1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lancashire
LANCASHIRE, a north-western county of England, bounded N.E. by Westmorland, E. by Yorkshire, S. by Cheshire, W. by the Irish Sea and N.W. by Cumberland. The area is 1880.2 sq. m., the county being the sixth in size in England. The coast is generally flat, and broken by great inlets, with wide expanses of sandy foreshore at low tide. The chief inlets, from N. to S., are—the estuary of the river Duddon, which, with the river itself, separates the county from Cumberland; Morecambe Bay; and the estuaries of the Ribble and the Mersey. Morecambe Bay receives the rivers Crake and Leven in a common estuary, and the Kent from Westmorland; while the Lune and the Wyre discharge into Lancaster Bay, which is only partially separated from Morecambe Bay by the promontory of Red Nab. Morecambe Bay also detaches from the rest of the county the district of Furness (q.v.), extending westward to the Duddon, and having off its coast the island of Walney, 8 m. in length, and several small isles within the strait between Walney and the mainland. The principal seaside resorts and watering-places, from S. to N., are Southport, Lytham, St Anne's-on-the-Sea, Blackpool, Fleetwood and Morecambe; while at the head of Morecambe Bay are several pleasant villages frequented by visitors, such as Arnside and Grange. Of the rivers the Mersey (q.v.), separating the county from Cheshire, is the principal, and receives from Lancashire the Irwell, Sankey and other small streams. The Ribble, which rises in the mountains of the West Riding of Yorkshire, forms for a few miles the boundary with that county, and then flows S.W. to Preston, receiving the Hodder from the N. and the Calder and Darwen from the S. Lancashire has a share in two of the English districts most famous for their scenery, but does not include the finest part of either. Furness, entirely hilly except for a narrow coastal tract, extends N. to include the southern part of the Lake District (q.v.); it contains Coniston Lake and borders Windermere, which are drained respectively by the Leven and Crake, with some smaller lakes and such mountains as the Old Man and Wetherlam. Another elevated district, forming part of a mountainous chain stretching from the Scottish border, covered by the name of Pennine uplands in its broader application, runs along the whole eastern boundary of the main portion of the county, and to the south of the Ribble occupies more than half the area, stretching west nearly to Liverpool. The moorlands in the southern district are generally bleak and covered with heather. Towards the north the scenery is frequently beautiful, the green rounded elevated ridges being separated by pleasant cultivated valleys variegated by woods and watered by rivers. None of the summits of the range within Lancashire attains an elevation of 2000 ft., the highest being Blackstone Edge (1323 ft.), Pendle Hill (1831 ft.) and Boulsworth Hill (1700 ft.).
Along the sea-coast from the Mersey to Lancaster there is a continuous plain formerly occupied by peat mosses, many of which have been reclaimed. The largest is Chat Moss between Liverpool and Manchester. In some instances these mosses have exhibited the phenomenon of a moving bog. A large district in the north belonging to the duchy of Lancaster was at one time occupied by forests, but these have wholly disappeared, though their existence is recalled in nomenclature, as in the Forest of Rossendale, near the Yorkshire boundary somewhat south of the centre.
Geology.—The greater part of Lancashire, the central and eastern portions, is occupied by Carboniferous rocks; a broad belt of Triassic strata fringes the west and south; while most of the detached northern portion is made up of Silurian and Ordovician formations. The Carboniferous system includes the great coal-field in which are gathered all the principal manufacturing towns, Colne, Burnley, Blackburn, Chorley, Wigan, Bolton, Preston, Oldham, Rochdale and Manchester. In the centre of the coal-field is an elevated moorland tract formed of the grits and shales of the Millstone Grit series. Part of the small coal-field of Ingleton also lies within the county. Between these two coal basins there is a moderately hilly district in which grits and black shales predominate, with a broad tract of limestone and shales which are well exposed in the quarries at Clitheroe and at Longridge, Chipping, Whalley and Downham. The limestone again appears in the north at Bolton-le-Sands, Burton-in-Kendall, Grange, Ulverston and Dalton-in-Furness. Large pockets of rich iron ore are worked in the limestone in the Furness district. The belt of Trias includes the Bunter sandstone and conglomerate, which ranges from Barrow-in-Furness, through Garstang, Preston, Ormskirk, Liverpool, Warrington and Salford; and Keuper marls, which underlie the surface between the Bunter outcrop and the sea. On the coast there is a considerable development of blown sand between Blackpool and Lytham and between Southport and Seaforth. North of Broughton-in-Furness, Ulverston and Cartmel are the Silurian rocks around Lakes Windermere and Coniston Water, including the Coniston grits and flags and the Brathay flags. These rocks are bounded by the Ordovician Coniston limestone, ranging north-east and south-west, and the volcanic series of Borrowdale. A good deal of the solid geology is obscured in many places by glacial drift, boulder clay and sands.
