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Flag of Lancashire
Flag of Lancashire[1]
Lancashire within England
StatusCeremonial and (smaller) non-metropolitan county
RegionNorth West England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 17th
3,079 km2 (1,189 sq mi)
Ranked 16th
2,903 km2 (1,121 sq mi)
Admin HQPreston
ISO 3166-2GB-LAN
ONS code30
- Total (2011 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 8th
475/km2 (1,230/sq mi)
Ranked 4th
Ethnicity89.7% White British
6.0% S. Asian
2.1% Other White
0.9% Mixed
0.7% E. Asian and Other
0.5% Black
2005 Estimates
Coat of arms of Lancashire County Council.png
Lancashire County Council
Members of Parliament
Lancashire Ceremonial Numbered.png
  1. West Lancashire
  2. Chorley
  3. South Ribble
  4. Fylde
  5. Preston
  6. Wyre
  7. Lancaster
  8. Ribble Valley
  9. Pendle
  10. Burnley
  11. Rossendale
  12. Hyndburn
  13. Blackpool (Unitary)
  14. Blackburn with Darwen (Unitary)
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For other uses, see Lancashire (disambiguation).
Flag of Lancashire
Flag of Lancashire[1]
Lancashire within England
StatusCeremonial and (smaller) non-metropolitan county
RegionNorth West England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 17th
3,079 km2 (1,189 sq mi)
Ranked 16th
2,903 km2 (1,121 sq mi)
Admin HQPreston
ISO 3166-2GB-LAN
ONS code30
- Total (2011 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 8th
475/km2 (1,230/sq mi)
Ranked 4th
Ethnicity89.7% White British
6.0% S. Asian
2.1% Other White
0.9% Mixed
0.7% E. Asian and Other
0.5% Black
2005 Estimates
Coat of arms of Lancashire County Council.png
Lancashire County Council
Members of Parliament
Lancashire Ceremonial Numbered.png
  1. West Lancashire
  2. Chorley
  3. South Ribble
  4. Fylde
  5. Preston
  6. Wyre
  7. Lancaster
  8. Ribble Valley
  9. Pendle
  10. Burnley
  11. Rossendale
  12. Hyndburn
  13. Blackpool (Unitary)
  14. Blackburn with Darwen (Unitary)

Lancashire (/ˈlæŋkəʃər/ or /ˈlæŋkəʃɪər/; archaically the County Palatine of Lancaster; abbreviated Lancs.) is a county in the north west of England. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, the county's administrative centre is Preston. It has a population of 1,449,300. People from the county are known as Lancastrians.

The history of Lancashire is thought to have begun with its founding in the 12th century. In the Domesday Book (1086), some of its lands had been treated as part of Yorkshire. The land that lay Inter Ripam et Mersam, "between the Ribble and Mersey", formed part of the returns for Cheshire. Once its initial boundaries were established, it bordered Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

Lancashire emerged during the Industrial Revolution as a major commercial and industrial region. Manchester and Liverpool grew quickly as its largest cities, both dominating global trade and the birth of modern capitalism. The county encompassed several hundred mill towns and collieries. By the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in Lancashire.[2] Preston, Bury, Accrington, Blackburn, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham, Chorley, Darwen, Nelson, Colne, Burnley and Wigan were major cotton mill towns during this time. Blackpool was a major centre for tourism for the inhabitants of Lancashire's mill towns, particularly during wakes week.

The county was subject to a significant boundary reform in 1974,[3] which removed Liverpool and Manchester with most of their surrounding conurbations to form part of the metropolitan counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester respectively.[4] At this time, the detached northern part of Lancashire in the Lake District, including the Furness Peninsula and Cartmel, was made part of Cumbria. In total, Lancashire lost 709 square miles of land to other counties, about two fifths of its original area. Today it borders Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and North and West Yorkshire. The Duchy of Lancaster exercises the right of the Crown within the historic boundaries of Lancashire.


