The parish of Prestwich with Oldham
Royton

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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1911

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112-115

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'The parish of Prestwich with Oldham: Royton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911), pp. 112-115. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=53009 Date accessed: 22 September 2014.


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ROYTON

Ruhwinton, 1212; Ritton, 1226; Ryton, 1260— usual; Ruyton, 1332.

The extreme measurements of Royton are about 2 miles from east to west, and 1½ from north to south; the area is 1,372 acres. (fn. 1) The general slope of its hilly surface is from east to west, the limits being 825 ft. on Oldham Edge and 400 ft. at Street Bridge. The old village of Royton, which has now become a small town, is situated in a deep valley in the north-west quarter of the township; to the southwest of it are the hamlets of Haggate, Royley, and Holdenfold; to the north-west lies Thorpe; to the north, Dogford; to the east are Luzley Brook and Heyside; and to the south Longsight. The River Irk rises on the northern border, and flows west along it. Oldham has begun to spread over the southern border. The population in 1901 was 14,881, including part of that of Thornham. (fn. 2)

The principal road is that from Oldham to Rochdale, which passes through the town. A branch of it goes north-east to Shaw, to which place another road from Oldham passes through the township. Another important road is that from Royton to Middleton. The Oldham and Rochdale branch of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway passes through one corner of the township; a branch line from the north of Oldham runs north-west to Royton, its terminus. The Oldham electric tramway to Crompton passes through the township.

The soil is sand, with subsoil of clay. Hay is the chief crop. There are large cotton factories; fustian cutting is carried on, and there is a colliery. (fn. 3)

About 1780 Royton village 'contained only a few straggling and mean-built cottages,' but with the introduction of the weaving of fustians and other branches of the cotton manufacture it increased rapidly. (fn. 4) A local board was formed in 1863, (fn. 5) and the bounds were extended by the addition of part of Thornham in 1879. (fn. 6) A town hall and market were built in 1880. The local board gave place in 1894 to an urban district council of fifteen members, chosen for five wards—Dogford, Dryclough, Haggate, Heyside, and Thornham. There is a cemetery in Rochdale Road, opened in 1879.

The 'wakes' are held on the first Saturday in August.

At Whitebanks, near Oldham Edge, there was 'a good chalybeate spring.' (fn. 7)

An account of Royton, its chapel, politics, and celebrities, written by John Higson, is printed in Oldham Notes and Gleanings. (fn. 8) John Butterworth, a noted mathematician, who died in 1845, is buried in the churchyard. George Travis, born at Royton in 1741, became vicar of Eastham and Archdeacon of Chester, dying in 1797. He distinguished himself by his knowledge of the law of tithe, which he used to advance the value of his benefice from £30 to £100 a year. He also had a bitter controversy with Gibbon and Porson, defending the authenticity of 1 John v. 7. (fn. 9) Richard Dean, 1727–78, was another divine and author. (fn. 10)

A local saying, of unknown origin, refers to 'the seven that came from Royton.' (fn. 11)

The residence of Richard and Thomas Percival in 1666 had twelve hearths liable to the tax; the rest of the township brought the total up to 54. (fn. 12)

Manor

In 1212 ROYTON was held of the king in thegnage as twelve oxgangs of land by a rent of 24s., the tenant being William Fitz William. (fn. 13) William died about the end of 1223, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, (fn. 14) who was still living in 1254. (fn. 15) Thomns had a daughter Margery, who married Alexander Luttrell of Somerset, and in or before 1260 they sold nine oxgangs in Royton and 60 acres in Thorpe and Healey to John de Byron. (fn. 16) It appears, however, that Alice de Byron, mother of Roger, had 'the whole town' in 1246, and had farmed it out to Roger Gernet. (fn. 17) From 1260 or 1270 to the beginning of the 17th century the manor descended in the Byron family, (fn. 18) and during the later part of this period seems to have been their chief residence. (fn. 19) In or about 1622 it was sold to the Standishes of Standish, (fn. 20) and was again sold in 1662 to Thomas Percival, probably a trader of Manchester. (fn. 21) It continued in this family for a century, (fn. 22) when Catherine daughter of a later Thomas Percival of Royton, who died in 1763, carried it in marriage to Joseph Pickford (fn. 23) of Althill. She died in 1765, leaving an only son William Percival Pickford. He died in 1815 without issue, and gave Royton to his father, who had married again, and in 1795 took the name of Radcliffe on inheriting the estates of his mother's brother, William Radcliffe of Mills Bridge, Yorkshire. He was created a baronet in 1813, having taken a prominent part in suppressing the Luddite riots of the previous year. (fn. 24) Royton has descended with the issue of this second marriage to the present baronet, Sir Joseph Edward Radcliffe, of Rudding Park, Knaresborough.


