LANCASHIRE, a maritime county, situated on the western coast, and bounded on the north by Cumberland and Westmorland, on the east by Yorkshire, on the south by Cheshire, and on the west by the Irish Sea. It extends from 53° 20' to 54° 25' (N. Lat.), and from 2° 3' to 3° 13' (W. Lon.), and contains 1831 square miles, or 1,171,840 statute acres. Within the limits of the county are 289,184 houses inhabited, 23,639 uninhabited, and 3680 in progress of erection; and the population amounts to 1,667,054, of whom 814,847 are males, and 852,207 females.

The name of this county is a contraction of Lancastershire. Its early British inhabitants were the Setantii, a tribe of the Brigantes. Under the Roman dominion it was included in the province called Maxima Cæsariensis, and was traversed by four great military roads, which severally led through the county, from Carlisle to Kinderton in Cheshire; from Overborough to Slack, or Almondbury, in Yorkshire; from the Neb of the Nase, on the right bank of the Ribble, eastward, and across Fulwood-moor, to Ribchester; and from the ford of the Mersey, near Warrington, through Barton, Eccles, and Manchester, to Ilkley. The Britons, under their renowned King Arthur, fought several battles with the Saxons on the banks of the river Douglas, in this county; which was, however, at last conquered, about the year 559, by the Saxon chieftain, Ella, and included in the kingdom of Deira, over which that prince reigned. From this period until the fifteenth century, we find little remarkable on record relative to Lancashire. It shared in the general devastation of the northern part of England committed by the Conqueror; and in 1323, it suffered from an invasion of the Scots, under Robert Bruce, who partly burned the town of Preston. In the wars between the rival houses of York and Lancaster the county was not the scene of any important event, except that, after the defeat of the Lancastrian party in the battle of Hexham, Henry VI. was concealed for a year at Waddington Hall, where he was at length discovered and taken. In the reign of Henry VII., the impostor, Lambert Simnel, with a body of Irish partisans, and two thousand Germans who had been sent to his assistance by Margaret, widow of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, landed at the Pile of Fouldrey, in the bay of Morecambe, and thence proceeded to Coventry. In the reign of Henry VIII., when the "Pilgrims of Grace," as the rebels of the north were called, were making their way southward, the malcontents of Lancashire took up arms, but were speedily subdued by the Earl of Shrewsbury, aided by the Earl of Derby.

During the great civil war in the reign of Charles I., no county was more frequently the scene of action than this. In the commission of array issued by the crown, James, Lord Strange, was appointed lord-lieutenant of the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire: that nobleman soon after had a severe skirmish with the inhabitants of Manchester, for a magazine which they had formed; and shortly afterwards, another skirmish ensued in the same town, with some partisans of the parliament. Strange then mustered the county in three different places,—on the heaths by Bury; on the moor at Ormskirk; and on the moor at Preston; at each of which not less than twenty thousand men were assembled. Lord Molyneux also raised a regiment in the royal cause; while many of the other most influential men were actively engaged in the parliamentarian interest. The forces thus collected soon dispersed; but Lord Strange, who immediately after, by the decease of his father, became Earl of Derby, having been commanded by the king to secure Manchester, raised some troops at his own expense, and commenced the siege of that town on the 26th of September, 1642, at the head of four thousand three hundred men. He withdrew, however, at the end of the week following, in obedience to the commands of the king, whom he proceeded to join without delay.

Early in 1643, Sir Thomas Fairfax repaired from Yorkshire to Manchester, and there established his headquarters. On the 10th of February, Sir John Seaton, major-general of the parliamentarian forces, marched at the head of a body of troops from Manchester to Preston, which was garrisoned by the king's troops, and attacked that town with such vigour, that it was taken after a combat of two hours; Lancaster, also, was secured, with but little resistance. Sir John Seaton then marched to Wigan, where the Earl of Derby was strongly intrenched; and taking that place after a gallant resistance, he compelled the earl to retreat to Blackburn. From Wigan the victorious forces proceeded to Warrington, which they obtained possession of after a short but resolutely-sustained siege. The united forces of the Earl of Derby and Lord Molyneux retook the town of Lancaster on the 10th of March; and three days after, these lords advanced to Preston, which they carried by assault; but Molyneux being obliged to join the king at Oxford, the Earl of Derby, with his forces, was compelled immediately to retreat to his mansion of Lathom House, which he had fortified. Early in the year 1644 commenced the memorable siege of that mansion, which was attacked by the forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax, and defended for three months by a strong garrison, inspirited by the heroic conduct of Charlotte Tremouille, Countess of Derby, until relieved by Prince Rupert, who pursued the parliamentarian army to Bolton. Here, the prince being joined by the Earl of Derby from the Isle of Man, Bolton was taken in a second furious assault, led by the earl at the head of two hundred chosen Lancashire men; when Colonel Rigby, the commander, and a number of his troops, succeeded in escaping from the town, and crossed the Yorkshire hills to Bradford. The prince forthwith advanced to Liverpool, which surrendered after a vigorous siege of about three weeks. He then hastened to York; but having been totally defeated, with the other generals of the royal party, at the decisive battle of Marston-Moor, he drew off the wreck of his army into Lancashire, where the strong holds he had so recently captured were speedily re-taken. In the summer of 1645, Lathom House was again besieged by the parliamentarian forces, under the command of General Egerton; and after a gallant defence by Colonel Rawsthorn, the garrison was at length compelled to yield to superior numbers.

