“it is written on a wall in Rome, Ribchester was as rich as any town in Christendom”
Ribchester was originally established as the roman auxillary fort of Bremetennacum in AD 72 by the 20th Legion. A wooden fort was replaced by stone early in the second century. Then we leap to the 17th and 18th Centuries where like many areas of Lancashire it became a centre for cotton weaving albeit on a smaller scale than that of Burnley and Nelson.
Over the remains of the Roman Principia lies St Wilfrids Church its interesting history is worth an afternoons visit in its own right.
The settlement of Stydd also holds fascinating links to the past the Norman 13th Century chapel of St Saviour is the only one remaining of a group of buildings founded by the Knights Hospitallers. This Anglican chapel is also thought to hold the remains of St Margaret of Clitherow, the ‘pearl of york’.
The younger residents of Ribchester have not always been as well behaved as they are today.
William Howitt commented in his ‘Rural Life of England’ in 1838 “our chaise was pursued by swarms of [these] wooden-shod lads like swarms of flies and were only beaten off for a moment to close in upon you again, and their sisters showed equally the extravagance of rudeness in which they were suffered to grow up, by running out of the houses as we passed and poking mops and brushes at the horses heads. No one attempted to restrain or rebuke them; yet no one of the adult population offered you the least insult; and if you asked the way, gave you the most ready directions, and if you went into their houses, treated you with perfect civility and showed an affection for these little brats that was honourable to their hearts and wanted only directing by a better intelligence. The uncouthness of these poor people is not that of evil disposition, but of pressing poverty and continued neglect”
We feel sure we will still receive a warm welcome from the more mature residents of Ribchester on our visit.
The itinerary is as follows:
10.30am Coffee in the Village Hall and visit the church (see above)
11.30am Guided tour of the village, Roman Baths and Stydd.
1pm Light lunch in the Village Hall (included)
2pm Visit the Roman Museum
3pm Chance to revisit and browse around village or visit a Tea Room
£10.00 per head including lunch. If you could leave your name at reception this will help us with planning lunch. If you need a lift from the centre please let us know.