Finding Medieval Documentation for Salford Hundred, Lancashire

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Neglected

It’s time to reveal the neglected medieval history of Salford Hundred, the South East division (known as a Hundred or Wapentake) of the historic County of Lancashire.

Background

The Hundred was administered from the royal manor of Salford, which was in the parish of Manchester. A general history of Lancashire can be found here. This is a good place to start for each parish (follow the links for each parish below), with many references to medieval documents. However, research has progressed greatly since 1911, I will also add a list of more specialized publications that refer to the early history and place-names of the region.

Salford Hundred Parishes

Salford Hundred was divided into 11 parishes. they were:

Ashton Bolton Bury Deane Eccles Flixton Manchester

Middleton Prestwich cum Oldham Radcliffe Rochdale.

This densely populated part of the UK is perhaps the least known when it comes to early history and archaeology, see “Blogroll” for more details.

Surprising Omissions

Many of the sources have been omitted from archaeological surveys and histories of the region. Scans of some deeds are also published here for the first time.  Now many sources,  transcribed in the 19th Century, are now freely available on-line too.

The Landscape as a Document

A large number of the places and boundaries mentioned in medieval documents can still be seen today, many places were never documented. Landscape history brings documentation to life, and reveals the fascinating evolution of the region’s landscapes. Aerial photography (such as Google Earth and Lancashire’s excellent Mario) and the many maps of the region are vital tools to discover new sites, as well as see known sites from a new perspective.

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The Documentation

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle contains a 10th. Century reference to Manchester. The Domesday Book contains references to places in SE Lancashire, in Salford Hundred Rochdale’s had the only thegn (local aristocrat) named in Salford Hundred (only three other places in Salford Hundred are named: Manchester, Radcliffe and of course  Salford). Radcliffe and Salford were royal manors.

Other medieval Lancashire sources available on-line are listed below.

Try these archive links

These archives are not in any order and the extent of the documentation relating to Salford Hundred is not yet fully catalogued.

A general overview of Religious Houses (including those with connections to Salford Hundred) is available here, medieval Salford Hundred was in the see of Lichfield.

Lancashire Final Concords – these were legal settlements between parties who had been litigating at court.

Lancashire Assize Rolls  - medieval manuscripts are held in the Public Records Office, later Rolls are in the LRO.

English Medieval Legal Documents Wiki also has information about the Assize Rolls and other manuscripts.

The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey details many places mentioned in connection with the Abbey. These Medieval Latin records include hundreds of references to the Parish of Rochdale alone, and are invaluable  for research into Medieval Salford Hundred. The transcripts have been scanned and are listed below.

Keele University Library – The Raymond Richards Collection which includes the Hatton Woods collection, which has over 1500 medieval documents relating to the North West and other parts of England.

Lancashire Record Office (LRO) – This major archive also holds medieval deeds previously held in the collections of Rochdale Library.

Greater Manchester Record Office – Some of the major collections are described here.

Manchester Central Reference Library Archives – includes material collected by W. Farrer and Palmer, new on-line search here

Chetham’s Library Medieval Manor House of Manchester, Chained Library, Major North West England Archive, and the oldest free library in Europe.

The collections include  the  extensive Raines manuscripts, a CD is available here.

NEW!

John Rylands Library Major archive and one of the earliest buildings designed for electric lighting. Search on-line here.

Nottinghamshire Archives – Henry De Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, manorial and other records (includes Lancashire lands). Some of the De Lacy records have been transcribed, see the “Two ‘Compoti’ of…” link below.

The College of Arms – holds Kuerden’s manuscripts, a collection of deeds and pedigrees.

Medieval Charters on the Internet

The Bodleian Library has many collections of interest, including The Byron Chartulary ( a collection of charters), also known as the ‘Black Book of Clayton.’ The Bodleian also holds the Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey.

British Library – The British Library holds many deeds and charters for Lancashire, here, for example, are some of the Rochdale documents.

The Cause Papers a searchable catalogue of more than 14,000 cause papers relating to cases heard between 1300 and 1858 in the Church Courts of the diocese of York.

The National Archives include for example the De Banco Rolls from the Court of Common Pleas.

Toronto-  document search for over 9,500 documents – includes medieval Lancashire

The Ranulf Higden Society – researches medieval documents from the North West of England.

Cheshire Archives also hold material relating to Salford Hundred, such as wills.

