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The old Wigan and Lancaster Canal, part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, goes north through the Blackbrook valley.
They were detained at Lathom House, but soon set free. 11) Fragments of the Duke of Hamilton's Scottish force in 1648, flying south before Cromwell, 'at some places made some stands as if they would fight it out, as upon Chorley Moor and Standish Moor,' but did not do so. 12) Colonel Thornhaugh was killed in one of the skirmishes near Chorley; at Red Bank it is said. 13) A number of the inhabitants suffered from the sequestrations and confiscations made by the Parliamentary authorities to punish 'delinquents' and 'Papists,' as will be seen hereafter.Chorley has long been a market town and the most important business centre in the hundred; yet about 1536 Leland described it as 'a wonderful poor, or rather no market.' (fn.6) At a much earlier time the place was associated with a charge of coining.The town of Chorley, on a piece of the higher land, is in the centre of the township.To the north of it are Knowley and Hartwood Green, to the north-west is Astley Hall, to the west Gillibrand Hall, to the south-west Kingsley.9) and, though Blome in 1673 thought it but a small town, he states that 'its market, which is on Tuesdays, is well furnished with yarn and provisions.' (fn.
10) Situated on one of the chief roads to the north, the people must often have witnessed soldiers on the march, but the first recorded act of warfare belongs to the Civil War.
At the north end Southport Road turns west, passing the new almshouses on the south side, and Church Brow winds round the old church site, turning eastwards towards the workhouse and canal side; the cattle market and gas-works lie on its south side.
To the north of Church Brow the main road crosses the Chor, which thence flows west through Astley Park; the course of its higher stream, now concealed, is indicated by Water Street, (fn. Further north, as Park Road and Preston Road, the main thoroughfare winds on, passing Chorley Hall Farm on the west.
About 1790 it was 'a small, neat market town,' with 'several mills, engines, and machines for carding and spinning cotton,' the Chor being utilized to work the machinery.
On the banks of the Yarrow also were 'many bleaching and printing grounds, with cotton factories intermixed.' Plenty of coal and cannel was procurable, and in the neighbourhood were quarries of ashlar, flag, and mill stone, and mines of lead and alum.
The road to Preston was 'a good turnpike,' but that going south was made of 'pebble stones bruised with hammers, with nothing proper to fill up interstices.' (fn.