The available coal supply of Lancashire has been estimated at about five thousand millions of tons. In 1852 the amount raised was 8,225,000 tons; in 1899 it was 24,387,475 tons. In the production of coal Lancashire vies with Yorkshire, but each is about one-third below Durham. There are also raised in large quantities—fireclay, limestone, sandstone, slate and salt, which is also obtained from brine. The red hematitic iron obtained in the Furness district is very valuable, but is liable to decrease. The district also produces a fine blue slate. Metals, excepting iron, are unimportant.
Climate and Agriculture.—The climate in the hilly districts is frequently cold, but in the more sheltered parts lying to the south and west it is mild and genial. From its westerly situation and the attraction of the hills there is a high rainfall in the hilly districts (e.g. at Bolton the average is 58.71 in.), while the average for the other districts is about 35. The soil after reclamation and drainage is fertile; but, as it is for the most part a strong clayey loam it requires a large amount of labour. In some districts it is more of a peaty nature, and in the Old Red Sandstone districts of the Mersey there is a tract of light sandy loam, easily worked, and well adapted for wheat and potatoes. In many districts the ground has been rendered unfit for agricultural operations by the rubbish from coal-pits. A low proportion (about seven-tenths) of the total area is under cultivation, and of this nearly three-fourths is in permanent pasture, cows being largely kept for the supply of milk to the towns, while in the uplands many sheep are reared. In addition to the cultivated area, about 92,000 acres are under hill pasturage. A gradual increase is noticeable in the acreage under oats, which occupy more than seven-tenths of the area under grain crops, and in that under wheat, to the exclusion of the cultivation of barley. Of green crops the potato is the chief.Industries and Trade.—South Lancashire is the principal seat of the cotton manufacture in the world, the trade centring upon Manchester, Oldham and the neighbouring densely populated district. It employs upwards of 400,000 operatives. The worsted, woollen and silk manufactures, flax, hemp and jute industries, though of less importance, employ considerable numbers. Non-textile factories employ about 385,000 hands. The manufacture of machines, appliances, conveyances, tools, &c., are very important, especially in supplying the needs of the immense weaving and spinning industries. For the same purpose there is a large branch of industry in the manufacture of bobbins from the wood grown in the northern districts of the county. Of industries principally confined to certain definite centres there may be mentioned—the manufacture of iron and steel at Barrow-in-Furness, a town of remarkably rapid growth since the middle of the 19th century; the great glass works at St Helens; the watch-making works at Prescot and the leather works at Warrington. Printing, bleaching and dyeing works, paper and chemical works, india-rubber and tobacco manufactures are among the chief of the other resources of this great industrial region. Besides the port of Liverpool, of worldwide importance, the principal ports are Manchester, brought into communication with the sea by the Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, Barrow-in-Furness and Fleetwood, while Preston and Lancaster have docks and a considerable shipping trade by the rivers Lune and Ribble respectively. The sea fisheries, for which Fleetwood and Liverpool are the chief ports, are of considerable value.
Communications.—Apart from the Manchester Ship Canal, canal-traffic plays an important part in the industrial region. In 1760 the Sankey canal, 10 m. long, the first canal opened in Britain (apart from very early works), was constructed to carry coal from St Helens to Liverpool. Shortly afterwards the duke of Bridgewater projected the great canal from Manchester across the Irwell to Worsley, completed in 1761 and bearing the name of its originator. The Leeds and Liverpool canal, begun in 1770, connects Liverpool and other important towns with Leeds by a circuitous route of 130 m. The other principal canals are the Rochdale, the Manchester (to Huddersfield) and the Lancaster, connecting Preston and Kendal. A short canal connects Ulverston with Morecambe Bay. A network of railways covers the industrial region. The main line of the London and North Western railway enters the county at Warrington, and runs north through Wigan, Preston, Lancaster and Carnforth. It also serves Liverpool and Manchester, providing the shortest route to each of these cities from London, and shares with the Lancashire and Yorkshire company joint lines to Southport, to Blackpool and to Fleetwood, whence there is regular steamship communication with Belfast. The Lancashire and Yorkshire line serves practically all the important centres as far north as Preston and Fleetwood. All the northern trunk lines from London have services to Manchester and Liverpool. The Cheshire Lines system, worked by a committee of the Great Northern, Great Central and Midland companies, links their systems with the South Lancashire district generally, and maintains lines between Liverpool and Manchester, both these cities with Southport, and numerous branches. Branches of the Midland railway from its main line in Yorkshire serve Lancaster, Morecambe, and Heysham and Carnforth, where connexion is made with the Furness railway to Ulverston, Barrow, Lake Side, Coniston, &c.
Population and Administration.—The area of the ancient county is 1,203,365 acres. Its population in 1801 was 673,486; in 1891, 3,926,760; and in 1901, 4,406,409. The area of the administrative county is 1,196,753 acres. The distribution of the industrial population may be best appreciated by showing the parliamentary divisions, parliamentary, county and municipal boroughs and urban districts as placed among the four divisions of the ancient county. In the case of urban districts the name of the great town to which each is near or adjacent follows where necessary. The figures show population in 1901.