In the year 1648, the north of England being invaded by the Scottish army under the Duke of Hamilton, and by another body of men which had been raised on the borders under General Langdale, acting in concert and on behalf of the royal cause, Cromwell was ordered by the parliament to march into Lancashire to resist their further progress. The orders were promptly obeyed; and having joined the Lancashire forces which had been assembled under the command of Colonel Ashton, he advanced to Preston, where, on the evening of the 17th of July, he was met by the opposing army, which had in the mean time been joined by an Irish force under General Monroe. An action immediately ensued, in which, after a sanguinary conflict of four hours' duration in the fields, the Duke of Hamilton's troops began to give way, and were charged through the streets of Preston at the point of the bayonet; but beyond the town they made a stand for the night: in this battle, Cromwell states that the enemy lost one thousand men killed, and four thousand prisoners. In the night of the 18th the duke retreated with the remainder of his army to Wigan, and the next day towards Warrington. Being still pursued, his troops made a resolute stand at a pass near Winwick, which they maintained for many hours; but they were at last overcome by the courage and discipline of the troops under Cromwell, when about one thousand men were killed, and two thousand made prisoners: the remainder were pursued to the town of Warrington, where they passed the bridge, and where General Bailey, to whom the Duke of Hamilton had confided the command of this division of his army, was compelled to surrender himself and all his officers and soldiers prisoners of war. By this capitulation, four thousand prisoners, with their arms, fell into the hands of the victors, and the infantry of the Scottish army was totally ruined: the remainder ultimately dispersed. The issue of the campaign compelled Sir Thomas Tyldesley, a zealous supporter of the royal cause, to abandon the siege of Lancaster Castle, in which he was at that time engaged. King Charles II., with his Scottish forces, marched through the county, in 1651, on his route to Worcester; and the Earl of Derby, having collected at Preston all the strength he could muster, consisting of six hundred men, was proceeding to Worcester by way of Wigan, when he was opposed in Wigan Lane by a considerable force under Colonel Lilburne, and his troops were totally routed: the earl himself escaped with numerous wounds, but shortly afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy, and was beheaded at Bolton. In this year, also, Lancashire suffered much from pestilence. William III., on his way to Ireland, prior to the celebrated battle of the Boyne, passed through the southern part of Lancashire, and embarked at Liverpool, June 14th, 1690. In 1715, a body of the Scottish insurgents on behalf of the Pretender entered the county from the north, and having passed through Kirkby-Lonsdale and Lancaster, arrived at Preston on the 9th of November, their whole force amounting to one thousand six hundred men; here, after some skirmishes of minor importance, they finally surrendered to the king's forces. In 1745, the army of the Young Pretender passed through Lancashire, in its progress southward, being joined in its route by small numbers of Lancashire men; and again, in its precipitate retreat, it traversed the county in the contrary direction.

Lancashire is in the province of York; and under the ecclesiastical arrangements, pursuant to the act of the 6th and 7th of William IV., cap. 77, the deanery of Furness and Cartmel is placed in the diocese of Carlisle, the deanery of Warrington in that of Chester, and the remainder of the county in the new diocese of Manchester. The total number of civil parishes is 66. The county is divided into the hundreds of Amounderness, Blackburn (Higher and Lower), Leyland, Lonsdale (north and south of the Sands), Salford, and West Derby. It contains the borough, market, and sea-port towns of Lancaster, Liverpool, and Preston; the city of Manchester; the borough and market towns of Ashtonunder-Lyne, Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Clitheroe, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Warrington, and Wigan; the market and sea-port towns of Fleetwood, Poulton-inthe-Fylde, and Ulverston; and the market-towns of Burnley, Cartmel, Chorley, Colne, Dalton, Garstang, Haslingden, Hawkshead, Kirkham, Middleton, Ormskirk, Prescot, and Todmorden. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, the county was divided into two portions, called the Northern and Southern divisions, each sending two representatives to parliament; and each of the 14 boroughs returns two members, except Ashton, Bury, Clitheroe, Rochdale, Salford, and Warrington, which have but one member each. The county is included in the Northern circuit: the assizes for the southern division are held at the town of Liverpool, and those for the northern at the town of Lancaster.

