OLDHAM is a parochial chapelry, in the Middleton division of the hundred of Salford, and in the parish of Prestwich, comprising the township of Chadderton, Crompton, Oldham, and Royton; though a part of the parish of Prestwich is separated by parts of the parishes of Manchester and Middleton. The inhabitants of Oldham and the other townships in this chapelry marry at Prestwich church. With some degree of subordination, there is, however, much of independence in this chapelry. The township of Oldham, Chadderton, Crompton, and Royton support Oldham church by a rate, of which Oldham pays half and the other three townships the remainder, without now contributing in any way towards the church of Prestwich; and the inhabitants of these townships have the right of sepulture and baptism at Oldham church only. The register books of Oldham and Prestwich are quite distinct and unconnected, and each place has its separate churchwardens.
Contributes to the mother church, 1448
Anciently they were more dependent, for it appears by a decree, of the date of 1406, in the possession of the Rev. James Lyon, rector of the parish of Prestwich, issued by William de Nieuhagh, archdeacon of Chester, that the inhabitants of "Oldom," dependent on the parish church of Prestwich, were required to contribute towards the sacramental bread and wine consumed by the communicants in the mother church; and by another decree from the archdeacon of Chester to the chaplain of the parish church of Prestwich, and the chaplain celebrating divine service in the chapel of Oldom "notoriously" dependent on the same church, it further appears that disputes had arisen at this early period, between the parishioners of Prestwich and the inhabitants of Oldom, Chadderton, Ryton, and Crompton, on the question whether the latter should contribute to the bread and wine, decorations, and necessaries of Prestwich church, and that these contributions were ordered to be made.*
* [my note : image of document, in Latin ... view as .pdf file HERE ]
Six years after this time, sir Rauf Longley, p'son of the Kyrke of P'stwich, lets by indenture,* the tithes of Old'm to sir Henry Pen'ulbury, p'ste of Middelton, for four score and nine marks, for the term of three years.
The ancient church or chapel of Oldham having probably become dilapidated, the rector of Prestwich, who was also the third warden of the collegiate church of Manchester, determined upon rebuilding the same; and by an indenture of the date of the 4th November, 1476, he entered into contracts with the masons to build a new church at Oldham, of simple construction, paying them for the same the sum of £28. 6s. 8d. the materials to be supplied by the rector.**
* Lodged in the p. church of Prestwich.
** [my note : image of document, in Latin ... view as .pdf file HERE ]
The erection of the new church does not appear to have adjusted the disputes between the rector and the parishioners of Prestwich, and the inhabitants within the precinct or circuit of the church or chapel of Oldham; for in the year 1558 we find a decree issued by Cuthbert, bishop of Chester, wherein, after reciting that he has examined the decrees and muniments that William, formerly bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and other officials of the archdeaconry of Chester in times past, sealed with their seals and confirmed by their authority, he commands, under pain of interdiction and suppression, both the parishioners of Prestwich and the inhabitants of the chapelry of Oldham, to furnish bread on holidays to be distributed to divers parishioners, and bread, wine, and lights about the altar of the parochial church of Prestwich, and other necessaries to the said parocliial church appertaining to the church and the chapel.* In this year the parish registers of Oldham commence, and record that in 1558 there were in this chapelry 21 baptisms and 14 burials.
The church at Oldham, dedicated to St. Mary, is placed on an eminence near the centre of the town, overlooking the surrounding country. Its early history is involved in obscurity. An antiquity as high as Saxon times, is claimed for the first erection; but it is difficult to say on what authority this claim is grounded; nor is it quite clear that this church was re-edified with stone in the time of king Stephen, though the old font appears to have been of that age. That a church or chapel did exist here previous to the year 1476 is shewn by the decree from the archdeaconry of Chester, then in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, of the date of 1448, addressed to " the chaplain celebrating divine service in the chapel of Oldom;" and by a contemporary indenture made between Rauf Longley, parson of the church of Prestwich, on the one part, and sir Henry Penulbury, priest of the chantry of Middleton, of the other part, by which the former let all the tithes, oblations, and emoluments, (except the glebe land and the free-rents,) belonging to the chapel of Oldham; to the latter, for the term of three years, for the annual rent of forty-three marks.**
* Documents in the chest of the parish church of Prestwich.
In this and the neighbouring counties, marriages were proclaimed by a magistrate in the market-place, during the time of the Commonwealth; and J. Hopwood, esq., performed the ceremony at Oldham, as appears from the parish registers.
The gallery of the old church was erected in 1703, by Mr. Brierley, and the eastern window bore an emblazon of the arms of Radcliffe, of Fox-Denton. Cudworth chapel occupied the north of the interior, and contained a monument, not yet re-erected, adorned with the arms of that family, empaling Mosley, and bearing a Latin inscription, complimentary to the memory of John Cudworth, of Wernith Hall, esquire, to which the passenger's attention is directed by the following invitation : —
" Siste, viator, morae erit pretium;
Responsa accipe aliquot quaestiunculis."
Horton chapel is opposite to Cudworth's, and contains marble tablets to the memory of Joshua Horton, and his family.
The great increase of population and wealth in the chapelry of Oldham demanded for the people a new church, which has been erected upon the site of the ancient edifice; and the parishioners in vestry assembled resolved, in the year 1824, to apply to parliament for powers to take down and rebuild the church, under the direction of twenty-four trustees, six being nominated by each township of the parish, out of a rate, to be levied upon the parishioners, to which fund the owners of property were required to pay two-thirds, and the tenants one-third. In 1827 the work was begun, when the following inscription was placed upon the foundation-stone :—
" The first stone of this church, dedicated to St. Paul, [a mistake for St. Mary,] erected on the site of the ancient parochial chapel of Oldham, by the trustees appointed by parliament, for taking down and rebuilding the same church, was laid on Tuesday, the 16th day of October, in the eighth year of the reign of his Majesty George IV. by the Right Honble. Thomas, Earl of Wilton, attended by Charles James, Lord Bishop of
Chester, the Rev. Jas. Lyon, rector of Prestwich-cum-Oldham, the Rev. John Fallowfield, curate of Oldham, Jonathan Mellor, Joseph Needham, John Kenworthy, and John Cooper, churchwardens of the respective townships of Oldham, Chadderton, Crompton, and Royton, MDCCCXXVII. Richard Lane, architect."