Main article: History of Lancashire

Early history[edit]

John Speed's map of the County Palatine of Lancaster, 1610

The county was established in 1182[3] and later than many other counties. During Roman times the area was considered part of the Brigantes tribal area and was in the military zone of Roman Britain. The towns of Manchester, Lancaster, Ribchester, Burrow, Elslack and Castleshaw were all originally Roman forts. In the centuries immediately following the Roman withdrawal in 410AD the northern parts, at least, of the county probably formed part of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged, a successor entity of the Brigantes tribe of northern Britain. During the mid 8th Century, this area was incorporated into the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, which itself became a part of England in the 10th Century. In the Domesday Book, its lands between the Ribble and the Mersey were known as "Inter Ripam et Mersam"[5][6] and were included in the returns for Cheshire.[7] Although some historians have taken this to mean that south Lancashire was, at that time, part of Cheshire,[6][8] neither can it be said clearly to have been part of Cheshire.[note 1][9][note 2] It is also claimed that the territory to the north formed, at that time, part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.[8] It bordered on Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire, and Cheshire. The county was divided into the six hundreds of Amounderness, Blackburn, Leyland, Lonsdale, Salford and West Derby.[10] Lonsdale was further partitioned into Lonsdale North, which was the detached part north of "the sands" of Morecambe Bay (including both Furness and Cartmel), and Lonsdale South.

Modern history[edit]

The historical boundary of Lancashire, in red, and the modern-day boundary of the ceremonial county, in green

Lancashire is now much smaller than its historical extent, following a major reform of local government.[11] In 1889 an administrative county of Lancashire was created, covering the historical county except for county boroughs such as Blackburn, Burnley, Barrow-in-Furness, Preston, Wigan, Liverpool, Manchester.[12] The area covered by the Lord-Lieutenant (termed now a ceremonial county) continued to cover the entirety of the administrative county along with the county boroughs, and thus was expanded slightly whenever boroughs annexed areas in other neighbouring counties. Examples of this include Wythenshawe (an area of Manchester south of the River Mersey and historically in Cheshire), and southern Warrington. This area also did not cover the western part of Todmorden, where the ancient border between Lancashire and Yorkshire runs through the middle of the town.

During the 20th century the county became increasingly urbanised, particularly the southern part. To the existing county boroughs of Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Bolton, Bootle, Burnley, Bury, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Salford, St Helens and Wigan were added Blackpool (1904), Southport (1905), and Warrington (1900). The county boroughs also had many boundary extensions. The borders around the Manchester area were particularly complicated, with narrow protrusions of the administrative county between the county boroughs – Lees urban district formed a detached part of the administrative county, between Oldham county borough and the West Riding of Yorkshire.[13]

By the census of 1971 the population of Lancashire (including all its associated county boroughs) had reached 5,129,416, making it then the most populous geographic county in the UK.[14] The administrative county of Lancashire was also the most populous of its type outside of London, with a population of 2,280,359 in 1961. On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the administrative county of Lancashire was abolished, as were the county boroughs. The urbanised southern part largely became part of two new metropolitan counties. The south-western part became part of Merseyside, the south-eastern part was incorporated into Greater Manchester.[15]

The new county of Cumbria took the Furness exclave.[3]

The boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens and Sefton were removed entirely from Lancashire. In Greater Manchester the successor boroughs were Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham (part), Rochdale, Salford, Tameside (part), Trafford (part) and Wigan. Warrington and Widnes, south of the new Merseyside/Greater Manchester border, rather than become part of Greater Manchester or Merseyside were instead made part of the new non-metropolitan county of Cheshire. The urban districts of Barnoldswick and Earby, the Bowland Rural District and the parishes of Bracewell and Brogden and Salterforth from the Skipton Rural District from the West Riding of Yorkshire became part of the new Lancashire.[4] One parish, Simonswood, was transferred from the borough of Knowsley in Merseyside to the district of West Lancashire in 1994.[16] In 1998 the county borough system re-appeared in all but name, when Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen became independent unitary authority areas. The Wars of the Roses tradition continued with Lancaster using as its symbol the red rose and York the white. Pressure groups, including Friends of Real Lancashire and the Association of British Counties advocate the use of the historical boundaries of Lancashire for ceremonial and cultural purposes.[17][18]