Prior to and under the Norman dynasty, Lancashire was probably distinguished as an honour, and was of the superior order of seigniories. It was given by William the Conqueror to Roger de Poictou, who in turn bestowed various parts of it upon his followers; but in the Norman survey the lands between the Ribble and the Mersey are described as the property of the king, having been forfeited by the defection of that nobleman. The Honour of Lancaster was restored to him by William Rufus, in whose reign he again forfeited it by rebellion; and this princely inheritance was transferred to Stephen, Count of Blois, who, on ascending the throne, bestowed it upon his son, William de Blois, Earl of Montaigne and Bolougne. On the death of this nobleman, Richard I. assigned it to his brother John, afterwards King of England. Henry III. first gave the honour and estates to Ranulph, Earl of Chester, from whom they descended to William de Ferrers, who had married Agnes, one of the earl's daughters: they were forfeited to the crown by Robert de Ferrers, grandson of William, who had taken part with Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. Henry then presented them to his son Edmund; and from him they descended to Thomas, second earl of Lancaster, who was beheaded at Pontefract for rebellion in the reign of Edward II. In the first of Edward III., the estates were granted to Henry, brother of Thomas; and his son Henry was created Duke of Lancaster in the 25th of this monarch's reign. John of Gaunt, Edward's son, having married Blanche, daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster, the title was revived in his favour.

Edward III., in the year 1363, advanced the county to the dignity of a palatinate, with all the powers and privileges appertaining thereto, under the authority of the duke; and the duchy has now for ages been annexed to the crown. The county palatine and the duchy of Lancaster, with regard to extent, are quite distinct, as there are various estates forming part of the duchy in twenty-five other counties in England. A considerable share of ecclesiastical patronage is attached to the duchy, as is also the appointment of sheriffs for the county. The peculiar jurisdiction and proceedings of the courts of law in the county palatine are the result of the privileges granted to its former dukes, who had, in fact, sovereign authority within the limits of their dominion. By the 27th of Henry VIII. the privileges of counties palatine were abridged, and it was enacted that writs and processes should be made in the name of the king. All writs, however, must still be under the seal of the respective franchises; and the judges who preside in this county palatine have a special commission from the duchy of Lancaster, and not the ordinary commission under the great seal of England. The court of chancery of the duchy has cognizance of matters of an equitable nature, relating either to the county palatine or the duchy, and of all questions of revenue and council affecting the ducal possessions; it is also a court of appeal from the chancery of the county palatine. The court of chancery of the county palatine is an original and independent court, as ancient as the 50th of Edward III. The court of common pleas is an original superior court of record at common law, having jurisdiction over all real actions for lands, and in all actions against corporations within the county, as well as over all personal actions where the defendant resides in Lancashire, although the cause of action may have arisen elsewhere.

The surface of the county is very irregular in form; for, besides the deviousness of its boundaries on the land side, its coast is indented by numerous bays and estuaries. The principal of these are, the estuary of the river Mersey, to the south of the county; that of the Ribble; the expanse of the bay of Morecambe, into which open the estuaries of the Ken and the Leven; and the estuary of the Dudden, lying west of the northernmost part of the county. In the north-west portion of Lancashire is the island of Walney, a long strip of land separated from the tract called Low Furness by a narrow channel of the sea. Various other small islands lie scattered within the vicinity of this, and eastward of the southern part of it, the largest being Old Barrow, near which are Ramsey Island and the island of Dova Haw; and at the entrance of Pile harbour is the island on which Fouldrey Castle stands, and which forms a triangle with Roe Island, Sheep Island, and Foulney Island. The main body of Lancashire is naturally divided into two grand districts,—the high, mountainous, and romantic tract of the northern and eastern parts, and the low, level tract that spreads out to the south and west; the line of division between which may be drawn in a sinuous course, below the first rising grounds of the high heathy tracts, from the south-eastern limit of the county, by Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Chorley, Preston, Garstang, Lancaster, and Kellet, nearly to Burton, on the northern boundary. The portions of high craggy land situated in that part of the county which lies furthest to the north-west, may be separated from the more level tracts, by a line passing from the boundary of the county just below Yealand, by Warton, Lindreth, Silverdale, and Allithwaite, to Newland, Ulverston, and the line that forms the division between High and Low Furness, passing above Dalton, by Kirkby-Ireleth, to Dudden Sands.

