Rochdale St Chad, Lancashire Genealogy

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England Gotoarrow.png Lancashire Gotoarrow.png Lancashire Parishes

St Chad Rochdale.JPG

See a Comprehensive List of Rochdale Chapelries

Part of this parish is in Yorkshire. See also Rochdale St Chad, Yorkshire.

Parish History

ROCHDALE (St. Chad), a borough, market-town, and parish, and the head of a union, chiefly in the hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster, but partly in the Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 50 miles (S. E.) from Lancaster, and 198 (N. N. W.) from London; containing 84,718 inhabitants, of whom 24,091 are in the borough. This place, which takes its appellation from the river Roche, appears, from the name of a part of the vale below Castle Hill, which is called Kill-Dane field, to have been celebrated for the slaughter of the Danes, who, having in their predatory incursions penetrated into this district of the county, met with a signal overthrow. The castle, from which the township of Castleton has its name, but of which there are no traces, was one of the twelve Saxon forts probably destroyed in the frequent conflicts that occurred between the Saxons and Danes in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The Roman Watling-street, leading from Mancunium to Cambodunum, traversed the Yorkshire part of the parish. Rochdale is noticed in the Conqueror's survey, in which it is recorded that the Saxon thane Gamel was permitted to retain his estate here: part of it seems afterwards to have reverted to the crown, as Henry II. made grants of land in the district. Roger de Lacy, lord of Rochdale, made similar grants from 1193 to 1211, at which time there were mesne lords of the manor under the crown and the Lacys. Previously to 1224, John de Eland, and John de Lacy of Cromwellbotham, were coparceners in the mesne manor, probably by inheritance from Gamel. In 1250, Edmund de Lacy, valettus regis, obtained a grant of a market and fairs, which was confirmed, with free warren, to Henry de Lacy in 1291. In 1351, Henry, Duke of Lancaster, whose mother Alice was heiress of Henry de Lacy, possessed the manor; and through him it merged into the crown estates in 1400: in 1505 Henry VII. was in possession, and in 1520 John Savel or Savile, held lands here under Henry VIII. Of this family was Sir Henry Savile, at whose decease, without issue, the manor once more reverted to the crown. In 1543 Sir John Byron, Knt., is mentioned as steward of the manor to Henry VIII.; he afterwards leased it from Queen Elizabeth. In 1625 Charles I. granted it to Sir Robert Heath, who in 1638 sold it to Sir John Byron; and in this latter family it remained until purchased from George Gordon, Lord Byron, in 1823, by the late James Dearden, Esq., of Rochdale. This place owes its importance to the extent of its manufactures, of which those of cloth and woollens were considerable in the parish even in the reign of Henry VIII.; and to the mines of coal, and quarries of flags and other stone, with which the district abounds. The town is comprised within the townships of Castleton, Spotland, and Wardleworth in Hundersfield. It is pleasantly situated in a valley on the banks of the river Roche, and consists of several streets, which were formerly narrow and inconvenient, but have been widened, and in other respects greatly improved, under the provisions of an act obtained in the 50th of George III. In 1824 a company was formed for the purpose of widening the principal street, and the road from Yorkshire into Lancashire; in effecting which, and in erecting a market-house and town-hall, and making other public improvements, it has expended more than £40,000. There is a stone bridge of three arches over the Roche: within a few paces to the east of it, a handsome iron bridge has been constructed, for the accommodation of foot passengers; and about a quarter of a mile to the west, is a stone bridge of one arch, connecting the town meadows with Pinfold, by a new line diverging from the old Manchester and Bury road. The houses are chiefly built of brick, but several of the most substantial and respectable in the town and its vicinity are of the fine freestone from the neighbouring quarries. The place is well paved, and lighted with gas by the commissioners of police: the gas-works were erected in 1824, at an expense of £12,000; and in 1847 an act was passed for the better supply of the town with water. The environs are pleasant, abounding with fertile vales, sheltered by the range of high hills called Blackstone Edge, and containing many handsome villas and agreeable walks. From Summer Castle, a modern mansion, a very extensive view is obtained of the town, and the surrounding hills and dales. The public subscription library and newsrooms are well supported: a small theatre is occasionally opened; concerts take place in the public hall, a large and commodious building erected in 1844; and races are held in August. Among the principal branches of manufacture are those of baise, coatings, and kerseys; calicoes and strong cotton goods are made to a very considerable extent, and within the last few years the spinning of cotton has been introduced with success. The making of hats also constitutes an important part of the trade. Since the American tariff came into operation the flannel business has much declined, but the other branches of manufacture are prosperous: the woollen trade in the town and neighbourhood employs 12,000 persons, and about 8000 pieces are produced weekly; in the cotton trade about 9000 persons are engaged. A station of the Manchester and Leeds railway is situated here; and in 1846 an act was passed for making a branch from Rochdale to Bacup, 8¼ miles in length. The Rochdale canal, communicating with the Duke of Bridgewater's canal at Manchester, and with the Calder and Hebble navigation, affords a facility of intercourse with the ports of Liverpool and Hull; on its banks are convenient quays and wharfs, and the basin and warehouses are capacious. The market-days are Monday and Saturday, the former for cotton, wool, and manufactured articles of flannel, and the latter for provisions