A history book of Blackburn and the Ribble Valley towns written more than 130 years ago and going back to the days of the Romans has been reprinted.
Seen by many as the definitive book on Blackburn and its surrounding area, “The History of Blackburn, Town and Parish”, was written by William Alexander Abram and first published in 1877.
It details the old manor houses and the gentry and all the important details of life in the Clitheroe and its surrounding areas and villages, through the centuries.
It traces the archaeology of the district, the Civil War, the memorials of men of public fame, and the early domestic architecture in some of the area’s fine old halls and mansions.
It was only after the Roman invasion – the first by Julius Caesar in 55 BC and then Agricola – that historical accounts of Britain or Lancashire were recorded.
Ribchester became an important Roman city and station, known as Bremetennacum Veteranorum, and in 1796 a remarkable batch of relics of the period was discovered nine feet below ground. It included a bronze helmet, richly ornamented with embossed figures.
During the wars of the Roses, it is known that Henry VI was captured near Clitheroe in 1464 by partisan followers of Edward IV, the Yorkist Prince, who then forcibly possessed the throne.
During his period of hiding, he is said to have visited Whalley Abbey and was also entertained at Waddington Hall, Mitton, the home of Sir John Tempest. The hall had a room known as the King’s Chamber, and a field between the hall and the river is called King Henry’s Meadow.
Henry was betrayed by supposed friends, including Sir James Harrington, of Hornby, and John Talbot, of Salesbury Hall, and was captured at the ford of the Ribble, anciently known as Brungerley Hippingstones, as he tried to flee.
They were suitably rewarded for their treachery by Edward. Sir Thomas Talbot of Bashall received £100 and Sir John Tempest and Sir James Harrington 100 marks each. Sir John Harrington was granted a large swathe of land.
The book also tells of the area’s wealthy families, such as the Slaters, who were tenants of Whalley Abbey, both in Billington and Whalley. John Slater in 1538 held 18 acres in Billington and a pasture in Whalley called Roger-ashes.
l “The History of Blackburn, Town and Parish”, reprinted by Heritage Publications, £26.99, is available from Clitheroe Books, Moor Lane, Lesley’s News on Blackburn Market or by calling 01539 295195.