Divisions and environs[edit]

The area under the control of the county council, or shire county, is divided into a number of local government districts. They are Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, the Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, and Wyre.[19][20]

Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen are unitary authorities which form part of the county for various functions such as Lord Lieutenant but do not come under county council control.[21] The Lancashire Constabulary covers the two unitary authorities.[22] The ceremonial county, the area including the unitary authorities, borders Cumbria, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and forms part of the North West England region.[23]

Geology, landscape and ecology[edit]

Topography of Lancashire.

The highest point of the ceremonial county is Gragareth, near Whernside, which reaches a height of 627 m (2,057 ft).[24] However, Green Hill near Gragareth has also been cited as the county top.[25] The highest point within the historic boundaries is Coniston Old Man in the Lake District at 803 m (2,634 ft).[26]

Lancashire drains west from the Pennines into the Irish Sea. Rivers in Lancashire include the Ribble, Wyre and Lune. Major tributaries of these rivers include the Calder, Darwen, Douglas, Hodder, and Yarrow. The Irwell is partly in Lancashire.

To the west of the county are the West Lancashire Coastal Plain in the south, and the Fylde coastal plain north of the Ribble Estuary. Further north is Morecambe Bay. Apart from the coastal resorts, these areas are largely rural with the land devoted to vegetable crops. In the northwest corner of the county, straddling the border with Cumbria, is the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), characterised by its limestone pavements and home to the Leighton Moss nature reserve.

To the east of the county are upland areas leading to the Pennines. North of the Ribble is Beacon Fell Country Park and the Forest of Bowland, another AONB. Much of the lowland around this area is devoted to dairy farming and cheesemaking, whereas the higher ground is more suitable for sheep farming, and the highest ground is uncultivated moorland. The valleys of the River Ribble and its tributary the Calder form a large gap in the west side of the Pennines, in which sit Pendle Hill and most of the larger Lancashire towns. South of the Ribble are the West Pennine Moors and the Forest of Rossendale where former cotton mill towns are in deep valleys. The Lancashire Coalfield was largely in modern-day Greater Manchester, but extended into Merseyside and to Ormskirk, Chorley, Burnley and Colne within modern-day Lancashire.


Parliamentary constituencies[edit]

General Election 2010 : Lancashire
ConservativeLabourLiberal DemocratsUKIPBNPOthersGreenEnglish DemocratsNational FrontChristian People's AllianceChristian PartyMonster Raving Loony PartyTurnout
Overall Number of seats as of 2010
ConservativeLabourLiberal DemocratsUKIPBNPOthersGreenEnglish DemocratsNational FrontChristian People's AllianceChristian PartyMonster Raving Loony Party

County Council[edit]


The county council, serving the shire county, is based in County Hall in Preston, built as a home for the Lancashire county administration (including the Quarter Sessions and Lancashire Constabulary) and opened on 14 September 1882.[27]

Local elections for 84 councillors from 84 divisions are held every four years. The council is currently No Overall Control

ElectionNumber of councillors elected by each political party
LabourConservative PartyLiberal DemocratsIndependentGreen Party

Duchy of Lancaster[edit]

The Duchy of Lancaster is one of two remaining royal duchies in the United Kingdom. It has large landholdings throughout the region and elsewhere and operates as a property company, but also exercises the right of the Crown in the County Palatine of Lancaster,[28] which includes areas that were removed from Lancashire as part of the 1974 boundary changes.

High Sheriffs for Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside are appointed "within the Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster".[29]

The High Sheriff of Lancashire is an ancient county officer,but is now largely ceremonial; granted to Lancashire, a county in North West England. High Shrievalties are the oldest secular titles under the Crown, in England and Wales. The High Sheriff of Lancashire is the representative of the monarch in the county, and is the "Keeper of The Queen's Peace" in the county, executing judgements of the High Court.[14]

The Duchy administers bona vacantia within the County Palatine, receiving the property of persons who die intestate and where the legal ownership cannot be ascertained.

