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Martholme Viaduct - - 155346.jpg
Looking in the direction of Simonstone, the Martholme Viaduct 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west carried the defunct Great Harwood loop line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway over the River Calder
Read is located in Lancashire
Population 1,419 (2011)
OS grid reference SD765345
Civil parish
  • Read
  • Ribble Valley
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BURNLEY
Postcode district BB12
Dialling code 01282
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Ribble Valley
List of places
53°48′18″N 2°21′18″W / 53.805°N 2.355°W / 53.805; -2.355

Read is a village in Lancashire 5 miles west northwest of Burnley and 2 miles east of Whalley. It is on the A671 which is the main road between Burnley and Clitheroe. The population of the civil parish as taken at the 2011 census was 1,419.


The name "Read" is a contraction of Old English words meaning female roe deer and ridge or headland.

The old village developed in the 16th century along the main mediaeval road between Whalley and Padiham.

The Battle of Read Old Bridge was fought in 1643 between the Royalist and Parliamentarian forces. The Royalist force of about 4,000 men, commanded by the Earl of Derby, had taken the village of Whalley. The Parliamentary force, numbering only about 400 men, were positioned near Read Old Bridge. As the Royalist forces approached the bridge they faced withering musket fire causing them to retreat in confusion. The Royalists gave up Whalley; about 400 largely untrained soldiers had beaten 4,000, winning Lancashire for Parliament.


Read Hall and Park was the seat of the Nowell family from the 14th century and Roger Nowell was a magistrate at the time of the Lancashire Witches in 1612 sending them to Lancaster for trial and eventual execution.

In the 1870s Victoria Mill, together with a few houses for employees, was built alongside the turnpike road by the Kemp family and this area of Read became known as Newtown. More houses and shops were built using stone quarried in the village and Read now has a variety of small businesses catering for many needs.

The parish church is dedicated to St John Evangelist by Henry Ross of Accrington, 1884, with the west steeple dating from 1911.

The nearby Martholme Viaduct, about 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west carried the defunct Great Harwood loop line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway over the River Calder between Simonstone and Great Harwood and was built by Sturges Meek, 1870–77, and consists of ten 65 ft high arches on a gentle curve.

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