For the clearer description of the surface and the various soils, it is necessary to make the following subdivisions, viz.: the hilly and high heathy division; the steep fell, or High Furness division; the elevated craggy limestone division; the valley-land division; the Mersey, or southern division; the Ribble and Fylde division; the Lune and flat limestone division; the Low Furness division; and the moss, or peaty, division. The First of these comprises different mountainous ridges which rise in succession from the south-eastern boundary of the county, near the town of Rochdale, and terminate in the high rocky tract above Leck, near Kirkby-Lonsdale; extending in breadth from the great line of division already marked out, to the confines of Yorkshire. Throughout this extent the land is almost invariably of the high moory freestone kind, and generally produces a coarse black heath, excepting only where the vales intervene. The Second division comprises the whole of those romantic and rocky tracts called fells, situated north of the Sands (the extensive flat tracts of the bay of Morecambe, which are always dry at low water, and separate the northern division of the hundred of Lonsdale from the rest of the county); extending, in one direction, from the towns of Ulverston and Dalton to the river Brathey; and in the other, from the river Dudden to the river Winster at Bowland bridge. This tract is moory in different places, but the heath where it occurs is weak in its growth: the rock is in general of the blue, or whinstone kind. The Third, or craggy limestone division, is of much smaller extent, the principal part of it lying in the north-western part of the county, and extending from a little above Warton and Yealand to the point where it joins the sea-coast at Silverdale: there are small tracts in the Furness districts, and at the two Kellets, as well as at Chipping and Clitheroe towards the eastern limits of the county. The Fourth division includes the various valleys formed by the hills that constitute the two first divisions: some of these are of very considerable extent, others very narrow, the more extensive valleys being those which border on the larger and less impetuous rivers. The aggregate quantity of this kind of land is very considerable, and the soil is generally of excellent quality. The Mersey division comprises a fertile and level tract of land, and extends from the northern bank of the Mersey to the southern border of the Ribble, in one direction; and from the sea-coast to considerably above the town of Oldham, in the other. The Sixth division is of less extent than the preceding, but little inferior in fertility; and stretches from the northern bank of the Ribble to the southern border of the Lune, and from Lytham and Bispham to near Inglewhite. The Seventh division is of small size, commencing at Sunderland Point, at the mouth of the Lune, and running northward, in a narrow tract along the seacoast, as far as the before-mentioned high, craggy, limestone ridge, by Warton and Yealand: to the east of this rises the ridge of high moory ground above Kellet. The Eighth division comprises a small portion of land on the northern side of the Sands, generally called Low Furness: it extends from a little above Ulverston and Dalton to the extreme southern point at Ramsyde, being bounded on the east and west by the sea. In this district may be included the several islands that lie to the south. The Ninth and last division includes the different peaty and boggy tracts called mosses. They are found in both of the grand natural divisions of the county, but they are most extensive in the flat district; the two largest being Chat-moss, near Worsley, in the southern part of the county, and Pilling-moss, much farther north. In some situations these mossy tracts have undergone great improvement, while in others they remain nearly in their original state. The lands of the first four of these divisions are chiefly in pasture, the more high and mountainous parts being for sheep, the declivities and vales for cattle and sheep. The next four divisions are under various systems of cultivation, but grass-land prevails, especially in the vicinities of the towns and villages. The improved boggy tracts generally become excellent land for either grass or grain. Besides the districts above described, there are various tracts of sandy marsh-land, lying on the borders of the seacoast, which are liable to occasional inundations by the tide, and the principal of which are situated towards the northern extremity of the county, being those near Lancaster, the tract below Warton, the estuaries of the Leven and Dudden, and the marsh-lands about Walney Island.

The air of Lancashire, every where pure and salubrious, is of course much more cold and piercing in the elevated mountainous tracts of the north and east, than in the valleys formed by them, and in the lower districts which shelve to the south and west, where it is generally mild and genial. Great vicissitudes of heat and cold are felt in the vicinity of the large mosses, in consequence of the evaporation of the moisture which is there so long retained. In the most northern part of Lancashire, the breezes that come directly from the Irish Sea, and those that have crossed the mountains of Cumberland, in the spring and summer months, are frequently cold and chilling. A greater quantity of rain falls in this county than in most others of the kingdom. The seed time and harvest in the districts contiguous to the mountains of the north and east are later than in the southern and south-western tracts.

