Lancashire Parishes

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Lancashire is by far one of England's most populated counties. Yet from early times Lancashire possessed only about 75 ancient parishes, making it exceptionally unique among all of England's counties. Most other less populated counties were comprised of hundreds more parishes. Due mostly to the Industrial Revolution, Lancashire had by the 19th Century, become one of England's most populated counties. To handle the dramatic population explosion within its county boundaries, the Church of England created hundreds of chapels of ease (or chapelries) and district churches, each one attached to an ancient parish. Unlike other counties, by contrast, Lancashire's approximately 75 parishes were ecclesiastically subdivided by an average of 8 chapels of ease, often referred to as chapelries, district churches and/or an ecclesiastical parish (though usually not the ancient or 'mother' parish). Manchester had more than 150 chapelries!

Overall, the county comprised over 400 of these smaller chapels of ease of the Church of England. A majority of them however, were created mostly from the 1820's to 1900. Yet many of Lancashire's chapels- like their ancient parish counterpart- were established from ancient times.

Each chapelry (church) kept their own separate church registers of christenings, often burial and sometimes marriage registers as well. Most chapelries did not obtain "parish" status and were not granted 'licence' to marry couples until after 1836. The vast majority of Lancashire's chapels and district churches never received "parish" status until modern times, mostly by the twentieth century. 

Note to all Lancashire Researchers:

To help you determine all chapelries within an ancient parish,click on any of the ancient parishes listed below (see "**"), then click the "Comprehensive List of Parishes and Chapelries" link found at the top of each parish's page. You will find each chapel listed with 1) the year it was created, 2)the name of the ancient (or 'mother') parish to which it was attached, and 3) with a hyper-link which takes you directly to the FamilySearch Catalog for available digital images or the microfilm number[s] if visiting the Family History Library--to view for that chapel or parish's registers of christenings, marriages and burials, etc.

The "Comprehensive Lists", (see a link found in each parish's Main page) are printable and provide the most complete listing of all chapels in each parish as may be found anywhere.

After completing research in the ancient parish registers, be certain to ask yourself if you have also searched in the church registers of each chapelry attached to that parish (as listed in the "Comprehensive Lists" of parishes and chapels). To not follow this strategy in your research will result in less-than thorough searching, and greater chance of failure to solve your research problem or objectives. These lists will greatly aid you as you attempt to progress your research into surrounding, contiguous parishes and their respective attached chapels, and so on. Aside from the sheer magnitude of its population, incomplete lists of chapels and chapelries lying within an ancient parish boundary is one of the major reasons many researchers have decades-old 'brickwall' research problems in tracing ancestral lineages in Lancashire!

For more information about church records in Lancashire, see Lancashire Church Records

The following list of 'Lancashire parishes" is a list of its 75 ancient parishes and their approximately 400-plus ecclesiastcal churches, chapels of ease, chapelries, district chapels, parochial chapelries,etc.

The Parishes (and some Chapelries)

See the "Parish" (or Chapelry) page for each ancient parish and/or chapelry; then scroll down to "Church Records" to view charts with links top available years for online data content.

At least four major websites are currently indexing or transcribing Lancashire's chapels and parish registers. These include:

1. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk (OPC) project - 9.5 million [OPC Project aims to extract and preserve the records from various parish and provide free online access to the transcriptions. To learn more visit their site.] Be certain to search this website first, and with those listed below. If an ancestor's name isn't found here, then try the others. In addition, this website holds many Nonconformist register transcriptions.

2. - 21-plus million entries of CMBs from Church of England and Nonconformist registers.

3. - currently scanning and indexing parish and chapelry registers - 12.6 million

4. - has 2.6 million entries for Greater Manchester

The Lancashire Record Office in Preston, Lancashire, England has a listing of Deposited Parish registers:

The Lancashire Record Office Deposited Church Records listing Please access this link for Church Record Information

Manchester City Archives & Local History holds most of the Greater Manchester church registers, which is currently digitising (and transcribing) and placing online.