Section of a 17th-century road map of Lancashire

A 17th-century Lancashire road map
Amongst an extensive collection of 17th-century Lancashire maps and plans found at Towneley Hall were road maps showing routes through the old county from south to north

Newcastle University lecturer Jack Hepworth

Anglo-Irish relations in mid-nineteenth-century Preston
Newcastle University lecturer Jack Hepworth has contributed an article on Anglo-Irish relations in mid-nineteenth-century Preston. It builds on the dissertation that he wrote for his BA degree at Durham University. Jack graduated with a first in history and was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence in 2014-2015 and the Gibson Prize for History in 2015. Jack was born and brought up in Preston and South Ribble.

Belvedere in Avenham Park Preston

A tale of two belvederes
For a brief period in the middle of the 19th century two belvederes or summer houses faced one another a mile apart across the Ribble at Preston: one newly built in Miller Park and the other falling into ruins at Walton Hall.

Lancaster Canal and Maudland district of Preston Lancashire UK on Ordnance Survey map of 1840s

Barley, beer and the Lancaster Canal
When the Lancaster Canal arrived in Preston at the end of the 18th century one of the first enterprises to take advantage of its services was the Maudland Maltkilns. Barges laden with barley began to feed the kilns to provide the raw material for the brewing industry to supply the hundreds of public houses that quickly sprouted in the town.

Conflicted sexuality in Edwardian Preston
The story of a narrowly averted scandal involving a member of the Winckley Square district’s wealthy elite

A heat map of the census of Preston Catholics in 1820

Counting Catholics in 19th-century Preston
An 1820 census of Preston Catholics provides a map of the distribution of members of the faith in the town. It suggests a possible sectarian divide at that time between the Church Street and Friargate districts. The social composition of the Catholic population can be sketched by linking information from four trade directories of the town compiled at the same time with the records in the census.

Avenham Colonnade Preston

Desirable Dwellings
The third volume of Nigel Morgan’s three books on Preston’s 19th-century social history. Two were published (Vanished Dwellings and Dangerous Dwellings) but Desirable Dwellings was not. A version based on a typescript of that volume, with some added illustrations, has now been added to this site. Also here is his postgraduate thesis on the political history of the town in the 19th century that is an essential source for the period: Social and Political Leadership in Preston 1820-60

Map of Domesday Preston

Domesday Preston
A brief description of the Preston landscape and communications at the end of the 11th century, with map.

Sketch of the Friargate Preston St Mary's Catholic Chapel

Friargate’s Catholic ‘chapels’ — 1605-1990
Post-Reformation Catholicism in Preston as revealed by the accounts of various chapels found or imagined in Friargate in the course of four centuries

Map of Fulwood Forest and the Preston 'purpresture'

Fulwood ‘purpresture’
When the Normans originally established Fulwood Forest the southern boundary stretched to the outskirts of Preston. Over time the Preston burgesses encroached on the forest, creating enclosures. In 1252 these encroachments were recognized and legalized, pushing back the boundary with the forest and giving Preston more than 600 acres of land to meet the needs of a growing population.

Heat map of Irish in 19th-century Preston Lancashire

Irish ‘ghettoes’ in 19th-century Preston
Does the district known as Little Ireland that was firmly established in Preston by the middle of the 19th century qualify as a ‘ghetto’? It was home to Irish immigrants attracted by the town’s employment opportunities and driven by the famine that was devastating their country. The map above suggests there might indeed have been an Irish ghetto in the town, but the reality was more complex.

The Rev John Clay Preston prison chaplain

Irish not welcome in Preston
When the Rev John Clay, the 19th-century Preston prison chaplain and social reformer, was asked to supply evidence to a Royal Commission ‘on the state of the Irish poor in Great Britain’ he responded, ‘…it would be advantageous to this town and neighbourhood if the immigration of Irish could be completely stopped.’

Lancashire land measurement
Before the 19th century the size of an acre in Lancashire differed both from the statute measure and from district to district. In Preston a rod of 21 feet rather than the statute 16 feet 6 inches appears to have been customary. This makes a Preston acre equivalent to 1.62 statute acres.

Preston, Ireland and the Glorious Revolution
When James II fled England following William of Orange’s invasion in 1688 his forces regrouped in Ireland to contest the Glorious Revolution settlement. They provoked an exodus of Protestant gentry, who abandoned their estates in fear for their lives.
Their accounts of atrocities inflicted on the Protestant community stoked already inflamed anti-Catholic feelings in England. Many of these Protestants passed through Preston after arriving in England, and some settled there to wait out the conflict.

Preston’s pre-industrial landscape
A 1774 plan attributed to the surveyor George Lang provides a detailed record of Preston’s pastoral landscape just before rapid industrialisation began fashioning its present appearance.
Platford Dales — a medieval Preston town field
Preston Moor
A 13th-century ‘new field’ South of Ribbleton Lane

Reforming Preston
A masterly treatment of the transformation in the government of Preston in the first half of the 19th century.

The story of Tulketh and Tulketh Hall
An article contributed by Kim Travis tracing the development of Tulketh Hall from Norman times up to the present day

The last days of Walton Hall
The death of Sir Henry Philip Hoghton of Walton Hall in 1835 ended the family’s time as resident lords of the manor of Walton-le-Dale. His son and heir, Henry, had married well, acquiring the Bold estate at Wigan, changing his name to Bold-Hoghton and seemingly showing no desire to return to Walton-le-Dale. The contents of the hall were put up for auction — including Sir Henry’s Egyptian mummy.

Who owned Lancashire?
The principal landowners in the old county of Lancashire at the end of the 19th century: their holdings described and mapped.

Victorian Preston’s Men from the Pru
At the end of the nineteenth century a small army of insurance agents was tramping the streets of Britain. They were collecting weekly contributions on the millions of policies taken out by working class savers anxious to protect their dependants from the terrible consequences of the sudden loss of a family breadwinner. The lives of the Preston contingent of that army are examined here.

Other items provide brief information on subjects relevant to the Bellingham/Rawstorne diaries:
Lancashire militia in the late 17th century
Preston fairs