The principal soils are loams of various kinds, clay, sand, and peat earth; chiefly resting on freestone, whinstone, or limestone rocks, fossil coal, marl, gravel, and sand. It has been computed that a little more than one-fourth of the surface is under tillage: the principal tracts of arable land lie towards the western border of the county, including the Fylde, the banks of the Lune, and Low Furness, most of which are excellent wheat lands. On the eastern side of the county the grain chiefly cultivated is oats, of which, indeed, large quantities are grown in all the corn districts. The most common crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, and potatoes; but a greater proportion of oats than of any other grain is produced, much oaten bread being consumed by the population of the northern and eastern parts of the county. Great attention is bestowed on the cultivation of potatoes, which are extensively grown in all parts: onions are raised to a considerable extent in the neighbourhood of Middleton, at Stretford, and near Warrington. Very fine crops of clover are cultivated, the seed being generally sown with wheat. By far the larger part of the county is under grass, a vast quantity of hay being requisite for the consumption of the horses and cattle belonging to the inhabitants of the towns. In the greater part of the county, and more especially in the eastern and northern parts, are tracts of pasture land of inferior and unimproved condition, on which young stock are reared and kept. The most extensive dairy pastures are on the strong soil north of the Ribble, the produce of which is principally cheese, and in different parts of the Fylde: there are many small dairyfarms in the eastern part of the county, and in the vicinity of all the large towns are numerous dairies for supplying the inhabitants with milk. In the northern and eastern parts are many mountainous and moory tracts of land, which support vast numbers of sheep throughout the greater part of the year: on Furness fells it is reckoned that not less than 50,000 sheep are kept during the summer months. Near all the principal towns are plots of land applied to the growth of vegetables and fruit, more especially in the neighbourhood of Liverpool, where the horticultural fields are very extensive, affording not only an ample supply for that town, but a quantity of vegetables for the shipping; considerable quantities of dried herbs are shipped for the coast of Africa. The quantity of waste mountain land is computed at about 62,000 acres; and that of the mosses and marshes at about 36,000, of which 20,000 are contained in the mosses. The Woodlands are chiefly in the more central part of the county, in the vicinity of Garstang, on the banks of the Wyre, the Ribble, the Lune, and some other rivers, and in the parks of several of the nobility and gentry. The principal coppice woods are in the northern part, the land on which they grow being generally steep and rocky, and unfit for any other purpose; their chief produce is hoop-wood, charcoal, props for the coal-mines, and oak-bark. Various plantations have been made in different parts: the aldertree is in great request in the manufacturing districts, to hang cotton-yarn on to dry, the wood acquiring a fine polish by use, and not splintering from exposure to the weather; the bark is used in dyeing.

The chief mineral productions are coal, copper, lead, and iron. The strata of Coal for the most part seem to lie in three distinct parallel ranges, extending across the county from south-west to north-east: in some places they are at a very great depth, while in others they approach close to the surface, and they also vary greatly in thickness and quality, even in the different shafts of the same colliery. Coal of a black, compact, and marbly appearance, called "cannel coal," is found chiefly at Haigh, near Wigan. The principal tract in which Copper is found to any great extent, is among the rugged barren mountains in the northernmost part of High Furness, approaching the border of Cumberland, where the ore obtained is of the yellow sort, and yields comparatively but little metal. Lead-ore is chiefly found in the north and east parts of the county, but it is no where obtained in great quantities; there are also some veins of black-lead. The only part where Iron-ore is found in sufficient quantities to be worked is in the liberty of Furness. The county produces an abundance of slate, flagstones, limestone, and freestone. The blue Slate quarries are very numerous, in the northern part of High Furness: slate of a lighter colour and very inferior quality is raised at different places south of the Sands, where flagstones are obtained. Quarries of Freestone are wrought in most parts south of the Sands: the best stones for sharpening scythes are found and prepared at Rainford. Small tracts of Limestone exist in different parts, and numerous quarries are worked.

