Moving on from Nelson, we arrived in the next major town along, Colne, right on the very edge of Lancashire…
Status: Pendle District, Lancashire, Town, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Colne Town Hall, St Bartholomew’s Church, Market Cross, Market Hall, Cloth Hall Remains, Market Street Tavern, Shackleton Hall etc
Colne is very much a frontier town in Lancashire. The border with Yorkshire is but 5 miles to the East, so it is the last major town you will encounter as you head towards the Yorkshire Dales.
Unlike our previous destination, Nelson, Colne has been a town in it’s own right of centuries, and has it’s origins as a Market Town. A Market had been established here by 1122, and by the 15th Century it was the largest centre of the trade in this part of Lancashire. The Industrial Revolution in Victorian Times brought a wave of Cotton Mills and Industry to the town and there were up to 30 Mills here by 1891.
We started our walk around the town outside Colne Town Hall, shown above. Designed by an architect named A E Waterhouse, the building opened in 1893. Colne as a town is quite stacked, with the Town Hall/Town Centre at the top of a hill, and the various housing streets down it’s slopes. This makes the Town Hall a prominent landmark, with the famous Clock Tower visible for miles around.
To the right of the Town Hall (over at the far left) is a complex of buildings known as “Shackleton Hall”, which takes up the space between it and St Bartholomew’s Church. Together they make up quite a stunning array of architecture.
They are listed as a set of Shops from the 19th Century, with offices above. It is mainly split into two sections, the West Block (centre) with 8 bays of windows, and the East Block (right), with 5.
St Bartholomew’s is likely one of the oldest buildings in Colne. The Church as a whole was originally founded in the 12th Century, and a few small sections of that survive to this day, in the form of the Northern section of the Nave.
The Church was largely rebuilt in the 16th Century, and then restored in late Victorian Times, like many other Churches across the country.
Just across the road from St Bartholomew’s, up Walton Street, we found what at first appeared to be a building rising up from the pavement!
This small turret is all that remains of Colne’s Cloth Hall, originally opened in 1775. It was sadly demolished in 1952, but the Bell Tower survived. The Bell itself is nowhere to be seen, but would have sat in the open space at the top of the turret, connected to a piece of rope pulled from below.
Moving past the Church, and turning left up a street called “Ivegate”, we came across the Old Sunday School, the first Grammar School to open in the town, around 1800.
Back on the main street, a few blocks further down, we stopped outside the “Market Street Tavern”, supposedly first built in 1636 as the “Hole i’th Wall Inn”. It would have been a Coaching Inn, where the Mail Coach called, presumably on the route from Skipton to Preston.
Apparently the Tavern is also the oldest building in the world where people have practised “Royal Arch Masonry”. This is part of the “York Rite”, one of the different types of Freemasonry.
A few doors down from the Tavern is a small Shopping Arcade tucked away between a number of shops. It’s a quaint littler area, and Colne as a town is quite a charming place to explore.
The Town’s Market Square is just a little further down from that, whilst outside stands the historic Market Cross from the 15th Century. The original Market from 1122 was held in the Churchyard of St Bartholomew’s, before moving here centuries later.
This was our last stop, as we had a long drive up to our last destination of the day, Darlington.
Colne is a nice little town, with good transport links around the area. It is at the Eastern terminus of the M65 which runs back past Blackburn to Preston, and there is also a station here on the Leeds/York to Blackpool railway.
We pressed on, up the A56 towards the A59 for Darlington…