The first act of parliament extended only to the re-erection of the body of the church; but that the edifice might be rendered complete, another act was obtained by the parishioners, in 1828, to rebuild also the chancel and the vestry. In removing the materials of the old church, a stone coffin was found, which contained the body of a Radcliffe, one of the early possessors of Fox-Denton. In October, 1830, the work was completed, and the stately new fabric was opened on Sunday, the 12th of December, 1830. The tower was now furnished with twelve bells, and with an
illuminated clock. A beautiful painted window, prefiguring the assembly of the apostles, surmounted with the arms of Oldham, cut in stone, adorns the great eastern or chancel window, and gives to that part of the interior a rich and solemn effect.
Catalogue of Ministers of Oldham Church.
The first mentioned in the registers is the Rev. Robert Constantine, in 1640;
and the following is the order of succession : —
The Rev. W. Worthington, ordained April 15th, 1647.
The Rev. John Lake, D.D., afterwards rector of Prestwich and bishop of Chichester.
Mr. Constantine, who had quitted Oldham in 1646, and returned on the resignation of Dr. Lake; but was ejected on the memorable Bartholomew-day, August 24th, 1662.*
The Rev. Mr. Walwork succeeded in 1664.
Rev. Isaac Harper, in 1667.
Rev. J. Sugden, in 1695.
Rev. John Halliwell, in 1712.
Rev. J. Sugden, jun. in [date not entered]
Rev. Saml. Townson, in 1732.
Rev. Thomas Fawcet, in 1770.
Rev. J. Fallowfield, the present minister, in 1818.
The living of Oldham does not occur in the survey, made 26 Hen. VIII. from which the Liber Regis is compiled. In 1650, its value was estimated at £100 a year, but at present it exceeds £200.
Growing as this extensive chapelry is in wealth and in importance, and containing as it does a population of 50,000 souls,** the greater part of whom are at a distance of eight miles from the parish church of Prestwich, it was hoped and expected, when earl Grosvenor (now marquis of Westminster) purchased the advowson of that living some years ago, that he would have erected Oldham into a separate parish, under the authority of parliament, after the example of Chorley, and several other places in this county, where the necessity was less urgent. From causes with which the public are unacquainted, this expectation has not hitherto been realized ; and it may be judged advisable, that his majesty's commissioners for building new churches
* In an inquisition, made by order of parliament, on the 4th of June, 1650, Oldham is called a parish, and the church "Oldham Parish Church," of which the Rev. Robert Constantine was minister, with a stipend of £100 per annum, paid out of the tithes, amounting to near £140.
** See vol. II. p. 110.
should exercise the powers with which they are invested of dividing the parish into districts for ecclesiastical purposes.
St. Peter's chapel, in Chapel-street, High-street, was built in 1 705, by a voluntary subscription, raised by the inhabitants ; and in the year 1804, this structure was enlarged, and provided with a fine-toned organ.
In 1827, the foundation of a new church, dedicated to St. James, was laid at Greenacres Moor, in this chapelry, on the first stone of which was inscribed: —
" The first stone of this church, dedicated to St. James, erected by the commissioners appointed by parliament, was laid by James Lees, esq. of Clarksfield, attended by Jonathan Mellor, churchwarden, George Wright, William Barlow, William Wrigley, and Daniel Hilton, constables; James Lees and James Potter, overseers; on Monday, the 3d of September, in the eighth year of the reign of his Majesty George the Fourth,
MDCCCXXVII. Francis Goodwin architect."
On the 29th September, 1829, this handsome Gothic edifice was consecrated by Dr. Sumner, lord bishop of Chester, and opened on that day by a public confirmation.
There are in Oldham several chapels, belonging to the Protestant dissenters of various denominations; the earliest of which is a Methodist chapel, in Manchester street, built in 1789, and opened by the Rev. John Wesley, on Good Friday, in 1790, which superseded a small chapel, built for the same religious body in 1775. The Baptists, the Unitarians, the Independents, the Independent Methodists, and the Primitive Methodists, have all places of public worship in this town.
The Free Grammar School of Oldham, situate in School-croft, was founded by James Assheton, esq. of Chadderton-hall, in 1611, and endowed with about a statute acre of land in the centre of the town. This land is now built upon, and the rents of the premises yield a salary both to the head master and to his usher. The trust deed bears date the 15th of May, 1606, and the original trustees were the principal inhabitants of the chapelry, with Laurence Chadderton, master of Emanuel college, Cambridge, a native of this place, at their head. According to the provisions of this deed, the children were "to be freely instructed in the English, Greek, and Latin tongues, and withal in good manners." In addition to these branches of learning, the education is partly commercial, and writing and arithmetic are taught, for which the usual quarterage is paid. An inquisition, (sans date,) quoted in the Kuerden MS.(Fo. 619) orders, " that the feoffees being dead, a new deed shall be executed." The commissioners report, that "James Ashton, of Chadderton, dec : did by deed made to Law : Chaderton and other feoffees grant a real charge of 40s. for eur to the schoole of Oldham out of a ms. in Oldham there in occ: of Rog. Taylor and of James Rodes and not payd for 52y[ears.]"
The other public charities, as shewn in the Sixteenth Report of the Commissioners appointed by Parliament for inquiring concerning Chanties, are -
John Walker's charity in 1755, of the interest of £600 for teaching poor children of Oldham, and other places, to read .
Poors Field Charity ; the rents and profits of a close, containing two acres, called the Great Meadow, given in 1640, by Edm. Tetlow the elder, and Edm. Tetlow the younger, to the poor of Oldham 28s. 8d. per annum, and to the poor of Royton 3s. 4d. per annum.
John Tetlow's Charity, in 1704; the profits of a farm in Honeywell Lane, with out-buildings, cottage, and three closes, producing a rent of £30 per annum, and land on North Moor, producing £3, to bind yearly the child of some poor parents apprentice to a trade, and the overplus to be given to the poor.