Northern Division.—This embraces almost all the county N. of the Ribble, including Furness, and a small area S. of the Ribble estuary. It is considerably the largest of the divisions. Parliamentary divisions, from N. to S.—North Lonsdale, Lancaster, Blackpool, Chorley. Parliamentary, county and municipal boroughs—Barrow-in-Furness (57,586; one member); Preston (112,989; two members). Municipal boroughs—Blackpool (county borough; 47,348), Chorley (26,852), Lancaster (40,329; county town), Morecambe (11,798). Urban districts—Adlington (4523; Chorley), Bispham-with-Norbreck (Blackpool), Carnforth (3040; Lancaster), Croston (2102; Chorley), Dalton-in-Furness (13,020), Fleetwood (12,082), Fulwood (5238; Preston), Grange (1993), Heysham (3381; Morecambe), Kirkham (3693; Preston), Leyland (6865; Chorley), Longridge (4304; Preston), Lytham (7185), Poulon-le-Fylde (2223; Blackpool). Preesall-with-Hackinsall (1423; Fleetwood), St Anne's-on-the-Sea (6838, a watering-place between Blackpool and Lytham), Thornton (3108; Fleetwood), Ulverston (10,064, in Furness), Withnell (3349; Chorle).
North-Easitern-Division.—This lies E. of Preston, and is the smallest of the four. Parliamentary divisions—Accrington, Clitheroe, Darwen, Rossendale. Parliamentary, county and municipal boroughs—Blackburn (127,626; two members); Burnley (97,043; one member). Municipal boroughs—Accrington (43,122), Bacup (22,505), Clitheroe (11,414), Colne (23,000), Darwen (38,212), Haslingden (18,543, extending into South-Eastern division), Nelson (32,816), Rawtenstall (31,053). Urban districts—Barrowford (4959; Colne), Brierfield (7288; Burnley), Church (6463; Accrington), Clayton-le-Moors (8153; Accrington), Great Harwood (12,015; Blackburn), Oswaldtwistle (14,192; Blackburn), Padiham (12,205; Burnley), Rishton (7031; Blackburn), Trawden (2641; Colne), Walton-le-Dale (11,271; Preston).
South-Western Division.-This division represents roughly a quadrant with radius of 20 m. drawn from Liverpool. Parliamentary divisions—Bootle, Ince, Leigh, Newton, Ormskirk, Southport, Widnes. Parliamentary boroughs—the city and county and municipal borough of Liverpool (684,958; nine members); the county and municipal boroughs of St Helens (84,410; one member); Wigan (60,764; one member), Warrington (64,242; a part only of the parliamentary borough is in this county). Municipal boroughs—Bootle (58,566), Leigh (40,001), Southport (county borough; 48,083), Widnes (28,580). Urban districts—Abram (6306; Wigan), Allerton (1101; Liverpool), Ashton-in-Makerfield (18,687), Atherton (16,211), Billinge (4232; Wigan), Birkdale (14,197; Southport), Childwall (219; Liverpool), Formby (6060), Golborne (6789; St Helens) Great Crosby (7555; Liverpool), Haydock (8575; St Helens), Hindley (23,504; Wigan), Huyton-with-Roby (4661; St Helens) Ince-in-Makerfield (21,262), Lathom-and-Burscough (7113; Ormskirk), Litherland (10,592; Liverpool), Little Crosby (563; Liverpool), Little Woolton (1091; Liverpool), Much Woolton (4731; Liverpool), Newton-in-Makertield (16,699), Ormskirk (6857), Orrell (5436; Wigan), Prescot (7855; St Helens), Rainford (3359; St Helens), Skelmersdale (5699; Ormskirk), Standish-with-Langtree (6503; Wigan), Tyldesley-with-Shakerley (14,343), Upholland (4773; Wigan), Waterloo-with-Seaforth (23,102; Liverpool).
South-Eastern Division.—This is of about the same area as the South-Western division, and it constitutes the heart of the industrial region. Parliamentary divisions—Eccles, Gorton, Heywood, Middleton, Prestwich, Radcliffe-cum-Farnworth, Stretford, Westhoughton, Parliamentary boroughs—the city and county of a city of Manchester (543,872; six members); with which should be correlated the adjoining county and municipal borough of Salford (220,957; three members), also the county and municipal boroughs of Bolton (168,215; two members), Bury (58,029; one member), Rochdale (83,114; one member), Oldham (137,246; two members), and the municipal borough of Ashton-under-Lyne (43,890). Part only of the last parliamentary borough is within the county, and this division also contains part of the parliamentary boroughs of Stalybridge and Stockport. Municipal boroughs-Eccles (34,369), Heywood (25,458), Middleton (25,178), Mossley(13,452). Urban districts—Aspull (8388; Wigan), Audenshaw (7216; Ashton-under-Lyne), Blackrod (3875; Wigan), Chadderton (24,892; Oldham), Crompton (13,427; Oldham), Denton (14,934; Ashton-under-Lyne), Droylsden (11,087; Manchester), Failsworth (14,152; Manchester), Farnworth (25,925; Bolton), Gorton (26,564; Manchester), Heaton Norris (9474, Stockport). Horwich (15,084; Bolton), Hurst (7145; Ashton-under-Lyne), Irlam (4335; Eccles), Kearsley (9218; Bolton), Lees (3621; Oldham), Levenshulme (11,485; Manchester), Littleborough (11,166; Rochdale), Little Hulton (7294; Bolton), Little Lever (5119; Bolton), Milnrow (8241; Rochdale), Norden (3907; Rochdale), Prestwich (12,839: Manchester), Radcliffe (25,368 Bury), Ramsbottom (15,920; Bury), Royton (14,881; Oldham), Stretford (30,436; Manchester), Swinton-and-Pendlebury (27,005; Manchester), Tottington (6118; Bury), Turton (12,355; Bolton), Urmston (6594; Manchester), Wardle (4427; Rochdale), Westhoughton (14,377; Bolton), Whitefield or Stand (6588; Bury), Whitworth (9578; Rochdale), Worsley (12,462; Eccles).
