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.

 

 

Healey names mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

These personal names are from the Chetham Society, 19th Century transcription of the Medieval Latin of the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey.

healeycouchernames3

Some, like Dolfinus, are the latin spelling of an Old Norse personal name.

Healey Places Mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey are shown below.

Healey Place-names mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Healey Place-names mentioned in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey

Lake Kor, a lost medieval lake which was  probably NW of Healey Dell is one of the fascinating references to Healey in the Coucher Book. Additionally Heleyden (Healey valley) and Heleysclogh are mentioned under Spotland (one of the four  medieval townships of Rochdale, see the Spotland list in this blog).

To be continued…

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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