A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Bileuurde (for Dilewrde), Dom. Bk.; Dileworth, 1227; Dillesworth, 1284; Dilleworth, 1292.
This township lies on the southern and western slope of Longridge Fell, the altitudes ranging from 300 to 700 ft. above sea level. On the southern border is a large reservoir of the Preston Waterworks. The area of the township is 1,248 acres, (fn. 1) and there was a population of 2,439 in 1901. (fn. 2)
The greater part of the little town of Longridge lies in the extreme west corner of the township, having a railway station, the terminus of a line from Preston, opened in 1840, (fn. 3) and owned by the London and North Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire Companies. From the town two main roads branch off, one to the north-east and east along the northern side of the Fell, and the other to the east, along the southern side. An intermediate road, on the same side of the Fell, but much higher, is not much used.
Written Stone Farm, to the east of Longridge,
takes its name from a long stone inscribed:—
RAVFFE RADCLIFFE LAID THIS
STONE TO LYE FOR EVER. A.D.1665.
It is at the entrance to the farmyard. There are various legends connected with it. (fn. 4)
The Longridge gild day is 10 August. (fn. 5)
Longridge has been governed by a local board since 1883; this has now become an urban district council of nine members. The area includes the township of Alston and Dilworth. Gas is supplied by a local private company and water by the Preston Corporation, which has several reservoirs in the township.
Cotton-spinning and manufacture are carried on to some extent. Nails are made and stone quarries are worked. It is the stone trade, begun about 1830, which has caused the growth of Longridge. (fn. 6) A century ago there was a thriving besom trade. (fn. 7) There are several fairs for cattle, &c. The land is mostly used for grazing.
In 1066 DILWORTH was a member of Earl Tostig's Preston fee, and was afterwards given to Count Roger of Poitou. (fn. 8) Its two plough-lands probably then included Alston and Hothersall. It is not known how Dilworth proper became not only separate but merged in Ribchester, so as to be accounted merely a hamlet of the central township and part of the honor of Clitheroe. (fn. 9)
From the scanty notices of the place it may be gathered that it was held by Alan de Singleton about 1200, and of him in moieties by the lord of Ribchester and a local family or families. (fn. 10) The former moiety was granted by William Moton of Ribchester to Richard son of Alan de Singleton, (fn. 11) and seems to have become part of the main family estate, being held in demesne. The lordship descended regularly from Singleton to Banastre of Bretherton, (fn. 12) Balderston and Harrington (fn. 13) and Osbaldeston, (fn. 14) but was usually considered only a moiety of the manor. (fn. 15) The second moiety was acquired from Osbert de Dilworth by Adam de Hoghton, (fn. 16) descending like Hoghton. (fn. 17) In 1566 Thomas Hoghton acquired the Osbaldeston estate in Dilworth, (fn. 18) and thus became lord of the undivided manor. (fn. 19) In 1772 it was sold by Sir Henry Hoghton and Frances his wife to William Shaw the younger. (fn. 20) The present lord is stated to be Mr. William Cross of Red Scar in Grimsargh.
In 1357 the tenants of Dilworth and those of Ribchester arrived at a settlement of various disputes as to the wastes and common rights. (fn. 21)
Few of the minor landowners' names occur, but some of those in Ribchester seem to have held in this township also. The Knights Hospitallers had some land. (fn. 22) Dilworth (fn. 23) and Moton, (fn. 24) Catterall (fn. 25) and Ravenshaw, (fn. 26) have left some record of themselves. (fn. 27) Later the Cottam family, who seem to have had the mill, became prominent. (fn. 28) Of this family was the B. Thomas Cottam executed for his priesthood in 1582. (fn. 29) Whitacre is named as if it were a hamlet. (fn. 30)
In 1788 the principal owners were John Cottam, double assessed for his religion, Margaret Wharton and William Bowen.
Longridge Church is in Alston; it has a chapel of ease in Dilworth, St. Paul's, built in 1890.
The Wesleyan Methodists opened their first chapel in 1836. It was called Mount Zion, and situated on the Alston side of the boundary. The present chapel was built in 1884–5. (fn. 31) The Particular Baptists had a Sunday service in 1888. (fn. 32) The Congregationalists began to hold meetings in 1860, the minister of Knowl Green leading; the chapel was built in 1865. (fn. 33)
The Roman Catholic church of St. Wilfrid was opened in 1886; it had been preceded by a smaller building, now the school, in 1869. The mission was an offshoot from Alston Lane. The church possesses the head of an old processional cross, found in the neighbourhood about 1830. (fn. 34)