||Out of Gore-ton and Red-ditch, with
the help of the intervening Nico Ditch,
popular fancy has made the story of a
great battle in the neighbourhood; Harland and Wilkinson, Traditions of Lancs.
||In 1852 John Higson published the
Gorton Hist. Recorder, containing a full
account of the state of the township, with
numerous memoranda of the events and
families connected with it. The author
(1825 to 1871) was born at Yew Tree
Farm in the north of the township; an
account of him and his family is given in
Crofton, Newton Chap. (Chet. Soc.), i, 4.
||See the boundary settlement quoted
||See V.C.H. Lancs. ii, 554.
||The origin of this name is unknown;
it will be seen that Abbey was a surname
in Gorton in 1320.
||'Longsight' may mean the 'long
shot' (Mr. Crofton), or a place giving a
distant view along the straight road from
Manchester to Stockport; Manch. Guard.
N. and Q. no. 189, 425.
||Constables are known to have been
appointed in 1623; Manch. Ct. Leet Rec.
Lond. Gaz. 16 Oct. 1863.
||It has an area of 1,147 acres, including 45 of inland water; Census Rep. 1901.
||Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9.
||Higson, Gorton Rec. 87; the bridge
was widened in 1810.
||Ibid. 89; their position was changed
||Ibid. 90–3. The Pretender's army
passed through Longsight on its way to
and from Derby.
||Ibid. 16, 116.
||Ibid. 131, 165; a description of the
rush-bearing in 1874 is given in Manch.
Guard. N. and Q. no. 456.
||Higson, op. cit. 192.
||Ibid. 82. The people of the district
combined the labours of tilling the land,
weaving at home, and bleaching in the
||Ibid. 119; this first attempt was
abortive, owing to intimidation.
||Ibid. 156, 192.
Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc.
Lancs. and Ches.), i, 245.
Mamecestre (Chet. Soc), ii, 279,
280. The other five were Geoffrey del
Abbey, Thomas del Ollers, Hugh del
Abbey, Emma the widow, and Hugh son
of Richard. Each held a messuage and
an oxgang of land, except the last, who
held only half an oxgang; the rents varied
from 4s. 5d. up to 13s. 4d.
The tenants who held for a term of
years, who were not free, were subject
to the same customs as the natives; ibid.
The mill of Gorton, on Gore Brook.
was worth 40s. a year; all the tenants of
the hamlet were bound to grind there
to the sixteenth measure; ibid. ii, 282.
The right of fishing in Gore Brook belonged to the lord; ibid.
The tenants had the right to get turves
in Openshaw; ibid. ii, 291.
A small piece of land on Gorton Green
was by Thomas La Warre given to the
college he founded at Manchester; it
appears to have been the site of a tithe
barn; Higson, Gorton Recorder, 48, 218,
219; Hibbert-Ware, Manch. Foundations,
||Byron Chartul. (Towneley MS.), no.
Mamecestre, iii, 484. Lands in Gorton were among those held in 1489 by
Sir John Byron by knight's service and a
yearly rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m.
The rent of £30 11s. appears in the
inquisition after the death of Sir Nicholas
Mosley as due to him from lands in Gorton and Greenlow or Grindlow Marsh,
lately held by Sir John Byron; Lancs.
Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 4.
||Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 81,
Various documents from the town's
chest are printed in Higson's Gorton
Recorder. In 1581 there was a surrender
by forty-nine tenants, whose names are
given; op. cit. 213. In 1608 there was
another surrender by twenty-seven
tenants for lives; ibid. 56, followed by
the agreement for the fine above cited,
in which the plaintiffs were James Chetham, Oswald Mosley, and Edward Blacklock, perhaps acting for the numerous
||Ibid. 213, 57, 58. Rowland Mosley
of the Hough, as lord of Manchester, was
the plaintiff. The tenants again refused
to pay in 1650, 1657, 1666, and 1675,
but judgement was given in favour of the
||In the grant of a cottage on Greenlow Marsh in 1708 for the use of the
poor the following signed as 'the freeholders, charterers, and proprietors of the
waste lands in Gorton': Samuel Worthington, Gerard Jackson, Ralph Shelmerdine, Robert Andrew, James Taylor, John
Corfe, John Graver, and Richard Taylor.
Edward Siddall purchased 17 acres in
Gorton from John Byron in 1571; Pal.
of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 33, m. 163.
The land was at Longsight; Higson, op.
cit. 54, 58.