There is no separate Duke of Lancaster, the title having merged in the Crown many centuries ago – but the Duchy is administered by the Queen in Right of the Duchy of Lancaster. A separate court system for the county palatine was finally abolished by Courts Act 1971. A particular form of The Loyal Toast is still in regular local use: 'The Queen, Duke of Lancaster'.


Lancashire County Hall, Preston

Lancashire in the 19th century was a major centre of industrial activity and hence of wealth. Activities included mining and textile production (particularly cotton), though on the coast there was also fishing. Historically, the docks in Preston were an industrial port, though are now disused for commercial purposes. Lancashire was historically the location of the port of Liverpool while Barrow-in-Furness is famous for shipbuilding.

As of 2013, the largest private industry in Lancashire is the defence industry with BAE Systems Military Air Solutions division based in Warton on the Fylde coast. The division also operates a manufacturing site in Samlesbury. Other defence firms include BAE Systems Global Combat Systems which operates a site at Chorley, Ultra Electronics in Fulwood and Rolls-Royce plc in Barnoldswick.

The nuclear power industry has a major presence with the Springfields plant at Salwick operated by Westinghouse and Heysham nuclear power station operated by British Energy. Other major manufacturing firms include Leyland Trucks which is a subsidiary of Paccar and builds the DAF truck range.

Other companies with a major presence in Lancashire include:

Lancashire is also the location of the Foulnaze cockle fishery in Lytham. The fishery has only opened the cockle beds on the Lancashire coast three times in twenty years and August 2013 was the last of these openings.[30]

Economic output[edit]

Cattle grazing on the salt marshes of the Ribble Estuary near Banks.

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire at basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

YearRegional Gross Value Added[note 3]Agriculture[note 4]Industry[note 5]Services[note 6]


Lancashire has a mostly comprehensive system with four state grammar schools. Not including sixth form colleges, there are 77 state schools (not including Burnley's new schools) and 24 independent schools. The Clitheroe area also has secondary modern schools. Sixth form provision is limited at most schools in most districts, with only Fylde and Lancaster districts having mostly sixth forms at schools. The rest (most schools) depend on FE colleges and sixth form colleges, where they exist. South Ribble has the largest school population, with Fylde the smallest (only three schools). Burnley's schools have had a new broom and have essentially been knocked down and started again in 2006. There are many Church of England and Catholic faith schools in Lancashire.

Lancashire is home to four universities; Lancaster University, University of Central Lancashire, Edge Hill University and the Lancaster campus of The University of Cumbria. Additionally there are also seven colleges which offer higher education courses.



The M6 near Carnforth

The Lancashire economy relies strongly on the M6 motorway which runs from north to south, past Lancaster and Preston. Other motorways in the region include the fairly short M55 which connects the city of Preston and the town of Blackpool at 11.5 miles (18.3 km) in length. The M65 motorway runs from east to west starting in the town of Colne, running through Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn and terminating in Preston. The M61 heads from Preston past Chorley and the M66 begins 500 metres (0.3 mi) inside the county border near Edenfield. Both provide important links between Lancashire and Manchester and the trans-Pennine M62. The M58 crosses the southernmost part of the county from the M6 near Wigan to Liverpool via Skelmersdale.

Other major roads in the county include the east-west A59 between Liverpool in Merseyside and Skipton in North Yorkshire via Ormskirk, Preston and Clitheroe, and the connecting A565 to Southport; the A56 from Ramsbottom to Padiham via Haslingden and from Colne to Skipton; the A585 from Kirkham to Fleetwood; the A666 from the A59 north of Blackburn to Bolton via Darwen; and the A683 from Heysham to Kirkby Lonsdale via Lancaster.


