Read Hall and Park was the seat of the Nowell family from the 14th century and Roger Nowell was a magistrate at the time of the Lancashire Witches in 1612 sending them to Lancaster for trial and eventual execution.
In the 1870s Victoria Mill, together with a few houses for employees, was built alongside the turnpike road by the Kemp family and this area of Read became known as Newtown. More houses and shops were built using stone quarried in the village and Read now has a variety of small businesses catering for many needs.
The parish church is dedicated to St John Evangelist by Henry Ross of Accrington, 1884, with the west steeple dating from 1911.
The nearby Martholme Viaduct, about 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west carried the defunct Great Harwood loop line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway over the River Calder between Simonstone and Great Harwood and was built by Sturges Meek, 1870–77, and consists of ten 65 ft high arches on a gentle curve
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