CLITHEROE, a market town and municipal borough in the Clitheroe parliamentary division of Lancashire, England, 220 m. N.N.W. from London and 35 m. N. by W. from Manchester, on the Lancashire & Yorkshire railway. Pop. (1901) 11,414. It is finely situated in the valley of the Ribble, at the foot of Pendle Hill, a steep plateau-like mass rising to 1831 ft. The church of St Mary Magdalene, though occupying an ancient site, is wholly modernized. There are a grammar school, founded in 1554, and a technical school. On a rocky elevation commanding the valley stands the keep and other fragments of a Norman castle, but part of the site is occupied by a modern mansion. The industrial establishments comprise cotton-mills, print-works, paper-mills, foundries, and brick and lime works. The corporation consists of a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 2385 acres.
Stonyhurst College, 5 m. S.W. of Clitheroe, is the principal establishment in England for Roman Catholic students. The Jesuits of St Omer, after emigrating to Bruges and Liége, were disorganized by the revolutionary troubles at the close of the 18th century, and a large body came to England, when Thomas Weld, in 1795, conferred his property of Stonyhurst upon them. The fine and extensive buildings, of which the nucleus is a mansion of the 17th century, contain a public school for boys and a house of studies for Jesuit ecclesiastics, while there is a preparatory school at a short distance. Every branch of study is prosecuted, the college including such institutions as an observatory, laboratories and farm buildings.
The Honour of Clitheroe, the name of which is also written Clyderhow and Cletherwoode, was first held by Roger de Poictou, who was almost certainly the builder of the castle, which was dismantled in 1649. He granted it to Robert de Lacy, in whose family it remained with two short intervals until it passed by marriage to Thomas, earl of Lancaster, in 1310. It formed part of the duchy of Lancaster till Charles II. at the Restoration bestowed it on General Monk, from whose family it descended through the house of Montague to that of Buccleuch. The Clitheroe Estate Company are the present lords of the Honour. The first charter was granted about 1283 to the burgesses by Henry de Lacy, second earl of Lincoln, confirming the liberties granted by the first Henry de Lacy, who is therefore sometimes said, although probably erroneously, to have granted a charter about 1147. The 1283 charter was confirmed by Edward III. in 1346, Henry V. in 1413-1414, Henry VIII. in 1542, and James I. in 1604. Of the fairs, those on December 7th to 9th and March 24th to 26th are held under a charter of Henry IV. in 1409. A weekly market has been held on Saturday since the Conqueror's days. In 1558 the borough was granted two members of parliament, and continued to return them till 1832, when the number was reduced to one. Under the Redistribution Act of 1885 the borough was disfranchised. The municipal government was formerly vested in an in-bailiff and an out-bailiff elected annually from the in and out burgesses. A court-leet and court-baron used to be held half-yearly, but both are now obsolete. The present corporation governs under the Municipal Corporation Act (1837). There was a church or chapel here in early times, and a chaplain is mentioned in Henry II.'s reign.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)