Nicholas Peake, who died in March
1625–6, held a messuage, &c. in Gorton.
He left a widow Isabel, and his heir was
his brother John, forty years of age;
Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxv, 42.
Roger Unsworth, who died in 1638,
held land in Gorton of Nicholas Mosley
as of his manor of Manchester; Roger
his son and heir was thirty-nine years of
age; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.),
No landowners are mentioned in the
Subsidy Roll of 1541, nor in that of 1622,
although by the latter year Gorton had
become a separate township; Misc. (Rec.
Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 139, 150.
Thomas Pyecroft of Gorton was a freeholder in 1600; ibid. i, 249.
A family named Asmall or Aspinal
appear to have held the Green and Greenhead in the 17th century; these passed
to the Travis family, who also held lands
called the Alderstone, Debdale Clough,
Chew, Redlache, &c.; Mr. Earwaker's
notes and Higson, op. cit. 83.
The Hultons of Farnworth and
Nuttalls of Blackley held lands in Gorton;
Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. i, 33; Lancs. Inq.
p.m. (Rec. Soc.), ii, 176.
Some other landowners named in Higson's work are Samuel Harmer, 1685
(p. 76); Kenyon, 1786 (p. 115); Woodiwiss, 1830 (p. 167), and Clowes. 'William and Thomas Clowes, merchants of
Manchester, became possessed of large
estates in Manchester, Cheetham, Gorton,
and Droylsden, by marriage with Elizabeth and Margaret Nield, only daughters
and co-heiresses of Miles Nield, merchant
and chapman of Manchester,' in 1738;
ibid. 218; (bis); see also 85, 203.
||William and Nicholas Gorton are
named in 1614; ibid. 213. William
Gorton died in 1618, holding a messuage
and land of the king by knight's service;
Francis his son and heir was fifteen years
of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs.
and Ches.), ii, 175.
John Gorton, said to have come from
the Fylde, purchased the Gorton Hall
estate early in the 18th century; Higson,
||Ibid. 214; Dict. Nat. Biog.
||He complained in 1369 that certain
persons had broken into his close at
Gorton and had ill-treated his servant;
Coram Rege R. 434, m. 7.
||It is described as 'in Rusholme' in
1473 when Bertin Bamford was the
holder; he paid a rent of 12d. to the
lord of Manchester; Mamecestre, iii, 482.
John Bamford, who died in 1558, held
the Forty Acres in Gorton of the executors
of Lord La Warre in socage, by 12d.
rent; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, 61,
38. His daughter and heir, Anne Dukinfield, died in possession in 1619, leaving
Thomas Birch as her grandson and next
heir, a minor; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec.
Soc.), ii, 178. The Birches still held an
estate in Gorton in 1726, as appears by
the land tax returns. George Birch of
Gorton in 1770 made a new road, now
called Gorton Lane; he owned the land
through which it passed and the Gorton
Brook estate; Higson, op. cit. 105. The
latter estate was sold in lots in 1851;
||Ibid. 110. Part of Catsknoll was
in 1777 owned by John Hague; ibid.
109. All or most of the estate came
into the hands of John White of Park
Hall, Derbyshire, who was in 1850 the
largest landowner in the township; ibid.
||James Taylor and James his son are
mentioned in a plea of 1676; Exch. Dep.
(Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 53. Samuel
Taylor, webster, was bound to Thomas
Taylor in 1653; and in 1693 Hannah
Taylor leased a messuage in Gorton to
Richard her son and James her grandson;
Mr. Earwaker's notes.
Sarah Taylor was a benefactor in 1680;
Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 89.
See her will in Higson, op. cit. 74.
Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 58, 59;
from the charter there printed it appears
that Ralph Grelley had held the land, and
that a Richard de More and his heirs
were to hold it of the abbey at a rent of
12d. The land was held by the abbey in
1320; Mamecestre, ii, 274. A rent of
2s. due to the abbey from Manchester
was by Henry VIII granted to Harold
Rosell; Pat. 31 Hen. VIII, pt. 3.
The identification of Withacre with
Grindlow Marsh rests on the facts that a
Withacre certainly existed close by (see
the account of Chorlton-upon-Medlock),
that the abbey had land in 'Rusholme'
(see next note), and that Grindlow Marsh
was free from the rent due to the lord of
||Thomas Strangeways of Strangeways
(see Cheetham) died in 1590, holding
land in Rusholme which had belonged to
the dissolved monastery of Swineshead
in socage by a rent of a pair of gloves;
Manch. Collectanea (Chet. Soc.), ii, 142.
