Place-Names of Lancashire

Many medieval place-names will be revealed if more deeds and charters are translated, adding to the existing body of work.

Many places in Lancashire were mentioned in medieval documents and there are many books and articles about their origins. Ekwall’s 1922 Place-names of Lancashire is a classic and is available free here.

The place-names of Lancashire by David Mills, 1976 is a more recent work.

An article by Geoffrey Leech –  ‘The unique heritage of place-names in North West England,´  can be downloaded here.

Note
The English Place-Names Society is involved with a new more extensive survey of Lancashire place-names.

Find a place-name

Search for a place or a place-name element .

http://www.digital-documents.co.uk/archi/placename.htm

General Place-name Books

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names E. Ekwall, 1960

Signposts to the past: place-names and the history of England, Margaret Gelling 1978

Place-names in the Landscape, Margaret Gelling 1984

A Dictionary of British Place-Names, A. D. Mills 2003

The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names. Victor Watts 2004

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Download The Place-Names of Lancashire

Many places in Lancashire were mentioned in medieval documents and there are many books and articles about their origins. Ekwall’s 1922 Place-names of Lancashire is a classic and is available copyright free.

Here is the contents page of this important 1922 study of the origin of Lancashire place-names.

Contents

Note This is a large file of 45 megabytes!

DOWNLOAD Place_names_of_Lancs_Ekwall

You will need the free Adobe Reader program to view the book, if it is not installed you can download it here.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 12:14 am  Comments (2)  
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Rochdale Land held by the Knights of John of Jerusalem

Based on the 1626 Manor Survey of Rochdale (Fishwick in 1913)  the land held by the Knights Hospitallers was:

Township –  Tenants

Castleton                    6

Spotland                     4

Hundersfield             6

Butterworth             31

Total ……………….47

Woodhouse in Rochdale (Spotland township) was owned by the Hospitallers and their extensive holdings in the area posed a security problem, so they asked and were granted permission to build their own gallows in Rochdale!

Download a 19th Century book about the Hospitallers  – Larking, Knights Hospitallers in England below.

The_Knights_hospitallers_in_England.

You will need to use Adobe Reader,  get a free copy here.

Locating Places Mentioned in Medieval Documents

Where to Start

First, what was medieval life like, how did people farm? what were living conditions like? These questions can help in looking for medieval settlements in documents and the landscape. You can find some information about medieval life here.

Landscape and Land Ownership

Was settlement the same in Salford Hundred compared to a Hundred in Worcestershire, for example?  The landscape and the soil are very different and significantly it would appear so was land ownership. Not many villages have nearly 100 medieval charters as at Whitworth near Rochdale has. The number of individuals able to give land to Whalley Abbey contrasts with the usual idea of a single medieval lord and landowner.

Settlement

Predominantly pastoral farming and a larger proportion of individual farmsteads was probably the norm for medieval life in the Pennine foothills of Salford Hundred. Many farmsteads visible today date back to medieval times, even though few obvious signs of medieval settlements remain. The number of places mentioned in Spotland township (Parish of Rochdale) in the Coucher Book of Whalley shows that many settlements date back to medieval times. In fact some place-names like Irreford have been lost.

Lost

Many medieval places are now lost or no longer recorded on current maps.  It may be possible to trace some of them from old maps, such as the 1850’s  Ordnance Survey Maps of Lancashire (more about digital versions below), or manor surveys and court records and later deeds that bridge the gap between medieval times and modern records.

Changed

“Fulebachehope” mentioned in the Coucher Book of  Whalley is now known as Bacup, showing just how much names can change over time.  The earlier a place-name is recorded the more certainty there is in finding the origin and meaning of the word.

Early Maps

Tithe maps and manor maps (such as the 18th Century Middleton map from the E7 Assheton estate collection at the Greater Manchester County Record Office ) can help  in locating places.

19th. Century OS Maps of Lancashire

Digital versions of the Ordnance Survey’s earliest maps of Salford Hundred can be found here and at this excellent site here.