West Yorkshire Archive Service holds records relating to Salford Hundred and Lancashire.

Yorkshire Archaeological Society hold a large collection of medieval manuscripts, see some on-line too.  The collection includes documents relating to Salford – Yorkshire Archaeological Society Vol. 56 MD 102 (thanks to Janet at the library for this information).

Note

Many medieval deeds are also in private collections and the archives of landowners.

Finding Information about Famous People from Medieval Salford Hundred

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography contains information on over 50,ooo individuals, including The Pilkingtons, from the Bury area. Find out about them and much more here.

Transcribed Medieval Documents

Many regional medieval manuscripts have been transcribed (but not translated) by the Chetham Society.

The Coucher Book or Chartulary of Whalley Abbey

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The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey contains hundreds of references to places in Salford Hundred.

The Abbey, was moved from Stanlaw in Cheshire to Whalley  in Lancashire in 1296, see an aerial view of the ruins here.

The Chetham Society also produced the “Act book of the ecclesiastical court of Whalley”, 1516-1538 edited by Alice Cooke, 1901.

Reference to some Lancashire wills can be found here.

The four volumes were edited W.A. Hulton, and published in 1847-8 by the Chetham Society.

Note large files!

Two Compoti

John Harland – Lancashire Documents of the 14th and 15th Centuries – NEW LINK

Download the free ebook here.

Lancashire and Cheshire Wills and Inventories NEW LINK

Download the Google ebook here.

The Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey

cockersandabbeyCockersand Abbey (near Lancaster) held land in Salford Hundred, including Crompton (near Oldham) for example. A transcription was published by the Chetham Society in 1900, read it on-line here.

The Bodleian Library holds a former Cockersand Abbey manuscript, described in “On a Thirteenth Century Manuscript in the Bodleian Library (Rawlinson, C 317 ) formerly belonging to Cockersand Abbey, and containing Exempla” Transactions of the Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society ( TLCAS ) Volume 23 1906 p48-6.

See a Map of the Remains of Cockersand Abbey

Find out more…

Mainly Lancashire

What were Medieval Deeds and Charters?

Websites about  medieval deeds and charters, are listed below.

The Medieval Genealogy website has information about medieval charters here.

Manuscripts and Special Collections – University of Notingham

History in Deed: Medieval Society & The Law in England, 1100-1600 : Harvard University

University of Toronto Deeds Project

Bracton on the Laws and Customs of Englandattributed to Henry of Bratton, c. 1210-126 Harvard University Website

Reading Medieval Deeds and Charters

The study of ancient handwriting is called;  palaeography.  You can learn more about reading old deeds and other documents at these websites:

Beginners Latin Course – National Archives

Interesting interactive on-line course here

Palaeography: reading old handwriting 1500 – 1800 – A practical on-line tutorial

Manuscript Studies – University of London

Under construction…

(C) Stuart Mendelsohn 2009

A Great Resource for Old OS Maps of the Area

Thank you National Library of Scotland!

See old OS Maps of Lancashire here.

Published in: on August 6, 2014 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Schofield – the Place and the Name

I got a request for early references to the name “Schofield” so here is some information.

Schofield, in East Rochdale was in the township of Butterworth. Schofield was also adopted as a surname, let’s trace the roots of the Schofield family and the place back to Medieval times. As usual Fishwick’s History of Rochdale is a good place to start, it’s freely available online.  Fishwick covered the pedigree of the Schofield family name in the chapter on the Old Houses and Families of Butterworth.

Schofield Family

This information was deposited in the Duchy of Lancashire Court on 1537 as evidence of  James Scholfield’s claim to lands in “Wittaker”.

What does Schofield mean?

The modern study of Lancashire place-names started with Ekwall’s Placenames of Lancashire.  This is the most comprehensive survey, but it is not the latest work on Lancashire place-names and some of Ekwall’s work is disputed.

Ekwall on Schofield

“Scholefleld, or Schofield : de Scholfele 1212 LI, de Scolefeld 1374 LF, Scolfeld 1582 DL. O.N. skdli ” hut ” &nd field. “

So a “hut in a field” is the probable meaning., with the Old Norse word for hut being the first element in the name.

LI is an abbreviation for:

LI : Lancashire Inquests, Extents, and Feudal Aids. Ed. W. Farrer. Record Soc. xlviii, liv. 

