Tourist guide to Langho

Lancashire Telegraph: GEM: Old St Leonard's was built in 1557, almost certainly as a reaction against the destruction of Whalley Abbey GEM: Old St Leonard's was built in 1557, almost certainly as a reaction against the destruction of Whalley Abbey

LANGHO is definitely a village of two halves.

New Langho developed purely because of the construction of the railway in the mid 19th century, when it became into a minor but still thriving commercial centre.

A new church of St Leonard was built in 1879 because that at Old Langho was considered to be too far away. Even the new church itself is rather isolated following the building of the A59 roundabout.

It is situated close to the school on the main road towards Billington.

All this development left Old Langho in a time warp but because of this the place is a real gem.

The old church of St Leonard was built in 1557, almost certainly as a reaction against the destruction of Whalley Abbey.

This took place in 1537 on the orders of Henry VIII, who also had its last abbot, Paslew of Wiswell, executed for his part in a rebellion called the Pilgrimage of the Grace.

Old St Leonard's was built from masonry taken from the abbey, a sure sign that the Cistercian monks were loved in the area.

The church is still looked after by the Redundant Churches Fund but services are infrequent.

The small, low structure has a simple roof and the five square-headed windows, plus lots of stones, obviously came from the abbey.

There is also a holy water stoop and a credence table on which the monks celebrated their communion mass. Before the Industrial Revolution the small towns of Blackburn and Clitheroe were linked to a number of small villages and hamlets.

Rough tracks wound their way through what is now Ramsgreave, Wilpshire and Old Langho.

Some trade was carried out via trains of packhorses.

Then came the turnpike roads in the 1750s and the railway a century later.

Our modern word train was derived from the trains of packhorses which were led by a specialised person called a jagger.

The Micks of old would have encountered many a rolling stone!

These new transport systems absorbed settlements such as Old Langho and new industries associated with textiles developed.

Horses and their coach drivers had to be fed and watered and this led to the construction of hostelries such as the Bull's Head and the Rising Sun on the outskirts of Wilpshire and Ramsgreave, which when examined closely look as if they could still handle an influx of coaches or wagons.

The Black Bull Inn next to the church has a timber frame and was built in 1554.

The railways obviously had to be constructed over the flattest and easiest routes and industrial, commercial and residential units were built around the stations.

Modern day visitors should seek out the stations and they will find old buildings, many of which have modern uses and there are some excellent and varied shopping outlets in New Langho, Wilpshire and Ramsgreave.

On the corner of the road into Langho is the old keeper's cottage, which was built in 1775.

North of Old Langho is Brockhall Village, now a well-developed housing estate but formerly a hospital. During the two world wars, injured soldiers were cared for there.

Brockhall also has a small community of artists.

Continuing northwards is Hacking Hall, now a farmhouse but at one time an important manor. Here was a control point guarding the river crossing at the point where the River Calder joins the Ribble.

It is not just the ancient history of Old Langho that is important.

All who want to really understand the history of East Lancashire must explore our industrial heritage.

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