Lancashire is one of the counties palatine. It is attached to the duchy of Lancaster, a crown office, and retains the chancery court for the county palatine. The chancery of the duchy of Lancaster was once a court of appeal for the chancery of the county palatine, but now even its jurisdiction in regard to the estates of the duchy is merely nominal. The chancery of the county palatine has concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court of Chancery in all matters of equity within the county palatine, and independent jurisdiction in regard to a variety of other matters. The county palatine comprises six hundreds.
Lancashire is in the northern circuit, and assizes are held at Lancaster for the north, and at Liverpool and Manchester for the south of the county. There is one court of quarter sessions, and the county is divided into 33 petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Salford and Wigan have separate commissions of the peace and courts of quarter sessions; and those of Accrington, Ashton-under-Lyne, Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Clitheroe, Colne, Darwen, Eccles, Heywood, Lancaster, Middleton, Mossley, Nelson, Preston, Rochdale, St Helens, Southport and Warrington have separate commissions of the peace only. There are 430 civil parishes. Lancashire is mainly in the diocese of Manchester, but parts are in those of Liverpool, Carlisle, Ripon, Chester and Wakefield. There are 787 ecclesiastical parishes or districts wholly or in part within the county.
Manchester and Liverpool are each seats of a university and of other important educational institutions. Within the bounds of the county there are many denominational colleges, and near Clitheroe is the famous Roman Catholic college of Stonyhurst. There is a day training college for schoolmasters in connexion with University College, Liverpool, and a day training college for both schoolmasters and schoolmistresses in connexion with Owens College, Manchester. At Edgehill, Liverpool, there is a residential training college for schoolmistresses which takes day pupils, at Liverpool a residential Roman Catholic training college for schoolmasters, and at Warrington a residential training college (Chester, Manchester and Liverpool diocesan) for schoolmistresses.
History.—The district afterwards known as Lancashire was after the departure of the Romans for many years apparently little better than a waste. It was not until the victory of Æthelfrith, king of Deira, near Chester in 613 cut off the Britons of Wales from those of Lancashire and Cumberland that even Lancashire south of the Ribble was conquered. The part north of the Ribble was not absorbed in the Northumbrian kingdom till the reign of Ecgfrith (670—685). Of the details of this long struggle we know nothing, but to the stubborn resistance made by the British leaders are due the legends of Arthur; and of the twelve great battles he is supposed to have fought against the English, four are traditionally, though probably erroneously, said to have taken place on the river Douglas near Wigan. In the long struggle for supremacy between Mercia and Northumbria, the country between the Mersey and Ribble was sometimes under one, sometimes under the other kingdom. During the 9th century Lancashire was constantly invaded by the Danes, and after the peace of Wedmore (878) it was included in the Danish kingdom of Northumbria. The A.S. Chronicle records the reconquest of the district between the Ribble and Mersey in 923 by the English king, when it appears to have been severed from the kingdom of Northumbria and united to Mercia, but the districts north of the Ribble now comprised in the county belonged to Northumbria until its incorporation with the kingdom of England. The names on the Lancashire coast ending in by, such as Crosby, Formby, Roby, Kirkby, Derby, show where the Danish settlements were thickest. William the Conqueror gave the lands between the Ribble and Mersey, and Amounderness to Roger de Poictou, but at the time of Domesday Book these had passed out of his hand and belonged to the king.
