The Hearth Tax

Although levied in the 17th Century and after the Medieval period the hearth tax is an important resource for Medieval population estimates and detailed settlement information. The hearth tax can be a way of judging the size of a house or old hall. It is a vital layer for any archaeological/historical GIS (Graphical Information System).

Example

Naden Head, Spotland township, Rochdale Parish, In the Hearth Tax it was assessed for 6 hearths. Evidently a substantial house and was called a “Capital Messuage” in the 1626 Rochdale Manor Survey and was claimed as the “Manor of Spotland” by a member of the Holt family.

So a 2012 archaeological survey’s claim that Naden Head was just a “farmstead” appears hard to support.

Rochdale 1666 Hearth Tax Summary

Hearth_Tax_1666

Note

Comprehensive Hearth Tax Lancashire map and county survey under construction.

The Hearth Tax Website can be found here.

Published in: on March 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm  Comments (3)  
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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.

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

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Note

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

Charter LXI

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Charter LXI Continued…

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Appendix – Bagden, Prickshaw 

Coucher Book Appendix
Appendix in Coucher Book

Reference

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

NOT  IN  COPYRIGHT

Download The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey Here.

Salford Hundred Heritage Society Press Release 18th December 2012

Barrow

Barrow

Surprising Archaeological Discoveries North of Manchester

During 2009/2010 major archaeological sites were discovered, including a fortified site and burial sites (see one of the barrows above), as old as four thousand years old. This information is made public today. The two thousand year old fortified site (hill fort), with triple ramparts, was described as “ancient” in a Latin manuscript from 800 years ago.

Hill Fort

Hill Fort

A nearby site has a bank (clearly visible) cutting off a peninsula of land. There are also extensive early cultivation sites and field boundaries as well as many ruined farmsteads. One expanse of moorland is punctured by dozens of small pits, of unknown origin, some big enough to fall into, but never recorded on any maps of the area. Many more sites remain undiscovered, even though they are above ground.

Whitworth, to the north of Rochdale, has around one hundred medieval charters referring to smallholders land transfers in the area, which firmly secures it’s place as one of the best documented medieval villages in the country.

However a 2007 archaeological survey just west of Whitworth found no medieval evidence for the area, and ignored the ruins of the nearby medieval manor house.

Why are we releasing this information now? Simply because there are plans to erect a wind farm on this land, and the public need to know the real heritage of this location before it is lost forever. Without the release of this information the wind farm will go ahead unchallenged

See background post here.

Cause Papers of the Diocese of York – Another Online Archive.

The cause papers of the Diocese of York are now available online and range from 1300 to 1858 and references to places in Salford Hundred. Search the nearly 14,000 cases from the church courts here.

Published in: on December 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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Current Research

Since 2007 I have made discoveries that should have been registered long ago, however in 2010 I made a major discoveries to add to the cairns and barrows I found. They have been visited by English Heritage and there can be no question of the importance of the sites, one was even referred to as “ancient” 800 years ago (I found this reference a few weeks ago!).

I hope to post more soon, these discoveries show clearly that the area in question has never been surveyed, quite incredible for a country like England. I also believe there are more sites to be found….above ground like these.

Where and how did I find them? more soon….

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Balshaw Mystery

There are literally hundreds of medieval references to places in Rochdale, most places can still be traced, a few have disappeared from the map. But most interesting of the vanished places is Balshaw, and the people who lived there in medieval times.

Why?

In the Coucher Book Balshaw is written as Balschagh and appears to have been near to Healey Hollows by a brook or Brok (as it was written in the charter).

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In charer 68 one of the signatories, Adam, appears to have lived in Balschagh and is referred to as Ada de Balschagh.

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The Bedelry

In 1281 Adam de Balshaw purchased the serjeancy of the “free court of Rochdale” in exchange for land in Rossendale and ‘Holkenheved,’ at a rent of 2 marks a year; Byron Chartul. (Towneley MS.), 1/248.

If this was the same Adam that witnessed Coucher Book charter 68, where did he get his wealth from? Why did he have land in Rossendale? and where exactly did he live, and what was his reason for buying the serjeancy (which means it was originally a gift from the King)?

See British History Online – The Parish of Rochdale fn 40

“In 1298, the ‘heir of Adam de Balshaw’ paid 26s. 8d. for the bedelry; Compotus, 7; and in 1311 the holder was a John de Balshaw;”

De Lacy Inq. 20

De Lacy 1311 John de Bal...

Ultimately the serjeancy was sold to members of the Radcliffe family by a John de Balshaw in 1341, perhaps the same John mentioned in 1311.

See British History Online – The Parish of Rochdale fn 40

The special legal status of Rochdale is evident from the Domesday entry for Rochdale and the “free court of Rochdale” presumably evolved  from this.

Where?

The name Ball Barn on Syke Road in Rochdale may preserve elements of the old Balshaw name, it is in the area mentioned in the charters.

Not to be confused with…

By coincidence there is another Balshaw in Ainsworth, and in a land grant by Roger de Middleton, about 1200 there is mention of a “syke” that led to Ballshaw. syke was a common local dialect word(from Old Norse) for a ditch.

The grant is included in the Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc), ii, 733.

Under construction….

Medieval Iron Working

There are a few medieval references to iron working in Medieval Salford Hundred, some iron may have come from local “ironstone”.

We have a 14thC. mention of a dispute over iron in Whitworth, invloving Whalley Abbey, mentioned in Fishwick’s History of Rochdale. There is also a 15thC. Blackley reference to a shortage of wood for charcoal and associated iron working.

Hundersfield (Rochdale)

It would appear that iron ore could be found in Hundersfield (near Walsden):

” it shall be lawful for Robert and Alice, and the heirs of Alice to assart the whole of that wood, which is on the north side of Lichitheselegh, and  there to make meadow or arable land at their will, and to put up forges, and dig for iron and steel ore to supply those forges, wherever they will on the moors and in the woods which belong to the town of Hunewrthefeld. ”

‘Lancashire Fines: 12-19 Henry III’, Final Concords for Lancashire, Part 1: 1189-1307 (1899), pp. 54-74. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=52533&strquery=iron Date accessed: 16 July 2012

Archaeological evidence

Castleshaw

For research in Castleshaw, see this document here.

Cutler’s Green

Fishwick mentions (History of Rochdale p.44) iron working and slag associated with the Ashworth family at Cutler’s Green in what was the north of Spotland township, Rochdale.

Healey

A probable medieval bloomery was discovered on a bank of the Spodden river above the ruins of Broadley Mill near Healey by a William Grindrod. The site was excavated by JL Maxim from 1917-9

Pilsworth

Medieval iron working (“tap slag”) was revealed in excavations by Norman Tyson of the Bury Archaeological group at Meadowcroft Fold, Pilsworth 1983-4. Further evidence of iron working and associated medieval pottery was found during field walking in 1997.

Under construction…

References

Medieval Iron and Steel – Simplified

Maxim J L 1917-19 ‘Discovery of a Bloomery at Birches, Healey’ Transactions of the Rochdale Literary and Scientific Society 13, 136-56.

Cutler’s green “bloomery” Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society, XXIV, 64.

 

 

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…

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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