Meeting full.  Please contact Frances ( if you want to be added to a waiting list.

The Ribble Valley from Preston to Burnley may bring to mind an image of mills and smoking
chimneys, of clogs and cobbles and four-loom weavers, of grabbing industrialists and downtrodden
workers, but, like the South Wales valleys, there is a lot more to it than that. It’s prehistory will
mainly elude us because you have to walk high onto the moors to find it. But the Roman were here
and we will see them at Ribchester. The Saxons and the Vikings have left traces at Whalley where
there are monastic ruins and also a very fine late medieval parish church with a distinctive style seen
also at Ribchester.

But perhaps one of the most notable things about this area is that the Reformation scarcely
happened. The landed gentry (the magistrates) living in very fine 15th and 16th century timbered
halls, took little notice of the changes and remained Catholic (or perhaps Church Papist) throughout.
There were penalties — you could not go into politics, so you didn’t waste your money and there are
some extraordinarily fine 17th century houses and a lot of discreet and elegant ‘barn’ churches —
and, at Pleasington, less discreet -which pre-date Catholic Emancipation (1829) by a generation or
more. The most important focus for this recusant history is Stonyhurst which we will visit on
Tuesday. This is a very impressive Tudor mansion built by the Shireburn family in the 1530s with
additions in the 1660s, but extra to their requirements by the late 18th century. In 1791 it was given
to the English Jesuit Mission. From the late 16th century the Jesuits had been educating the sons of
English Catholics in the Low Countries for some 200 years. But in the 1790s English laws against
Catholics were relaxed somewhat, and schools were allowed. From a group of 4 staff and 12 boys
camping out in the damp empty mansion a major public school emerged which is still going strong.

Another aspect of the region which is less well known is the quality of its museum
collections. The great wealth which came from the industrial development of the latter half
of the 19th century was, in many cases, spent on collecting – art, manuscripts, books, coins
Egyptology, textiles, glass; and these collections were given to the municipal museums in
Preston, Blackburn, Burnley and Accrington. The Hart Collection of mediaeval manuscripts
and early printed books in Blackburn Museum is second only to that in the British Library.
Dr Cynthia Johnston will be lecturing to us on this collection on the Thursday evening.

The programme is below, and most days have been fully planned, but the details of
Wednesday are still uncertain because of the closure of the Harris Museum in Preston – for
the encouraging reason that it has obtained a large grant for re-design. And, as I write this,
the pandemic is still with us. Please return the preliminary booking form as soon as you
are happy to do so, but do not send money at this stage.

We have booked rooms in the Mercure Hotel Dunkenhalgh in Clayton le Moors, an 1830s
country house with modern additions just outside Accrington, accessed from Junction 7 of
the M65, or by train to Accrington. Please book through CAA, not the hotel.

Costs are £48.50 per person DBB with a £35.50 single supplement. This will be a total of
£485.00 for a couple; £417.50 for single occupancy; £242.50 each for 2 people sharing.
The proposal is for arrival lunchtime Monday July 4th and departure Saturday July 9th pm.

Meeting full.  Please contact Frances ( if you want to be added to a waiting list.




Monday July 4th
Arrival. Early afternoon suggested
2.30pm Depart by coach for Helmshore Textile Museum
6.30 Lecture Dr Jan Graffius on the Stonyhurst Collections
8.00 Dinner

Tuesday July 5th
North side of the valley
Stonyhurst Tour of the School and Museum
Salmesbury Hall very fine 15th timbered hall
lunch at 12.00 – 1.00 then a Group guided tour
Whalley Parish church has very fine woodwork, a Roman Altar in the nave and 3 Saxon
crosses in the graveyard.
Walley Abbey ruins are close by.
Lecture Reception and Presidential Address Dr Elizabeth Walker : ‘Out from the Darkness
into the Light: the significance of Welsh Caves to Palaeolithic archaeology’

Wednesday July 5th
It was intended to be a split day between:
A. The mouth of the Ribble and
B. The Trough of Bowland (more walking)
More planning needed

A. Preston , perhaps St Walberge’s church with spire 1854 Rufford Old Hall (NT) and
perhaps St Mary’s, Leyland (1964)
B. Bleasdale Circle (prehistoric) and Calder Vale (early industrial village), Browsholme or
Clitheroe Castle
No evening lecture.

Thursday July 7th
Burnley area
Weavers Triangle Industrial history tours in the canal district
11.30 Townley Hall Museum V. splendid 16th cent. building +Art Gallery Private tour :
Egyptian Coll, Whalley Abbey vestments, Kashmir embroidery and Pilkington pottery. Then
lunch in café.
Gawthorpe Hall (NT) Renaissance building Collections : portraits and needlework
Lecture Dr Cynthia Johnson on the E B Hart Collections in Blackburn Museum

Friday July 8th
Blackburn Area
Pleasington Priory 1819 Catholic church.
Hoghton Tower A late castle with possible connections with Shakespeare. 11.00 Guided
tour and archaeological features in the garden
Blackburn Cathedral A Georgian Gothic church We will have lunch here
Blackburn Museum has notable collection of coins and early books from the E B Hart
Collection, as well as local archaeological material and modern material reflecting the
diversity of the area.

Saturday July 9th
(Last day – in private cars. Bring your luggage)
Ribchester Museum Good small Museum and exposed Roman foundations in the
churchyard next door . Church is worth a visit 13-19th cent. There may be a Roman
Festival going on that day!
Stydd very narrow road access to 18th Catholic ‘barn’ church with v. large car park. Walk (c
500m) from there to Preceptory, past the ‘very curious and very engaging’ Almshouses.
The Preceptory is a redundant Anglican church with 18th cent Catholic burials. Part of the
Shireburn Estates.
Return to A59 and M6 (and also drop people at Preston Station if needed).