Samuel Haward's Charity, of the date of 1704, comprising a yearly rent charge, of £15, out of lands in Salford, Thorpe, and Royton, £5 yearly out of a messuage near Hollinwood, and £5 out of Wilding's Tenement, in Gorton, of which sums, £5 is appointed to be given to the poor of Salford, and the remaining £20 to be distributed in bibles and catechisms among poor children, and in woollen cloth among poor men and women of Oldham.
Eyre's Charity; the interest of £100 to such poor persons of Oldham as receive no relief from the town.
Scholes's Charity, in 1747, a yearly rent of £12 for a messuage in Glodwick, with 1 5 acres of land, and a yearly rent of £4, from several messuages in Oldham, towards the salary of a schoolmaster, to teach such a number of boys and girls as the trustees shall nominate. Wyld's Charity, in 1672; a yearly rent of £5 to the poor of Crompton.
Hollinwood School and a dwelling house, built by subscription, in 1786; to this school the Rev. John Darbey, in 1808, left £100, and his sister, Miss Darbey, left £30 additional, which were laid out in a house and shop, for which the schoolmaster receives a yearly rent of £8. But the crowning charity of Oldham, and, indeed, one of the most important charities in the county, arises out of the bequests of the late Mr. Thomas Henshaw, an opulent hat manufacturer of this place, who, by will of the date of the 14th of November, 1807, bequeathed £20,000 for the endowment of a Blue Coat School, at Oldham; and the same amount for the endowment of a Blind Asylum at Manchester. By a codicil to this will, dated the 9th of January, in the following year, he bequeathed £20,000 more to the Blue Coat School, leaving it to the option of his trustees to establish the Blue Coat School either at Oldham or Manchester. By a provision of the will, it was directed "that the said money should not be applied in the purchase of lands, or in the erection of buildings,"it being his " expectation that other persons would at their expense purchase lands and buildings for these purposes;" and all the rest and residue of his personal estate he bequeathed in trust
Bluecoat School, Oldham
to the trustees of these charities, to be equally divided between the said charities. By another codicil, bearing date the 14th of January, 1808, the testator gave to the trustees of the Manchester Infirmary £1000; to the Lunatic Asylum there, £1000; to the Manchester Lying-in-hospital, £500; and to the Ladies' Charity there, £500.* Contrary to his expectations, persons were not easily found who would, at their own expense, purchase lands and buildings for the Blue Coat School and the Blind Asylum establishments; but, in the year 1828, when the £60,000 left to these charities had accumulated at interest to £100,000, offers were made, by three public spirited gentlemen of Oldham, Mr. Wrigley, Mr. Robert Radcliffe, of Tondenton, and Mr. Joseph Jones, jun. of portions of land, whereon to erect the Blue Coat School. After an inspection of the premises by a deputation of the trustees under Mr. Henshaw's will, the land offered by Mr. Radcliffe and Mr. Jones, situated on the lower part of Oldham Edge, was accepted, as the site of the buildings, and subscriptions were entered into by the inhabitants to discharge the cost of the requisite erections. Though the subscriptions, amounting to between £5000 and £6000, were insufficient for the completion of the buildings, the foundation-stone was laid on Easter Monday, April 20, 1829, by Thomas Barker, esq., one of the most liberal of the benefactors. In 1830, the exterior of the edifice, which is a long and handsome pile in front, with three gables and pinnacles, was reared under the architectural direction of Mr. Lane ; and both the exterior and the interior are now nearly completed (1833). Amongst a great number of other apartments, this structure contains a spacious and lofty school-room, dining-rooms, and an elegant entrance hall. It is calculated that the ample endowment of the Blue Coat School will enable the trustees to educate, clothe, and maintain, 200 poor children on the establishment; and it is deeply to be regretted, that, with means for so much usefulness, the funds should have lain so long unemployed, in a place where education is so much wanted. No advance has yet been made towards the erection of the blind asylum in Manchester.
Oldham, like many of the border towns in Lancashire, where a species of racy Saxon is still spoken, appears to have derived its name from eal'o, Eld, Ald, or Old, and ham, habitation, a cluster of houses.
It appears, from the Testa de Nevill' that, in the reign of Henry III. Alwardus
* In 1810 Mr. Henshaw died, and an attempt was made by his widow and executrix, Sarah Henshaw, and Ann Hadfield, who claimed to be his niece and next of kin, to set aside the will ; but, after a suit, first in the consistory court of the bishop of Chester, and afterwards in the high court of chancery, the will was established.
de Aldholme held two bovates of land in Vernet (now Wernith) for 19d and the moiety of one farthing.* This Alward was the founder of the family of Oldham, whose daughter and coheiress conveyed Wernith hall and its manor to the Cudworths, a branch of the Yorkshire family. From Birche's MS. Feodarium of the Duchy, it seems that Richard, son of Richard de Oldham, held by service of 7s. 8d. a carucate of land in Wernith and Oldham, which had formerly belonged to Adam de Eccles,** and in the Cudworth papers, there is the following passage relating to these two families:—" I find by another antient Deed made by Adam de Eccles Lord of Oldha' & Wirneth that hee granted the 4th pte of the towne of Wirneth to his sonne Wm. and with Homage and service 7d from the lands of Richd. de Morton & 22d from William the sonne of Simon of Wirneth &c."
In the 34th of Henry VI. the manor-house took fire, and was destroyed, and the family records shared the fate of the mansion. In due time the house was rebuilt, and the manor and estate remained in the family till the early part of the last century. Dr. Ralph Cudworth, son of Ralph Cudworth, "chief lord of Oldham," as Fuller calls him, was born here. About a century after his death, Joshua Cudworth, esq. the representative of the family, sold Wernith hall, and the estate, to sir Raphe Assheton, of Middleton, who presented it as a portion to his third daughter, Catherine, on her marriage with Thomas Lister, of Arnoldsbiggin, esq. This estate, which consists of about one hundred acres of land, with valuable minerals, chiefly of coal, and extensive common rights, was sold to Messrs. Parker and Tidebottom, of London, for £25,000, and re-sold by them, in the year 1 794, for £30,000 to John Lees, of Oldham, esq. the father of Edward Lees, esq. the present owner.
* Alwardus de Aldholm' tenet duas bovat' terr' in Vernet p xix den' & mediet' unius qdr'. Folio 372.
** Ricardus filius Rici de Oldham tenet una bovat' tre que fuit Adam de Eccles in Werneth & Oldham p servic' vjs. viijs. Tit. Salforthshire.
