Downham

DOWNHAM, a chapelry, in the parish of Whalley, union of Clitheroe, Higher division of the hundred of Blackburn, N. division of the county of Lancaster, 3 miles (E. N. E.) from Clitheroe; containing 567 inhabitants, of whom 368 are in the township of Downham. The manor is carried up to a period before the Conquest, when it was possessed by Aufray, or Alfred, a Saxon. It was granted by the Lacys to Ralph de Rous, and afterwards to Peter de Cestria; and by Henry, Duke of Lancaster, to John de Dyneley, a member of the Cliviger family. After the dissolution of Whalley Abbey, in which the fee vested, it was sold to Richard Assheton; and Downham Hall, existing in 1308, but rebuilt in 1775, became the seat of the Asshetons. The chapelry comprises 2900 acres, nearly all tithe-free, and of which 1870 are in the township of Downham: fine limestone, containing a great variety of fossil remains, is abundant, and there are quarries of superior gritstone, used for building. About thirty persons are employed in the manufacture of druggets and counterpanes. The Roman road called Broad-street, extending from Ribchester to Ilkley, runs through the township. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £129, with a house; patrons, the Trustees of the Hulme Exhibition, Manchester. The chapel, with the exception of the tower, which is ancient, was rebuilt by Lady Assheton in 1800; it is in the later English style, and dedicated to St. Leonard. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a national school has been erected. Ralph Assheton, by will, gave £110 to be laid out in land for the support of a school; the income is £18.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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