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Entering Chorley Town Centre.JPG
Entering Chorley town centre
Population 34,667 (2011)
Demonym Chorlean
OS grid reference SD5817
  • Chorley
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CHORLEY
Postcode district PR6, PR7
Dialling code 01257
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Chorley
List of places
LancashireCoordinates: 53°39′11″N 2°37′55″W / 53.653°N 2.632°W / 53.653; -2.632

Chorley is a market town in Lancashire, England, 8.1 miles (13 km) north of Wigan, 10.8 miles (17 km) south west of Blackburn, 11 miles (18 km) north west of Bolton, 12 miles (19 km) south of Preston and 19.5 miles (31 km) north west of Manchester. The town's wealth came principally from the cotton industry.

In the 1970s, the skyline was dominated by factory chimneys, but most have now been demolished: remnants of the industrial past include Morrison's chimney and other mill buildings, and the streets of terraced houses for mill workers. Chorley is the home of the Chorley cake. At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 34,667.



The name Chorley comes from two Anglo-Saxon words, Ceorl and ley, probably meaning "the peasants' clearing". Ley (also leah or leigh) is a common element of place-name, meaning a clearing in a woodland. Ceorl refers to a person of status similar to a freeman or a yeoman.


There was no known occupation in Chorley until the Middle Ages, though archaeological evidence has shown that the area around the town has been inhabited since at least the Bronze Age. There are various remains of prehistoric occupation on the nearby Anglezarke Moor, including the Round Loaf tumulus which is believed to date from 3500 BC. A pottery burial urn from this period was discovered in 1963 on land next to Astley Hall Farm and later excavation in the 1970s revealed another burial urn and four cremation pits dating from the Bronze Age.

Roman period

During the Roman era a Roman road ran near Chorley between Wigan and Walton-le-Dale. Hoards dating from the Roman period have also been found at nearby at Whittle-le-Woods and Heapey.

Medieval period

Chorley was not listed in the Domesday Book, though it is thought to be one of the twelve berewicks in the Leyland Hundred.

Chorley was one of the southern most points of Northern England that was raided by Scotland during The Great Raid of 1322, which lead to the construction of a Peel Tower, said to have been located somewhere close to Duxburry Hall. Chorley first appears in historical records in the mid thirteenth century as part of the portion of the Croston Lordship acquired by William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, around 1250.

The Earl established Chorley as a small borough comprising a two row settlement arranged along what later became Market Street. It appears that the borough was short-lived as it does not appear in a report of a commission on the Leyland Hundred in 1341.

The manorial history of Chorley is complex as the manor had no single lord throughout most of this period as it had been split into moieties and was managed by several different families. This led to Chorley having several manorial halls, which in this period included Chorley Hall, built in the 14th century by the de Chorley family, and Lower Chorley Hall, which was owned by the Gillibrand family from 1583 (later rebuilt in the 19th century as Gillibrand Hall). It is believed the borough of Chorley was not a success in this period because of the lack of manorial leadership and the dispersed nature of the small population.

St Laurence's Church is the oldest remaining building in Chorley and first appears in historical records when it was dedicated in 1362, though it is believed there was already an earlier Anglo-Saxon chapel on the site which was a daughter foundation of Croston Parish Church. It is believed that the church is named after Saint Laurence, an Irish saint who died in Normandy in the 12th century, whose bones were conveyed to the church by local noble Sir Rowland Standish Duxbury, an ancestor of Myles Standish(a English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military adviser for their Plymouth expedition to the New World).

As happened in many other instances following the dissolution of the monasteries, these relics went missing in the turmoil of the English Reformation under the rule of Henry VIII.

A market was held every Tuesday in Chorley and a fair was held annually on the feast of St Lawrence since 1498.

19th century to present

Chorley Town Hall
Chorley Town Hall (opened 1879)
Mormon Temple, Chorley - - 118142
Preston England Temple (Mormon)

Chorley, like most Lancashire towns, gained its wealth from the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century which was also responsible for the town's growth. Chorley was a vital cotton town with many mills littering the skyline up to the late twentieth century. Most mills were demolished between the 1950s and 2000s with those remaining converted for modern business purposes. Today only a minority remain in use for actual manufacturing, and the last mill to stop producing textiles was Lawrence's in 2009.

Also Chorley in its location on the edge of Lancashire Coalfield was vital in coal mining. Several pits existed in Duxbury Woods, the Gillibrand area and more numerously in Coppull. Chisnall Hall Colliery at Coppull was considered the biggest Lancashire pit outside of Wigan and one of many located in the Chorley suburb. The last pit in the area to close was the Ellerbeck Colliery in 1987 which was located south of Chorley, between Coppull and Adlington.

The town played an important role during the Second World War, when it was home to the Royal Ordnance Factory, a large munitions manufacturer in the village of Euxton about 2 miles (3 km) from the town centre. A smaller factory was also built near the railway line of Blackburn–Wigan in Heapey.


St Laurence's Church, Chorley
St. Laurence's Church

The Church of England parish church of St Laurence, located on Union Street, has been a place of Christian worship for over 800 years.