Thomas Strangeways, described as 'of
Gorton,' was an elder of the Manchester
Classis in 1646; Baines, Lancs. (ed.
1868), i, 226.
||Higson states that the Reynolds of
Strangeways held Greenlow Marsh; Gorton Recorder, 107, 114. Lord Ducie held
land in 1787; Land Tax Ret.
||Heath land of 223 acres, worth
113s., was held; 14 acres were let at 8d.,
and the rest at 6d. Thomas de Chorlton
had 7 acres there; Mamecestre, ii, 363.
||Note by Mr. Earwaker. Greenlow
Heath appears to have been considered a
separate township, or at least a conspicuous hamlet of Chorlton. The hamlet of Gorton was at the same time bound
to maintain 'one half of the highway in
the High Street so far as Gorton and
Greenlow Marsh alias Greenlow Cross
lay to the said High Street, beginning at
the bridge near to Edmond Percival's
house and so downward to Ardwick,
with the one half of the said bridge
Mamecestre, iii, 483; a rent of 20s.
was due to the lord of Manchester. The
chantry was that of St. Nicholas, or the
Trafford chantry, as will be seen in the
account of the parish church.
It was probably in respect of this land
that disputes arose among the lessees.
Sir Edmund Trafford had had a lease of
two tenements there, and in 1588 Thomas
Windbank secured from the queen a lease
for fifty years from the end of Trafford's
term. Roger Kenyon—in another pleading John Kenyon and Robert his son—
and Thomas alias James Gredlow were
occupiers; and for each tenement
26s. 8d. rent was due to the Crown.
Thomas Pyecroft and George Ashton
acquired an interest in part of the land
about 1600, but their title was questioned;
Duchy of Lanc. Plead. Eliz. clxxxi, F. 11;
clxxxix, P. 1; cxcvi, B. 5. Roger Kenyon
and Thomas Greenlow were the tenants
of the chantry lands in 1547; Raines,
Chant. (Chet. Soc.), i, 35.
||At the County Council Office,
||Higson, op. cit. 52; quoting Raines
MSS. Pike-house Deeds. The chapel is
marked in Saxton's map of 1577.
||George Wharmby was licensed as
'reader' in 1576; Pennant's Acct. Bk.
(Chest. Reg.). He was buried at the
collegiate church in 1588 as 'minister at
At the bishop's visitation in 1592 it
was found that the curate was unlicensed;
he christened in a basin or dish, there
being no font; he also taught a school.
Jewell's Reply and Apology were wanting;
Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xiii, 63. As
he baptized probably he was ordained.
||Thomas Beswick and Mary Beswick, widow, were summoned before the
consistory in 1604 for not paying the
'accustomed wages' to the minister;
Higson, op. cit. 55. See also Hist. MSS.
Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 11.
Humphrey Chetham (Chet. Soc.), 50, 51.
Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc.
Lancs. and Ches.), 8. An addition of
£40 out of sequestrations was ordered in
1648; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc.
Lancs. and Ches.), i, 63, 65; ii, 55.
||Thomas Norman was curate in
1619; it was reported that he 'did not
read the whole service'; Visit. P. at
Chester. He was called the 'lecturer' in
1622; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.),
i. 66; Manch. Classis (Chet. Soc.), iii,
443. Henry Root is stated to have
been there in 1632; Robert Watson,
curate in 1639, was excommunicated for
contumacy; Mr. Norman reappeared in
1641; Higson, op. cit. 59, 60. 'Cornelius Glover of Gorton, preacher of the
Word of God,' was buried at Manchester
in 1635. John Wigan, an Independent,
was there in 1645–6, and moved to
Birch; his appointment was an incident
in the strife between the Independents
and the Presbyterians; see Adam Martindale (Chet. Soc.), 61.
Adam Martindale followed; he gives
an interesting account of the 'wasps'
nest' in which he found himself. He
had the cordial invitation of the people;
his principal promoter was 'an ancient
professor that had formerly driven a
great trade, and after borne a considerable
office as a soldier in the wars, but at
that time was out of all employment,
only gave himself much to reading and
Christian converse,' and was a zealous
Presbyterian; others of the people 'were
downright for the Congregational way,' to
which Martindale himself inclined, and
'one honest gentleman, of better parts
and greater interest than he that drove
on so eagerly, was against ruling elders
as unscriptural and strangers in antiquity.'
