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Barnoldswick (colloquially known as Barlick) is a town and civil parish within the West Cravenmarker area of the Borough of Pendlemarker in Lancashiremarker, Englandmarker just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Parkmarker and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town is built in the shadow of Weets Hillmarker, and Stock Beckmarker, a tributary of the River Ribblemarker runs through the town. It has a population of 10,859.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and nestling on the lower slopes of Weets Hill in the Pennines astride the natural watershed between the Ribble and Aire valleys, Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker , lying as it does on the summit level of the canal between Barrowfordmarker Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town. It is approximately from the cities of Leedsmarker, Manchestermarker and Prestonmarker, and east southeast from the county town of Lancastermarker. Nearby towns include Clitheroemarker to the west, Nelsonmarker and Burnleymarker to the south and Keighleymarker to the east southeast.

Barnoldswick is one of the longest place names in the United Kingdommarker without repeating any letters. Buckfastleighmarker in Devonmarker, Buslingthorpemarker in Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire and Buslingthorpemarker in Lincolnshiremarker are longer with 13 letters.


Barnoldswick dates back to Anglo Saxon times. It was listed in Domesday Book as Bernulfsuuic, meaning Bernulf's Town (uuic being an archaic spelling of wick, meaning settlement, in particular, a dairy farm).

A Cistercian monastery was founded there in 1147 by monks from Fountains Abbeymarker. However they left after six years, before construction was complete, driven out by crop failures and locals unhappy at their interference in the affairs of the local church. They went on to build Kirkstall Abbeymarker. They returned after another ten years to build the isolated church of St Mary-le-Gill close to Barnoldswick to Thornton in Cravenmarker road.

For hundreds of years Barnoldswick remained a small village. However, the arrival of the Leeds and Liverpool Canalmarker, and later the (now closed) railwaymarker, spurred the development of the existing woollen industry, and helped it to become a major cotton town. The engine of the last mill to be built in Barnoldswick, Bancroft Mill, has been preserved and is now open as a tourist attraction - a 600HP steam engine which still can operate.


From 1894 until 1974, Barnoldswick formed an urban district within the administrative county of the West Riding of Yorkshire (although Blackburnshiremarker in Lancashire sometimes claimed the area . More informally, until 1974 post used to be addressed via Colnemarker, Lancashire, to addresses in Barnoldswick. Barnoldswick has had a Burnleymarker telephone code even when it was in Yorkshire. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Barnoldswick and a number of surrounding Yorkshire villages, including Earbymarker, Waddingtonmarker and Gisburnmarker, were transferred to the Borough of Pendlemarker in the Non-metropolitan county of Lancashire in 1974.

At present, Barnoldswick has a town council, and forms part of the West Cravenmarker Area Committee on Pendle Borough Council.

Local Media

Barnoldswick can only receive TV from Leeds; ITV (Yorkshire Television) and BBC Northmarker are both transmitted from the TV mast at East Marton, 3 miles north-east of Barnoldswick. TV transmissions from the North-West region BBC North West and ITV (Granada Television) are blocked by Weets Hill. Channel 4 can be received, but Five is extremely limited. Radio reception is also restricted in the town. There is a local low-power FM relay station, transmitting the four main BBC national radio stations (Radio 1 to 4), but no local stations. Fresh Radio in Skiptonmarker claims to cover the area on AM – 1413 kHz.

The town receives no digital signals at present, and has no cable services.

The local press is published twice weekly; the Barnoldswick and Earby Times is published on Fridays and the Pendle Express is published on Tuesdays. The daily Lancashire Telegraph newspaper covers Barnoldswick in its Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale edition. Some of the Yorkshire press is circulated in the area, owing to both the geographical anomaly and the fact that many of the population still consider themselves "Yorkshire folk". The weekly, Skipton-based Craven Herald & Pioneer and the daily, Leeds-based Yorkshire Post newspapers are prominent.

Local Industry

Barnoldswick is home to Silentnight Beds, the UK's largest manufacturer of beds and mattresses. Silentnight, is part of the Silentnight Group with the head office and manufacturing premises in the town.

Rolls Royce plc is a large employer based in the town. It was originally a Rover plant that Rolls Royce purchased in 1943. The model number of many Rolls Royce jet engines start with the initials RB (eg. RB199) which stands for Rolls Barnoldswick, as Rolls Royce aero's design centre was situated in Barnoldswick.

Hope Technology, a manufacturer of mountain bike parts such as disc brakes, hubs, and headsets, is based in Barnoldswick.


Barnoldswick is served by four primary schools; Gisburn Road, Church School and Coates Lane are non-denominational schools, whilst St. Joseph's caters to the town's Catholic population. Most secondary age students attend West Craven High Technology Collegemarker, a Technology specialist school situated in Barnoldswick itself, though a significant minority of students attend Fisher More Catholic Humanities College in Colne, and the Skipton Grammar Schools, Ermysted'smarker and Skipton Girls' High Schoolmarker.


Barnoldswick is often cited as the largest town in the British Isles not to be served by any A-roads. However, in spite of this, road links to the town are comparatively good; easy access to the M65, A650 and A59 means that Manchestermarker, Prestonmarker, Leedsmarker, Bradfordmarker and Yorkmarker can all be reached in an hour by car.

Barnoldswick was formerly served by Barnoldswick railway stationmarker, the only station on the Midland Railway's branch line off the Skipton to Colne Line, though this was shut under the Beeching Axe in 1965. The pressure group Selrap is currently campaigning for the reopening of the Skipton to Colne line, and although their plans do not include the Barnoldswick Branch, rail travel to the town would be improved by such a reopening. At present, would-be rail passengers must travel via Colnemarker for trains serving Lancashire, or via Skiptonmarker for trains serving North and West Yorkshire.

Public transport to the town is therefore restricted to buses. Pennine Motors services from Burnley to Skipton operate every hour, and there are three buses per hour operated by Burnley & Pendle to Colne, Nelson, Burnley and beyond. An infrequent (approx. 2-hourly) service to Clitheroe and Preston is operated by Lancashire United.

The nearest airports are Manchestermarker (about 1¼ hours by car or about 3 hours by public transport) and Leeds Bradfordmarker (just over 1 hour by car or about 2 hours by public transport).


  1. Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Pendle Retrieved 2009-11-21
  2. Barnoldswick History
  3. Early History of Barnoldswick
  4. Bancroft Mill
  5. A Vision of Britain Through Time : Barnoldswick Urban District
  6. Monks' Lands at Barnoldswick
  7. Local Area History
  8. House of Kirkstall history
  9. About Barnoldswick
  10. Barnoldswick Town Council
  11. West Craven Committee (Pendle Borough Council)
  12. Craven/Skipton Area TV Transmitter
  13. Local BBC FM Transmitter
  14. Fresh Radio Website
  15. Silentnight Group Website
  16. Silentnight Beds Website
  17. North West Development Agency Press Release 2006
  18. LCC Lancashire Aerospace Heritage
  19. Hope Technology

External links

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