The River Ribble

from source to sea

Part 13 - Ribchester and Samlesbury

[photograph of Ribchester Bridge]

Ribchester Bridge

Although named Ribchester Bridge, this three-arched bridge is almost a mile from the village of Ribchester. Can you find it on this map?

[photograph of White Bull, Ribchester]

White Bull, Ribchester

Although the datestone on the inn reads, "1707," the stone columns at either side of the doorway are believed to be much older! They are thought to be relics from the days when the village was a Roman settlement. Ribchester was the site of the Roman fort of Bremetennacum, and lay on a supply route from Manchester to Hadrian's Wall. There is a Roman Museum in the village, and excavations of a Roman bathhouse.

[photograph of St Wilfrid's Church]

St Wilfrid's Church

This dates from the 13th century. On the outskirts of the village there is also a chapel dating back even further, to the 12th century. The map shows three churches - which one is shown in the photograph? Which do you think is the earlier one?

Ribchester reached the peak of its prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, at the height of Lancashire's handloom weaving industry. Handloom weaving was probably carried out until the mid 19th century, when handloom weavers could no longer compete with the power looms of the two factories in the village, and also those in nearby towns of Blackburn and Preston. The village is now a mainly a dormitory settlement, though there are some some tourist facilities and some light engineeringindustry.

From Ribchester the river meanders through rural areas, away from any major settlements. Click here for map showing location of remainder of photographs on thie page.

[photograph of M6 junction 31]

M6 junction 31

At the edge of the rural district of Samlesbury the river flows under the M6 at junction 31. The Preston by-pass (as this was known) was the first length of motorway opened in Britain, in 1958. At the time of the photograph (1996), it was being widened to 4 lanes in each direction (originally it had only been two lanes in each direction.

[photograph of the outskirts of Preston]

The outskirts of Preston

This is the view downstream, just a hundred yards away from the previous picture. It is taken from Brockholes Bridge. The present bridge dates from 1861, and is a replacement for one which was washed away by floods in 1840. Ha'penny Bridge is its local name, as the toll to cross used to be a halfpenny. From here the river meanders in a loop to the south of Preston.

Note the deposition, more visible than normal during a very dry summer.

© Graham Dean 1998, 2002.

Go to:
River Ribble Part 12
River Ribble Part 14
River Ribble index page. Graham and Lin Dean's home page.

© Graham Dean 1996 - 2006.