In consequence of these bickerings, and
his salary being in arrears, Martindale
left in 1648; ibid. 60–76.
David Dury succeeded, 1649–50; he
was 'a painful and godly minister';
Commonwealth Ch. Surv. 8. Thomas
Norman, son of the earlier minister of
that name, was there 1650–51;
Zachariah Taylor, 1651 to 1653; Robert
Seddon, 1654 to 1656; William Leigh,
1657. Notices of all of these will be
found in W. A. Shaw, Manch. Classis; see
also Plund. Mins. Accts. ii, 183, 289.
||John Jollie, an ejected minister,
preached at Gorton in 1669; on one
Sunday a minister sent from the warden
of Manchester found him in the pulpit
and had to retire; Booker, Denton (Chet.
Soc.), 85. Yet a Caleb Stopford appears
as 'minister of Gorton' in 1662, and
other names are given; Higson, op. cit.
71, 72. There is a tradition that 'at
one period two different modes of worship, Episcopal and Presbyterian, were
conducted in Gorton Chapel, one in the
morning and the other in the afternoon';
ibid. 76. Thomas Dickenson, who left
for Northowram in 1702, is said to have
'preached at Gorton chapel,' so that the
arrangement may have been in force so
late as his time; Nightingale, Lancs.
Nonconf. v, 55. The state of matters at
the chapel was a scandal to the more
zealous Anglicans, who wanted the laws
enforced against offenders; Hist. MSS.
Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 85.
Humphrey Chetham, 209. The benefactor is stated to have attended the
chapel, and on the south side of the old
building, near the chancel, was a gallery
called the 'Chetham loft,' used by the
family and servants of Clayton Hall;
Higson, op. cit. 66. Other books were
given in 1730; ibid. 85. See also Old
Lancs. Libraries (Chet. Soc.), 62; many of
the books are still preserved.
||Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.),
ii, 88. The house, garden, and little
meadow brought in £2 15s. There were
two chapel wardens, chosen by the
minister and inhabitants.
||Higson, op. cit. 97–100, where the
faculty is printed; this states that the old
chapel and its furniture were 'very old,
ruinous and decayed,' and that a larger
building was needed. A petition in 1753
states that the inhabitants had repaired
the pillars and supports of the timber
roof; that the building measured 60 ft.
by 40 ft.; that the estimated cost of a
new chapel was £1,171, which the inhabitants were unable to raise, for though
the township was populous it was but small,
and the people mostly 'cottagers and
labourers and common workpeople in the
linen and cotton manufactures,' who
could not give much; Hist. MSS. Com.
Rep. xiv, App. iv, 493.
A ballad referring to a church incident
about 1800 is printed in N. and Q. (Ser. 4),
According to Higson (op. cit. 101) the
new chapel was called St. Thomas's instead
of St. James's, but the change does not
appear to have been permanent. The interior remained unfinished until 1775,
when it was properly fitted; ibid. 108.
Lond. Gaz. 29 Mar. 1839; 16 June
||Visitation list of 1671. From Higson's work the names of the incumbents
have in general been taken. In Stratford's visitation list, 1691, the date of
Dewhurst's licence is given as 1686; he
had been ordained in 1663. He died in
||Also curate of Didsbury; Mr. Earwaker's note.
||He was called perpetual curate.
||He was blind for the last twentythree years of his life; Higson, op. cit.
||He was what was then called a High
Churchman; ibid. 24.
||The benefice was sequestered and
the incumbent absent for some years;
ibid. 143–50, 160. See Raines, Fellows
of Manch. ii, 305.
Lond. Gaz. 27 July 1866, for district. The patronage was vested in the
Rev. G. Philpot, St. James's, for his life.
||Ibid. 4 July 1879.
||Ibid. 25 July 1876.
||Gastrell, op. cit. ii, 89.
||Higson, op. cit. 23–8.
||There was an older Congregational
interest in Gorton, but it expired; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 199.
||Ibid. v, 158–62; Higson (op. cit. 34–6)
states that it effected much good in a village which about 1830 was 'disgraced by aggravated scenes of intemperance and fighting both with men and dogs' on Sundays.
||a The inscriptions are in the Owen
||Nightingale, op. cit. v, 56–62. The
Grimshaw family were members of this
||Higson states that a Sunday School
was opened at Little Droylsden (in Openshaw) in 1843, and a chapel near Seven
Thorns Well in 1849; Gorton, 189, 206.