Other Early References to Schofield

Both the Lancashire and Greater Manchester record offices also have documents of interest as does Touchstones in Rochdale.

Libraries

The black Book of Clayton (Bodleian Library) includes documents that mention “Schofield”. The Raines manuscripts have many references too.  Chethams and Rylands Libraries in Manchester also have original material relating to Schofield.

Manor Surveys

The 17 thC. Manor Surveys have many references to the place and the people names Schofield. The manor court records also should be checked for Schofield references.

Online

You can also search the British History Online site, and of course the National Archives, which include the British Library Collection. The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey has references to Schofield, start with the index.

Later Entry from Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Here is an example from the Appendix of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, perhaps early 16th. C

SchofieldWC1231

 

Schofield Hall

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The site of the Hall has some field boundaries but little trace of the hall remains. The Old Hall was depicted in the Raines Manuscripts. There were many of these old halls, Fishwick’s History has some illustrations.

Under construction…

 

Published in: on June 27, 2014 at 9:32 am  Comments (1)  
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Medieval References to the Wool Trade in Rochdale

While there are many references (such as in the Manor court rolls and Manor surveys) to the wool trade in Rochdale from the 16th century Medieval references are rare, here are two from the Rochdale Manor Court Rolls of 1336, translated from the Latin in Fishwick’s History of Rochdale.

Henry the dyer

John de Aulus for not producing Henry the dyer [Lister] and John the smith, whom he essoigned (meaning made an excuse for not appearing in court) iiii . d. 

So John made  a payment of 4 pence for because Henry the dyer did not appear at the manor court. Did Henry dye local wool? looks like an early indication of a specialist in the significant and valuable wool trade.

 Thomas the mercer

Henry the son of Thomas the Mercer, for ingress to a burgage in Castleton: surety Nicholas of the Slakes xviij.

The mercer’s son broke in to a burgage (Rochdale was a medieval borough). A reference to a mercer is rare at this time in Lancashire, there is only one mentioned (from Chester?) in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. A mercer was someone who sold fine cloth such as silk and flax.

Market

Rochdale market dates back to at least 1251, to put this into perspective, Suffolk’s famous medieval wool trade village,  Lavenham  has a market from 1257. The 13th century was a time of economic expansion and wool was England’s main export, Rochdale was evidently an important centre for both the production and trade in wool in Medieval times.

References

Manor Records, Chapter XV the History of Rochdale by Henry Fishwick

Medieval Wool Trade in Europe

 

(C) SMM 2014
 
 
Published in: on April 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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Chadwick Family Charters Aquired by the British Library in 1913

There are a total of 634 charters (British Library Catalogue 57624-58263) that belonged to the Chadwick family and are now in the British Library, 100 of these charters relate to places in Salford Hundred.

Salford Hundred

One Manchester Charter from 1744
Charter 57629.

6 Radcliffe charters from 1300-1511
Charters 57630, 57631, 57633, 57678, 57679, 57681.

93 Rochdale charters from 1295-1703.
Including Blatchinworth, Buersill, Castleton, Healey, Hundersfield, Spotland, Wardle, etc.
Charters 57632-57724.

Search the British Library manuscript catalogue here.

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Hearth Tax

Although levied in the 17th Century and after the Medieval period the hearth tax is an important resource for Medieval population estimates and detailed settlement information. The hearth tax can be a way of judging the size of a house or old hall. It is a vital layer for any archaeological/historical GIS(Graphical Information System).

Example 

Naden Head, Spotland township, Rochdale Parish, In the Hearth Tax it was assessed for 6 hearths. Evidently a substantial house and was called a “Capital Messuage” in the 1626 Rochdale Manor Survey and was claimed as the “Manor of Spotland” by a member of the Holt family.

So a 2012 archaeological survey’s claim that Naden Head was just a “farmstead” appears hard to support.

Note

Comprehensive Hearth Tax Lancashire map and county survey under construction.

The Hearth Tax Website can be found here.

Published in: on March 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm  Comments (3)  
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Two of Prickshaw’s Medieval Charters

There are many medieval references to places that are in or around the area known today as Prickshaw.

Here are two charter transcripts from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey,
originally published by the Chetham Society.

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In this charter we can see “Prikkeshaghsiche”
it would now be written Prickshaw Syke.

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Note

Lake Kor was probably the area now known as Prickshaw Dams.