The name Lancashire does not appear in Domesday; the lands between the Ribble and Mersey were included in Cheshire and those north of the Ribble in Yorkshire. Roger de Poictou soon regained his lands, and Rufus added to his possessions the rest of Lonsdale south of the Sands, of which he already held a part; and as he had the Furness fells as well, he owned all that is now known as Lancashire. In 1102 he finally forfeited all his lands, which Henry I. held till, in 1118, he created the honour of Lancaster by incorporating with Roger's forfeited lands certain escheated manors in the counties of Nottingham, Derby and Lincoln, and certain royal manors, and bestowed it upon his nephew Stephen, afterwards king. During Stephen's reign the history of the honour presents certain difficulties, for David of Scotland held the lands north of the Ribble for a time, and in 1147 the earl of Chester held the district between the Ribble and Mersey. Henry II. gave the whole honour to William, Stephen's son, but in 1164 it came again into the king's hands until 1189, when Richard I. granted it to his brother John. In 1194, owing to John's rebellion, it was confiscated and the honour remained with the crown till 1267. In 1229, however, all the crown demesne between the Ribble and Mersey was granted to Ranulf, earl of Chester, and on his death in 1232 came to William Ferrers, earl of Derby, in right of his wife Agnes, sister and co-heir of Ranulf. The Ferrers held it till 1266, when it was confiscated owing to the earl's rebellion. In 1267 Henry III. granted the honour and county and all the royal demesne therein to his son Edmund, who was created earl of Lancaster. His son, Earl Thomas, married the heiress of Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, and thus obtained the great estates belonging to the de Lacys in Lancashire. On the death of Henry, the first duke of Lancaster, in 1361, the estates, title and honour fell to John of Gaunt in right of his wife Blanche, the duke's elder daughter, and by the accession of Henry IV., John of Gaunt's only son, to the throne, the duchy and honour became merged in the crown.
The county of Lancaster is first mentioned in 1169 as contributing 100 marks to the Royal Exchequer for defaults and fines. The creation of the honour decided the boundaries, throwing into it Furness and Cartmel, which geographically belong to Westmorland; Lonsdale and Amounderness, which in Domesday had been surveyed under Yorkshire; and the land between the Ribble and Mersey. In Domesday this district south of the Ribble was divided into the six hundreds of West Derby, Newton, Warrington, Blackburn, Salford and Leyland, but before Henry II.'s reign the hundreds of Warrington and Newton were absorbed in that of West Derby. Neither Amounderness nor Lonsdale was called a hundred in Domesday, but soon after that time the former was treated as a hundred. Ecclesiastically the whole of the county originally belonged to the diocese of York, but after the reconquest of the district between the Ribble and Mersey in 923 this part was placed under the bishop of Lichfield in the archdeaconry of Chester, which was subdivided into the rural deaneries of Manchester, Warrington and Leyland. Up to 1541 the district north of the Ribble belonged to the archdeaconry of Richmond in the diocese of York, and was subdivided into the rural deaneries of Amounderness, Lonsdale and Coupland. In 1541 the diocese of Chester was created, including all Lancashire, which was divided into two archdeaconries: Chester, comprising the rural deaneries of Manchester, Warrington and Blackburn, and Richmond, comprising the deaneries of Amoundemess, Furness, Lonsdale and Kendal. In 1847 the diocese of Manchester was created, which included all Lancashire except parts of West Derby, which still belonged to the diocese of Chester, and Furness and Cartmel, which were added to Carlisle in 1856. In 1878 by the creation of the diocese of Liverpool the south-eastern part of the county was subtracted from the Manchester diocese.
No shire court was ever held for the county, but as a duchy and county palatine it has its own special courts. It may have enjoyed palatine jurisdiction under Earl Morcar before the Conquest, but these privileges, if ever exercised, remained in abeyance till 1351, when Henry, duke of Lancaster, received power to have a Chancery in the county of Lancaster and to issue writs therefrom under his own seal, as well touching pleas of the crown as any other relating to the common laws, and to have all Jura Regalia belonging to a county palatine. In 1377 the county was erected into a palatinate for John of Gaunt's life, and in 1396 these rights of jurisdiction were extended and settled in perpetuity on the dukes of Lancaster. The county palatine courts consist of a chancery which dates back at least to 1376, a court of common pleas, the jurisdiction of which was transferred in 1873 by the Judicature Act to the high court of justice, and a court of criminal jurisdiction which in no way differs from the king's ordinary court. In 1407 the duchy court of Lancaster was created, in which all questions of revenue and dignities affecting the duchy possessions are settled. The chancery of the duchy has been for years practically obsolete. The duchy and county palatine each has its own seal. The office of chancellor of the duchy and county palatine dates back to 1351.
