Mysterious Middleton

Medieval Middleton had several detached areas (townships). Great Lever in Bolton was 10 miles away from the centre of Middleton. Why Middleton had so many detached townships and when they were created, remains a mystery.


The map of Middleton parish shows the detached parish townships to the North and West of Middleton. The detached area below Bolton church is the township of Great Lever.  Read more about the history of Middleton and the 8 townships here.

The Distribution of Townships

The detached townships are to the west and north of Middleton. When Middleton townships are viewed with the parishes of Bury and Radcliffe the three parishes appear to fit together, except for the Middleton township of Great Lever.


Relation to other parishes

Rochdale parish is compact and has no detached parts in Middleton, Oldham or Bury. Middleton appears to fit together with Bury, were they part of an earlier estate or estates? The complexity of the detachment portions perhaps indicates the age of the parish, many parish fragments being accumulated over time through marriage or other opportunities to aquire land.

Old Welsh Name in Medieval Middleton

Another medieval mystery is the name Blethyn, an Old Welsh name mentioned in 1243, in a law suit in Lancaster.  Robert son of Blethyn held an oxgang of land in Pilsworth.  Who was  Blethyn?  and why did he have a typically Welsh name? had he moved to Middleton or been given a Welsh name?

Read more about the case that mentioned Robert son of Blethyn here in British History Online.

Deeds relating to Middleton

Many deeds relating to Middleton and the Lords of the Manor are held in the Greater Manchester Record Office, see the link below.

Search the Greater Manchester County Record Office  GMCRO for more Middleton material, such as manor court records.

You can also find documents at Chethams and Rylands and  libraries, but there are many other archives with medieval Middleton documentation, such as the Lancashire Court Records.

Further afield

The British Library holds a 13th C. deed mentioning Stakehill, Thornham township, showing that deeds are held outside the region too.

The GMCRO mentions Middleton related material in the Suffield Papers (GB153), read more here .

(C) Stuart Mendelsohn 2009


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