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Clitheroe (pron.: /ˈklɪðɨroʊ/) is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Ribble Valley in Lancashire, England. It is near the Forest of Bowland and is often used as a base for tourists in the area. It has a population of 14,697. The most notable building in the town is Clitheroe Castle, suggested to be one of the smallest Norman keeps in the country.

The town elected two members to the Unreformed House of Commons. The Great Reform Act reduced this to one. It was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and remained a municipal borough until the Local Government Act 1972 came into force in 1974 when it became a successor parish within the Ribble Valley district.

The name Clitheroe is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon for “Rocky Hill”, and was also spelled Clyderhow and Cletherwoode. The town was the administrative centre for the lands of the Honor of Clitheroe. These lands were held by Roger de Poitou, who passed them to the De Lacy family from whom they passed in 1311 to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and subsequently, to the Duchy of Lancaster. At one point the town of Clitheroe was given to Richard, 1st Duke of Gloucester. Up until 1835 the Lord of the Honor was also by right Lord of Bowland, the so-called Lord of the Fells.

The town’s earliest existing charter is from 1283, granted by Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, confirming rights granted by one of his forebears between 1147 and 1177.

Clitheroe has several companies that each employ hundreds. Most significant are Ultraframe, Hanson Cement, Tarmac, Dugdale Nutrition and Johnson Matthey.

Hanson Cement has been criticised for using industrial waste in its kilns, which some local inhabitants claim produces poisonous dioxins. Hanson Cement claims that its filters remove these and that government inspectors have approved the plant. However, locals continue to campaign for the use of industrial waste as fuel to cease.

Other businesses based in or around the town include; Evans Accountants (Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors),Core Business Management Ltd (Outsourced Business Services), Clitheroe Light Engineering (engineering), Spiroflow (material handling), Shackletons Garden & Lifestyle Centre, Farmhouse Fayre, Townson Bros. (fuel suppliers), Clarity Sign & Design (sign design and installation) and Rufus Carr Ltd (Independent Ford dealer) est.1928.

There are a number of small industrial sites in and around Clitheroe with the most prominent being the newly expanded Link 59 Business Park to the north of the town.

During World War II, the jet engine was developed by the Rover Company. Rover and Rolls-Royce met engineers from the different companies at Clitheroe’s Swan & Royal Hotel. The residential area ‘Whittle Close’ in the town is named after Frank Whittle, being built over the site of the former jet engine test beds.

Clitheroe Castle is argued to be the smallest Norman keep in the whole of England. It stands atop a 35-metre outcrop of limestone and is one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire. It is also the only remaining castle in the county which had a royalist garrison during the English Civil War.

The castle’s most prominent feature is the hole in its side which was made in 1649 as was ordered by the government. It was to be put in “such condition that in might neither be a charge to the Commonwealth to keep it, nor a danger to have it kept against them”.

A Conservative member of parliament has represented the town for many years, with the exception of Michael Carr, elected in 1991 for the Liberal Democrats. The current MP is Nigel Evans. Previous to both these was the high profile David Waddington. However, at local government level since 1991 the town of Clitheroe itself has elected at least 8 out of the 10 Liberal Democrat borough councillors to Ribble Valley Borough Council, while Clitheroe Town Council has been Liberal democrat controlled for that period too. Likewise since 1993 the Town has had a Liberal Democrat County Councillor to Lancashire County Council. In addition, the borough returned one of the first six ever socialist MPs at the 1906 election, due perhaps to the large number of mill workers living locally at that time.

Clitheroe has many small independent shops, as well as some smaller branches of chain stores, such as Clinton Cards, Timpsons, Blockbuster, Greggs, Sayers (bakery), Boots the Chemist, WH Smith, Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero and Homebase. There are numerous banks and building societies, including Lloyds TSB, Santander, Barclays, HSBC, NatWest & Yorkshire Bank.

Other prominent stores include; Dawsons Department Store, D. Byrne & Co. Fine Wine Merchants, Clitheroe Lighting Centre, Cowmans Famous Sausage Shop, Sowerbutts, Cowgill’s, Banana News, Kaine and Rawson and JWL Contemporary Jewellery.

Clitheroe has four supermarkets: Booths, Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Lidl. There is a shopping arcade known as the Swan Courtyard and two petrol stations, run by BP & TEXACO.

The first Ribble Valley Jazz Festival for over 40 years – held from 30 April to 3 May 2010 – was organised by the Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club, based in Clitheroe.

Clitheroe has hosted a Spring festival since 1997 and sausage day has been celebrated on 5 January due to the local love and manufacture of sausages.

The annual Clitheroe Food Festival takes place in early August. Eighty or more Lancashire food and drink producers are selected to participate by the festival organisers. Lancashire’s top professional chefs, the town’s retailers, groups and volunteer organisations also take part.

The Parish Church of St Mary Magadalene is a traditional Anglican church prominent on Church Brow on a limestone knoll.

There are hourly trains to Blackburn and Manchester Victoria from the railway station that are operated by Northern Rail. Usually, services are operated by Class 150 trains, but sometimes Class 156 and Class 153 operate the service. The Ribble Valley Rail group (community rail group) is campaigning for services from Clitheroe to be extended to Hellifield.

Clitheroe is twinned with a Rivesaltes, France.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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