of all kinds. The fairs are on May 14th, WhitTuesday, and November 7th, for horses, cattle, and pedlery; and a mart for wares, on the first Monday in every month, is generally well attended. The town was constituted a borough in 1832, with the privilege of sending one member to parliament, the right of election being vested in the £10 householders; the boundaries comprise 1130 acres, and the returning officer is appointed by the sheriff of the county. It is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates; the lord of the manor holds a court leet twice a year, and a court baron every third week, at which latter debts under 40s. are recoverable. The powers of the county debt-court of Rochdale, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Rochdale. The town-hall is a neat and substantial edifice of brick, containing an elegant saloon, in which the merchants and traders meet for the transaction of business. The gaol for the town, called the New Bailey, is a convenient building adjoining the workhouse. The civil parish is wholly in Lancashire, and is divided into seven townships, namely, Castleton, Butterworth, Spotland, Wardleworth, Wuerdale with Wardle, Blatchinworth with Calderbrook, and Todmorden with Walsden: the four last townships form the division of Hundersfield. Ecclesiastically, Rochdale includes also the parochial chapelry of Saddleworth, in Yorkshire, which in a civil point of view forms a distinct parish. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £11. 4. 9½.; net income, £1730; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The church stands on a lofty eminence, to which there is an ascent of 124 steps from the lower part of the town, and is a spacious and venerable structure in the early English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles; the interior has some few remains of Norman character. St. Mary's church, Hundersfield, consecrated in 1740, is a brick building, of neat interior: the living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with an estate at Shaw producing £50 per annum, and in the patronage of the Vicar. St. James's, Hundersfield, a handsome edifice of stone, in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, was erected in 1820: the living is a perpetual curacy, also in the patronage of the Vicar; net income, £200, arising entirely from the pews. At Healey, Littleborough, Milnrow, Saddleworth, Smallbridge, Spotland-Bridge, Todmorden, Walsden, and Whitworth, are other incumbencies. In the town are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Methodists of the New Connexion, the Wesleyan Methodists Association, the Society of Friends, and Roman Catholics. In 1823 the late James Dearden, Esq., purchased of Richard Greaves Townley, Esq., of Belfield Hall, the ancient Trinity chapel, for the sum of £650. This chapel was erected in the time of Henry VII., by the Marlands, of Marland, and Butterworths, of Belfield, both places in the parish of Rochdale; the moiety of the former family was bought by the latter in Charles II.'s reign, and the whole passed by will to the Townleys in 1728, on the death of the last Mr. Butterworth. The Free Grammar school was founded in 1565, by Archbishop Parker, and the premises were erected on ground given by Richard Midgley, the then vicar. It has an interest, in turn with the schools of Middleton, in Lancashire, and Steeple-Aston, in the county of Oxford, in two scholarships founded at Brasenose College, Oxford, by Dr. Radcliffe, principal of that college. The building from the first appears to have been an humble structure of one story, constructed of rough stone, and strongly indicative of the rude state of the town when it was built; a new school-house is now about to be erected by subscription, and the proceeds of a bazaar, and several gentlemen of influence have formed themselves into a committee for the purpose. The Moss school, so called from its situation on Vicar's Moss, was founded in 1769, by Mrs. Jane Hardman, whose son endowed it with £500, which were fortunately expended in land: the master's salary is now £100. A national school was erected in 1814, and a much larger one in 1843; and there are several other schools, among which are the British school, and the Sunday and infant schools connected with the Church: for the latter schools, a house has been lately built. Numerous bequests have been made for the relief of the poor: £1000 were given in 1840 by Jonathan Fildes, Esq., to the Ladies' charity, and £1000 to the dispensary, an institution which is well supported. The union of Rochdale comprises six townships, and contains a population of 60,577. About a mile and a half fron the town, on the banks of the Roche, is a romantic spot called "Tyrone's bed," where, according to generally received tradition, the Earl of Tyrone was concealed, when he fled from Ireland, in 1603, after his unsuccessful efforts to release his countrymen from the English yoke. Near Rochdale, in 1820, was found a small iron box containing a rouleau of brass coins of the Lower Empire in good preservation.

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 679-686. URL: Date accessed: 20 July 2010.


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Parish registers for St. Chad's, Rochdale, 1592-1900 Microfilm of original records in possession of the Manchester Public Libraries.Microfilm purchased from the Rochdale Central Library, Rochdale, Lancashire.Baptisms for the chapelries of Littleborough, Whitworth, and the parish of St. Mary's Wardleworth are separate for some years.

Lancashire Online Parish Clerks Project is a useful resource and contains transcripts of Births, marriages and Burials from the parish registers

Census records

Include an overview if there is any unique information, such as the census for X year was destroyed. Add a link to online sites for indexes and/or images. Also add a link to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection. for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Rochdale Poor Law Union

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites

Add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above. British History online