|Area (1891)||1870.55416 km2|
By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-06-21. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-28.
The Historic Counties Trust describes Lancashire as follows:
Lancashire is a large and heavily populated county, in population second only to Middlesex. Lancashire runs up the English west coast from the Mersey north to Morecambe Bay with a further part north of the sands at Furness. Lancashire was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, its cotton mills supplying the Empire and the World. Although competition and changed technology have swept many of the great mills away nevertheless Lancashire is still home to industrial might, and the great towns and cities which grew up in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries still thrive. Away from the industrial and urban areas, Lancashire contains scenery of much beauty and jarring contrasts. The Furness district in the north sits on the sea at Barrow in Furness, a shipyard and industrial town. Behind Barrow though is a land of lakeland fells, forested and mountainous, forming part of the Lake District. Coniston Water, and most of Windermere lie in this part of Lancashire. In the northern part of Lancashire's main body lies Lancaster itself, a modest county town tumbling charmingly down its hill from the Castle to the River Lune. Here the county is fairly narrow, the Pennine Mountains approaching the sea, and the Yorkshire border with them. Between Morecambe Bay and the Ribble Valley, Fylde reaches westward, a broad, flat peninsula whose inland parts are farmland but whose coast is a string of holiday resorts centered on the best known of them all; Blackpool. Lancashire broadens further south. The coast from the Ribble towards the conurbations of the south has more modest coastal resorts. Inland farmland begins to jostle with industrial towns, the latter becoming bigger and closer together until the great industrial conurbations of south Lancashire. In the southernmost part of the county are Liverpool and Manchester, two of the greatest cities in Britain, whose suburbs spread across not just Lancashire but into Cheshire too. Liverpool, founded in 1207, was built around its vast docks from the Irish trade then the Atlantic and African trade routes. King John founded his new port at a marsh on the Mersey, at the point where the great gulf of the Mersey narrows again into a pinch before entering the Irish Sea. Now though great buildings stand on the waterside, the "three graces", and the city has spread all along the Mersey gulf and up the Irish Sea coast. Manchester is an older and a younger city; it was a town in Roman days and a fortress borough in Saxon times, but it only became a town of national and indeed world significance in the Victorian period, as the heart of the manufacturing revolution. An inland city, its civic arms show a ship and the crest shows the world covered in bees; Manchester's industry reaching the world. The Manchester Ship Canal does indeed link Manchester to the oceans, by way of the Mersey.
Main Towns: Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Liverpool, Manchester, Lancaster, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Salford, Southport, St Helens, Todmorden (part), Ulverston, Warrington, Widnes.
Main Rivers: Mersey, Ribble, Lune, Calder, Hodder, Wyre.
Highlights: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral; Manchester Town Hall; Pendle Hill; Ashton Memorial, Lancaster; Old Man of Coniston; Blackpool Pleasure Beach; Martin Mere nature reserve.
Highest Point: The Old Man of Coniston, 802.54 m.
Area: 4869.18 km2.
Localities in Lancashire with evidence of Robin Hood-related festivals.
Studies and criticism
- Axon, William E. A. 'Sunday in Lancashire and Cheshire', Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, vol. XXXIII (1881), pp. 43-84, see especially pp. 57-60. Excellent discussion of Robin Hood festivals, morris dancing, and May games. Subsequent pages are devoted to a discussion of Puritan opposition to such pastimes and the "moderating" influence of James I's Book of Sports. Though dated, this paper is still of interest.
- British History Online: Victoria County History – Lancashire
- The Historic Counties Trust: Historic Counties Descriptions
- Wikipedia: Lancashire.
- Wikipedia: List of ancient counties of England by area in 1891 (adapted from 1891 census).
- Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website: Population. Administrative counties, England and Wales. Vol. I, 1891 – Page vi (University of Essex).
- The Historic Counties Trust has kindly allowed me to quote its county descriptions in toto. We have converted square miles to km2 and feet to meters.