Lancashire is located in Lancashire
Railways in Lancashire

                     Primary route                      Secondary route                      Rural route                      Goods only                      Heritage railway                      Light railway or tramway

                     Disused railway

The West Coast Main Line provides direct rail links with London and other major cities, with stations at Preston and Lancaster. East-west connections are carried via the East Lancashire Line between Blackpool and Colne via Lytham, Preston, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley. The Ribble Valley Line runs from Bolton to Clitheroe via Darwen and Blackburn. There are also connecting lines from Preston to Ormskirk and Bolton, and from Lancaster to Morecambe, Heysham and Skipton.


The county is served by Blackpool International Airport, however Manchester Airport in Greater Manchester is the main airport in the region. Liverpool John Lennon Airport, on Merseyside is also nearby.

As well as Blackpool another major operational airfield exists at Warton near Preston. The site is a major assembly and test facility for BAE Systems; arguably Lancashire's biggest private sector employer.


Heysham and Fleetwood offer ferry services to Ireland and the Isle of Man.[31] As part of its industrial past, Lancashire gave rise to an extensive network of canals, which extend into neighbouring counties. These include the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Lancaster Canal, Bridgewater Canal, Rochdale Canal, Ashton Canal and Manchester Ship Canal.


Several bus companies run bus services in the Lancashire area serving the main towns and villages in the county with some services running to neighbouring areas, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire.


The major settlements in the ceremonial county are concentrated on the Fylde coast (the Blackpool Urban Area), and a belt of towns running west-east along the M65: Preston, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Colne. South of Preston are the towns of Leyland and Chorley; the three formed part of the Central Lancashire New Town designated in 1970. The north of the county is predominantly rural and sparsely populated, except for the towns of Lancaster and Morecambe which form a large conurbation of almost 100,000 people. Lancashire is home to a significant Asian population, numbering over 70,000 and 6% of the county's population, and concentrated largely in the former cotton mill towns in the south east.

Population change[edit]

Population totals for modern (post-1998) Lancashire
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Pre-1998 statistics were gathered from local government areas that now comprise Lancashire
Source: Great Britain Historical GIS.[32]


The table below has divided the settlements into their local authority district. Each district has a centre of administration; for some of these correlate with a district's largest town, while others are named after the geographical area.


Ceremonial countyAdministration boroughCentre of administrationOther towns, villages and settlements
LancashireBlackburn with Darwen Borough (unitary)Blackburn with Darwen UK locator map.svgBlackburnBelmont, Chapeltown, Darwen, Edgworth, Hoddlesden, Tockholes
Blackpool Borough (unitary)Blackpool UK locator map.svgBlackpoolBispham, Layton
Burnley BoroughBurnley UK locator map.svgBurnleyPadiham, Hapton, Harle Syke, Worsthorne, Cliviger.
Chorley BoroughChorley UK locator map.svgChorleyAdlington, Clayton-le-Woods, Coppull, Croston, Eccleston, Euxton, Whittle-le-Woods
Fylde BoroughFylde UK locator map.svgLytham St AnnesFreckleton, Kirkham, Warton, Wrea Green
Hyndburn BoroughHyndburn UK locator map.svgAccringtonAltham, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood, Oswaldtwistle, Rishton
City of LancasterLancaster UK locator map.svgLancasterBolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Heysham, Morecambe,
Pendle BoroughPendle UK locator map.svgNelsonBarnoldswick†, Barrowford, Brierfield, Colne, Earby†, Foulridge, Trawden
City of PrestonPreston UK locator map.svgPrestonBarton, Broughton, Fulwood, Goosnargh, Grimsargh, Whittingham
Ribble Valley BoroughRibble Valley UK locator map.svgClitheroeBolton-by-Bowland†, Chipping, Hurst Green, Longridge, Read, Ribchester, Slaidburn†, Whalley, Wilpshire,
Rossendale BoroughRossendale UK locator map.svgRawtenstallBacup, Chatterton, Edenfield, Haslingden, Helmshore, Whitworth
South Ribble BoroughSouth Ribble UK locator map.svgLeylandBamber Bridge, Farington, Longton, Lostock Hall, Penwortham, Samlesbury, Walton-le-Dale
West Lancashire BoroughWest Lancashire UK locator map.svgOrmskirkAppley Bridge, Aughton, Banks, Bickerstaffe, Burscough, Downholland, Great Altcar, Halsall, Lathom, Parbold, Rufford, Scarisbrick, Skelmersdale, Tarleton, Upholland
Wyre BoroughWyre UK locator map.svgPoulton-le-FyldeCleveleys, Fleetwood, Garstang, Great Eccleston, Pilling, Preesall, St Michael's On Wyre, Thornton
– part of the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974
This table does not form an extensive list of the settlements in the ceremonial county. More settlements can be found at Category:Towns in Lancashire, Category:Villages in Lancashire, and Category:Civil parishes in Lancashire.

