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

Scout Moor – Guide to Medieval and other Related Documents

Do Scout Moor archaeological surveys, as with the adjacent Rooley Moor surveys, omit medieval documentation?

There is so much in the public domain for Rooley Moor, yet two surveys failed to mention the large number of medieval charters.

Will we find medieval documentation omissions in the Scout Moor archaeological survey?

This post will outline the medieval documentation for the area known as Scout Moor. In a later post I will see how much of this data was used in the Scout Moor archaeological survey. Since later surveys adjacent to Scout Moor still omitted basic medieval sources (The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey for example) there is lottle chance of a thorough survey of this area, since they rely on the same woefully lacking and outdated HER.

There are certainly glaring omissions when it comes to archaeological sites too, which will be detailed in a separate archaeology post.

Related Histories

Good outlines of the major historical events/sources for the area, but out of date when compared to contemporary historical analysis.

Parish of Rochdale – Retrieved from British History Online

History of the Parish of Rochdale – Retrieved from Touchstone’s site.

1610 Manor Survey of Rochdale (Touchstones site).

1626 Manor Survey of Rochdale.

History of the Forest of Rossendale – 1893, Thomas Newbigging

The Economic History of Rossendale – G. H. Tupling, M.A. (Manchester University, Economic History Series, no.4, and Chetham Society).

Spring Hill History Website – with comments and notes on the ‘Economic History of Rossendale’.

Archives with original documents

British Library – Spotland (Historical Rochdale township in which most of Scout Moor was in).

Chethams Library – inclding the Raines Collection (Contains a lot of Rochdale area material).

Rylands Library – contains original documents relating to the area

Whalley Abbey – Coucher Book, includes hundreds of medieval abbey charters relating to Rochdale and Bury.

Maps

First Series 19th Century Ordnance Survey Maps – Good details, such as old farmsteads, minor place-names and land use.

Place-names

EkwallThe place-names of Lancashire – seminal work for Lancashire place-names but a little outdated.

The Place Names of Lancashire – David Mills, 1977

Under construction…

Published in: on January 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Whitworth Hall

Medieval Spotland had many settlements and halls, for example Naden and Healey, I have not mentioned Whitworth Hall, until now. Below is a transcript of Charter 37 from from Volume III of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, published by the Chetham Society:Whitworth_Hall_red

The site of the Old Hall was in the area of Hall Fold, see an aerial view here. The area is close to the river Spodden.

The 1851 OS map shows the location of Hall Fold.

1626 Manor Survey

HalFold1626ManSurv

Note the Fold had a “Corne Mill” a relic of the earlier Hall perhaps?

 

Early References to Renewable Energy

The most common renewable energy source mentioned in Rochdale medieval and early post-medieval documents was water power.

Uses of water power

Water power was used in watermills for grinding flower and also in fulling mills, to process wool.

An early water mill in Rochdale

Near to the market on the south-west side was a house occupied by Thomas Holme,
which was reputed to have been the ancient ” Milne House ” 2 (more…)

Published in: on October 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Digging Deeper with Stanford Online

Thanks to Stanford Online you can study this course:

“The Form and Function of Manuscripts introduces you to the way medieval manuscripts are interpreted, conserved, and disseminated today.”

Find out more here

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How Cool is this Medieval Reference?

Back in 2010 I discovered an enclosure with a triple ditch (thanks to Google Earth), an enthusiastic English Heritage archaeologist kindly helped volunteers survey it.

3ditches I also saw an adjacent site with a single bank and ditch also clearly visible from aerial photographs. A large man-made looking mound was later discovered when I visited the site (it was hidden by trees).

The Ancient Enclosure

In December 2012 I found this medieval reference to the site with 3 ditches… This reference is over 800 years old and a Latin transcription from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey (charter 44 in Roman Numerals XLIV) is shown below., locumantiquae

In Latin locum antiquae means ‘ancient enclosure’ – so it was old 800 years ago! You can recognize the location (Smallshaw) easily from the place-names and topography mentioned in the charter. The second part of the charter is shown below.

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There’s More…

Thanks to Jeff Lord’s aerial photographs and evidence from early maps of the area it looks like this was originally quite an extensive settlement. There is more archaeology to be surveyed and more charters and other documents to check! Draft Presentation (PDF file reader needed). SmallshawPlaces44

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

SchofieldhallRaines266

 

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 (2)  
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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

The History of British Wool

 

(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.

Rochdale 1666 Hearth Tax Summary

Hearth_Tax_1666

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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