Eccles Places Mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Eccles_Whalley

In 1234 the advowson of Eccles Church was granted to Stanlaw Abbey (the Abbey later moved to Whalley). The details of the Abbey lands and the history of Eccles can be found here.

Place Names

Ekwall’s Place-name’s of Lancashire (p37-42) mentions some of the names in the  list shown above, “Westslak” for example.

The Slack (in Monton) : del Slake 1323 LI. Cf. [le] Westslak 13 cent. WhC 878.
M.E. slack (from O.N. slakki) a small, shallow dell or valley,” etc.

You can download Ekwall’s Place-names of Lancashire here.

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Published in: on July 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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 Whitworth

There are nearly 100 medieval charters relating to Whitworth in the Coucher Book of Whalley (that’s a lot!). With additional Medieval Whitworth documentation in deeds and court records, this area is of great interest in the study of medieval South East Lancashire.  The large number of charters make it possible to trace medieval boundaries in the fields and moorland around Whitworth.

“Time out of mind”

Whitworth was manor, though it was part of Spotland township in the Parish of Rochdale. Around 1200 it was stated that since  “Time out of mind” the Manor of Whitworth was held jointly between John Elland and Robert Liversedge, both lived in the West Riding of Yorkshire. In the Domesady Book Gamel, an ancestor of John Elland held Rochdale later replaced as overlord by a Norman. However Gamel kept some land and this accounts for John Ellands holding, the other, Robert Liversedge was descended from a vassal of the Norman overlord de Lacy. Just as the overlord granted land to his vassals his vassals did the same, breaking up landholding into smaller parcels. But even in the 12th Century there were many people able  to grant land in Whitworth, Jordan of Comb granted land to Whalley Abbey, for example, but there were many others.

Sokemen and Settlement in Spotland

Sokemen were generally freeholders who could buy and sell land and have land inherited. At least two landholdings were held in “sokeage” in Spotland and were recorded in Wolstenholme and Dunnishbooth, south Whitworth (both in Spotland township, Rochdale Parish) in the 16th and 17th centuries.
This is an indication of a tenure often, but not exclusively,  associated with the Danelaw and can perhaps explain the number of charters in Whitworth recorded in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey.

If there were many sokemen in Whitworth, they would have each been able to trade land with Whalley Abbey and inherit land, so this could explain the number of Whitworth transactions that appear in the Coucher Book.

Great Potential

After the medieval period we have detailed 16th Century and 17th. Century records, such as manor surveys and parish records, this is a great area to study the medieval landscape and how it evolved.

Search for Medieval Places

Early Ordnance Survey maps of Whitworth can be found here at British History Online. Early maps are held in library local studies, and also Whitworth Museum. Aerial Photographs can be seen on Google Earth and Lancashire’s own Mario as well as English Heritage’s archive of photographs.

See Raines

The Raines Manuscripts in Chethams Library (Manchester) contain a lot of Whitworth references:

For example E.4.5-E.5.2 bundle no. 1 (13th. to 14th C. deeds).

Overland Court

A later entry in the Coucher book mentions that a yearly court was held for Rochdale  (including Whitworth) tenants of Whalley Abbey at a place called “Overland” location unknown.

Medieval Land Transfer

C. D. King’s 1991 thesis includes a detailed chronology of medieval Whitworth land transfers, details can be phone on another of my posts, here.

Extracts from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Medieval Whitworth (Whiteword, in these medieval records) : places transcribed from the Coucher book of Whalley Abbey

Whitworth Place-names

WhitworthPlacesAC

Bikeden, for example, is modern day Bagden on the East of what is today known as Rooley Moor.

WhitworthPlacesCK‘Kor lacus’ translates to lake Kor (Old Welsh perhaps?), which was at Harsenden near Prickshaw. probably on the site of Prickshaw Dams.

WhitworthPlacesLSModern Prickshaw was ‘Prikkeschagh’, in the Medieval Latin of the Coucher Book of Whalley.

WhitworthPlacesStoY

Note

Yrifford was probably on the Roche near Chadwick and not in Whitworth. Ford means it was a river crossing point.

