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18 September 2014
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History of a Village: Freckleton

By Dr Alan Crosby and Peter Shakeshaft
Image of Freckleton village
Freckleton village 

Follow Peter Shakeshaft's account of how he became interested in the history of a village where he once lived, and how he ended up writing a local history that covered almost a thousand years.

A brief history
  • Find out how a family history enthusiast became a published local historian
  • Learn how to develop your historical detective skills
  • Pick up tips on how to organise your research
  • Get to know some of the documents that will help you rebuild the past
  • Find out how where to look to pick up new skills on the way
  • Follow in the footsteps of Peter Shakeshaft and then start your own project

Image of Freckleton grid
Freckleton Tithe Map 1838 
Freckleton is a large village a few miles west of Preston on the north shore of the Ribble estuary. The earliest documentary reference is in the Domesday Survey of 1086. Monastic charters provide insights into the community in the 13th-century and from the mid-16th century there is an ever-increasing quantity of written records.

During the Tudor and Stuart period the village was dominated by the Sharples family. But their influence ended in the early 18th century. Freckleton was then largely run by the community itself. There was no manorial lord, a relatively unusual state of affairs for anywhere in England 250 years ago. One of the results of this communal responsibility was that Freckleton developed quite differently from neighbouring townships.

'... from the mid-18th century onwards, industry co-existed with traditional farming.'

For over 100 years, from the mid-18th century onwards, industry co-existed with traditional farming. The small port of Freckleton had a busy trade, serving as a centre for the distribution of coal throughout the district.

In the 19th century the village witnessed more than its fair share of social and economic distress, particularly among handloom weavers and their successors in the cotton factory. The population today is about 7,000, with aircraft manufacturing by British Aerospace in the neighbouring parish of Warton employing many local residents.

Published: 2005-03-03

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