Historic areas[edit]

Some settlements which were historically part of the county now fall under the counties of West Yorkshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cumbria:[3][4][12][15][33][34][35]

Greater ManchesterAshton-in-Makerfield, Ashton-under-Lyne, Atherton, Audenshaw, Blackrod, Bolton, Bury, Chadderton, Clifton, Denton, Droylsden, Eccles, Failsworth, Farnworth, Golborne, Heatons, Heywood, Horwich, Hindley, Irlam, Kearsley, Lees, Leigh, Littleborough, Little Lever, Manchester, Middleton, Milnrow, Mossley (part), Oldham, Prestwich, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom, Reddish, Rochdale, Royton, Salford, Shaw and Crompton, South Turton, Standish, Stalybridge (part), Stretford, Swinton and Pendlebury, Tottington, Tyldesley, Urmston, Walkden, Westhoughton, Whitefield, Wigan, Worsley
MerseysideBootle, Crosby, Formby, Halewood, Huyton, Kirkby, Litherland, Liverpool, Maghull, Newton-le-Willows, Prescot, Rainhill, St Helens, Southport
CumbriaAskam and Ireleth, Barrow-in-Furness, Broughton-in-Furness, Cartmel, Coniston, Dalton-in-Furness, Grange-over-Sands, Hawkshead, Ulverston, Walney Island
CheshireWarrington, Widnes
West YorkshireTodmorden (part)

Boundary changes to occur before 1974 include:[35]


The Red Rose of Lancaster

The Red Rose of Lancaster is the county flower of Lancaster and used in the county's a heraldic badge and flag. The rose was a symbol for the House of Lancaster, immortalised in the verse "In the battle for England's head/York was white, Lancaster red" (referring to the 15th century War of the Roses). The traditional Lancashire flag, a red rose on a white field, was never officially registered. When an attempt was made to register it with the Flag Institute it was found that this flag had already been officially registered by the town of Montrose, Scotland, several hundred years earlier with the Lyon Office. As the Flag Institute will not register two flags of the same design (within the UK) Lancashire's official flag is now registered as a red rose on a gold field, but it does not stop it from having the red rose on a white field in some areas in the county.



Lancashire County Cricket Club has been one of the most successful county cricket teams, particularly in the one-day game. It is home to England cricket team member James Anderson. Due to changes in the county boundaries, the club's home ground, County Ground, Old Trafford,[36] is now outside the county of Lancashire, being in the metropolitan borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester.

Historically important local cricket leagues include the Lancashire League, the Central Lancashire League and the North Lancashire and Cumbria League, all of which were formed in 1892. These league clubs hire international professional players to play alongside their amateur players.[citation needed]

Since 2000, the designated ECB Premier League[37] for Lancashire has been the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition.


