BACUP, a consolidated chapelry, in the townships of Newchurch and Spotland, parishes of Whalley and Rochdale, union of Haslingden, Higher division of the hundred of Blackburn, N. division of Lancashire, 7 miles (N. by W.) from Rochdale; containing 7279 inhabitants. The village or town is situated in a beautiful valley, from which the ground ascends on both sides to high moorland, abounding in game. The soil is alluvial, inclined to clay; and coal, and excellent stone for building, are in great plenty: at Dulesgate is a bed of hard coal similar to that of Halifax. The river Erewell or Irwell, which takes its rise at Cliviger, two miles and a half to the north, runs through the village, where a tributary stream joins it; and the roads from Rochdale to Burnley, and from Todmorden to Haslingden, cross each other in the middle of the village. The population is chiefly employed in cotton factories. A cattle-fair is held on the first Tuesday in every month; and fairs are also held on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Good-Friday, the first Friday and Saturday in June, and the 25th and 26th of October. An act was passed in 1846, for constructing a branch line connecting Bacup with the Leeds and Manchester railway; and another act has been obtained, for a branch in connexion with the East Lancashire railway. Fern Hill, a mansion situated on an eminence overlooking the valley, is the seat of George Ormerod, Esq.; and at Broadclough, about half a mile up the vale, is the seat of James Whitaker, Esq.
The consolidated chapelry was allotted in 1843. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Hulme Trustees, with a net income of £150, and a house; the chapel, dedicated to St. John, was consecrated in 1788. There are two places of worship for Particular Baptists, and two for Wesleyans. A mechanics' institution and a British school stand on the site of the original Baptist meeting-house, which was erected in 1692, and was for a considerable number of years the only place of worship in the village. A national school is supported in connexion with St. John's chapel. At Broadclough are the remains of an intrenchment, called the "Dykes," respecting the antiquity of which no tradition exists. It is cut out from the gentle slope of an eminence, and in one direction is nearly parallel to the horizon for more than 600 yards: a part of the line, for about 100 yards, appears to have been levelled; and more than 400 yards present a trench 54 feet in breadth at the bottom, and of proportionate depth. So gigantic and singular a work could only have been intended for some military purpose: it was probably one side of a vast British camp, designed to have been carried round the eminence, but left unfinished. Bacup is included in the forest of Rossendale, of which the first portion inclosed was Brandwood, in this district, granted about the year 1200, by Roger de Lacy, to an ecclesiastical establishment; the remainder was disforested in the reign of Henry VII.