Place:Preston, Lancashire, England

Alt namesPrestunesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 156
Fernyhalghsource: settlement in parish
TypeAncient parish, Borough (county)
Coordinates53.758°N 2.703°W
Located inLancashire, England     (1179 - )
See alsoAmounderness Hundred, Lancashire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Preston (borough), Lancashire, Englanddistrict municipality in which the borough has been located since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

The County Borough of Preston was a local government district co-terminate with the town of Preston in Lancashire, northwest England from 1836 to 1974.

Preston was one of only a few industrial towns in Lancashire to have a functioning corporation in 1835, its charter dating to 1685, and was reformed as a municipal borough by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.

The Local Government Act 1888 created elected county councils throughout England and Wales. However, any municipal borough with a population of 50,000 or more at the census of 1881 was to be independent of the administration of the county council, with the new status of county borough. Preston, with an 1881 population of 96,532 duly became a county borough on 1 April 1889, outside the jurisdiction of Lancashire County Council.

The county borough was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 and its territory transferred to Lancashire to be combined with Fulwood Urban District and part of Preston Rural District, becoming the new non-metropolitan district of the Borough of Preston.

When Lancashire was reduced in size by the formation of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cumbria in 1974, Preston became the location of central government offices for Lancashire.

Image:Preston with Leyland.png

Even before becoming a borough in 1835, Preston was an ancient parish serving a wide area. The following townships and chapelries were under its jurisdiction:

Preston Registration District, circa 1870

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Preston Registration District from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72. A registration district was responsible for collecting and registering births, marriages and deaths, and also for supervising the census every ten years. The boundaries of an individual registration district were normally the same as those for a local Poor Law Union. [The data has been put into paragraphs for easier reading.]

"The District.—The sub-district of [Preston] is co-terminate with the borough. The district comprehends also
  • the sub-district of Longton, containing the parishes of Hoole and Penwortham;
  • the sub-district of Walton-le-Dale, containing the Blackburn townships of Walton-le-Dale, Cuerdale, and Samlesbury;
  • the sub-district of Alston, containing the parish of Ribchester, and the townships of Grimsargh-with-Brockholes, Ribbleton, and Alston;
  • the sub-district of Broughton, containing the four other Preston townships, the Lancaster township of Fulwood, the St. Michael township of Wood-Plumpton, and the Kirkham townships of Whittingham and Goosnargh-with-Newsham.
Acres: 68,035. Poor-rates in 1863: £82,101. Population in 1851: 96,545; in 1861: 110,523. Houses: 19,982. Marriages in 1863: 1,005; births: 4,139, of which 382 were illegitimate; deaths: 2,693, of which 1,294 were at ages under 5 years, and 33 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 10,669; births, 39,176; deaths, 28,130.
The places of worship: in 1851, were 28 of the Church of England, with 20,506 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 2,030 [sittings]; 3 of Baptists, with 976 [sittings]; 1 of Quakers, with 528 [sittings]; 1 of Unitarians, with 145 [sittings]; 4 of Wesleyans, with 3,867 [sittings]; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,034 [sittings]; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 490 [sittings]; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 800 [sittings]; 1 of the New Church, with 250 [sittings]; 1 undefined, with 200 [sittings]; and 13 of Roman Catholics, with 7,646 [sittings].
The schools were 50 public day schools, with 7,779 scholars; 96 private day-schools, with 3,191 [scholars]; 78 Sunday schools, with 16,197 [scholars]; and 16 evening schools for adults, with 623 [scholars]. There are three workhouses respectively in Preston, Ribchester, and Wood-Plumpton; and, at the census of 1861, they had 282, 113, and 53 inmates."


Fernyhalgh (redirected here) is the location of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church. For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article St Mary's Church, Fernyhalgh.

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 shows 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.
  • "Districts of Preston", a Wikipedia article, explains how the various districts of the town have been linked to it both in the County Borough era and in the more uptodate time of the Borough of Preston. The tables and maps within them are very helpful.
  • A description of the parish of Preston from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1912. (This includes a map of the ancient parish, complete with townships and settlements, and also labels the neighbouring ancient parishes.)
  • A description of the township of Preston from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1912
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at County Borough of Preston. 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.