HUGH OLDHAM, LL.B. Bishop of Exeter, descended of an ancient family of that name, was born, according to Wood and Godwin, at Manchester, but, according to Dodsworth, at Oldham, "in a house still standing in Goulburn-street," soon after the middle of the fifteenth century.
He was in all probability brought up in the household of Thomas, first Earl of Derby, and placed under the tuition of "one Westbury, an Oxford man," retained by theCountess Margaret, for the express purpose of instructing "certayne yonge gentilmen at her findinge," together with her step-son, James Stanley, afterwards Bishop of Ely, and William Smyth, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln; with the latter of which prelates he enjoyed, during his life, an uninterrupted friendship, founded on habits of intimacy and great mutual respect.
At the proper period he was sent to Exeter College, Oxford, where he received part of his education, and afterwards removed thence to Queen's College, Cambridge, where he completed his studies and took his degrees.
His first preferment appears to have been the church of St. Mildred, Bread-street, in the city of London, to which he was admitted on the 19th of September, 1485.
In 1493 he was made canon of the royal chapel of St. Stephen, Westminster, now the House of Commons, and presented by his patroness, the Countess of Derby, through the interest of his friend Smyth, who stood high in her confidence, to the rectory of Swineshead, in the county of Lincoln; and, on the 4th of July, next year, to the valuable living of Cheshunt, in the county of Hertford, on Smyth's resignation, who had previously enjoyed it, and was admitted prebendary of Lichfield cathedral.
In 1495 he was elected master of St. John's Hospital in Lichfield, presented to a stall in Salisbury cathedral, and nominated one of the Countess's chaplains.
On the 11th of March, 1496, he was elected to the prebend of Stoke Newington, in Middlesex; in 1497, to a stall in Lincoln cathedral; to the church of Wareboys, by the abbot and convent of Romsey; and to the hospital of St. Leonard, in Bedford; in 1499 he was made prebendary of South Cave, in the church of York; and, on the 17th of August was nominated to the church of Shyttlington, being at that time bachelor of laws.
On the 2d of April, 1501, he became Rector of Overton in the diocese of Winchester; in 1504, archdeacon of Exeter; and by a continuation of the same interest, on the death of Arundel, the late bishop, was elected to the see of Exeter, by Bull of Pope Julian, dated the 5 cals of Dec. (November 27) He received licence of consecration on the 29th of December, and was restored to the temporalities on the 6th of January, next year.
The following character of Bishop Oldham is extracted from Hooker's manuscripts, in the Rawlinson collection, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and seems to have afforded the basis of all that has been written respecting him.
"He was a man having more zeale then knowledge, and more devotion then learninge, somewhat rough in speeche, but friendley in doings; he was careful in the saveing and defending of his liberties, for which continuall suites was between him and the Abbott of Tavestock; he was liberal to the Vicar's chorall of his church, and reduced them to the keepinge of comons, and towards the maintaining he gave them certaine revenews and impropriated unto them the Rectorie of Cornwood :— he, albeit (of himself) he were not learned, yet a greate favorer and furtherer of learninge and of learned men, notwithstanding he was sometimes crossed in his honest attempt therein.
He was first minded to have enlarged Exeter Colledge in Oxford, as well in buildings, as in fellowships : But, after being a requester to the fellows for one Atkins to be a fellow, in whose favour he had written his letters and was denied, he changed his mind, and his good will was alienated.
About this time Dr. Smyth, bishop of Lincoln, was building of the Colledge, named Brazen Nose, and he was very willing and desirous to joyne with him, but being denied to have the nomination of a founder, his mind was changed.
Not long after being advertized that bishop Fox of Winchester, was minded to erect and found a new colledge, joyned with him and contributed unto him a greate masse of money, and soe a colledge was builded, and then the house was named Corpus Xti. Colledge. Whereof the one of them bore the name of a founder, and the other Primarius Benefactor; howbeit some diversitie was between these two bishops, at the first, to what use this colledge should be employed; for the founder was of the mind that he would have made it for a house of monks, but the benefactor was of the contrary mind, and would have it for scholars, alledging that monks were but a sort of bussing bees, and whose state would not long endure; whereas scholars brought up in learning would be profitable members of the commonwealth, and good ornaments to the church of God, and continue for ever."
The bishop seems to have been of a pious and munificent disposition:—living in the closest friendship with William Smyth, the good bishop of Lincoln, to whom he was indebted for his early advancement, and, perhaps, for his future success in life: the executor of that unblemished courtier Sir Reginald Bray, Knight of the Garter, "a man of exalted wisdom and resplendent piety ;" and the supervisor of the will of Thomas, second earl of Derby;— he could not but imbibe the charitable and liberal feelings which had pervaded their great minds, and had in so eminent a degree proved beneficial to succeeding generations. Yet, although by habits of amity and a gentle disposition he was much inclined to peace and quietness, Oldham possessed sufficient courage and determination to assert and defend his rights;— and his quarrel with the abbot of Tavistock, and his junction in the common cause with Fox, bishop of Winchester, against the prerogative of Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, amply attest this fact. He contributed the sum of six hundred marks, besides lands, to the building of Corpus Christi College, and made a handsome donation to Brasen Nose, by furnishing the original library; and to the church of Exeter in lands in Totness, in Devonshire. He also founded and endowed the free grammar school of Manchester.
Having held the see of Exeter rather more than fifteen years, he died on the 25th of June, 1519, and was buried in the chapel he had erected in Exeter cathedral.
"Hie jacet Hugo Oldham Eps
q. obiit XXV die Junii
Ano Dni Mill. CCCCC XIX.
cuj' animae ppicietur Deus."
His will, dated the 16th December, 1518, and proved the 16th July, 1519, is deposited in the prerogative court of Canterbury, Richard, bishop of Winchester, and Thomas, bishop of Salisbury, his suffragan, being executors.