 Scandinavian place-name elements

Some examples are:

  • Booth or both (as in Bothestudyerdh for example) often associated with a farm or vaccary (cattle ranch)
  • Rakes or rakis (lane, track)
  • Scholes or skole, hut or barn
  • Sike or sik (ditch)
  • Slack – valley

Whitworth Personal Names

This index covers all four volumes and is taken from the index of Volume IV.

Latin abbreviations – de means of,  fils. means son and frat. means brother or family member.

Contents pages (Volume III) relating to Whitworth

Volume III holds many (but not all) charters relating to Whitworth here are the contents pages, translated into English.

655-679

CoucherWhtwrthnames

whitwortCouchr655679

Note

The “us” in the translation above refers to the Abbey.

Under construction..

(c) SMM 2009

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.

middletonsurrounds3b1

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.

Middleton&Surrounds3b

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.

http://www.gmcro.co.uk/ftpfiles/estates/E7Assheton.pdf

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

Rochdale in the Domesday Book

Before the conquest,   Game the Thegnl had jurisdiction over Rochdale (Rochdale was called “Recedham” in the Domesday Book, ) except for  six exemptions, which  included “forestalingl”. In the medieval context this was the purchasing of goods to monopolise them and raise prices or restricting open access to goods at a market, however in Domesday this may be seen as relating to highway robbery and other crimes of violence mentioned under Rochdale’s Domesday entry.

West Derby ,which was a hundred,  had a  similar system to Rochdale (which was not a hundred), also being exempt from all but six infringements, each carried a 40 shilling fine, as in Rochdale.

Note

Although Rochdale was a large parish, it was part of Salford Hundred, but it was called a “wapentake” in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. It is worth noting that Saddleworth was in Yorkshire, even though it was part of Rochdale Parish.

wapentakerd

Gamel is thought to have been based in Eland in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.  The Elland name was adopted by Gamel’s descendants and

“Hugh de Eland had in 1202 granted 2 oxgangs in Hundersfield to Thomas son of Jordan at a rent of 2s. 8d.”

‘Townships: Todmorden and Walsden’, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 229-234. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53035 Date accessed: 15 August 2010.

The Ding or originally “Dinge” place-name on the moors north west of Rochdale may well refer to a “thing” or meeting place of the “wapentake”. You can read more about this place-name and the historical context for Rochdale here.

National Archives Domesday information is here.

Under construction…

(C) Stuart Mendelsohn 2009

Published in: on April 26, 2009 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Medieval Spotland Places and People Mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Spotland places mentioned in the Coucher Book

Spotland places mentioned in the Coucher Book

Spotland names continued...

Spotland names continued...

Spotland, in NW Rochdale, was one of  four townships of Rochdale parish and included Whitworth, Healey and Naden. This area is mentioned in a large number of medieval charters from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey.

There were many small freeholders who gave land to the Abbey. These small farmsteads typified settlement in the area, which was perhaps not as sparsely populated as some histories have claimed. Certainly the creation of remote assarts, such as Birchen Holts in the 16th Century, indicate that even by this time land was in short supply and marginal land was being reclaimed.

“Naueden” is modern Naden, spelling was not only very different but inconsistent too. Yrefford was also written as Irifford and was a ford on the river Roche which was probably originally called “”Yre” or” Irre”.

Spotland Personal Names

names1

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Healey names mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

These personal names are from the Chetham Society, 19th Century transcription of the Medieval Latin of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey.

healeycouchernames3

Some, like Dolfinus, are the latin spelling of an Old Norse personal name.

Healey Places Mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey are shown below.

Healey Place-names mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Healey Place-names mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Lake Kor, a lost medieval lake which was  probably NW of Healey Dell is one of the fascinating references to Healey in the Coucher Book. Additionally Heleyden (Healey valley) and Heleysclogh are mentioned under Spotland (one of the four  medieval townships of Rochdale, see the Spotland list in this blog).

To be continued…

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Finding Medieval Documentation for Salford Hundred, Lancashire

raines_e.4small

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.

blogheadpanom

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

WhalleyAbbeybw

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

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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