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Chorley was a vital cotton town with many mills littering the skyline up to the late twentieth century.

The land for the church was purchased in 1851 and the first building erected in 1853. The eight bells were blessed and each bell had the rite of baptism with its own name in 1894.A pottery burial urn from this period was discovered in 1963 on land next to Astley Hall Farm and later excavation in the 1970s revealed another burial urn and four cremation pits dating from the Bronze Age.Chorley was one of the southern most points of Northern England that was raided by Scotland during The Great Raid of 1322, which lead to the construction of a Peel Tower, said to have been located somewhere close to Duxburry Hall.In 1837, Chorley joined with other townships (or civil parishes) in the area to become head of the Chorley Poor Law Union which took responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in the area.The population of the Municipal Borough of Chorley remained roughly static in the 20th century, with the 1911 census showing 30,315 people and the 1971 census showing 31,665.As happened in many other instances following the dissolution of the monasteries, these relics went missing in the turmoil of the English Reformation under the rule of Henry VIII.

Chorley, like most Lancashire towns, gained its wealth from the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century which was also responsible for the town's growth.

8.1 miles (13 km) north of Wigan, 10.8 miles (17 km) south west of Blackburn, 11 miles (18 km) north west of Bolton, 12 miles (19 km) south of Preston and 19.5 miles (31 km) north west of Manchester.

The town's wealth came principally from the cotton industry. Ley (also leah or leigh) is a common element of place-name, meaning a clearing in a woodland.

The Member of Parliament for the constituency of Chorley, since 1997, is Lindsay Hoyle of the Labour Party. The name of the River Chor was back-formed from "Chorley" and runs not far from the centre of the town, notably through Astley Park.

He has been Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker since June 2010. Chorley is located at the foot of the West Pennine Moors and is overlooked by Healey Nab, a small hill which is part of the West Pennine Moors.

Chorley forms a conurbation with Preston and Leyland and was once proposed as being designated part of the Central Lancashire New Town under the New Towns Act, The first signs of industry as with many towns in Lancashire was mining, evidence of which can be seen by the various abandoned quarries on the outskirts of the town.