Lancashire - A Palatine and maritime county,is bounded on the north by Cumberland and Westmoreland, on the east by Yorkshire, on the south by Cheshire and Derbyshire, and on the west by the Irish Sea.
The first Earl of Lancashire was Edmund Crouchback, youngest son of Henry lll. In the time of the valiant John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward, the county of Lancaster was advanced to the dignity of a palatinate, by a Royal patent. It confers the title of Duke of Lancaster on the King, and many other high titles are derived by nobility from this county.
Lancashire has been, at a great variety of periods in history, the scene of contention and theatre of strife. The sanguinary conflicts between the Houses of York and Lancaster, and the Royal forces of Charles l, and those of Parliament under Cromwell, as well as the support which the Pretender received from the disaffected, have stained the fields of this county with blood. The Battle of Flodden Field, of more early date, gave testimony to the prowess of the men of Lancashire and the achievements of the heroic bowmen and billmen from the districts of Warrington, Wigan, Rochdale, Preston, Blackburn, Bolton etc.
extraordinary page in Lancashire history must not be omitted - The
Lancashire Witches. In 1594, Ferdinand the fifth Earl of Derby was
seized with mortal sickness, produced probably by poison secretly
administered. After much suffering, he died days later. In his chamber
was found an image of wax with hair the same colour as that of the
Earl, stuffed into the belly! In
the 1600s, many notorious witches were tried at Lancaster assizes.
( Pigot and Co.'s National Commercial Directory, 1828)
The difference between a Shire and a County
All of us must have observed that the names of many counties end in 'shire' - e.g. Lancashire & Yorkshire, whilst others like Cumberland and Westmorland don't have this ending. Shires are tracts of land which were created by the Anglo-Saxons, the word itself being Anglo-Saxon, meaning that it is a part shorn or cut off from a larger tract. The term County is from the French word comté - a province governed by a count (comes) and it did not come into use until after the Norman Conquest. It was in the reign of Henry II that Lancashire became definitely the 'County of Lancaster.' Lancashire then is, strictly speaking, a county and not a shire, and it is one of the youngest of the counties.
Lancashire is not only a county but a 'County Palatine.' This is because in 1351, Edward III rewarded Henry, the fourth Earl of Lancaster, for his military success during the war with the French, by making him a Duke - and by giving him 'palatinate' powers for life - that is, the powers of the royal palace, which included the right to establish his own chancery or civil service, and also his own courts, to try civil and criminal cases. Within the boundaries of the county, the Duke was virtually a king.
The name Lancashire
The name Lancashire was derived from its old capital town of Lancaster - the Roman castrum or camp on the Lune, from which the names Loncastre and Lancastra afterwards changed to Lancaster. Lancastreshire was afterwards shortened to Lancashire.
In the Domesday Book we find the lands of the southern half of the county treated with those of Cheshire, and those of the northern half with Yorkshire.
According to the 1911 Census, the population of Lancashire was 4,768,474. Of these people, over 4 million inhabited South Lancashire - because the area had a great many industrial towns, and only about 400,000 dwelt in North Lancashire.
For more information on the county of Lancashire, check out the website of The Friends of Real Lancashire
Traditional County Map
The Association of British Counties
The Association of British
Counties (A.B.C.) is a society dedicated to promoting awareness of the
of the 86 traditional Counties of Britain. The A.B.C. believes that the traditional Counties are a vitally important part of the history, culture and geography of Britain. It seeks to re-establish their use as the standard geographical reference frame of Britain and to further develop their use as a basis for cultural, sporting and social activities.
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Mailing Lists of Interest
LANCSGEN - A mailing list
for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in the county
of Lancashire, England.
To subscribe send the word "Subscribe" (without the quotes) as the only text in the body of a message to:
Lancsgen-Lemail@example.com ( for mail mode) or Lancsgen-Dfirstname.lastname@example.org (for digest mode)
- A mailing list, sponsored by Ulverston's Heritage First!,
for anyone with a genealogical or
historical interest in the Furness area of England. ( Additional information on this area can be found on
the Heritage First! website)
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CUMBERLAND - A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical
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- A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical
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ENG-WESTMORLAND-Lemail@example.com ( mail mode) or ENG-WESTMORLAND-Dfirstname.lastname@example.org
(for digest mode)
A mailing list
for the discussion of all things related to life in Lancashire,
England, in order to place the lives of our
ancestors in perspective. Topics include dialect, slang, and sayings; culture and traditions; history of towns and villages; folklore; poetry
and songs; recipes; and nostalgic essays. To subscribe, send the word "Subscribe" (without the quotes) as the only text in the body of a
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have a homepage relating to your research in the Lancashire area and
would like it
added here, please email - (don't forget to remove the brackets from the address): Lancs(@)tower-house.demon.co.uk
( Births, Marriages & Deaths database)
Project to provide a "free-to-view" online searchable database of the 19th century UK census returns
Check out website for subscription details
- old maps of Lancashire - * worth a visit
UK Street Map
Old Ordnance Survey Maps
Greater Manchester Gazeteer
Gazeteer of British placenames
Bolton Evening News
Lancashire Evening Post
St. Helen's Star
North West Evening Mail
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