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.


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.


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: 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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