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The Hacking Ferry

LANCL.1811 (image/jpeg)

The Hacking Ferry or Hacking Boat ran close to Hacking Hall, where the River Ribble meets the Calder.

The Hacking Ferry Service is thought to have existed from the 17th Century, and was started by the Shireburns of Stonyhurst to carry tenants to services at Old Langho Church. In more recent times, the ferry was used to carry ramblers, fishermen, and holiday makers accross the river. The ferry was extremely popular between 1916 and 1955, and on bank holidays, the boat carried 1400 people across in a day.

The duty of working the ferry belonged to the tenants of the farm house near the riverbank. From 1916, the Holden family, living in the farmhouse, ran the service. They charged 2d for a crossing, which was raised to 3d for the last few years of the service. The service ceased in 1955, as there was no one to take it on.

The boatman's building was set back from the river bank in a field, so passengers had to make a loud noise to attract the boatman or woman's attention, generally by shouting or whistling.

It is thought that J.R.R. Tolkien may have taken inspiration from the Hacking Ferry for the Bucklebury Ferry over the Brandywine River in the Lord of the Rings.

We are looking for further information, memories and photographs of the Hacking Ferry. If you have any information, we would love to hear from you. We can be contacted on or Twitter @LMuseums using #HackingFerry