The bishop having contended in litigation with the abbot of Tavistock, and having died during the suit, is said to have been excommunicated by the pope, and refused burial, until absolution could be procured from Rome. This story has given rise to the tradition, that, as he could not be buried in the chapel, his remains were deposited in the chapel-wall. There is no truth, however, in either statement; and the following facts,
The abbot was cited before Dr. Richard Collet, the bishop's commissioner, in the month of April, 1505, to answer the charge of contempt of episcopal authority, and instead of explaining the occasion of his conduct, or offering any apology, produced written appeal to the Roman court. This appeal was declared, by the commissioner, to frivolous and inadmissible. For his obstinacy, the abbot was suspended that very day, and on the 22d of the same month was excommunicated " propter multiplicem contumaciam." On the 10th of May, he appeared in person before bishop Oldham, at the palace at Exeter; and on his bended knees most humbly and most earnestly entreated to be absolved from his errors, and offered to submit himself, unconditionally, to the bishop's correction. Oldham tendered the oath of submission to the see of Exeter, and, after the abbot had taken it, absolved him from his errors, whereupon the abbot paid him down five pounds in gold.
The abbot's repentance, however, seems to have been insincere, for, soon after, he appealed to the primate, Warham, and to Richard Fitzjames, bishop of London. The question chiefly turned upon the right of episcopal visitation. These prelates decided, on the 8th of February, that the abbot had not produced any indults, bulls, or vouchees, authorizing any exemption from the jurisdiction of the ordinary; they therefore decreed that he and his convent should submit to this regularly constituted authority, as their predecessors had done from time immemorial; they recommended to the abbot to apply to his bishop for the benefit of absolution; and they directed the bishop to confer it without hesitation, and to treat the abbot with mildness and paternal affection.—So far Oldham's register.
The abbot was not discouraged by the defeat. From the primate he appealed to the court of Rome; and as last succeeded in obtaining from pope Leo the 10th, a bull of such ample and extraordinary privileges, as completely to indemnify him for his former expenses and trouble.
The following gentlemen in this chapelry furnished the undermentioned quotas of men for the public defence, in the time of queen Elizabeth, when the country was threatened by a Spanish invader:—
John Radcliff, esq. 25 men ;
Edmund Assheton, esq. 3 men ;
Thos. de Crompton, 5 ;
Lawrence Tetlow, 6 men ;
Ralphe Cudworth, 4 men ;
and the lady Byron for Royton, 16 men.
Lees Hall was granted by John Cudworth, esq. its early lord, to sir Thomas Ashton, knight, of Ashton-under-Lyne, in 7 Henry VIII. who, after holding the lands and building in socage, purchased and conveyed them to his son-in-law, Perkin Lee, esq. of Lyme, in Cheshire, whose descendants enjoyed them for centuries, but the Lingards became the possessors about the year 1700; from them the estate passed by sale to the Cleggs, of Bent, the present owners, the hall descending to J. Lyon, esq. barrister-at-law, who occupied and adorned it. In 1761.
His executors sold the premises to the late John Lees, whose son, Edward Lees, esq., of Wernith, is the present possessor. This ancient fabric, once an elegant mansion, is now divided into mean cottages.
From a survey made in 1640, at the cost of the parish, by Robert Lytham and Thomas Mellor, it appears, that there was then little cultivated land, the following being mentioned as moors and wastes:—
In Shaw, four heaths, comprising 16½ acres;
Beile Moor, 43± acres and 18 perches;
Hathershaw Moor, 104½ acres and 1 perch ;
North Moor, joining on the north of Rayton, and on the west of Chadderton, 67 acres ; Hollingword, 66½ acres ;
Prust Hill Moor, 6¹/3 acres ;
Oldham Edge, 24¹/3 acres and 11 perches ;
Sholver Moor, Little Moor, and Hopkin Moor, bordering on Yorkshire, 178 acres; Greenacres Moor, 49 acres;
and High Moor, those in Oldham, Crompton, and Saddleworth, 300 acres
Total, 857 acres.
So late as the year 1761, though the era of the cotton trade was then opening, Oldham consisted of little more than a hundred cottages, mostly thatched; at present, it consists of as many streets, containing upwards of 1000 houses: such has been its advance towards that prosperity which trade and commerce have diffused so widely over the face of this country.
Judging from the bills of mortality as exhibited in the parish register of Oldham, in the time of queen Elizabeth, it would appear that the population was at that period very small; so insignificant, indeed, as to bear no comparison with the number of inhabitants at present in this chapelry; and, even within the last thirty years, the number of inhabitants has been more than doubled.* The manufactures have grown with still greater rapidity; sixty years ago, there was not a single cotton mill in the chapelry; at present, there are not fewer than one hundred, all of which, with the exception of two, have been built within the last forty years. These mills, which are principally employed in spinning cotton, are all worked by steam; and there are, within the same limits, one hundred and thirty-three steam engines, with an aggregate power of 2684 horses, used in the various processes of manufacturing and mining.
Trade and Manufactures
The vicinity of Oldham to Manchester, the great mart for cotton goods, the advantages of water carriage, but, above all, the abundant supply of coal from the mines in the surrounding townships, have constituted this one of the most extensive and improving seats of the staple manufacture in the county. The goods chiefly made here are fustians, velveteens, calicoes, and cotton and woollen cords. The silk manufacture is extending itself rapidly in this district.
The original staple trade of Oldham, and that for which this place has been for many ages pre-eminently distinguished, is the manufacture of hats. As early as the year 1482, a great alarm existed, on account of the introduction
* See Vol. II. p. 110.
of machinery for the abridgment of manual labour, as applied to the fulling of hats, which operation had hitherto been performed by the action of the hands and feet;* and it is probable, though there is no positive evidence of the fact, that the journeymen hatters of this district were amongst the number of those who petitioned parliament, with some success, to forbid the use of the new machines; however that may be, the hat manufacture has continued to prevail in this county ever since, and it is now carried on to a greater extent in Oldham, in proportion to the number of inhabitants, than in any other place in England. From the early part of the last century, the Cleggs, of Bent hall, have been eminent in this line, and it was not till 1795 that they found formidable rivals in the then new manufacturing firm of "Henshaw and Co." at the head of which stood Mr. Thomas Henshaw, the public benefactor, whose fortune was realized in this business.
