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Chorley in 1837

CHORLEY, a market-town and parish in the hundred and deanery of Leyland, in the county of Lancaster, 208 miles N.W. by N. from London, 22 N.W. from Manchester, I1 miles S.W. from Blackburn, 9 miles S.S.E. from Preston, 11 miles N.N.W. from Bolton, and 8 miles N. from Wigan. It has no dependent township, and is the only market-town in the hundred of Leyland. The parish of Chorley comprises an area of 2,000 statute acres. The town is situated on a hill in the centre of the county, on the great west road from London to the North. Its name is derived from Chor, a stream that rises at Heapey, two miles distant, and after a short course along the edge of the town, joins the Yarrow and empties into the Douglas. A court-leet and baron was held here for the manor until 1827, when it was discontinued. The manor now belongs to the Fazakerleys, after having passed through the hands of the Sherburnes, the Chorleys, and the Norman families of Ferrers and Lacy. Within the present century the population has more than doubled. In 1801 it was 4,516 ; in 1831, 9,282. Seventy years ago the whole town consisted of one irregular street with a shop built across it ; now the streets are wide and amount to 67, with a market-square, and about 1,820 houses. The town is lighted with gas by a company formed in 1819, and is partially supplied with water by another company formed in 1823. The chief articles of manufacture are calicoes, muslins, and ginghams. Eight cotton-mills and printing and bleaching establishments find employment for a considerable part of the population. The Leeds and Liverpool canal, which joins the Lancaster canal at Whittle-le-woods, passes within about a mile E.S.E. of the town, and furnishes the means of conveying the flags, slates, and mill-stones which are got out of the quarries in the neighbourhood. Coal of good quality is abundant, and in 1833 a large bed of iron ore was discovered near Gillibrand Hall. Lead and carbonate of barytes are found in the Anglezark mines, four miles distant. About one-fourth of the land is arable, and the remaining three-fourths pasture and wood. There are four annual fairs, three of which are principally for cattle, and the last for woollen cloth, hardware, and pedlery. The market is held on Tuesday and Saturday. The town-hall, the basement area of which is used as a market-house, is a stone building, built in 1802 at the sole expense of the late John Hollinshead, Esq. Above this are rooms for the transaction of parochial and public business. The local authority is vested in a constable and visiting magistrates, who hold a petit-sessions once in three weeks.

Chorley was a chapelry in the parish of Croston until 1793, when it became one of three independent parishes into which the former was divided. The living is a rectory in the archdeaconry of Chester. The parish church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, is an ancient structure, supposed to be of Norman origin. The tower is a later erection. In this church a court is annually held by the bishop. of Chester, at which he presides by proxy, for the swearing-in of churchwardens for all the parishes in the hundred of Leyland, for proving wills, and for taking out letters of administration. In the patronage of the rector of the parish church is St. George's, an elegant modern structure, built by the parliamentary commissioners at the cost of £13,707, 16 shillings and 9 pence, and opened for public worship in 1825. Besides the churches there are dissenting chapels for Unitarians, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Baptists ; and at Weldbank, about a mile south of Chorley, is the Catholic chapel. In the various Sunday schools 2,135 children receive instruction. The Grammar-school, adjoining to the churchyard, has but a very small endowment, so that the boys educated there are not taught gratuitously. There is a large and handsome school, conducted on Dr. Bell's plan, built and supported by public subscription ; there are also infant schools and a Catholic day-school, which afford gratuitous instruction to nearly 1,000 children. Six almshouses, having gardens and a donative of £2 per annum attached to each, were built in 1682 for aged women and widows. Other charities, amounting to nearly £30, are annually distributed among the poor. In 1828 a dispensary was established. The surrounding country is very picturesque, particularly towards the vale of the Ribble. On the north-west of the town is Astley Hall, an ancient mansion, the seat of Sir H. P. Hoghton, Bart., and a little farther from the town, in the opposite direction, is Duxbury Hall. The townships adjoining Chorley are Heapey, Hoghton, Wheelton, and Witnell, and Whittle-le-Woods.