Lancashire is famed for the number of old and important county families living within its borders. The most intimately connected with the history of the county are the Stanleys, whose chief seat is Knowsley Hall. Sir John Stanley early in the 15th century married the heiress of Lathom and thus obtained possession of Lathom and Knowsley. In 1456 the head of the family was created a peer by the title of Baron Stanley and in 1485 raised to the earldom of Derby. The Molyneuxes of Sephton and Croxteth are probably descended from William de Molines, who came to England with Willlam the Conqueror, and is on the roll of Battle Abbey. Roger de Poictou gave him the manor of Sephton, and Richard de Molyneux who held the estate under Henry II. is undoubtedly an ancestor of the family. In 1628 Sir Richard Molyneux was advanced to the peerage of Ireland by the title of Viscount Maryborough, and in 1771 Charles, Lord Maryborough, became earl of Sefton in the peerage of Ireland. His son was created a peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Sefton of Croxteth. The Bootle Wilbraharns, earls of Lathom, are, it is said, descended from John Botyll of Melling, who was alive in 1421, and from the Wilbrahams of Cheshire, who date back at least to Henry III.'s reign. In 1755 the two families intermarried. In 1828 the title of Baron Skelmersdale was bestowed on the head of the family and in 1880 that of earl of Lathom. The Gerards of Bryn are said to be descended from an old Tuscan family, one of whom came to England in Edward the Confessor's time, and whose son is mentioned in Domesday. Bryn came into this family by marriage early in the 14th century. Sir Thomas Gerard was created a baronet by James I. in 1611, and in 1876 a peerage was conferred on Sir Robert Gerard. The Gerards of Ince were a collateral branch. The Lindsays, earls of Crawford and Balcarres, are representative on the female side of the Bradshaighs of Haigh Hall, who are said to be of Saxon origin. Other great Lancashire families are the Hoghtons of Hoghton Tower, dating back to the 12th century, the Blundells of Ince Blundell, who are said to have held the manor since the 12th century, now represented by the Weld-Blundells, the Tyldesleys of Tyldesley, now extinct, and the Butlers of Bewsey, barons of Warrington, of whom the last male heir died in 1586.
At the close of the 12th and during the 13th century there was a considerable advance in the importance of the towns; in 1199 Lancaster became a borough, in 1207 Liverpool, in 1230 Salford, in 1246 Wigan, and in 1301 Manchester. The Scottish wars were a great drain to the county, not only because the north part was subject to frequent invasions, as in 1322, but because some of the best blood was taken for these wars. In 1297 Lancashire raised 1000 men, and at the battle of Falkirk (1298) 1000 Lancashire soldiers were in the vanguard, led by Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln. In 1349 the county was visited by the Black Death and a record exists of its ravages in Amounderness. In ten parishes between September 1349 and January 1350, 13,180 persons perished. At Preston 3000 died, at Lancaster 3000, at Garstang 2000 and at Kirkham 3000. From the effects of this plague Lancashire was apparently slow to recover; its boroughs ceased to return members early in the 14th century and trade had not yet made any great advance. The drain of the Wars of the Roses on the county must also have been heavy, although none of the battles was fought within its borders; Lord Stanley's force of 5000 raised in Lancashire and Cheshire virtually decided the battle of Bosworth Field. The poverty of the county is shown by the fact that out of £40,000 granted in 1504 by parliament to the king, Lancashire's share was only £318. At the battle of Flodden (1513) the Lancashire archers led by Sir Edward Stanley almost totally destroyed the Highlanders on the right Scottish wing and greatly contributed to the victory. Under the Tudors the county prospered; the parliamentary boroughs once more began to return members, the towns increased in size, many halls were built by the gentry and trade increased.
In 1617 James I. visited Lancashire, and in consequence of a petition presented to him at Hoghton, complaining of the restrictions imposed upon Sunday amusements, he issued in 1618 the famous Book of Sports. Another of James's works, the Daemonologie, is closely connected with the gross superstitions concerning witches which were specially prevalent in Lancashire. The great centre of this witchcraft was Pendle Forest, in the parish of Whalley, and in 1612 twelve persons from Pendle and eight from Samlesbury were tried for witchcraft, nine of whom were hanged. In 1633 another batch of seventeen witches from Pendle were tried and all sentenced to be executed, but the king pardoned them. This was the last important case of witchcraft in Lancashire.
In the assessment of ship money in 1636 the county was put down for £1000, towards which Wigan was to raise, £50, Preston £40, Lancaster £30, and Liverpool £25, and these figures compared With the assessments of £140 on Hull and £200 on Leeds show the comparative unimportance of the Lancashire boroughs. On the eve of the Great Rebellion in 1641 parliament resolved to take command of the militia, and Lord Strange, Lord Derby's eldest son, was removed from the lord lieutenancy. On the whole, the county was Royalist, and the moving spirit among the Royalists was Lord Strange, who became Lord Derby in 1642. Manchester was the headquarters of the Parliamentarians, and was besieged by Lord Derby in September 1642 for seven days, but not taken. Lord Derby himself took up his headquarters at Warrington and garrisoned Wigan. At the opening of 1643 Sir Thomas Fairfax made Manchester his headquarters. Early in February the Parliamentarians from Manchester successfully assaulted Preston, which was strongly Royalist; thence the Parliamentarians marched to Hoghton Tower, which they took, and within a few days captured Lancaster. On the Royalist side Lord Derby made an unsuccessful attack on Bolton from Wigan. In March a large Spanish ship, laden with ammunition for the use of parliament, was