Football in Lancashire is governed by the Lancashire County Football Association. Due to the County Football Associations being aligned roughly along historic county boundaries, the Lancashire County FA contains members which were founded within Lancashire as it was in the late 19th century, but which now lie outside the county borders, such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Wigan Athletic. However, the Manchester Football Association and Liverpool County Football Association operate in Greater Manchester and Merseyside respectively.[38][39]

The seven professional full-time teams based in Lancashire, as of the start of the 2014–15 season, are:

Rugby League[edit]

A substantial number of rugby league teams formerly in Lancashire such as St Helens, Wigan, and Warrington now fall under the counties of Merseyside, Greater Manchester, and Cheshire. The county was once the focal point for many of the sport's professional competitions including the Lancashire League competition which ran from 1895 to 1970, and the Lancashire County Cup which was abandoned in 1993. Rugby League has also seen a representative fixture between Lancashire and Yorkshire contested 89 times since its inception in 1895.[40] Currently there are several rugby league teams that are based within the county which include Blackpool Panthers, East Lancashire Lions, Blackpool Sea Eagles, Bamber Bridge, Leyland Warriors, Chorley Panthers, Blackpool Stanley, Blackpool Scorpions and Adlington Rangers.


There are many archery clubs located within Lancashire.[41] In 2004 Lancashire took the winning title at the Inter-counties championships from Yorkshire who had held it for 7 years.[42]


Lancashire has a long history of wrestling, developing its own style called Lancashire wrestling, with many clubs that over the years have produced many renowned wrestlers.[citation needed] Some of these have crossed over into the mainstream world of professional wrestling, including Shak Khan, Billy Riley, Davey Boy Smith, William Regal, Wade Barrett and The Dynamite Kid.[citation needed]


Folk music[edit]

Lancashire has a long and highly productive tradition of music making. In the early modern era the county shared in the national tradition of balladry, including perhaps the finest border ballad, "The Ballad of Chevy Chase", thought to have been composed by the Lancashire-born minstrel Richard Sheale.[43] The county was also a common location for folk songs, including "The Lancashire Miller", "Warrington Ale" and "The soldier's farewell to Manchester", while Liverpool, as a major seaport, was the subject of many sea shanties, including "The Leaving of Liverpool" and "Maggie May",[44] beside several local Wassailing songs.[43] In the Industrial Revolution changing social and economic patterns helped create new traditions and styles of folk song, often linked to migration and patterns of work.[45] These included processional dances, often associated with rushbearing or the Wakes Week festivities, and types of step dance, most famously clog dancing.[45][46]

A local pioneer of folk song collection in the first half of the 19th century was Shakespearean scholar James Orchard Halliwell,[47] but it was not until the second folk revival in the 20th century that the full range of song from the county, including industrial folk song, began to gain attention.[46] The county produced one of the major figures of the revival in Ewan MacColl, but also a local champion in Harry Boardman, who from 1965 onwards probably did more than anyone to popularise and record the folk song of the county.[48] Perhaps the most influential folk artists to emerge from the region in the late 20th century were Liverpool folk group The Spinners, and from Manchester folk troubadour Roy Harper and musician, comedian and broadcaster Mike Harding.[49][50][51] The region is home to numerous folk clubs, many of them catering to Irish and Scottish folk music. Regular folk festivals include the Fylde Folk Festival at Fleetwood.[52]

Classical music[edit]

Lancashire had a lively culture of choral and classical music, with very large numbers of local church choirs from the 17th century,[53] leading to the foundation of local choral societies from the mid-18th century, often particularly focused on performances of the music of Handel and his contemporaries.[54] It also played a major part in the development of brass bands which emerged in the county, particularly in the textile and coalfield areas, in the 19th century.[55] The first open competition for brass bands was held at Manchester in 1853, and continued annually until the 1980s.[56] The vibrant brass band culture of the area made an important contribution to the foundation and staffing of the Hallé orchestra from 1857, the oldest extant professional orchestra in the United Kingdom.[57] The same local musical tradition produced eminent figures such as Sir William Walton (1902–88), son of an Oldham choirmaster and music teacher,[58] Sir Thomas Beecham (1879–1961), born in St. Helens, who began his career by conducting local orchestras[59] and Alan Rawsthorne (1905–71) born in Haslingden.[60] It also produced more populist figures, such as early musical theatre composer Leslie Stuart (1863–1928), born in Southport, who began his musical career as organist of Salford Cathedral.[61] More recent Lancashire-born composers include Hugh Wood (1932- Parbold),[62] Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-, Salford),[63] Sir Harrison Birtwistle (1934-, Accrington),[64] Gordon Crosse (1937-, Bury),[65]John McCabe (1939-, Huyton),[66] Roger Smalley (1943-, Swinton), Steve Martland (1954-2013, Liverpool)[67] and Philip Cashian (1963-, Manchester).[68] The Royal Manchester College of Music was founded in 1893 to provide a northern counterpart to the London musical colleges. It merged with the Northern College of Music (formed in 1920) to form the Royal Northern College of Music in 1972.[69]