The coal mines in this neighbourhood open an important branch of trade, and give employment to a large number of persons. Every township in the parish has its collieries, and the quality of the coal obtains for it a preference in the Manchester market. The quantity of fuel dug up yearly from the numerous beds is immense, and the supply seems inexhaustible. The coal strata, as well as all the other minerals, dip here to the S. S. W., or, as it is technically called, to the two-o'clock sun; and coal is found at all the distances, from the surface to a depth of one hundred and fifty yards. The beds vary in thickness, from half a yard to five feet. The trade and traffic of the neighbourhood, both in coal and in the various branches of the manufacture, are essentially promoted by the inland navigation; and the Oldham Canal, which commences at Hollinwood, on the west side of the town, and communicates with Manchester, Ashton-under-Line, and Stockport, as well as the Rochdale Canal, which passes through the heart of the township of Chadderton, contribute to enrich and improve this district.
In the year 1827, an act of parliament was obtained by the inhabitants of Oldham, by which they were empowered to establish a local police for the purpose of lighting, cleansing, and watching the town, and for constructing gas and water-works for the supply of its inhabitants: this act also empowered the commissioners of police to erect a suitable town-hall for the transaction of public business; but the proposed edifice has not yet been raised.
If the manners of the labouring class of the people in Oldham are more destitute of polish than those of the population residing in the northern districts of the county, the difference is not owing to any want of attention to education amongst the poor, seeing that there are in this chapelry not fewer than thirty-eight Sunday schools,
giving instruction to 8417 children, of both sexes.
* See Vol. I. p. 424.
Markets & Fairs
There is no regular market-day here, but Saturday is observed as a kind of vegetable and flesh market. There are three annual fairs for cattle, horses, sheep, and pedlery, two of them stationary, and the third moveable; the fixed fairs are on the 2d of May and the 8th of July, and the moveable fair is on the first Wednesday after the 12th of October. The wakes, instituted by the Druids, are still held in the following villages, in the chapelry of Oldham, not as religious festivals, but as modern feasts — Downham, Grains, Hollingwood, Royton, and Shaw.
By the act of 2 Will. IV. cap. 45, for amending the representation of the people of England and Wales, Oldham was erected into a borough, and invested with the privilege of returning two members to parliament; and by the act 2 and 3 Will. IV. cap. 64, for settling and describing the divisions of counties and the limits of cities and boroughs, so far as respects the election of members to serve in parliament, "the several townships of Oldham, Chadderton, Crompton, and Royton" are comprehended in this borough. The first members returned to the new parliament by the electors of the borough of Oldham, in December, 1832, were : --
John Fielden, Esq., and William Cobbett, Esq.
Originally it was intended to limit the borough of Oldham to the township of that name, and to confine the elective franchise to the return of one member; but in consequence of a strong representation made to his majesty's ministers by a memorial from the churchwardens, overseers, and constables, of the townships of Royton, Chadderton, and Crompton, in the progress of the Reform Bill, it was determined to include these three townships, and to give to the borough so enlarged two members instead of one. The memorial represents, that the population of Royton, Chadderton, and Crompton amounts to 18,132 persons; that there are 30 large cotton manufactories and 17 collieries, together giving employment to 3,919 persons; besides many employed in hat-making establishments and other public works; that the poor-rates for the last year amounted to £3,152. 12s. 6d. exclusive of church and highway rates, and the county rate amounted to £685. 10s. for the same period; that there are 3,250 houses, and that of these there are 551 houses worth £10 per annum and upwards.
At the time when the returns were made by the parliamentary commissions —
The Township of OLDHAM contained:
Qualifying Tenements worth £10 per annum:
Houses .................. 1018
Warehouses .......... 44
Factories ............... 66
Total ............ 1128
The Township of Chadderton contained:
Qualifying Tenements worth £10 per annum:
Houses ........................... 11
Houses and Land ..........143
Factories ......................... 2
Total ............ 156
The Township of Crompton contained:
Qualifying Tenements worth £10 per annum:
Houses ........................... 54
Houses and Land ..........151
Factories ......................... 14
Total ............ 219
The Township of Royton contained:
Houses ........................... 84
Houses and Land .......... 36
Factories ......................... 13
Total ............ 133
The town of Oldham is situated on an eminence, near the source of the Irk, and is washed on the east by a branch of the Medlock. These streams formerly contributed in a material degree to the manufacturing prosperity of the place, and they are still of considerable utility; but the general introduction of steam-engines has diminished the necessity for water-power, and supplied its place by a more potent and an unfailing agency.
The township of Royton extends to the north of Oldham, and, though the least of the dependent townships, comprising only 576 acres, it contains a population of 5652 inhabitants. The village is situated in a deep valley, and is rapidly assuming the form of a regular town. There is here a small episcopal chapel, dedicated to St. Paul, erected in the year 1754, on land presented by Thomas Percival, esq. of Royton Hall, for that purpose. There is also a Methodist chapel, built in 1806.
The ancient family of the Radcliffes, descended from Nicholas Fitz-Gilbert de Radcliffe, youngest brother of Fitz-Gilbert, the 4th baron of Kendal, which Nicholas held possessions in Oldham of his nephew William, the first lord of Lancaster, was seated at Royton Hall. This family became connected by intermarriages through successive ages with many of the principal families in the county of Lancaster.
The Byron family, ancestors of the poet, obtained possession of the Royton estate by grant from Edw. II. in 1301, which they retained till 1662, when Richard, the second lord Byron, sold Royton to Thomas Percival, esq. of Gorton, in the parish of Manchester. He died in 1693, leaving his estate to his son Richard, whose granddaughter, Catherine Percival, the heiress of the estate, became the first wife of Joseph Pickford, esq. of Alt Hill, in the parish of Ashton-under-Line, (afterwards
sir Joseph Radcliffe, bart.) who thus became possessed of Royton, and whose grand- son, sir Joseph Radcliffe, bart. of Campsall, in the county of York, possesses the property.* The ancient mansion is now falling into decay.
In Plumpton and Plumpton Clough, a woody glen, one of the endless forests of Ancient remote times, we find the remains of an iron forge, supposed to be the work of the Saxons, encircled by heaps of scoria.
Early meeting house
At Turf Lane-End, in this township, stands a Quaker's meeting-house, which being erected in the year 1665, soon after the opening of the mission of the venerable George Fox, in Manchester, may be ranked amongst the first places of public worship dedicated to the use of that religious community in Lancashire.