driven by a storm on Rossall Point and seized by the Royalists; Lord Derby ordered the ship to be burned, but the parliament forces from Preston succeeded in carrying off some of the guns to Lancaster castle. In March Lord Derby captured the town of Lancaster but not the castle, and marching to Preston regained it for the king, but was repulsed in an attack on Bolton. In April Wigan, one of the chief Royalist strongholds in the county, was taken by the parliament forces, who also again captured Lancaster, and the guns from the Spanish ship were moved for use against Warrington, which was obliged to surrender in May after a week's siege. Lord Derby also failed in an attempt on Liverpool, and the tide of war had clearly turned against the Royalists in Lancashire. In June Lord Derby went to the Isle of Man, which was threatened by the king's enemies. Soon after, the Parliamentarians captured Hornby castle, and only two strongholds, Thurland castle and Lathom house, remained in Royalist hands. In the summer, after a seven weeks' siege by Colonel Alexander Rigby, Thurland castle surrendered and was demolished. In February 1644 the Parliamentarians, under Colonel Rigby, Colonel Ashton and Colonel Moore, besieged Lathom house, the one refuge left to the Royalists, which was bravely defended by Lord Derby's heroic wife, Charlotte de la Trémoille. The siege lasted nearly four months and was raised on the approach of Prince Rupert, who marched to Bolton and was joined on his arrival outside the town by Lord Derby. Bolton was carried by storm; Rupert ordered that no quarter should be given, and it is usually said at least 1500 of the garrison were slain. Prince Rupert advanced without delay to Liverpool, which was defended by Colonel Moore, and took it after a siege of three weeks. After the battle of Marston Moor Prince Rupert again appeared in Lancashire and small engagements took place at Ormskirk, Upholland and Preston; in November Liverpool surrendered to the Parliamentarians. Lathom house was again the only strong place in Lancashire left to the Royalists, and in December 1645 after a five months siege it was compelled to surrender through lack of provisions, and was almost entirely destroyed. For the moment the war in Lancashire was over. In 1648, however, the Royalist forces under the duke of Hamilton and Sir Marmaduke Langdale marched through Lancaster to Preston, hoping to reach Manchester; but near Preston were defeated by Cromwell in person. The remnant retreated through Wigan towards Warrington, and after being again defeated at Winwick surrendered at Warrington. In 1651 Charles II. advanced through Lancaster, Preston and Chorley on his southward march, and Lord Derby after gathering forces was on his way to meet him when he was defeated at Wigan. In 1658, after Cromwell's death, a Royalist rebellion was raised in which Lancashire took a prominent part, but it was quickly suppressed. During the Rebellion of 1715 Manchester was the chief centre of Roman Catholic and High Church Toryism. On the 7th of November the Scottish army entered Lancaster, where the Pretender was proclaimed king, and advanced to Preston, at which place a considerable body of Roman Catholics joined it. The rebels remained at Preston a few days, apparently unaware of the advance of the government troops, until General Wills from Manchester and General Carpenter from Lancaster surrounded the town, and on the 13th of November the town and the rebel garrison surrendered. Several of the rebels were hanged at Preston, Wigan, Lancaster and other places. In 1745 Prince Charles Edward passed through the county and was joined by about 200 adherents, called the Manchester regiment and placed under the command of Colonel Townley, who was afterwards executed.
The first industry established in Lancashire was that of wool, and with the founding of Furness abbey in 1127 wool farming on a large scale began here, but the bulk of the wool grown was exported, not worked up in England. In 1282, however, there was a mill for fulling or bleaching wool in Manchester, and by the middle of the 16th century there was quite a flourishing trade in worsted goods. In an act of 1552 Manchester “rugs and frizes” are specially mentioned, and in 1566 another act regulated the fees of the aulnager who was to have his deputies at Manchester, Rochdale, Bolton, Blackburn and Bury; the duty of the aulnagers was to prevent “cottons frizes and rugs” from being sold unsealed, but it must be noted that by cottons is not meant what we now understand by the word, but woollen goods. The 17th century saw the birth of the class of clothiers, who purchased the wool in large quantities or kept their own sheep, and delivered it to weavers who worked it up into cloth in their houses and returned it to the employers. The earliest mention of the manufacture of real cotton goods is in 1641, when Manchester made fustians, vermilions and dimities, but the industry did not develop to any extent until after the invention of the fly shuttle by John Kay in 1733, of the spinning jenny by James Hargreaves of Blackburn in 1765, of the water frame throstle by Richard Arkwright of Bolton in 1769, and of the mule by Samuel Crompton of Hall-in-the-Wood near Bolton in 1779. So rapid was the development of the cotton manufacture that in 1787 there were over forty cotton mills in Lancashire, all worked by water power. In 1789, however, steam was applied to the industry in Manchester, and in 1790 in Bolton a cotton mill was worked by steam. The increase in the import of raw cotton from 3,870,000 lb in 1769 to 1,083,600,000 in 1860 shows the growth of the industry. The rapid growth was accompanied with intermittent periods of depression, which in 1819 in particular led to the formation of Various political societies and to the Blanketeers' Meeting and the Peterloo Massacre. During the American Civil War the five years' cotton famine caused untold misery in the county, but public and private relief mitigated the evils, and one good result was the introduction of machinery capable of dealing with the shorter staple of Indian cotton, thus rendering the trade less dependent for its supplies on America.
