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

HalFold1626ManSurv

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

 

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!

Medieval References to Boundaries and other Landscape Features

The most famous  medieval boundary in the region is the Nico Ditch, but there are many other medieval references to boundaries, usually ditches. There were many references to natuaral boundaries too, such as rivers and streams.

Ditches

The Nico Ditch was mentioned in the 12th C. it is the longest recorded ditch in the region. Read more about the Nico Ditch here.

Ditches mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley

There are many references to man made boundaries in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, here are some examples.

Rochdale castle ditch

Rochdale’s castle was in a commanding position overlooking the confluence of the Roche and Spodden rivers, and the route to Manchester. The charter transcribed in medieval Latin and published well over a hundred years ago, is from volume 2 of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. The charter refers to “Merlond,” modern Marland, and Castleton. The castle ditch in Latin is “fossatum castelli” in the extract below.

castle ditch reference

Rochdale castle – the castle ditch

TBC

Parish Boundaries

Parish surveys usually started by defining the features used to delimit the parish. These could be streams, ditches or lanes, for example. These features were  still used in the post medieval period, in this survey of Rochdale from 1610, summarised here, you can still read the names of features first mentioned in medieval charters and other documents.

Boundary Stones or “Meres”

Large stones were often used as boundary markers between townships or parishes, such as open heaths or moorland.

Here is a 16th Century reference to the size of stones used to mark the boundary of Rochdale and Oldham, near Buersill.

“Sir John Byron caused “divers great stones, every stone as
much as twenty oxen could draw,” to be set up much within the
boundary line of Hathershaw moor, and if not removed will soon be
taken to be the “meres” rightly set up between the two wastes . Sir
John Byrori s reply to this was to the effect that he was seised as of
fee of his “own severall enherytance” in Buersill moor, which was
divided from Hathershaw by certain “meyers” which by the informers or
other “evilly disposed persons” have been removed, and to remedy this
he had obtained the writ as set forth by the plaintiffs, and by virtue of
it Sir John Atherton caused “certain honest persons” to make the
perambulation and set the ” meyers ” in such places as they had always
been ; since then he had caused to be placed on his own lands certain
stones that the boundaries might be the better known.”

Fishwick description of a 1552 Duchy of Lancaster Court case from the History of the Parish of Rochdale – Castleton Township.

Natural Boundaries

Rivers were often used as boundaries, the river Mersey means boundary river. Prominent rocks or large stones were used as well, the “Wolf  Stone” in Naden near Rochdale, for example.

Rivers

Rivers were often used as boundaries and are amongst some of the earliest places mentioned in medieval documentation of the region. The name Mersey, as in the river Mersey means boundary river, according to Ekwall and other place-name experts.

Fords

A ford over the river Roche was  called “Irreford” in medieval times. This led Ekwall to wonder if the Roche was originally called “Irre” similar name  to the nearby  Irwell and Irk rivers.

Lakes

Lakes were an important source of fish as well as being a natural landmark. Marland in Rochdale was owned by Whalley Abbey, while Lake Kor near Prickshaw in Whitworth was mentioned in a medieval charter in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. Sadly both lakes have gone, the former was in what is now Marland Park, the latter may be where the ponds east of Prickshaw are now.

Ashworth – an example of medieval boundaries and disputes.

Ashworth was a township of the Parish of Middleton, due to the detached portions (parish districts. distant from, but not connected to the main parish) of Middleton Parish boundaries were complex, perhaps some of the most complex in England. There are detached portions that

There are many references to boundaries and boundary disputes in Ashworth, several are mentioned in the footnotes of the Chapter here.

Note

There is a 1287 reference to ‘syke,’ a dialect word for an artificial ditch usually dug as a boundary, see footnote 11 here.

There was also a well documented dispute in the 16th C. also documented in the Ashworth Township chapter.

Under construction…

The Whalley Coucher Book and the dialectal phonology of Lancashire and Cheshire

The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey is a treasure chest of medieval historical data for Lancashire. Sadly, despite being transcribed in the 19th C. it has been little studied.  Many archaeological surveys have failed to refer to the Coucher Book’s references to the areas they purport to cover (for example a study of Rooley Moor failed to mention a single medieval charter, yet there were nearly 100 in the nearby village of  Whitworth alone).

King’s thesis, detailed below, is a valuable contribution to the study of the Coucher Book and also has a really useful chronology of land tenure in Lancashire and Cheshire. This work also contributes to place-name research in Lancashire and Cheshire.

King, C. D . – The Whalley Coucher book and the dialectal phonology of Lancashire and Cheshire 1175-1350 . – University of St Andrews PHD Thesis, 1991 (Unpublished).

Download it here

ILS catalogue number: 15280797

EThOS Persistent ID: uk.bl.ethos.493393

David Collins
Repository Administrator
University of St Andrews Library

Great News -Thanks David!

Wardle

Wardle is mentioned several times in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, here are the names from the published index:

“Suanus” would appear to be a Scandinavian name often written as Swain, Orm is also a Scandinavian name. Note the variation in the spelling of Wardle,  “Wardul” and “Wordul”.

The “de” means “of,” so the names were Petrus of “Wordul” and so on.

These people gave land to Whalley Abbey, which was granted land by many individuals in the Parish of Rochdale. This indicates that many freemen held land, not just the main landowners of the parish of Rochdale.

Under construction!

Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

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