The pre-eminence of the Lancashire manufactures over those of the other districts in England where the inhabitants are similarly engaged, has long been known and acknowledged. These manufactures are various; but that of cotton in its different branches is by far the most important, and is one of the most extensive in the world. Manchester is its grand centre, and from that town it has spread over the adjoining and more northern parts of the county, as well as into the adjacent counties on the east and south. Soon after the year 1328, about which time the emigrant clothiers from Flanders were dispersed over England, Manchester became famous for the manufacture of a species of woollen goods, called "Manchester cottons." In the reign of Henry VIII. the county had made some further progress in manufactures and commerce; and at the period of the national disturbances, in the reign of Charles I., the manufactures of linen and cotton, as well as the woollen-trade, were carried on here. Until the year 1760, the sale of cotton goods had been almost entirely for home consumption; but about that period, considerable markets for this species of goods were opened on the continents of Europe and America, and the consequent urgent demand encouraged great and valuable improvements in the machinery employed. These improvements, the successfully-attained object of which was to lessen the requisite quantity of manual labour, on their first introduction gave rise to great tumults, the inhabitants of the manufacturing districts destroying the machinery, from the groundless fear that they would be thrown out of employment. One of the most recent inventions is the power-loom. A factory of steam-looms was first erected in this district at Manchester, in 1806, with two others at Stockport (Cheshire), and a fourth at West Houghton; since which period they have been erected throughout the manufacturing district generally. In some of the mills every process, from the picking of the raw cotton to its conversion into cloth, is performed; and on a scale of such magnitude, that in a single factory is done as much work as would, in the last age, have engaged an entire district. The steam-looms are chiefly employed in the production of printing cloth and shirting; but they also weave thicksets, fancy cords, dimities, cambrics, and quiltings, besides silks, worsted, and woollen broad-cloths. Inkles, tapes, and checks, with woollens, flannels, baizes, and linens, all rank among the manufactures of the county, and have each their proper seat. The silk-trade, which formerly flourished to a considerable extent, but fell into decay in consequence of the rapid growth of the cotton business, has of late been revived, and is now carried on with increased activity.

The spinning and manufacture of cotton prevail at Manchester, Oldham, Colney, Burnley, Haslingden, Preston, Accrington, Bury, Middleton, Ashton, Bolton, Chorley, Blackburn, Heap, Wigan, Eccles, Bacup, Rochdale, &c.; calico-printing and bleaching at Manchester, Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Accrington, and Chorley. Muslins are made at Manchester, Bolton, Chorley, and Preston; and fustians at Manchester, Oldham, Bury, Bolton, Warrington, and Heap. The manufacture of woollen goods is extensively pursued at Manchester, Bury, Bacup, Newchurch, Rochdale, and Heap; flannels are made at Manchester, Rochdale, and Haslingden. There are hat-manufactories at Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Denton, Bolton, Audenshaw, Howley Hill, Colne, and Wigan. Paper is made at Manchester, Bolton, Farnworth, and Ashton. Lancaster, the county town, possesses comparatively but little of the above manufactures, its chief trade being in the manufacture and exportation of mahogany furniture and upholstery. At Warrington are large manufactories for pins, glass, flies, and other articles; and a principal branch of business is the making of sailcloth. At Ulverston and Caton are establishments for the working of flax; and at the former town some checks are manufactured. There are iron-works and nail-manufactories in different parts: the principal works of this kind are those for smelting iron-ore, in that portion of the county which lies north of Lancaster Sands; where also, on the banks of the Leven, are powder-mills. Glass and earthenware establishments are very numerous, the largest being at St. Helen's; and in the south-western part of the county, watches, watch-movements, and watchmakers' tools are made to a considerable extent. It appears from a parliamentary return dated 1847, that the total number of persons employed in the cotton factories of this important county, is 201,573; in the woollen factories, 7971; in the worsted factories, 340; in those for flax, 2541; and for silk, 8367. The commerce of Lancashire, like its manufactures and in conjunction with them, has risen with unexampled rapidity, and attained an importance unequalled by that of any other county, Middlesex alone excepted. A great part of its foreign commerce, of which Liverpool is the grand medium, consists in the exportation of its manufactures, together with the woollens and cutlery of Yorkshire, the produce of the salt-mines of Cheshire, the earthenware of Staffordshire, and the hardware of Warwickshire; which are poured into this great western emporium, and thence forwarded to America and the West Indies, Africa, and the East Indies, and to the Continent of Europe. According to a return made to parliament, it appears that the total annual value of real property in the county assessed in the year ending April 5, 1843, was £7,756,228, of which £4,777,536 were for houses, £1,636,416 for lands, £39,728 for tithes, £593,515 for railways, £71,590 for canals, £348,007 for mines, chiefly of coal, and £21,038 for quarries; the remainder of the sum being for other descriptions of property not comprised in the foregoing items.

