Coordinates: 53°52′16″N 2°23′30″W / 53.8711°N 2.3916°W / 53.8711; -2.3916

Clitheroe town centre - - 74167.jpg
Clitheroe Town Centre
Clitheroe is located in Lancashire

 Clitheroe shown within Lancashire
Population 14,697 (2001)
OS grid reference SD742417
Parish Clitheroe
District Ribble Valley
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BB7
Dialling code 01200
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Ribble Valley
List of places: UK • England • Lancashire

Clitheroe (play /ˈklɪðɨr/) is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Ribble Valley in Lancashire, England. It is 1½ miles from the Forest of Bowland and is often used as a base for tourists in the area. It has a population of 14,697.[1] The most notable building in the town is Clitheroe Castle, suggested to be one of the smallest Norman keeps in the country.

The town elected two members to the Unreformed House of Commons. The Great Reform Act reduced this to one. It was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and remained a municipal borough until the Local Government Act 1972 came into force in 1974 when it became a successor parish within the Ribble Valley district.



The name Clitheroe is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon for "Rocky Hill",[2] and was also spelled Clyderhow and Cletherwoode.[3] The town was the administrative centre for the lands of the Honor of Clitheroe. These lands were held by Roger de Poitou, who passed them to the De Lacy family from whom they passed in 1311 to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and subsequently, to the Duchy of Lancaster.[3] At one point the town of Clitheroe was given to Richard, 1st Duke of Gloucester. Up until 1835 the Lord of the Honor was also by right Lord of Bowland, the so-called Lord of the Fells.[4]

The town's earliest existing charter is from 1283, granted by Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, confirming rights granted by one of his forebears between 1147 and 1177.[2]


Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

The four main secondary schools in the town are Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Ribblesdale High Technology College, Moorland School and Bowland High, the school with a specialist status in performing arts. The nearest large school to the town is Stonyhurst College, a co-educational Jesuit independent school, next to the village of Hurst Green. There are several primary schools in the town. These are St James's Church of England Primary School, Stonyhurst College Junior School, St. Michael and John's Roman Catholic Primary School, Pendle Primary School, Edisford Primary School and Brookside Primary School. Nearby is Stonyhurst Saint Mary's Hall, the junior department of the above-mentioned Stonyhurst College, at Hurst Green.


Clitheroe enjoys one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the UK.[citation needed] This is largely due to the presence of several companies that each employ hundreds. Most significant are Ultraframe, Hanson Cement, Tarmac, Dugdale Nutrition and Johnson Matthey.

Hanson Cement has been criticised for using industrial waste in its kilns, which some local inhabitants claim produces poisonous dioxins. Hanson Cement claims that its filters remove these and that government inspectors have approved the plant. However, locals continue to campaign for the use of industrial waste as fuel to cease.

Other businesses based in or around the town include; Core Business Management Ltd (Outsourced Business Services), Clitheroe Light Engineering (engineering), Spiroflow (material handling), Shackletons Garden & Lifestyle Centre, Farmhouse Fayre, Townson Bros. (fuel suppliers), Clarity Sign & Design (sign design and installation) and Rufus Carr Ltd (Independent Ford dealer) est.1928.

There are a number of small industrial sites in and around Clitheroe with the most prominent being the newly expanded Link 59 Business Park to the north of the town.

Jet engine development

During World War II, the jet engine was developed by the Rover Company.[5] Rover and Rolls-Royce met engineers from the different companies at Clitheroe's Swan & Royal Hotel. The residential area 'Whittle Close' in the town is named after Frank Whittle, being built over the site of the former jet engine test beds.

The castle

Clitheroe Castle
Clitheroe's main shopping street

(53°52′15″N 2°23′36″W / 53.8708°N 2.3932°W / 53.8708; -2.3932)Clitheroe Castle is argued to be the smallest Norman keep in the whole of England. It stands atop a 35-metre outcrop of limestone and is one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire. It is also the only remaining castle in the county which had a royalist garrison during the English Civil War.

The castle's most prominent feature is the hole in its side which was made in 1649 as was ordered by the government. It was to be put in "such condition that in might neither be a charge to the Commonwealth to keep it, nor a danger to have it kept against them".


A Conservative member of parliament has represented the town for many years, with the exception of Michael Carr, elected in 1991 for the Liberal Democrats. The current MP is Nigel Evans. Previous to both these was the high profile David Waddington. However, at local government level since 1991 the town of Clitheroe itself has elected at least 8 out of the 10 Liberal Democrat borough councillors to Ribble Valley Borough Council, while Clitheroe Town Council has been Liberal democrat controlled for that period too. Likewise since 1993 the Town has had a Liberal Democrat County Councillor to Lancashire County Council. In addition, the borough returned one of the first six ever socialist MPs at the 1906 election, due perhaps to the large number of mill workers living locally at that time. Jimmy Clitheroe (1921–73) a comedian well known for his radio shows, was born in the town but raised in Blacko, near Colne; a cafe in the town is named after him.