Chadderton is situated to the west of Oldham, and forms a right angle with the township of Royton. Elias de Penilbury held in thanage for 12s. of king John or Henry III. nine bovates of land in Chadeswrth', as it is called in the 'Testa de Nevill', and in the township bearing his own name.** The early history of the township of Chadderton is chiefly distinguished for its two ancient mansions, Fox Denton Hall and Chadderton Hall, and for the families by whom they were occupied and possessed. At the period when the liberties of England began to assume a settled character, both these mansions were enjoyed by the Traffords; but soon after Magna Charta was granted by king John to the demands of his barons, Richard de Trafford conferred the lordship and manor of Chadderton upon his second son Geoffrey, whose son Henry, it appears, from a roll of pleas in the Record Office at the Chapter-house, Westminster, of the date of 20 Edw. I., had to encounter a claim set up by his kinsman, Henry de Trafford, to recover the manor of Chadderton, on the plea, that their common grandfather, Richard de Trafford, was "non compos mentis sue" when he devised this possession to his second son. This plea was overruled, and the possession confirmed in accordance with the will of the testator.*** Geoffrey de Trafford assumed the name of Chadderton, and Margaret, his great-grand-daughter, having married John de Radcliffe, grandson of Richard de Radcliffe, of Radcliffe Tower and Fox Denton, it passed as a dowry into that family. In the reign of Henry VIII a court was held at Chadderton before Ralph Standisshe, Edmund Ashton, and Thomas Radcliffe, esqrs., in the rolls of which are lists of all the free-tenants of each of the lords in Glodyght. Chadderton Hall is now sharing the fate of Royton Hall. This mansion had the honour to be the birth-place of
* See Ashton, vol. II. p. 556. See also vol. II. p. 353.
** Elyas de Penilbur' tenet ix bovat' terre in capite de dno Rege in Pennilbur' & in Chadeswrth'
in thanag' p xijs Et Rics & Adam & Henr' & Robtus nepotes sui tenet j bovata de eo p ijs
*** Rot. Placit. apud Lanc. An. 20 Edw. I. In the Chapter-house, Westminster.
Dr. Laurence Chadderton, who lived at the period of the Reformation, and was amongst the number of the principal reformers.
Life & Education of Dr. Chadderton.
LAURENCE CHADDERTON, D.D., the first master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, was the second son of Mr. Thomas Chadderton, gentleman, of Chadderton Hall, and born on the 14th of September, 1536.
His father and mother being strict Catholics, he was brought up in that religion, and received his early education at home; but, making a very indifferent progress, it was determined to place him under the superintendence of a more experienced instructor; and this was no other than Laurence Vaux, a rigid papist, Bachelor of Divinity, of Oxford, and Warden of Manchester College. Under this man's tuition he quickly redeemed his lost years, made a rapid advancement, and was speedily fitted for the University. In 1562, he went to Cambridge, where, having made some acquaintance in Christ's College, he was admitted a student, and after having prosecuted his studies for some time with unwearied diligence, was first led to doubt the infallibility of the doctrines of the Church of Rome.
Conversion & Disinherited.
Possessed of very strong mental powers, he examined carefully the arguments on both sides, soon came to a decision, and embraced the protestant faith.
As soon as his father heard of his apostacy, he counselled him to quit the University, and to give up his study of divinity; urging him to remove to one of the Inns of Court, where a handsome annual stipend should await his acceptance. This tempting offer he steadfastly declined; and his father, enraged at his obstinacy, now sent him a purse with a groat in it, and recommended him to beg for his livelihood, for that he should disinherit him; a threat which he afterwards actually carried into execution, by devising his estates to the Radcliffe family.
Young Chadderton, however, was not to be thus dissuaded from the course he had chosen, but applied himself with greater ardour and perseverance, and, on the 23d of January, 1567, took his degree of Bachelor of Arts. He was soon after elected a Fellow of his College, in preference to other candidates, who were his seniors in the University; and, on the 8th of August, 1568, was ordained Deacon by Dr. Nicholas Bullingham, Bishop of Lincoln, made Minister of St. Clement's Church, in Cambridge, and appointed public Lecturer of the University.
On the 30th of March, 1571, he was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts, and made Tutor of Christ's College.
His fame as a critic in the Greek and Hebrew tongues was now at its height, and his intimate acquaintance with the writings of the fathers was universally known and acknowledged. To these accomplishments, moreover, was added a familiar knowledge of the French, Spanish, and Italian languages; and as such qualifications could not fail of being duly estimated by the University, his lectures in logic attracted a great concourse of hearers.
In 1578, he received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity; and, on the 26th of October, in that year, preached a sermon at Paul's Cross, which was afterwards printed. In 1581, he sustained a long and sharp controversy with Dr. Peter Baro, the Margaret Professor of Divinity, on the subject of justification. He opposed the professor's doctrines of
universal redemption, and preached publicly against his tenets. Baro cited him before the vice-chancellor and heads of houses, by arguments written in his defence, which Chadderton learnedly and acutely answered.
He had now, for some time, enjoyed a close intimacy with Sir Walter Mildway, formerly his pupil, and afterwards chancellor of the exchequer; who consulted him on his projected foundation of a new college, and proposed to him the acceptance of the first mastership. In the meantime, Chadderton had received some very considerable offers of preferment, which the importunity of his friends had nearly persuaded him to accept; he, however, first communicated the circumstance to Sir Walter, who, perceiving he should thereby lose the benefit of his co-operation and assistance in the new foundation, plainly Emanuel declared, that "unless he consented to take upon himself the mastership, the college should not proceed." He was accordingly nominated first master of Emmanuel College in 1584.
He soon after married, and during the building of the college, lived, with his family and servants, in the house of his intimate friend and neighbour, Whitaker, then Regius Professor of Divinity, and, shortly afterwards, master of St. John's.
In the third year of the reign of James I he was chosen one of the five divines for managing the cause of the Puritans, at the celebrated conference at Hampton Court and was afterwards named by that sovereign a commissioner for translating the Bible.