The Forest or ancient Chase of Rossendale, containing 24 square miles, affords a remarkable instance of the progress of improvement in the county. The former existence of the wolf in the Forest is attested by the names Wolfstones and Wolfenden attaching to places within its limits. In the early part of the 16th century, at which period Rossendale had already been disforested, there were not more than 80 inhabitants; and it is stated in a petition then presented to the crown, that if the deer were entirely taken away, "the commonwealth would be thereby increased." The inhabitants were accordingly encouraged by a grant of privileges; the lands were apportioned into nineteen booths or vaccaries, which were the foundations of townships, and the annual value or " advanced rent " settled upon them by royal commission, and afterwards confirmed by James I., amounted to £122. 13. 8. Upon the more general introduction of the woollen fabric into the north of England, the foresters of Rossendale did not long continue to direct the whole of their energies to the cultivation of a yet sterile soil, but entered with avidity into this branch of industry, pursuing it with remarkable success; and about fifty years ago the cotton manufacture, then introduced, became another source of employment, which has since spread with still greater rapidity throughout the district, causing a vast increase of population, now multiplied to more than 20,000 souls. Manufacturers and merchants, distinguished for enterprise and ability, have become resident; and in every part of this wide and once barren tract, flourishing establishments have sprung up, commodious and handsome dwellings have been erected, and an amazing increase has taken place in the value of property. The land used exclusively for farming purposes, now commands upwards of ten times the rent of a century ago; and farms formerly tenanted by persons now living, are let by their present possessors for seven or eight times the sums they themselves paid. In the populous parts, building-ground is rented at £120 and £130 an acre, or a larger amount than was paid for the whole Forest, more than 15,000 acres in extent, in the early part of the 17th century; and by a recent survey for the county assessment, the annual rental of the Forest is £50,035, being an increase of 41,000 per cent. upon the survey confirmed by James I.; bearing out the prediction of the petitioners already mentioned, that the removal of the deer would benefit the commonwealth.

The rivers and streams in the county are very numerous: the Mersey, the Ribble, and the Lune or Loyne, are the largest; and next in magnitude are the Irwell, the Douglas, the Wyre, the Leven, the Crake, and the Dudden, all of which to some extent are navigable. Pursuant to an act of parliament obtained in 1720, the Mersey was made navigable for barges of from 60 to 70 tons' burthen, by the aid of an artificial cut from the south of Warrington to some distance above that town, as far as the mouth of the Irwell, which river in like manner is rendered navigable up to Manchester: the tide flows up the Mersey as far as the vicinity of Warrington, where it is stopped by a weir. The Ribble is navigable for vessels as high as Preston, up to which the tide flows: in 1838 an act was passed for its improvement. The Lune is navigable for vessels to Lancaster, but ships of great burthen cannot pass higher than Glasson Point. The Douglas, in 1727, was made navigable from the Ribble as high as Wigan, under the provisions of an act obtained in 1719; and the navigation was improved at a later date by the substitution, in a part of its course, of an artificial cut for the natural channel of the river. The Wyre is navigable for small vessels up to Poulton. In the northern part of the county are several sheets of water, of which Coniston Lake is the largest; and there are others of smaller size, commonly called "tarns."

The system of artificial inland navigation had its origin in this county, in which it is very extensive. The first attempts were in rendering navigable the rivers above mentioned, after which an act was procured in 1755, for making Sankey brook navigable, and in 176l another act, which provided for the extension of the same line. The present navigation is called the Sankey Canal, and runs entirely separate from the brook, except at one spot about two miles below Sankey bridge, where it crosses the stream on a level; at the distance of about 9¼ miles from its termination in the Mersey it divides into three branches, to the extremity of the longest of which the distance from the Mersey is 11¾ miles. In 1758 and 1759 the magnificent plans which have rendered the name of the Duke of Bridgewater so celebrated in the history of canal navigation, began to unfold themselves, an act having been passed in the former year empowering that nobleman to construct a canal from Worsley to Salford, and also to Hollin Ferry on the Irwell; and another in the latter year, permitting him to deviate from that line, and carry the canal from Worsley across the river Irwell to Manchester. The formation of this canal was the work of that eminent self-taught engineer, James Brindley. The duke also procured an act for the formation of a branch canal, which extends from Longford bridge, in the township of Stretford, to the river Mersey at Runcorn-Gap, a distance of more than 29 miles, passing through part of Cheshire, in a line parallel with the course of that river; and another branch has been cut, from the main line at Worsley to Leigh, pursuant to an act passed in 1795. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, upwards of 127 miles in length, and one of the greatest works of the kind in the kingdom, was commenced in 1770: there is a branch from it to Wigan, which, when first completed, afforded to Liverpool a new and plentiful supply of coal, and caused a considerable exportation of that article from the port. Different alterations and improvements have been made in the canal, under the authority of various acts of parliament, one of which, passed in 1794, gave the company the power of navigating a part of the Lancaster Canal, then newly formed; and pursuant to an act obtained in 1819, a navigable cut was made from the canal near Wigan to the Duke of Bridgewater's canal at Leigh. In 1791, an act was passed for the formation of a canal to connect the towns of Manchester, Bolton, and Bury, which, passing through a district abounding with coal and other mineral productions, and the inhabitants of which are extensively engaged in manufactures, has become a great medium of traffic with Manchester: the branches to Bolton and Bury commence at Little Lever. The canal from Manchester to Ashton-under-Lyne, for which an act was procured in 1792, has a branch from Fairfield to the New Mill, near Oldham, from which a cut reaches to Park colliery; and there is also a branch from this canal to Stockport, in Cheshire. The Rochdale Canal was constructed with some short collateral cuts, under an act passed in 1794, and connects the Duke of Bridgewater's canal at Manchester with the Calder navigation at Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax. In the same year was obtained an act for constructing the Huddersfield Canal, which has its western extremity at the Ashton-under-Lyne canal, and its eastern at Sir John Ramsden's canal to the Calder. The Kendal and Lancaster Canal, for the formation of which an act was procured in 1792, enters the county near Burton, and after a very circuitous course crosses the Lune, a little above Lancaster, by a magnificent aqueduct, whence it proceeds to Garstang and Preston. The Ulverston Canal is a short cut, about a mile and a half in length, from that town to the navigable channel of the Leven.

