The volume contains histories of the eleven ancient parishes in Leyland hundred (Leyland, Penwortham, Brindle, Croston, Hesketh-with-Becconsall, Tarleton, Rufford, Chorley, Hoole, Eccleston, Standish) and of two of the five ancient parishes in Blackburn hundred (Blackburn parish and Whalley). Some very considerable places in the volume never achieved the status of ancient parish: Darwen was part of Blackburn parish, and Whalley included Accrington, Burnley, Clitheroe, Colne, and Nelson. In the Middle Ages the area was relatively poor, with extensive royal forests used for deer and, later, cattle and sheep farming. From the late 18th century the woollen industry gave way to cotton spinning and weaving in hundreds of factories, and the coalfield was exploited. Despite the growth of industry the area retains much undeveloped countryside, gentry houses in the lush pasture land of the Ribble Valley, and many old farmhouses on the slopes of the Pennine moorlandsand Pendle Hill.