The days when Vikings and Romans lived here

A retired police sergeant is set to lift the lid on Lancashire's lost history.

David Hindle, of Preston Road, Grimsargh, near Preston, has written a 288 page hardback on the history of Grimsargh, which was listed in the Domesday Book.

The village, which will soon be engulfed by massive housing developments, has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and has seen the Romans, the Vikings and Oliver Cromwell's Roundhead Army on its way to defeat the Royalists in the Battle of Preston on August 17 1648.

The 58 year old, currently studying for a Masters Degree in History at the University of Central Lancashire, said: "I have lived in the east side of Preston all my life but I have been in Grimsargh for six years.

"I have always been fascinated by local history and the area I live in.

"It's a Norse settlement, Grim was the name of a Viking warrior and Argh was the pasture.

"The Romans passed through, and of course there was Cromwell. He travelled with the Parliamentarians from Stonyhurst College, where he spent the night before the battle at Ribbleton.

"They probably marched over Longridge Fell and through Grimsargh. They will doubtless have been skirmishes in the Grimsargh area.

"But the book is not just the history of Grimsargh, it's what happened in Lancashire.

"The railway came to Grimsargh in 1840 and was responsible for the development of the hamlet.

"But there was also a private line to Whittingham and that chapter is called Grimsargh Junction, Change Here for Whittingham."

Mr Hindle refers to the most famous people to have lived in Grimsargh and its favourite daughter, Nellie Carbis, whose memory is perpetuated in the Millennium Woodland.

Others include Jimmy Elliot, a music hall entertainer who impersonated bird songs and farm animals, and the Cross family, who developed Winckley Square in Preston and lived at the Red Scar Mansion.

Mr Hindle added: "The most startling thing I have discovered is the journals of Catherine Ellen Cross, which were written in the 19th century and are reproduced in full in the book."

The book will be David's second – he has previously lifted the lid on Preston's cinema and theatre heritage in Twice Nightly: An Illustrated History of Entertainment in Preston.

The publication, which listed forgotten music halls and playhouses, also told a tale of how the famous escapologist Houdini nearly shattered his reputation after struggling to break out of the town's police cells.

Grimsargh could soon become yet another commuter zone, with hundreds of new homes being built in the area.

David, who spoke out at the public inquiry into the developments, is unimpressed. He said: "It's being built on a green field site and it's the first major housing development in Grimsargh. It's a shame."

Grimsargh: The Story of a Lancashire Village is published by Carnegie Publishing Ltd. Anyone wanting to have their name included in a list of subscribers should ring 01524 840111.

e-mail: alan.burrows@lep.co.uk