Popular music[edit]

The Beatles in 1964. The band - arguably the most commercially successful act of the rock music era - launched their career in (and around) Liverpool.

Liverpool produced a number of nationally and internationally successful popular singers in the 1950s, including traditional pop stars Frankie Vaughan and Lita Roza, and one of the most successful British rock and roll stars in Billy Fury.[49] Many Lancashire towns had vibrant skiffle scenes in the late 1950s, out of which by the early 1960s a flourishing culture of beat groups began to emerge, particularly around Liverpool and Manchester. It has been estimated that there were around 350 bands active in and around Liverpool in this era, often playing ballrooms, concert halls and clubs, among them The Beatles.[70] After their national success from 1962, a number of Liverpool performers were able to follow them into the charts, including Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, and Cilla Black. The first act to break through in the UK who were not from Liverpool, or managed by Brian Epstein, were Freddie and the Dreamers, who were based in Manchester,[71] as were Herman's Hermits and The Hollies.[72] Led by The Beatles, beat groups from the region spearheaded the British Invasion of the US, which made a major contribution to the development of rock music.[73] After the decline of beat groups in the late 1960s the centre of rock culture shifted to London and there were relatively few local bands who achieved national prominence until the growth of a disco funk scene and the punk rock revolution in the mid and late 1970s.[74]


Lancashire is the origin of the Lancashire hotpot, a casserole dish traditionally made with lamb. Other traditional foods from the area include:

Places of interest[edit]

AP Icon.svgAbbey/Priory/Cathedral
Accessible open spaceAccessible open space
Themepark uk icon.pngAmusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svgCastle
Country ParkCountry Park
EH icon.svgEnglish Heritage
Forestry commission logo.svgForestry Commission
Heritage railwayHeritage railway
Historic houseHistoric House
Museum (free)
Museum (free/not free)
National TrustNational Trust
Zoo icon.jpgZoo

The following are places of interest in the ceremonial county:


Whistle Down the Wind, 1961, directed by Bryan Forbes and set at the foot of Worsaw Hill and in Burnley, starring local Lancashire schoolchildren.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Harris and Thacker (1987). write on page 252: Certainly there were links between Cheshire and south Lancashire before 1000, when Wulfric Spot held lands in both territories. Wulfric's estates remained grouped together after his death, when they were left to his brother Aelfhelm. And indeed, there still seems to have been some kind of connexion in 1086, when south Lancashire was surveyed together with Cheshire by the Domesday commissioners. Nevertheless, the two territories do seem to have been distinguished from one another in some way and it is not certain that the shire-moot and the reeves referred to in the south Lancashire section of Domesday were the Cheshire ones.
  2. ^ Crosby, A. (1996). writes on page 31: The Domesday Survey (1086) included south Lancashire with Cheshire for convenience, but the Mersey, the name of which means 'boundary river' is known to have divided the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia and there is no doubt that this was the real boundary.
  3. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  4. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  5. ^ includes energy and construction
  6. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


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  4. ^ a b c Local Government Act 1972. 1972, c. 70
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  7. ^ Morgan (1978). pp.269c–301c,d.
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  9. ^ Phillips and Phillips (2002). pp. 26–31.
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  63. ^ Stephen Moss. "Profile: Peter Maxwell Davies". The Guardian. 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°48′N 2°36′W / 53.8°N 2.6°W / 53.8; -2.6