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


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



Two of Prickshaw’s Medieval Charters

There are many medieval references to places that are in or around the area known today as Prickshaw.

Here are two charter transcripts from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey,
originally published by the Chetham Society.


In this charter we can see “Prikkeshaghsiche”
it would now be written Prickshaw Syke.



Lake Kor was probably the area now known as Prickshaw Dams.

Charter LXI


Charter LXI Continued…


Appendix – Bagden, Prickshaw 

Coucher Book Appendix
Appendix in Coucher Book


Originally printed for the Chetham Society 1848 by William Adam Hulton.


Download The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey Here.

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!

Bagden – Valley of the Bees

Aerial view of Bagden (note early cultivation)

Bagden was called Bikden in medieval times, and as this extract shows it was called “Bargden” around 1600. Like many names in and around Whitworth it was mentioned in Medieval times. This was because many small pieces of land were traded or granted to Whalley Abbey, one theory is that the Abbey acted as a bank. There were also local contacts with the Abbey monks, some were from Whitworth.

Medieval references to Bagden (Bikden in medieval times)

Bikden – what does it mean? Valley of the Bees.


Bagden was called Bargden

Under construction!


Naden is the name of a valley in what was Spotland township, Rochdale parish. Naden was first recorded in 1107, it was also mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey in the 13thC.

A general history of Spotland with a footnote (6) about Naden can be found here in the Victoria County History of Lancashire.

Naden Brook

Naden (“Nauden” as it was in medieval times)was mentioned in a grant to Stanlaw Abbey (the monks later moved to Whalley).

NadenRiverStanlawHere is another reference to Naden (Naueden) in the transcription of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, Chetham Society. Green Booths is also mentioned.

“de Naden” Origin of the Name

According to this history (Victoria County History), land was granted to Gilbert de Notton when he married Margery, the daughter of Hugh de Elland.

It gave a name to the immediate holders. Maud widow of Thomas de Naden claimed dower in a messuage and land in Wolstenholme in 1277 against Roger son of Robert de Naden; De Banco R. 21, m. 5 d, 58″  – Volume V Victoria County History Of Lancashire Spotland p. 206-213


This charter also mentions Naden Brook and is a transcript from Volume III of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, published by the Chetham Society in the 19th. Century.

Naden Brook




Naden Head – Holt’s Spotland Manor House

By the 16th. Century the land at Naden had been aquired by a member of the Holt family,  and the hall there was known as Naden Head.

Naden Head -1626 Manor Survey of Rochdale


“In a deed of partition in 1534 part of the land is called Nadenland in Spotland, Thomas Holt and Ralph Naden being tenants; Robert Holt paid 6d. for the attachment of a mill in Wolstenholme, and there were other messuages and lands in Spotland and Hundersfield; Raines D. in the Chetham Library.”

‘Townships: Spotland’, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 206-213 footnote 33. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53029 Date accessed: 18 August 2010.

Naden Head

The site of the hall and outbuildings (it was later a farm) can still be seen, there is more about Naden Head  here.

Read more about the Naden family name here.

Natt Bank, Meeting Place for  the Manor Court of Spotland

Natte Bank was in Bamford, a detached township of Middleton Parish. Yet this was the place that Holt’s Manor Court met in the 16th Century. The minor name Natt Bank can be found in the 19th. C. first series OS maps of the area.

Aerial View of  Natt Bank.

Here, east of Crimble Lane.

The Claim to The Manor of Spotland

Since Whalley Abbey held so much land in Spotland in the medieval period they claimed the rights to the manor of Spotland and came into conflict with the manor of Rochdale on one occasion. After the dissolution of the monastereies, the Abbey land in Spotland was aquired by a member of the Holt family. They continued to claim the rights to the Manor of Spotland and it is clearly recorded in the Rochdale Manor Court Records that Holt held his court a Natt Bank, overlooking the river Roche and in Middleton Parish. Natt Bank was to just the South of Spotland, but not in Rochdale Parish.

It gave a name to the immediate holders. Maud widow of Thomas de Naden claimed dower in a messuage and land in Wolstenholme in 1277 against Roger son of Robert de Naden; De Banco R. 21, m. 5 d, 58
Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm  Comments (5)  
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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


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.



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.





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

Under construction..

(c) SMM 2009

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


Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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