The railways hold a still more important place among the facilities of communication. The principal of these is the Liverpool and Manchester railway, which, beginning in the heart of Liverpool, passes eastward across the county by Prescot, St. Helen's, Newton, and Kenyon, to Manchester. Near Newton commence the Liverpool and Birmingham railway, which runs southward by Warrington, and the Wigan and Preston railway, which runs northward: a line proceeds from Kenyon to Leigh and Bolton; and at Manchester begins the line called the Manchester and Birmingham (or Crewe), which pursues a southern direction towards Stockport, in Cheshire. These five lines all belong to one company. Another company owns the Lancashire and Yorkshire or Manchester and Leeds line, which passes by the towns of Oldham, Middleton, Rochdale, and Todmorden, and has branches to Ashton, to Bury, and to Burnley; the Manchester and Bolton line; the Bolton and Preston line, which runs by the town of Chorley; and a line from Liverpool, by Wigan and Bolton, to Bury. The principal other railways connected with the county, are, the St. Helen's and Runcorn; the Manchester and Sheffield, which has a branch to Ashton; the East Lancashire, which connects the towns of Manchester, Bury, Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley, and Colne; the Liverpool and Preston, which passes by Ormskirk; the Bolton and Blackburn, proceeding by Turton, Over Darwen, and Lower Darwen: the Blackburn and Preston; a line from Blackburn, by Clitheroe, to Long Preston, in Yorkshire; the Preston and Clitheroe; the Preston and Wyre, which has branches to the watering-places of Lytham and Blackpool, and terminates at the port of Fleetwood; the Preston and Lancaster, passing by the town of Garstang; the Lancaster and Carlisle, which quits the county near Burton-in-Kendal, Westmorland; and the Furness railway, in the hundred of North Lonsdale.

The county contains antiquities of various ages. Eight Roman stations, according to Whitaker, were established during the administration of Julius Agricola in Britain, viz., Ad Alaunam and Bremetonacæ, in the north, which are conjectured to have been at Lancaster and Burrow respectively; Portus Sistuntiorum, in the west; Rerigonium and Coccium, about the centre, fixed by some writers at Ribchester and at Wigan; Colonea in the east, supposed to have been at Colne; and Veratinum and Mancunium in the south, the former at Warrington, and the latter at Manchester, from which place several roads diverged. The number of Religious houses prior to the Reformation was twenty-one, including three hospitals and the college of Manchester: the principal remains of conventual buildings are those at Whalley, Cockersand, and Furness, the last of which rank among the most interesting remains in the kingdom. Of ancient Castles, the chief are Clitheroe, Dalton, Gleaston, Hoghton, Hornby, and Lancaster Castles, of which the last is the most remarkable and entire, being now used as the county gaol. Of ancient domestic architecture there are numerous remains: Hulme Hall, on the bank of the Irwell, near Manchester, and Speke Hall, on the Mersey, near Liverpool, are the most curious specimens. Among the more distinguished modern seats are Knowsley Hall, Ashton Hall, and Heaton House.

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