“When a teacher’s testimonial was a political act”: A footnote
by John Harrison.  July 2010

This was the title of an article that I wrote originally some four years ago. It focussed on one of the turning points in the development of Chorley. This was when the town was emerged from a subservient role within the parish of Croston to become a parish “in its own right” in 1793.

Map copied from the Victoria County History

The map showing a detached Chorley being part of Croston looks odd, but I have recently read about how this arrangement may have originated. The source is N. J. Higham’s “A Frontier Landscape, The North West in the Middle Ages” (2004).
Higham thinks Chorley’s detached position in relation to Croston, Brindle’s similar relationship to Penwortham, and Goosnargh’s to Kirkham may well have originated from “early transhumance”: the seasonal transfer of livestock to a different pasture. In these cases lowland communities retained pasture further inland for summer grazing, generally in a woodland environment on the edge of the Lancashire uplands, when much of their own pasture was very low-lying and so periodically subject to flooding. As with much of Lancashire’s early history this is difficult to date, but would certainly appear to pre-date the arrival of the Normans.

John Harrison
July 2010