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PADIHAM, a township, in the parish of Whalley, union of Burnley, Higher division of the hundred of Blackburn, N. division of Lancashire, 3 miles (W. by N.) from Burnley; containing 3789 inhabitants. The township is supposed by some to have taken its name from the resemblance in its situation to that of Padua: and that resemblance, it is held, was first discovered and mentioned by the Roman emperor Antoninus Caracalla, in a royal progress between York and Ribchester. Dr. Whitaker, from the catalogue of the nativi belonging to the abbey of Cockersand, conceives it to have been the abode of the sons of Padd. Edmund de Lacy had a charter of free warren in his lands of Padiham, and the place is described as a manor in the inquisition taken on his death. The Whitacre family possessed lands here, which in the reign of Elizabeth were sold to the Shuttleworths, of Gawthorpe, from whom they passed to Frederick North, Esq., by his marriage with the widow of the late R. Shuttleworth, Esq.

The parochial chapelry of Padiham comprises the townships or places of Padiham, Dunnockshaw, Hapton, Heyhouses, Higham, Read, Simonstone, and Westclose Booth. This portion of Whalley is in the centre of the parish, and comprehends an area of about 9000 acres, of which 1915 are in Padiham township. The country exhibits a wild aspect: the hills along the Calder are lofty and precipitous; to the south is the frowning and almost perpendicular fell of Hameldon, northward rise Padiham Heights, and still higher Pendle Hill. Coal and stone abound; and the cotton manufacture, which has been for some time established, employs a great part of the population. A fair is held for pedlery on the 12th of August. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes through the chapelry, and the road from Burnley to Blackburn through the village of Padiham. The living is a perpetual curacy; total net income, £131; patron, Le Gendre Pierce Starkie, Esq. The impropriate tithes of the township have been commuted for £41. 5., and the tithes payable to the curate for £10; he has also a glebe of two acres. The chapel, dedicated to St. Leonard, was partly rebuilt in 1776, and the accommodation increased in 1822. At Heyhouses is another incumbency. There are places of worship for Wesleyans, Unitarians, and Baptists. A school was erected and endowed at Padiham, by subscription, in 1698; and there are schools in other parts of the chapelry.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.