Charter LXI

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Charter LXI Continued…

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Appendix – Bagden, Prickshaw 

Coucher Book Appendix
Appendix in Coucher Book

Reference

Originally printed for the Chetham Society 1848 by William Adam Hulton.

NOT  IN  COPYRIGHT

Download The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey Here.

Salford Hundred Heritage Society Press Release 18th December 2012

Barrow

Barrow

Surprising Archaeological Discoveries North of Manchester

During 2009/2010 major archaeological sites were discovered, including a fortified site and burial sites (see one of the barrows above), as old as four thousand years old. This information is made public today. The two thousand year old fortified site (hill fort), with triple ramparts, was described as “ancient” in a Latin manuscript from 800 years ago.

Hill Fort

Hill Fort

A nearby site has a bank (clearly visible) cutting off a peninsula of land. There are also extensive early cultivation sites and field boundaries as well as many ruined farmsteads. One expanse of moorland is punctured by dozens of small pits, of unknown origin, some big enough to fall into, but never recorded on any maps of the area. Many more sites remain undiscovered, even though they are above ground.

Whitworth, to the north of Rochdale, has around one hundred medieval charters referring to smallholders land transfers in the area, which firmly secures it’s place as one of the best documented medieval villages in the country.

However a 2007 archaeological survey just west of Whitworth found no medieval evidence for the area, and ignored the ruins of the nearby medieval manor house.

Why are we releasing this information now? Simply because there are plans to erect a wind farm on this land, and the public need to know the real heritage of this location before it is lost forever. Without the release of this information the wind farm will go ahead unchallenged

See background post here.

Cause Papers of the Diocese of York – Another Online Archive.

The cause papers of the Diocese of York are now available online and range from 1300 to 1858 and references to places in Salford Hundred. Search the nearly 14,000 cases from the church courts here.

Published in: on December 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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Current Research

Since 2007 I have made discoveries that should have been registered long ago, however in 2010 I made a major discoveries to add to the cairns and barrows I found. They have been visited by English Heritage and there can be no question of the importance of the sites, one was even referred to as “ancient” 800 years ago (I found this reference a few weeks ago!).

I hope to post more soon, these discoveries show clearly that the area in question has never been surveyed, quite incredible for a country like England. I also believe there are more sites to be found….above ground like these.

Where and how did I find them? more soon….

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Balshaw Mystery

There are literally hundreds of medieval references to places in Rochdale, most places can still be traced, a few have disappeared from the map. But most interesting of the vanished places is Balshaw, and the people who lived there in medieval times.

Why?

In the Coucher Book Balshaw is written as Balschagh and appears to have been near to Healey Hollows by a brook or Brok (as it was written in the charter).

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In charer 68 one of the signatories, Adam, appears to have lived in Balschagh and is referred to as Ada de Balschagh.

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The Bedelry

In 1281 Adam de Balshaw purchased the serjeancy of the “free court of Rochdale” in exchange for land in Rossendale and ‘Holkenheved,’ at a rent of 2 marks a year; Byron Chartul. (Towneley MS.), 1/248.

If this was the same Adam that witnessed Coucher Book charter 68, where did he get his wealth from? Why did he have land in Rossendale? and where exactly did he live, and what was his reason for buying the serjeancy (which means it was originally a gift from the King)?

See British History Online – The Parish of Rochdale fn 40

“In 1298, the ‘heir of Adam de Balshaw’ paid 26s. 8d. for the bedelry; Compotus, 7; and in 1311 the holder was a John de Balshaw;”

De Lacy Inq. 20

De Lacy 1311 John de Bal...

Ultimately the serjeancy was sold to members of the Radcliffe family by a John de Balshaw in 1341, perhaps the same John mentioned in 1311.

See British History Online – The Parish of Rochdale fn 40

The special legal status of Rochdale is evident from the Domesday entry for Rochdale and the “free court of Rochdale” presumably evolved  from this.

Where?

The name Ball Barn on Syke Road in Rochdale may preserve elements of the old Balshaw name, it is in the area mentioned in the charters.

Not to be confused with…

By coincidence there is another Balshaw in Ainsworth, and in a land grant by Roger de Middleton, about 1200 there is mention of a “syke” that led to Ballshaw. syke was a common local dialect word(from Old Norse) for a ditch.

The grant is included in the Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), ii, 733.

Under construction….

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