Clitheroe has many small independent shops, as well as some smaller branches of chain stores, such as Clinton Cards, Timpsons, Blockbuster, Greggs, Boots the Chemist, WH Smith & Caffe Nero. There are numerous banks and building societies, including Lloyds TSB, Santander, Barclays, HSBC, Natwest & Yorkshire Bank. Clitheroe has a number of supermarkets; Booths, Tesco, Sainsbury's & Lidl. There are numerous cafes, hairdressers, & charity shops. There is also a little shopping arcade known as the Swan Courtyard, which contains several shops and a cafe. There are also 2 petrol stations, run by BP & TEXACO. April 2009 saw the opening of the much delayed Homebase store. Other prominent stores include; Dawsons Department Store, award-winning D. Byrne & Co. Fine Wine Merchants, Clitheroe Lighting Centre, Cowmans Famous Sausage Shop, Sowerbutts, Cowgill's, Banana News, Kaine and Rawson and jwl Contemporary Jewellery.

Clitheroe Festivals

The first Ribble Valley Jazz Festival for over 40 years - held from 30 April to May 3, 2010 - organised by the thriving Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, based in Clitheroe.

Clitheroe has hosted a Spring festival since 1997 and sausage day has been celebrated on January 5th due to the local love and manufacture of sausages.[citation needed]

Clitheroe also is host to the Clitheroe Food Festival, which is held in August. Many local chefs and restaurants, as well as local shops and supermarkets take part, showcasing the best of local produce.[6]


Clitheroe F.C. Football Ground
Clitheroe Skate Park

Clitheroe F.C. play in the Northern Premier League Division One North. They play their home games at the Shawbridge Stadium, which is also the home ground of Blackburn Rovers WFC. Hurst Green is a football team from near Clitheroe. They play in the East Lancashire Division 1, and in 2007 were crowned Champions. There is also a youth football club, Clitheroe Wolves.

Clitheroe Rugby Union Football Club, formed in 1977, play at the Littlemoor Ground on Littlemoor Road in the town and run two rugby teams.

An annual cycle race, the Clitheroe Grand Prix takes place in the town.

Clitheroe is also home to the PESL Futsal Cup, an annual futsal tournament, which takes place every August at Edisford.

Clitheroe Skatepark was opened in 2006. The Park is of all-concrete construction and covers approximately 1,200 square metres. There are three main zones to the park; the street plaza which leads into the central section, and finally a split level, 7-foot-deep (2.1 m) concrete kidney bowl. Each section blends into the next, so a line can take you fully from one end of the park to the other without stopping. Clitheroe Skatepark is owned and run by a team based at The Grand, a charitable organization specializing in schools and youth work.


Clitheroe has a health centre, accommodating the Pendleside Medical Practice and the Castle Medical Group. There is a community hospital. The areas is served by the East Lancashire NHS Primary Care Trust.

Clitheroe also has its own Ambulance, Fire & Police stations.


Church in the Town Centre

There are three Anglican churches: the Parish Church of St Mary Magadalene is a traditional Anglican church prominent on Church Brow on a limestone knoll; St James' Church has recently been refurbished and is home to a lively all-age congregation; St Paul's is in the area of town known as Low Moor. The town also has a large Roman Catholic community. The majority of Roman Catholic children attend St Augustine's RC High School. The Catholic saint, Margaret Clitherow, was not from Clitheroe but lived and was martyred in York. There are also Methodist and URC churches in the town as well as the Clitheroe Community Church and Salvation Army citadel. In nearby Sawley there is a Quaker Meeting House.

There is a sizeable Muslim community in Clitheroe. After years of campaigning for a Mosque in the town, permission was finally granted in 2006 for the conversion of a former church at Lowergate into a multi-faith centre which will have a Muslim prayer room and will be open to all faiths to use the rest of the building.[7]


Clitheroe Railway Station
View towards Railway Station from Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe is well connected in terms of public transport links via Clitheroe Interchange.

Train services in and out of Clitheroe

There are hourly trains to Blackburn & Manchester Victoria from the railway station that are operated by Northern Rail.[8] Usually, services are operated by Class 150 trains, but sometimes Class 156 and Class 153 operate the service. The Ribble Valley Rail group (community rail group) is campaigning for services from Clitheroe to be extended to Hellifield.

