by James Pigot (1818)
Lancaster, a place of great antiquity, is supposed to have been a habitation of the Western Brigantes, under the name of Caer Werid or the Green Town. The Romans, under Agricola, afterwards occupied the eminence where the Castle and Church now stand. On the decay of the Roman empire, the place was possessed by the Saxons, who founded on it the town which remains to this day. The foundation of the castle is attributed to Edward III. Since that time it has undergone many repairs and alterations and having been much enlarged and improved, forms one of the best county goals in the kingdom. The town is situated on the south bank of the Lume, on an easy rising ground, the summit of which is crowned by the church and castle. Some of the streets are narrow, but the buildings are generally good. Lancaster was formerly of considerable consequence as a port for shipping, but the superior advantages of Liverpool have drawn to it much of the trade to which this town was indebted for its riches. No staple manufacture can be said to flourish here but the town has long been noted for the making of mahogany cabinetware. Much sail cloth is also made and ship building carried on to a considerable extent. Cotton spinning has also been introduced and there are some silk mills in the neighbourhood. The shopkeepers are numerous and opulent and the retail trade greater than could be expected from the number of inhabitants. Lancaster, being the county town, denº, much importance from that circumstance, the Assizes being held and other public business for the county transacted here. It is a great thoroughfare, one of the principal north roads passing through it, which, on leaving the town, crosses the Lune by a bridge of five equal elliptical arches, certainly one of the handsomest in the kingdom. A canal has recently been cut from this town to Preston, southwards and to Burton, in Westmorland, northwards. It is carried over the river Lune, about a mile above Lancaster, by a magnificent aqueduct, 664 feet long, which, for grandness of appearance, is surpassed by few in the kingdom. There are two chapels of the establishment and meeting-houses for friends, methodists, Roman catholics, independents and presbyterians. A handsome town-hall, custom-house, &c. Here is also a free grammar school, charity schools, alms houses and various other charitable institutions.
Lancaster is a corporate borough and sends two members to parliament. The population is about 10.000. Market days, Wednesday and Saturday. Fairs, May 2, July 5, August 11 and October 10, for cattle, cheese, &c.