See this excellent site for early Lancashire OS maps from the National Library of Scotland NLS Early Lancashire OS maps.

This interesting site has many old maps of Lancashire here

Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles

This great site has information about maps and other documents as well as buildings, it is here.

Parish Registers

Parish records from Salford Hundred often go back to the 16th Century they can help locate people and places too. They have been extensively researched and published in a variety of formats.

You can read and download information from the Lancashire County Council site here.

Search the  On Line Parish Clerks for the County of Lancashire here, it is a really useful site.

Finding Place-Names and Field names

Places change over time and sometimes are shown on earlier maps but not on later versions of OS Maps.

You can search for place-names or place name elements here and here.

Field Names

Search for field names here.

Many field names may be recorded in manor surveys, though not indexed as such.

Manorial Records

Some manor records for Rochdale have been published (Chetham Society)  or partially transcribed. General information about manor records can be found here at the National Archives site.

Wills

Early wills are a valuable source of information too, read more here at the Medieval Genealogy site. The Wills and related information at Chester include places in Salford Hundred, such as Rochdale and Manchester.

Download

The Chetham Society’s – Wills and Inventories of the Ecclesiastical Court here.

Hearth Tax

Many places and buildings mentioned in the Hearth Tax of 1662-1689 had been in existence since medieval times.

The national archives has information about the Hearth Tax here, and you can search the records in a database here, but it is still being developed.

The Centre for Hearth Tax research is here at Roehampton University London.

Magic

‘Magic’ is a national database of environmental data, it also includes ancient woodland information,  see it here.

Aerial Photography

Aerial photographs are now widely available on-line, sites such as Google Earth and Microsoft’s Bing allow quick terrain assessment.

Download and read about medieval sites and aerial photography here.  English Heritage has information about aerial photography here.

Warning:

It is addictive and you might just find medieval and earlier sites.

Most important of all

Fieldwork! 

Always walk the areas you are researching. Not all features show on aerial photographs and maps, and surface geology and vegetation can be important clues to sites and the names you are researching. This brings us to archaeology, and the recording of information that is absent from medieval records.

In the case of the now lost “Lake Kor” on the border between Healey and Whitworth (mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey)  the topology and old maps may help locate the site.

Comprehensive archaeological survey and fieldwork have yet to be undertaken in Salford Hundred, despite large urban  expanses, rural areas including moorland still survive. What is exciting, is that these areas are some of the least explored in Britain when it comes to medieval records and archaeology, see this blog.

Under construction…

(C) SMM 2009

Medieval Deeds from Chetham’s Library

headeed

Many medieval Latin documents from Lancashire remain to be translated. These documents are a little-known treasure chest for the medieval history of the region, Chetham’s Library houses many medieval documents in the medieval former manor house of Manchester.

An aerial/map view of Chetham’s is here.

The deeds below are an example of this rich archive, they are reproduced with the permission of Chetham’s Library

These deeds and many others are mentioned in the CD of the Raines manuscripts scanned by Peter Davenport of the family history Society of Cheshire, great work! Read more about this here.

These deeds refer to land in Spotland, a township in the north-west of the large medieval Parish of Rochdale, in south-east Lancashire. They are part of the large collection of deeds in the Raines Collection, just one of the many unique collections held at Chetham’s.  Special thanks to Fergus for making these scans.

Witnesses

At the bottom of the deeds can be seen the names of the witnesses, usually local landowners.For example, Gilbert de Notton as well as witnesses from Clegg (“de cleg”) and Falinge (“de phalleng”) can be seen in this deed:  raines_e45_bundle1_04.jpg.

Note: These are large files, they may take a while to download.

Download scanned deeds  relating to Spotland, Rochdale from the Raines Collection, Chetham’s Library

Want More?

We are hoping to run some projects in the future, please comment if you are interested.

If you plan to translate these please send me the information so I can link to your translations, thanks.

Published in: on February 8, 2009 at 10:45 pm  Comments (4)  
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