by James Pigot (1818)
Blackburn is pleasantly situated in a valley, upon the Derwent, from the deep hue of the waters of which river, some suppose the name of the town to be derived. It is 34 miles from Manchester. Here are three churches, besides several meeting-houses for dissenters. The living is a valuable rectory, possessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who also owns a great part of the town, which he lets on leases of twenty-one years. A free school was founded here by Queen Elizabeth and a national school has lately been erected. The necessitous poor are comfortably provided with a good poor-house, which has land attached to it for the pasturage of cattle. The town of Blackburn has long been noted for its manufactures, principally calicos. By the canal navigation a communication has been opened with the rivers Mersey, Dee, Ribble, Severn, Humber, Thames, &c. This navigation, including its windings, extends above 500 miles in the counties of Lancaster, York, Chester, Stafford, &c. Markets, Wednesday and Saturday. Fairs, on Easter Monday, May 12th. and October 17th. Also a fair for cattle held on the first Wednesday before February 2nd. and continued every Wednesday fortnight till Michaelmas. In the southern parts of the parish coal is found in great abundance and in some parts are quarries of good slate, used for covering houses. The whole parish of Blackburn was granted by William the Conqueror to Ilbert de Laci, a Norman chief, who attended him into this country. It has since been parcelled out by his descendants and most of the estates have their titles up to these grants. Darwen, a village about four miles south of Blackburn, has, since the introduction of the cotton trade, become a populous and flourishing district. It is in a bleak and unsheltered situation, surrounded by lands almost barren and uncultivated. Coats, however, are plentiful and in some measure compensate for the sterility of the neighbourhood.
Population in 1821 exclusive of Towns of separate Jurisdiction: 146.608