What have a world famous poet, a teenage computer pioneer, medieval charters and Whitworth got in common?

No Joke! in 1833 the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey was of great importance to a teenage computer pioneer, the daughter of the famous poet.

She joined others in a case against the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale, over land rights in Brandwood, West Whitworth.

The former Lord of the Manor was Lord Byron, the poet, his daughter Ada (Countess pf Lovelace) was a brilliant mathematician and programmer of Babbage’s Inference Engine. Ada still had an interest in lands in Brandwood after Dearden had aquired the manor of Rochdale from her father, Lord Byron.

The claim was that land in Brandwood had been enclosed and that this was included in the Manor of Rochdale, The case was judged in favour of the defendants, since they used the Coucher Book of Whalley’s records to show that rights had been granted to their ancestors in medieval times, well before the manor was sold to Lord Byron’s ancestors. So it Brandwood was judged to be outside of the manor of Rochdale’s jurisdiction.

Read more about this fascinating case here from  page 80 onwards. Archive material is also held at Touchstones in Rochdale.

See also

Ada Lovelace (Wikipedia entry)

Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King’s Bench, Volume 1

By Sandford Nevile, William Montagu Manning (Sir.), Sir William Montagu Manning, Great Britain. Court of King’s Bench, London 1834.

Under construction!

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Medieval References to Common Land

There were many common land disputes in medieval times, here are two examples from the Lancashire Assize Rolls, which can be seen translated here.

Lancashire Assize Rolls

In the time of  Henry III, Alice de(of) Liverseg (now Liversedge) won cases related to common land in Hundersfield (a township of Rochdale parish).

Who was Alice?

Alice was the daughter of Robert of Liversedge a co-owner of the Manor of Whitworth, but where were they based? Liversedge is in West Yorkshire. So here we have someone based inYorkshire, holding part of the manor of Whitworth, in  Rochdale’s Spotland township also holding land in the adjacent township of Hundersfield also in Rochdale.

This shows how complex the landholding was in Rochdale, even at this time.

Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

References to common land often used the term “communi pastura” and example is shown below, which refers to common land near Withens (Harewyhnes) Bagden (recorded as Bikeden), between Whitworth and the area today known as Rooley Moor.

Under construction…

This post will outline references to common land, and related legal disputes.

Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm  Comments (3)  
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