Ribchester, Lancashire Genealogy

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View a "List of Chapelries in the Parish of Ribchester"

Parish History

Ribchester is an Ancient Parish in the county of Lancashire.Other places in the parish include: Hothersall, Alston, Hatherall, Dutton, and Dilworth.

St Wilfrid's Church is an anglican church in the village of Ribchester in Lancashire, England; it is situated close to the site of a Roman fort. It is an active parish church in the Diocese of Blackburn. It has been designated a Grade I listed building by English Heritage.

St Wilfrid's dates from the 13th century, built on a site close to that of a Roman fort, Bremetennacum. A chapel and porch were added in the 14th century. A tower was added to the west in the late 15th century. In the 16th century, the roofs were removed in order to increase the height of the chancel walls and new windows were added to the aisle wall. Major repairs to the building took place in 1685–6 and 1711. A west gallery was added in 1736. The church underwent restoration in 1881 that included the rebuilding of the north wall of the chancel.

In November 1966, it was designated a Grade I listed building by English Heritage. The Grade I listing is for buildings "of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important". St Wilfrid's is an active Anglican parish church in the Diocese of Blackburn, the Archdeaconry of Lancaster and the Deanery of Preston.

The Diocese of Blackburn is a Church of England diocese, covering much of Lancashire, created in 1926 from part of the Diocese of Manchester. The Diocese includes the towns of Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, and the cities of Lancaster, and Preston, as well as a large part of the Ribble Valley.

RIBCHESTER (St. Wilfrid), a parish, in the union of Preston, partly in the hundred of Amounderness, and partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Blackburn, N. division of Lancashire; containing, with the chapelry of Longridge, and the townships of Alston, Dilworth, Dutton, and Hothersall, 4111 inhabitants, of whom 1727 are in Ribchester township, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Blackburn. Ribchester, in the Domesday survey called "Ribelcastre," though now only an obscure village, was unquestionably a Roman town or city; the name, the course of the Roman roads in this part, and the Roman antiquities found here, such as ruins of temples, statues, coins, altars, and inscriptions, all concur in establishing the fact. The first notice of Ribchester in modern times is found in Leland, who describes it as "a poore thing, that hath beene an auncient towne: great squarid stones, voultes, and antique coynes be founde ther; and ther is a place wher the people fable that the Jues had a temple." Subsequent discoveries have served to show that this "fable," like most popular traditions, is partly true and partly erroneous: a temple stood here, but it was a heathen, and not a Jewish, temple. Camden, who visited the place in the reign of Elizabeth, speaks of it as being then a mere village; and Dr. Stukeley, after a personal survey in 1725, states, that "the whole channel of the Ribble at present lies within the precinct of the ancient city;" and laments that the river "runs over innumerable antiquities." The parish is from five to six miles in length, from Alston to Dutton, and from three to four in breadth, from the summit of Longridge Fell to the Ribble. The fell gives the parish at its northern extremity a barren and sterile appearance; but cultivation has been carried to the summit of this elevated region. In the valley, on the banks of the river, the meadows and pastures are for the most part fertile, and the scenery in many situations is beautifully picturesque: the lands are well wooded, except on the hills, and even there planting has not been wholly neglected. Of 2093 acres in Ribchester township, 1893 are arable and pasture, and 100 waste. There is a very good slate-quarry. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the perpetual curacy of Stidd annexed; net income, £128; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Chester. The church is a rude irregular pile, consisting of a nave, aisles, chancel, porch, and tower. The last is partly castellated, but being too broad for the height, is deficient in symmetry; each aisle has a projecting wing, and the porch is almost detached from the other part of the building. The Dutton choir on the south is supposed to be of the age of King John, or Henry III. The great tithes of Ribchester township have been commuted for £145, and the small for £30: the bishop has 173 acres of glebe, and the vicar three-quarters of an acre. At Longridge is a separate incumbency. There are a place of worship for Independents, and two chapels for Roman Catholics: one of the latter at Dutton, was built about a century ago; the priest has a house, and 20 acres of land. John Dewhurst, in 1771, founded a free school, the income of which is £20: attached to the Roman Catholic chapel is another school. Of several charities, one, originally consisting of £150 left by James Standford in 1695, and subsequently augmented to £452. 10., laid out in the purchase of land in 1740, now produces £50 per annum. An almshouse for five aged females, who each receive 12s. 6d. per month, and who have six tons of coal per annum, is supported by George Walmsley, Esq., of Richmond, Surrey, as heir to property here

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 659-665. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51236 Date accessed: 20 July 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.

Church records

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Census records

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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.

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Web sites

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