient parish boundary is one of the major reasons many researchers have decades-old 'brickwall' research problems in tracing ancestral lineages in Lancashire!
While the list (below) indicates most Lancashire churches--including the 75 ancient parishes (**), it is in the "Comprehensive Lists" that you will obtain the most complete and thorough list of all chapelries attached to each's ancient parish:
There at least three major website which are currently indexing or transcribing Lancashire's chapels and parish registers. These include:
1. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk project
3. Ancestry.co.uk - currently scanning and indexing
See the "Parish" page for each ancient parish and/or chapelry; then scroll down to "Church Records" to view the chart with links to the available years with online data content.
Online Parish Clerk Project aims to extract and preserve the records from various parish and provide free online access to the transcriptions. To learn more visit their site.
The Lancashire Record Office in Preston, Lancashire, England has a listing of Deposited Parish registers:
The Lancashire Record Office Deposited Church Records listing Please access this link for Church Record Information