Place:Colne, Lancashire, England

Alt namesAlkincoatssource: hamlet in parish
Laneshaw Bridgesource: hamlet in parish
Waterside (Colne)source: 19th century settlement in parish
TypeBorough (municipal)
Coordinates53.867°N 2.15°W
Located inLancashire, England
See alsoBlackburn Hundred, Lancashire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Whalley, Lancashire, Englandancient parish in which it was located
Pendle District, Lancashire, Englanddistrict municipality in which Colne has been located since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog
NOTE:The town should not be confused with the unrelated "Colne Valley" around the River Colne near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

With a population of just over 18,800 (2011 UK census) Colne is the second largest town and civil parish in the Borough of Pendle, after Nelson, which lies immediately to the southwest. The town itself is six miles northeast of Burnley, 25 miles east of Preston, 25 miles north of Manchester and 30 miles west of Leeds.

It developed in two parts: Colne, on top of the ridge; and Waterside, at the base of the southern slope, next to Colne Water. By 1296, a corn mill and a fulling mill had been established by the river. Coal was mined here into the late 20th century..

By the 15th century, Colne had become a major centre for the production of woollen goods, in particular for the production of lightweight kersey. With the Industrial Revolution, cotton manufacturing became the main industry in the town, fuelled by the completion of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1816, and by the arrival of the railway in 1848. By 1891 there were 30 cotton mills listed in Colne with more in the surrounding areas of Trawden and in the village of Laneshaw Bridge. The largest had 2,400 looms and the smallest 56.

The town was made an urban district in 1894 and designated a municipal borough in 1895. It expanded in area down both sides of the ridge into what are today referred to as the North and South Valleys, east towards the village of Laneshaw Bridge and west towards the new 'cotton town' of Nelson. In 1886, Swinden Clough became the official boundary between Colne and Nelson.

Image:Burnley Rural and Urban 1900 B.png

For code for numbered places, see the page for Burnley Rural District.

As was the case in many Lancashire mill towns, the town's population declined during the 20th century, from 26,000 in 1911 to just 19,000 in 1971. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Colne became part of the Borough of Pendle. As noted below in Wilson's Gazetteer, Colne was first governed as a township in the ancient parish of Whalley.

The following description from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 is provided by the website A Vision of Britain Through Time (University of Portsmouth Department of Geography).

"COLNE, a town, a township, three chapelries, and a [registration] sub-district in Whalley parish, Burnley district, Lancashire. The town stands on the river Henburn, and on the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, near the Leeds and Liverpool canal, 2¼ miles SW of the boundary with Yorkshire, and 5½ NE of Burnley. It is thought by some to have been the "Colunio" of the Romans; but it has yielded no other evidence of Roman occupation than some Roman coins. It occupies a rising-ground; presents chiefly a modern and manufacturing aspect; and has a head post office, a [railway] station with telegraph, a banking-office, two chief inns, three churches, five dissenting chapels, a cemetery of 1860, a mechanics' institute, and two endowed schools. The chief of the churches, St. Bartholomew's, is perpendicular English, with some Norman traces; has two chantry chapels, a fine screen, and an old font; and was restored and enlarged in 1857. The two endowed schools have £15 or £48 from endowment; and one of them had as a pupil Archbishop Tillotson. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; and fairs on 7 March, 13 May, 11 Oct., and 21 Dec. Manufactures of woollen and worsted were formerly extensive; but manufactures of cotton are now the chief. Population: 6,315. Houses: 1,357.
"The township comprises 4,575 acres. Real property: £20,817; of which £800 are in gas-works, and £120 in quarries. Population: 7,906. Houses: 1,701. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged anciently to the Lacys; and Barnside was an old seat of the Townleys. The surface is hilly; the rocks include coal, limestone and slate; and a double-ditched camp, 360 feet by 330, is at Castor Cliff.
"The three chapelries are St. Bartholomew, Christ Church, and Barrowford; and the first is a rectory, the others [perpetual] curacies, in the diocese of Manchester. Value of St. Bartholomew: £300; of Christ-Church: £150; of Barrowford: £150. Patrons of all, Hulme's Trustees."

In Wikipedia's section on "religion" in Colne, the Anglican churches mentioned by Wilson are noted, along with Mount Zion United Methodist Church and St John's Methodist Church; Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church; the Salvation Army Hall on Market Place; and Trinity Baptist Church. Church records exist for no fewer than thirty-four different places of worship and nine cemeteries.

Research Tips

  • See the Wikipedia articles on parishes and civil parishes for descriptions of this lowest rung of local administration. The original parishes were ecclesiastical (described as ancient parishes), under the jurisdiction of the local priest. A parish covered a specific geographical area and was sometimes equivalent to that of a manor. Sometimes, in the case of very large rural parishes, there were chapelries where a "chapel of ease" allowed parishioners to worship closer to their homes. In the 19th century the term civil parish was adopted to define parishes with a secular form of local government. In WeRelate both civil and ecclesiastical parishes are included in the type of place called a "parish". Smaller places within parishes, such as chapelries and hamlets, have been redirected into the parish in which they are located. The names of these smaller places are italicized within the text.
  • An urban district was a type of municipality in existence between 1894 and 1974. They were formed as a middle layer of administration between the county and the civil parish and were used for urban areas usually with populations of under 30,000. Inspecting the archives of a urban district will not be of much help to the genealogist or family historian, unless there is need to study land records in depth.
  • Civil registration or vital statistics and census records will be found within registration districts. To ascertain the registration district to which a parish belongs, see Registration Districts in Lancashire, part of the UK_BMD website.
  • The terms municipal borough and county borough were adopted in 1835 replacing the historic "boroughs". Municipal boroughs generally had populations between 30,000 and 50,000; while county boroughs usually had populations of over 50,000. County boroughs had local governments independent of the county in which they were located, but municipal boroughs worked in tandem with the county administration. Wikipedia explains these terms in much greater detail.
  • Lancashire Online Parish Clerks provide free online information from the various parishes, along with other data of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire.
  • FamilySearch Lancashire Research Wiki provides a good overview of the county and also articles on most of the individual parishes (very small or short-lived ones may have been missed).
  • Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has a number of county-wide collections of Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials, some from the 1500s, and some providing microfilm copies of the manuscript entries. There are specific collections for Liverpool (including Catholic baptisms and marriages) and for Manchester. Their databases now include electoral registers 1832-1935. Another pay site is FindMyPast.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1888 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time includes the boundaries between the parishes and the hamlets within them.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1954 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time is a similar map for a later timeframe.
  • GENUKI provides a website covering many sources of genealogical information for Lancashire. The organization is gradually updating the website and the volunteer organizers may not have yet picked up all the changes that have come with improving technology.
  • The Victoria County History for Lancashire, provided by British History Online, covers the whole of the county in six volumes (the seventh available volume [numbered Vol 2] covers religious institutions). The county is separated into its original hundreds and the volumes were first published between 1907 and 1914. Most parishes within each hundred are covered in detail. Maps within the text can contain historical information not available elsewhere.
  • A description of the township of Colne from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1911

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Colne. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.