In 1612, on the visit to the University, of his highness, Frederick, prince palatine, who married the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of James I, at the king's express command, and at the earnest entreaty of the prince, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, an honour he had hitherto studiously declined; and, regretting that the founder of Emmanuel had provided for only three fellows, made such application among his friends and acquaintance, as very soon enabled him to endow twelve fellowships, and more than forty scholarships; and also to procure some rich church livings to be attached to the college, among which were the perpetual advowsons of the rectories of Auler and North Cadberry, and the vicarages of Dulverton in Somersetshire, Piddle Hilton in Dorsetshire, and Loughborough in Leicestershire, which last was presented by Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, an intimate friend of Chadderton's.
In 1618, he resigned the office of lecturer, and soon after, his ministry at St. Clement's, which last he had held for upwards of fifty years, being all that time a constant and regular preacher.
On the 26th of October, 1622, when Arminian doctrines were prevalent, dreading the chance of having for his successor a man imbued with those principles, after a government of thirty-eight years, he resigned his mastership of Emmanuel in favour of Dr. Preston, but survived him, and lived to see Drs. Sancroft and Holdsworth hold the same office.
On resigning the government of his college, Dr. Chadderton was not induced to do so from any hopes of elevation to the mitre, though it was well known that Lord Burleigh had exerted his utmost influence to place him in the see of Chester. He did not seek for farther power, nor did he hope for farther preferment; but determined, now that he was far advanced in years, to withdraw from the world, and prepare himself for that change, which he knew could not be far distant, and which must speedily overtake him.
In his retirement, he rose early to study, and read largely such authors as were adapted to that preparation which almost entirely engrossed his thoughts; and, having in his younger days imbibed a passion for botany, relaxed occasionally from severer studies, by amusing himself with the pursuit of that favourite employment: it is even said, indeed, on good authority, that the gardens of Emmanuel and Christ's Colleges were planted and adorned by his hand.
Of a robust and vigorous constitution, he always possessed a large share of health and preserving his memory and senses perfect to his last days, could readily distinguish the smallest points of the Hebrew Bible.
He lived to the extreme age of a hundred and three, and dying at Cambridge on the 16th of November, 1640, was buried in St. Andrew's church. His remains were afterwards removed to the chapel of his own college, where, in the cloisters, is this inscription placed to his memory:-
Hic situs est Lavrenti
Primus hujus Collegii
Obiit Ano. AEtat. suae
In his opinions, Dr. Chadderton favoured the tenets of Calvin; and at the conference at Hampton Court, even pressed for an indulgence. He was a man of acknowledged piety, benevolence, and learning; and was held in great reverence, not only at Cambridge, but in Lancashire also, where he occasionally visited and preached. He had a plain but effectual address, and generally carried conviction into the hearts of those whom he undertook to teach. He was married fifty-three years, and left one daughter, the wife of Archdeacon Johnson.
He has written :
"De Justificatione coram Deo, et Fidei Justificantis Perseverantia non intercisa," printed at Leyden, 8vo.
" Annotationes ad Biblia Bombergi," in Emmanuel Coll. Library, in MS.
" A Volume of Sermons."
" Praelectiones Logicae."
" De Coena Domini."
" De Oratione Dominica."
" The Controversy with Baro :"
and " A Sermon on Matt. vii. 22, 23." Lond. 1580. 8vo.
There is a Latin Life of Chadderton, written by Dr. Dillingham, and printed at Cambridge in 1700, 12mo., with the Life of Archbishop Usher. The original MS. is in the Harleian Miscel. No. 7352.
The father of Dr. Laurence Chadderton having disinherited his son, and bequeathed his estates to the Radcliffes, Chadderton passed by marriage to Edmund Assheton, second son of sir Thomas Assheton, of Ashton-uuder-Line, who married Joan, the sister and coheiress of Richard Radcliffe.
View the 'Family Tree of the Assheton Family of Chadderton', page 591, as a .pdf file HERE
About the year 1690, William Assheton, a descendant of Edmund, sold the manor and estate of Chadderton to Joshua Horton, esq., of Howroyd, in the county of York, which possession, on his death, in 1708, descended to Thomas Horton, whose son William was created a baronet in 1764, and was succeeded by his son, sir Watts Horton, bart, in 1774, who, by marriage with Henrietta, daughter of James lord Strange, became allied to the Stanley family. During the time of sir Watts Horton, Chadderton was in its zenith: the house was well stored with pictures, and the park and pleasure-grounds, with their bold and varied scenery, appeared to the greatest advantage. Sir Watts, dying without male issue in 1811, was succeeded in his title and estate by his brother, sir Thomas Horton, bart., clerk, who dying in 1821, without issue, the estate devolved partly upon Thomas Horton, esq., and partly upon Charles Rhys, esq., of Kilmaenllwyd, in the county of Caermarthen, who married Henrietta Susannah Anne, the only daughter of the late sir Watts Horton, and who now possesses Chadderton Hall, which is unoccupied.
There is no existing record, written or traditional, of any great battle fought in Chadderton, but one of those tumuli, raised on the remains of departed warriors, rears its head in the lawn, near the front door of the hall, and seems to indicate that this has been a scene of some considerable military operation. This tumulus has been materially reduced, and a number of ancient relics have been found here.
According to Dr. Aikin, the chapelry of Oldham consists of 4025 statute acres of land, of which the principal part is now enclosed. The soil is extremely variable, and by no means capable of raising a sufficiency of food to supply the wants of the inhabitants. The land is principally in grass, but there is a considerable quantity of potatoes grown, and some corn crops. The district is bare of wood, though timber might be planted in many situations, particularly on the sides of the hills, that would yield both profit, shelter, and ornament.
Crompton, the most northern part of the chapelry, has the largest population of any of the townships associated with Oldham; and its growth in numbers and in trade has fully kept pace with the other parts of this flourishing district. A bleak situation, and somewhat sterile soil, have produced a race of hardy and laborious men, and the close connexion with Saddleworth has given to the people much of the manners and character which prevail in these hilly regions. An ancient free chapel, belonging to the establishment, stands at Shaw, in this township, which was twice enlarged and re-edified during the last century. Crompton-hall, like too many of the other ancient houses in the neighbourhood, has fallen into decay.
The whole chapelry of Oldham consists of upwards of 7,000 acres, of which the township of Oldham contains 4,000, Chadderton 2,000, Crompton 650, and Royton 550.
End of chapter