Scout Moor – Guide to Medieval and other Related Documents

Do Scout Moor archaeological surveys, as with the adjacent Rooley Moor surveys, omit medieval documentation?

There is so much in the public domain for Rooley Moor, yet two surveys failed to mention the large number of medieval charters.

Will we find medieval documentation omissions in the Scout Moor archaeological survey?

This post will outline the medieval documentation for the area known as Scout Moor. In a later post I will see how much of this data was used in the Scout Moor archaeological survey. Since later surveys adjacent to Scout Moor still omitted basic medieval sources (The Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey for example) there is lottle chance of a thorough survey of this area, since they rely on the same woefully lacking and outdated HER.

There are certainly glaring omissions when it comes to archaeological sites too, which will be detailed in a separate archaeology post.

Related Histories

Good outlines of the major historical events/sources for the area, but out of date when compared to contemporary historical analysis.

Parish of Rochdale – Retrieved from British History Online

History of the Parish of Rochdale – Retrieved from Touchstone’s site.

1610 Manor Survey of Rochdale (Touchstones site).

1626 Manor Survey of Rochdale.

History of the Forest of Rossendale – 1893, Thomas Newbigging

The Economic History of Rossendale – G. H. Tupling, M.A. (Manchester University, Economic History Series, no.4, and Chetham Society).

Spring Hill History Website – with comments and notes on the ‘Economic History of Rossendale’.

Archives with original documents

British Library – Spotland (Historical Rochdale township in which most of Scout Moor was in).

Chethams Library – inclding the Raines Collection (Contains a lot of Rochdale area material).

Rylands Library – contains original documents relating to the area

Whalley Abbey – Coucher Book, includes hundreds of medieval abbey charters relating to Rochdale and Bury.

Maps

First Series 19th Century Ordnance Survey Maps – Good details, such as old farmsteads, minor place-names and land use.

Place-names

EkwallThe place-names of Lancashire – seminal work for Lancashire place-names but a little outdated.

The Place Names of Lancashire – David Mills, 1977

Under construction…

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Published in: on January 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Early References to Renewable Energy

The most common renewable energy source mentioned in Rochdale medieval and early post-medieval documents was water power.

Uses of water power

Water power was used in watermills for grinding flower and also in fulling mills, to process wool.

An early water mill in Rochdale

Near to the market on the south-west side was a house occupied by Thomas Holme,
which was reputed to have been the ancient ” Milne House ” 2 (more…)

Published in: on October 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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.

locumantiquae2

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 References to the Wool Trade in Rochdale

While there are many references (such as in the Manor court rolls and Manor surveys) to the wool trade in Rochdale from the 16th century Medieval references are rare, here are two from the Rochdale Manor Court Rolls of 1336, translated from the Latin in Fishwick’s History of Rochdale.

Henry the dyer

John de Aulus for not producing Henry the dyer [Lister] and John the smith, whom he essoigned (meaning made an excuse for not appearing in court) iiii . d.

So John made  a payment of 4 pence for because Henry the dyer did not appear at the manor court. Did Henry dye local wool? looks like an early indication of a specialist in the significant and valuable wool trade.

 Thomas the mercer

Henry the son of Thomas the Mercer, for ingress to a burgage in Castleton: surety Nicholas of the Slakes xviij.

The mercer’s son broke in to a burgage (Rochdale was a medieval borough). A reference to a mercer is rare at this time in Lancashire, there is only one mentioned (from Chester?) in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. A mercer was someone who sold fine cloth such as silk and flax.

Market

Rochdale market dates back to at least 1251, to put this into perspective, Suffolk’s famous medieval wool trade village,  Lavenham  has a market from 1257. The 13th century was a time of economic expansion and wool was England’s main export, Rochdale was evidently an important centre for both the production and trade in wool in Medieval times.

References

Manor Records, Chapter XV the History of Rochdale by Henry Fishwick

Medieval Wool Trade in Europe

The History of British Wool

 

(C) SMM 2014
 
 
Published in: on April 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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Chadwick Family Charters Aquired by the British Library in 1913

There are a total of 634 charters (British Library Catalogue 57624-58263) that belonged to the Chadwick family and are now in the British Library, 100 of these charters relate to places in Salford Hundred.

Salford Hundred

One Manchester Charter from 1744
Charter 57629.

6 Radcliffe charters from 1300-1511
Charters 57630, 57631, 57633, 57678, 57679, 57681.

93 Rochdale charters from 1295-1703.
Including Blatchinworth, Buersill, Castleton, Healey, Hundersfield, Spotland, Wardle, etc.
Charters 57632-57724.

Search the British Library manuscript catalogue here.

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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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.

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).

Image

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

Image

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 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…

Digital Diplomatics

Digital diplomatics uses computer technology to study documents, for example digital techniques can be used to enhance faded medieval documents or to analyse the content of translated documents.

Conference

A conference will be held later this year to present the latest research in digital diplomatics, you can read more here Digital Diplomatics Conference.

Further study

It would be great to see research like this for documents from Salford Hundred.

More about digital diplomatics can be found here .

Digitized medieval manuscripts interoperability conference papers can be  found here.

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!