|Lancashire Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Lancashire is by far one of England's most populated counties. Yet from early times Lancashire possessed only about 75 ancient parishes- far fewer than most other counties, making it exceptionally unique among all of England's 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. There were about 400 chapelries in Lancashire.
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 . 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.
For more information about church records in Lancashire, see Lancashire Church Records
There were just over 75 Ancient Parishes in Lancashire. This is equivalent to a parish in other counties. Most ancient parishes were divided into chapelries, though a few had no chapelries and Manchester had 150. The average number of chapelries per ancient parish was about eight.
This table lists all the ancient parishes of Lancashire. The page for each parish has a link to a "comprehensive list" of the chapelries.
These tables list most of the chapelries in Lancashire and their ancient parish. Many post-1837 chapelries are not included.
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.