Clitheroe Town is an ancient market town dating back to the 11th Century. It is situated within the heart of the Ribble Valley and surrounded by beautiful countryside.
The name ‘Clitheroe’ is derived from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning “Rocky Hill” which is quite appropriate as the town has developed around a prominent outcrop of limestone upon which stands a Norman castle keep. The views from this point are worth the climb to the top!
The other main focal point of the town is the Parish Church; although not as high as the Castle it has an equally prominent position and it is between these two points that the town has developed, providing an interesting array of shops and businesses.
Clitheroe possesses 13 ancient charters, some of which are on display along with the civic regalia at the annual “Mayors At Home” events.
The charters relate to the privileges enjoyed by the free burgesses of the town between the 12th and 19th centuries. The earliest charter in existence was granted by Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln circa 1283. This includes a confirmation of former rights granted by his Grandfather Henry de Lacy sometime between 1147 and 1177.
The original Clitheroe Town Hall replaced a Moot Hall built on the same site around 1620, but the public library extended into the building after it was re-furbished in the late 1980s. It kept the original Council Chamber, with its attractive ceiling and leaded windows, as a facility for meetings and lectures.
The Town Hall today occupies a property across the road on Church Street, which over time has been a town house, a commercial property, as well as the Borough Treasurer’s office of the former Clitheroe Borough Council. Beyond the modest entrance to the Town Hall lies a roomy Chamber with the Mayor’s Parlour and a committee room, where the bi-monthly Council and Committee meetings are held and visitors to the Town Hall are received.
Following the local government re-organisation in 1974, Clitheroe, along with other ancient boroughs, took the option of retaining a Mayor.
The civic regalia are the envy of many larger towns and cities, and many items are still in use today during the annual Mayor making each May.