In 1974 following the re-organisation of local government, Ribble Valley Borough Council took over the responsibility for Clitheroe Cemetery from Clitheroe Urban District Council. The cemetery was initially provided as an additional burial ground to St Mary's Church, Church Brow, Clitheroe. The cemetery grounds located at Waddington Road, Clitheroe have been in use since 1861. These grounds were extended in 1953, by the compulsory purchase of additional adjacent land, to create an enlarged cemetery area known as the lawn cemetery.
In 1953, following the extension of the Clitheroe Cemetery it was decided that it would be available for all denominations. This resulted in 2 distinct areas being created in the Lawn Cemetery, one, for Roman Catholics and one for Church of England and other non-conformist interments.
In 1995 a Woodland Burial area was created at the Cemetery on land adjacent to Boy Bank Wood. This offers a natural form of burial providing important environmental benefits.
In 1999, the council established the Phase I extension to the Cemetery in order to provide additional grave capacity. This was necessary because the existing Lawn Cemetery was quickly approaching its capacity. This extended area is non-denominational with a specific area set aside for Muslim burial.
In 2000, the council further extended the Woodland Burial area, as the Phase II extension to the Cemetery, to provide much needed capacity for this increasingly popular form of burial.