The Church of England parish church of St George, situated on St George's Street, is an important example of the work of architect Thomas Rickman, a major figure in the Gothic Revival. It was built as a Commissioners' church in 1822.

St Mary's Roman Catholic Church is based in the town centre at Mount Pleasant. The parish was founded in 1847, in an chapel in Chapel Street. The land for the church was purchased in 1851 and the first building erected in 1853. It was opened in June 1853.

Chorley United Reformed Church is home to one of the oldest and largest United Reformed Churches in the north west. Founded in 1792 as an Independent Church it later affiliated to the Congregational church and in 1972 voted to become part of the new United Reformed Church (URC).

The church enjoys extensive youth work, with two church youth groups affiliated to the URC's youth fellowship FURY, and a Junior Church together with Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. During 2012 the church became the first church to advertise from the air when a very large cross was painted on the church car park. The cross is now visible on earth mapping websites such as Google Earth.

In 1998, Chorley saw the completion of the largest Latter-day Saints temple in Europe. Known as the Preston England Temple, it is a prominent landmark next to Junction 8 of the M61 motorway

Chorley's only mosque is to be found on the corner of Brooke Street and Charnock Street. In March 2006, the building officially opened, having been in planning for over three years.


A panoramic view over Chorley from Healey Nab

The principal river in the town is the Yarrow. The Black Brook is a tributary of the Yarrow. The name of the River Chor was back-formed from "Chorley" and runs not far from the centre of the town, notably through Astley Park.

Chorley is located at the foot of the West Pennine Moors and is overlooked by Healey Nab, a small hill which is part of the West Pennine Moors. It is the seat for the Borough of Chorley which is made up of Chorley and its surrounding villages. Chorley had a population of 33,424 at the 2001 census, with the wider borough of Chorley having a population of 101,991. Chorley forms a conurbation with Preston and Leyland and was once proposed as being designated part of the Central Lancashire New Town under the New Towns Act, a proposal which was eventually scaled back.



Chorley is bisected by the A6 Roman road which goes straight through the town centre. The town is also near to the M61 of which Junction 6 and 8 serving the town. Also the M6 motorway serves the west of the town with Junction 27 connecting the town to the motorway, Charnock Richard services on the M6 are located in Chorley Borough.


Chorley Bus Station - - 2786570
Chorley Interchange

The town's bus station, Chorley Interchange, opened in 2003, replacing an older bus station also in the town centre. Bus services are provided by several operators:

  • Stagecoach North West operate bus services which connect the town to Bolton, Blackburn, Leyland, Preston and Manchester and the Network Chorley routes within the borough.
  • Blackburn Bus Company operate the bus service between Blackburn and Chorley.
  • National Express also operate a daily service from Chorley Interchange to London.


Chorley Railway Station
Chorley railway station

The main central railway station is Chorley railway station in the town centre. The railway station is used by:

The railway station was also served by the Wigan-Blackburn Railway line up until it was closed in 1960. The line also had stops at Heapey, Brinscall, Withnell and the White Bear railway station at Adlington.

Elsewhere in the borough there are railway stations at Euxton on the Wigan-Preston line, at Adlington and Buckshaw Village on the Manchester-Preston line, and at Croston on the Ormskirk Branch Line.


White Bear Marina, on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Adlington, Chorley, Lancashire. - - 370555
Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Chorley

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs parallel to Chorley and several marinas and locks are located on the Chorley area. Marinas along the canal include:

  • White Bear Marina, Adlington
  • Cowling Launch, Chorley
  • Top Lock, Whittle
  • Botany Brow
  • Botany Bay Boatyard
  • Riley Green, Hoghton

Places of interest

National Trust Owned by the National Trust
English Heritage Owned by English Heritage
Forestry Commission Owned by the Forestry Commission
Country Park A Country Park
Accessible open space An Accessible open space
Museum (free) Museum (free)
Museum Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Astley Hall front view
Astley Hall
  • Astley Park and Astley Hall Historic house
  • Bank Hall Historic house
    Bank Hall Daffodils
    Bank Hall, Bretherton, a Jacobean mansion house, awaiting restoration. Home to Lancashire's oldest Yew tree and one of the two fallen sequoia in the UK. Open on limited open days arranged by the Bank Hall Action Group.
  • Botany Bay
  • Buckshaw Village
  • Preston England Temple Cathedral
  • Duxbury Park and Golf Course Accessible open space
  • White Coppice & Great Hill Accessible open space
  • Heskin Hall Historic house
  • Healey NabAccessible open space
  • Leeds & Liverpool Canal Accessible open space
  • Park Hall Historic house
  • Chorley-Georgian terrace and church
    St George's Street and St George's Church
  • Rivington Pike Country park Accessible open space
  • Winter Hill Accessible open space
  • Worden Park Country park Accessible open space
  • Yarrow Valley Country Park Country park Accessible open space

Twin towns

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United Kingdom

Chorley is twinned with:

  • Hungary Székesfehérvár, Hungary

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