During the 18th century the only town where maritime trade increased was Liverpool, where in the last decade about 4500 ships arrived annually of a tonnage about one-fifth that of the London shipping. The prosperity of Liverpool was closely bound up with the slave trade, and about one-fourth of its ships were employed in this business. With the increase of trade the means of communication improved. In 1758 the duke of Bridgewater began the Bridgewater canal from Worsley to Salford and across the Irwell to Manchester, and before the end of the century the county was intersected by canals. In 1830 the first railway in England was opened between Manchester and Liverpool, and other railways rapidly followed. The first recorded instance of parliamentary representation in Lancashire was in 1295, when two knights were returned for the county and two burgesses each for the boroughs of Lancaster, Preston, Wigan and Liverpool. The sheriff added to this return “There is no city in the county of Lancaster.” The boroughs were, however, excused one after another from parliamentary representation, which was felt as a burden owing to the compulsory payment of the members' wages. Lancaster ceased to send members in 1331 after making nineteen returns, but renewed its privileges in 1529; from 1529 to 1547 there are no parliamentary returns, but from 1547 to 1867 Lancaster continued to return two members. Preston similarly was excused after 1331, after making eleven returns, but in 1529 and from 1547 onwards returned two members. Liverpool and Wigan sent members in 1295 and 1307, but not again till 1547. To the writ issued in 1362 the sheriff in his return says: “There is not any City or Borough in this County from which citizens or burgesses ought or are accustomed to come as this Writ requires.” In 1559 Clitheroe and Newton-le-Willows first sent two members. Thus in all Lancashire returned fourteen members, and, with a brief exception during the Commonwealth, this continued to be the parliamentary representation till 1832. By the Reform Act of 1832 Lancashire was assigned four members, two for the northern and two for the southern division. Lancaster, Preston, Wigan and Liverpool continued to send two members, Clitheroe returned one and Newton was disfranchised. The following new boroughs were created: Manchester, Bolton, Blackburn, Oldham, returning two members each; Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury, Rochdale, Salford and Warrington, one each. In 1861 a third member was given to South Lancashire and in 1867 the county was divided into four constituencies, to each of which four members were assigned; since 1885 the county returns twenty-three members. The boroughs returned from 1867 to 1885 twenty-five members, and since 1885 thirty-four.
Antiquities.—The Cistercian abbey of Furness (q.v.) is one of the finest and most extensive ecclesiastical ruins in England. Whalley abbey, first founded at Stanlawe in Cheshire in 1178, and removed in 1296, belonged to the same order. There was a priory of Black Canons at Burscough, founded in the time of Richard I., one at Conishead dating from Henry II.'s reign, and one at Lancaster. A convent of Augustinian friars was founded at Cartmel in 1188, and one at Warrington about 1280. There are some remains of the Benedictine priory of Upholland, changed from a college of secular priests in 1318; and the same order had a priory at Lancaster founded in 1094, a cell at Lytham, of the reign of Richard I., and a priory at Penwortham, founded shortly after the time of the Conqueror. The Premonstratensians had Cockersand abbey, changed in 1190 from a hospital founded in the reign of Henry II., of which the chapter-house remains. At Kersal, near Manchester, there was a cell of Cluniac monks founded in the reign of John, while at Lancaster there were convents of Dominicans and Franciscans, and at Preston a priory of Grey Friars built by Edmund, earl of Lancaster, son of Henry III.
Besides the churches mentioned under the several towns, the more interesting are those of Aldingham, Norman doorway; Aughton; Cartmel priory church (see Furness); Hawkshead; Heysham, Norman with traces of earlier date; Hoole; Huyton; Kirkby, rebuilt, with very ancient font; Kirkby Ireleth, late Perpendicular, with Norman doorway; Leyland; Melling (in Lonsdale), Perpendicular, with stained-glass windows; Middleton, rebuilt in 1524, but containing part of the Norman church and several monuments; Ormskirk, Perpendicular with traces of Norman, having two towers, one of which is detached and surmounted by a spire; Overton, with Norman doorway; Radcliffe, Norman; Sefton, Perpendicular, with fine brass and recumbent figures of the Molyneux family, also a screen exquisitely carved; Stidd, near Ribchester, Norman arch and old monuments; Tunstall, late Perpendicular; Upholland priory church, Early English, with low massy tower; Urswick, Norman, with embattled tower and several old monuments; Walton-on-the-hill, anciently the parish church of Liverpool; Walton-le-Dale; Warton, with old font; Whalley abbey church, Decorated and Perpendicular, with Runic stone monuments.
The principal old castles are those of Lancaster; Dalton, a small rude tower occupying the site of an older building; two towers of Gleaston castle, built by the lords of Aldingham in the 14th century; the ruins of Greenhalgh castle, built by the first earl of Derby, and demolished after a siege by order of parliament in 1649; the ruins of Fouldrey in Piel Island near the entrance to Barrow harbour, erected in the reign of Edward Ill., now most dilapidated. There are many old timber houses and mansions of interest, as well as numerous modern seats.