Read, Lancashire

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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
Read shown within Lancashire
Population 1,419 (2011)
OS grid reference SD765345
Civil parish
  • Read
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
List of places
53°48′18″N 2°21′18″W / 53.805°N 2.355°W / 53.805; -2.355Coordinates: 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.[1]


The name "Read" is a contraction of Old English words meaning female roe deer and ridge or headland.[2]

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 was once a township in the ancient parish of Whalley, with the River Calder forming the boundary with Altham and Sabden Brook with Whalley. This became a civil parish in 1866, forming part of the Burnley Rural District from 1894 to 1974. Parts of the parish transferred to Sabden on its creation in 1904.[a][4] It has since become part of the borough of Ribble Valley.

Together with Simonstone, the parish forms the Read and Simonstone ward of Ribble Valley Borough Council. [5][6] The ward had a population of 2,535 in 2001,[7] rising to 2,573 in 2011.[8] The ward elects two councillors, who currently are Richard Bennett and Lesley Graves, both of the Conservative Party.[9]


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.[10]

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 the Evangelist by Henry Ross of Accrington, 1884, with the west steeple dating from 1911.[11]

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.[11]

Controversy surrounding Hammond Ground Development[edit]

The construction of a large housing estate has been proposed on the western entrance to Read on the green belt land of Hammond Ground. This has been met with opposition from those with concern for ancient graves thought to remain in this location. It has also been suggested that Read would not be able to accommodate an even greater volume of traffic on what is already a busy through road and this would cause further congestion and devalue property.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The old township also shared a boundary with Wiswell and Pendleton at Sabden Brook.[3]


  1. ^ "civil parish population 2011". Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1922). The place-names of Lancashire. Manchester University Press. p. 79. 
  3. ^ Lancashire and Furness (Map) (1st ed.). 1 : 10,560. County Series. Ordnance Survey. 1848. 
  4. ^ "Read Tn/CP through time". GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Read and Simonstone". MARIO. Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Read and Simonstone". Ordnance Survey Linked Data Platform. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Read and Simonstone ward population 2001". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Read and Simonstone ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Councillors by Ward: Read and Simonstone". Ribble Valley Borough Council. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  10. ^ Burnley Express 12 January 2010 Victorian history of Read Hall – includes picture and gives the date of the hall as 1818–1825
  11. ^ a b Pevsner, Nikolaus; Hartwell, Clare (revision) (2009). The Buildings of England – Lancashire: North. London and New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 569, 310. ISBN 978-0-300-12667-9. 

External links[edit]