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Penwortham is a town and civil parish in the South Ribble borough of Lancashire, England. It is situated on the south bank of the River Ribble facing the city of Preston. The town is at the most westerly crossing point of the river, with major road and rail links crossing here.

The distinctive town name is derived from pen (meaning a hill), weid (meaning ford) and ham (meaning settlement) with earlier names of Peneverdant and Pendrecham in 1200; Penwrtham in 1204; Penuertham in 1212; Penwoartham 1260 and Penewrthamn in 1292.

The town’s history can be traced to pre-historic times with archaeological evidence showing that the ford at Middleforth was used to cross the Ribble. Penwortham was listed in the Domesday Book as “Penverdent”. At the Norman conquest in 1066 the Barony was held by King Edward. In the 12th century Penwortham was the head of a barony held by Warine Bussel which included a large part of Leyland Hundred and manors in West Derby and Amounderness. Penwortham Castle, a motte-and-bailey castle was built during the post-Norman conquest period overlooking the Ribble and its ford by Roger of Poitou and served to guard the estuary and a ford crossing it. After Roger built Lancaster Castle, Penwortham declined in importance. Some evidence of this castle is still evident in St Mary’s Churchyard but only the mound remains. In later centuries a manor house was built, but no evidence remains.

The barony was acquired by Roger de Lacy in 1205, and descended as part of the Honor of Clitheroe to the Earls and Dukes of Lancaster and the Crown. In the 16th century there were disputes about suit and service due to the court of Penwortham from the members of the fee. Charles I sold the royal manor to Edward Ditchfield and others in 1628 and it later passed to the Faringtons of Worden in Leyland. Courts were held until the late 19th century. Court rolls and books are kept at Worden Hall. Penwortham Priory was built in the west of the town.

Higher Penwortham has an old legend linked to it. The Fairy Funeral seen on the road through Penwortham Wood, was thought to forecast death.

Penwortham Hall, formerly called “The Lodge”, was built in 1801 by John Horrocks, founder of the Preston cotton-manufacturing industry. It was sold by his son Peter to William Marshall, whose son Frederick died in 1889. It was left by Frederick to his sister, the wife of Rev. T. Ross Finch. The property, which is a Grade II listed building, is today used as a series of private dwellings.

The town of Penwortham is part of the Borough of South Ribble.

Penwortham is one of the largest civil parishes by population in Lancashire, with a population of 23,436 recorded in the 2001 census. The town’s development closely resembles that of Preston.

The Middleforth, Lower Penwortham, area was developed during the Victorian period which is evidenced by the large number of terrace housing along Leyland Road and the surrounding streets. Higher Penwortham is characterised by its 1920s and onwards, post-war semi-detached housing. In recent times there has been several new housing developments, especially around the Broad Oak Farm, Bee Lane, Kingsfold Drive, Stricklands Lane and Factory Lane areas of the town.

Penwortham Priory was built for the Rawsthorne family and redesigned by the Cumbrian architect George Webster. The priory was demolished due to the rapid expansion of the area and the need for new housing. Penwortham Church Lodge was originally situated on Penwortham Hill towards Preston, but as a consequence of widening the A59 road the lodge was taken down and removed to a residential road in Hutton. Penwortham Water Tower was built in the late 19th century and has been converted to a dwelling. It is part of a development of semi-detached cottages built for employees of the local squire, Lawrence Rawstorne.

Penwortham has two supermarkets, a Sainsbury’s which was converted from a Kwik Save in 2007, and a Booth’s which opened in the mid 1990s.

The area has now nearly merged with Preston with excellent transport links across the river. Higher Penwortham is situated on the A59 road which leads into Preston via the “Preston Flyover”, which is the main crossing over the river.Penwortham Cop Lane railway station was on the West Lancashire Railway between Preston and Southport, until the line closed in 1964. The cutting which carried the railway under Cop Lane has been widened and now carries the A582 Penwortham bypass.

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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