Return to the Lancashire page.
This is the Lancashire parishes (and chapelries) page.
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.
For example, Cornwall, Somerset, Gloucestershire and most other less populated counties were comprised of hundreds of parishes. By contrast, each of Lancashire's 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).
Overall, the county also 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. Still, 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. The vast majority of its chapels and district churches never received "parish" status. Those that did so, were granted parish status by the twentieth century. Most of those that did not obtain "parish" status were not granted 'licence' to marry couples.
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 Established Church, that is the Church of England, created hundreds of chapels of ease (or chapelries) and district churches, each one attached to an ancient parish.
Note to all Lancashire Researchers:
The following list of 'Lancashire parishes" is actually a list of its 75 ancient parishes and approximately 400-plus chapels of ease (chapelries, district chapels, parochial chapelries,etc).
However, to help you determine all chapelries within an ancient parish, see or view the "Lancashire Ancient Parishes" page or, click on any of the ancient parishes listed below (see double asterisked ["**"] names below); then click the "Comprehensive List of Parishes and Chapelries" link found at the top of each parish's main 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 Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) for available microfilms to view for that chapel or parish's registers of christenings, marriages and burials, etc.
Critically, and unlike all other England counties (except Cheshire, parts of West Yorkshire, Greater London and most big cities), identifying, listing and then researching Lancashire's parishes used to require that you thoroughly study to identify all chapelries attached to each ancient parish. Until now, this was quite difficult to accomplish, and yet a crucial step in order to conduct thorough research in Lancashire because it required using several reference aids, guides and tools to compile one. Each Lancashire parish averaged close to 8 chapelries (additional separate churches with baptism and etc., registers) each. The biggest challenge is Manchester--the largest parish in England with its 150-plus chapelries lying within its boundary! No single reference aid, tool, or source is complete or accurate in identifying all chapels of ease within each ancient parish. However, here in the Lancashire Wiki pages, you will find that this task has been done for you with all the chapelries identfied and listed for you. How is this done? You will note that eah chapelry page "Parish History" precisely indicates to which ancient parish to which it is attached. Conversely, each parish page identifies by name each and every chapelry lying within it boundary. As new and the hard-to-find chapelries come to light, are added to the "Comprehensive List of Chapelries" (found in ancient Parish page).
The above "Comprehensive Lists", (see links found in each parish's Main page), are printable and provide as complete a listing of all chapels in each parish as may be found in one single place--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 failure to solve your research problems 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!
While the list (below) indicates most Lancashire churches--including its 75 ancient parishes (**), it is in the "Comprehensive Lists" that you will obtain the most complete and thorough list of all chapelries attached to each's ancient parish:
See the "Parish" (or Chapelry) page for each ancient parish and/or chapelry; then scroll down to "Church Records" to view charts with links to available years for online data content.
At least three major websites are currently indexing or transcribing Lancashire's chapels and parish registers. These include:
1. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk (OPC) project - 6 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.]
2. FamilySearch.org - 10-plus million
3. Ancestry.co.uk - currently scanning and indexing parish and chapelry registers
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