How Cool is this Medieval Reference?

Back in 2010 I discovered an enclosure with a triple ditch (thanks to Google Earth), an enthusiastic English Heritage archaeologist kindly helped volunteers survey it.

3ditches I also saw an adjacent site with a single bank and ditch also clearly visible from aerial photographs. A large man-made looking mound was later discovered when I visited the site (it was hidden by trees).

The Ancient Enclosure

In December 2012 I found this medieval reference to the site with 3 ditches… This reference is over 800 years old and a Latin transcription from the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey (charter 44 in Roman Numerals XLIV) is shown below., locumantiquae

In Latin locum antiquae means ‘ancient enclosure’ – so it was old 800 years ago! You can recognize the location (Smallshaw) easily from the place-names and topography mentioned in the charter. The second part of the charter is shown below.


There’s More…

Thanks to Jeff Lord’s aerial photographs and evidence from early maps of the area it looks like this was originally quite an extensive settlement. There is more archaeology to be surveyed and more charters and other documents to check! Draft Presentation (PDF file reader needed). SmallshawPlaces44

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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