Bus services in and around Clitheroe

There are also frequent bus services to the surrounding Lancashire & Yorkshire settlements. Transdev is the most prominent operator, mainly operating interurban services to other towns in Lancashire, Greater Manchester & West Yorkshire. Other operators include Holmeswood Coaches, M&M Coaches and Tyrer Bus. See list below for more details:

Services Operated By Transdev Lancashire United:

Routes Run by Other Operators:

  • The Mainline 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28 & 29 .... Clitheroe - Whalley - Padiham - Burnley - Nelson - Colne (Transdev Burnley & Pendle)
  • Route 231 .... Clitheroe - Whalley - Great Harwood - Accrington (Mon - Fri) (M&M Coaches)
  • Route 241 .... Clitheroe - Whalley - Great Harwood - Rishton - Clayton-le-Moors - Accrington - Oswaldtwistle - Royal Blackburn Hospital (Not Sunday)(Holmeswood Coaches)
  • Bowland Transit B10/B11 .... Clitheroe - Slaidburn circulars (Tyrer Bus)
  • Bowland Transit B12 .... Clitheroe - Chipping - Garstang
  • Pendle Witch Hopper 71/72, P70/P71
  • Route 71 Nelson - Barroford - Newchurch - Barley - Downham - Chatburn - West Bradford - Waddington - Clitheroe (Sunday only. Continues back to Nelson as Service 72)
  • Route 72 Clitheroe - Pendleton - Sabden - Burnley - Nelson (Transdev Burnley & Pendle)
  • Routes P70/P71 .... Nelson - Blacko - Barley - Downham - Chatburn - Clitheroe (Mon-Sat) (Tyrer Bus)
  • Route 5 .... Longridge - Ribchester - Clitheroe (Holmeswood Coaches)
  • Route C1 .... Low Moor - Clitheroe - Peel Park (Tyrer Bus/ Holmeswood Coaches)
  • Route C2 .... Clitheroe - Low Moor - Chatburn - Sawley - Grindelton (Holmeswood Coaches)
  • Route C4 .... Clitheroe - Peel Park (Mon - Sat Circular) (Holmeswood Coaches)
  • Route C5/C15 .... Clitheroe - West Bradford & Waddington Circulars(Holmeswood Coaches)
  • Route C25 .... Clitheroe - Whalley - Brockhall - Copster Green - Blackburn (Mon - Sat) (Holmeswood Coaches)

Notable people from Clitheroe include:

Twin Town

Clitheroe is twinned with a small town in France.

Media gallery


  1. ^ Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Ribble Valley Retrieved 31 July 2010
  2. ^ a b "Town Council History". Clitheroe Town Council. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  3. ^ a b "Clitheroe". Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-11-14. Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 531 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
  4. ^ Forest of Bowland official website
  5. ^ David S Brooks (1997). Vikings at Waterloo: Wartime Work on the Whittle Jet Engine by the Rover Company. Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust. ISBN 1-872922-08-2]
  6. ^ Clitheroe Food Festival
  7. ^
  8. ^ Welch, M.S. (2004) Lancashire Steam Finale, Runpast Publishing, Cheltenham, ISBN 1-870754-61-1

Further reading

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Clitheroe F.C. — Clitheroe F.C. Full name Clitheroe Football Club Nickname(s) The Blues Founded 1877 (as Clitheroe Central) …   Wikipedia

  • Clitheroe — (Aussprache: [klɪðəˌɹəʊ]) ist eine Stadt und Gemeinde im Bezirk Ribble Valley, Lancashire, England. Es liegt am südlichen Rand des Bowland Forest und ist Hauptanlaufpunkt für Touristen. Aufgrund ihrer Nähe zum geographisch zentral gelegensten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clitheroe — (spr. Kleithero), Stadt in der englischen Grafschaft Lancashire am rechten Ufer des Ribble; Grammar School, mehrere Kirchen u. Kapellen, Baumwollenmanufacturen, Kattundruckereien, Ruinen eines alten Schlosses; 11,500 Ew. In der Nähe Mineralquelle …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Clitheroe — (spr. klidherō), Stadt (municipal borough) in Lancashire (England), in malerischer Lage am Ribble, oberhalb Preston, hat eine Burgruine, Lateinschule, Spinnereien, Kattundruckereien und (1901) 11,414 Einw. Ostlich der Pendle Hill (553 m) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Clitheroe — Clithĕroe (spr. roh), Stadt in der engl. Grafsch. Lancaster, am Ribble, (1901) 11.414 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Clitheroe — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Clitheroe (homonymie). Clitheroe …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clitheroe — This interesting surname of English origin is a locational name from a place called Clitheroe in Lancashire, deriving from the Old Norse klithra meaning song thrush plus haugr hill . The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below).… …   Surnames reference

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