Byron. Argent three bendlets enhanced gules.

Royton Old Hall was described in 1795 as 'a firm, well-built stone edifice of ancient date . . . pleasantly seated in a deep valley, surrounded by high grounds. In front of the house runs a small stream dividing the gardens from rich meadows.' (fn. 25) This description was substantially repeated thirty years later, (fn. 26) the meadows being still 'fertile' and 'luxurious,' but the surroundings have since so much changed that the original aspect of the building is somewhat difficult to reconstitute, though the stream, now much polluted, still runs at the bottom of the garden. The park and grounds have long disappeared, and the surroundings are now purely industrial.


Radcliffe of Royton, baronet. Argent a bend engrailed sable charged with a crescent of the field for difference.

The hall was largely rebuilt in the 18th century, but part of the 17th-century structure remains at the east end, consisting of a wing running north and south with a gable at each end. The house is built of stone, with stone slated roofs and brick chimneys, and has a long frontage facing south, with a slightly recessed middle portion two stories high and loftier gabled wings. The site slopes from north to south, so that in the south or principal front the ground floor is raised well above the level of the garden, allowing for a good basement. A double flight of stone steps leads from an outer door on this side to the garden.

The 18th-century rebuilding, together with subsequent additions and alterations on the north side, has made it very difficult to determine the lines of the original plan, but the whole of the later work on the south front is built on an older basement apparently of the same date as the east wing, which goes to show that the extent of the original house on this side was the same as that of the present one. The buildings are grouped round a quadrangle of irregular shape, longer from west to east, but those on the north and part of the west side are of modern date, which makes it impossible to say how far they carry out the original arrangement. The east wing, as before stated, is part of the 17th-century building with mullioned and transomed windows and a square projection on the west side to the courtyard containing a radiating oak staircase. (fn. 27) The south and south-west parts of the building are of plain 18th-century work with little or no architectural detail. The older wing has a good stone chimney on its east side with brick shafts set diagonally, and at the north end has string-courses marking the first and second floors, which are not continued round the south end. The gable is without coping, and the general appearance of the wing at this end suggests that it had formerly been the back of the house or that some of its features have been removed in later times. It is probable that the original house was built on three sides of the courtyard only, the north, which would be the principal front of the building, being left open.

The 18th-century rebuilding appears to have been done at two different times, there being a straight joint on the south front about the middle of the centre wing, between the door and the window east of it. The spacing of the windows also points in the same direction. They are of the usual tall square-headed type, with stone architraves, and originally had casements and wooden millions, but these have been replaced by sashes, which detract from the appearance of the house. The walls of the older wing are of rough masonry, but the later work is built in squared coursed stones, with projecting quoins, and at its west end is faced with brick. Against the brick wall at the south-west corner is a spout-head with the initials P/ TM and the date 1768.

There is some good 18th-century panelling with classic cornice, now painted over, in a room in the middle wing, and a large room in the east wing, which was altered in the 18th century and has two windows of that date on its east side, preserves a portion of its decoration, though the oak dado has recently been taken away.

The house has been for a long time divided into two. The western part is now a private residence, and the east wing is used as a Church Institute.

There was recently a pedestal sundial in the garden with many facets, but it has been taken away by the owner. A wall sundial on the south side over the door is still in position.

Other local families may be named. The Shaws of Heyside recorded a pedigree in l664, and occur in various ways for a century longer. (fn. 28) The Tetlows of Royley (fn. 29) seem to have been succeeded in the 17th century by the Rhodes family. (fn. 30) Holdens of Holdenfold occur. (fn. 31) At Thorpe the Taylors had a residence. (fn. 32) Dryclough was once held by the Mellors. (fn. 33) There are incidental notices of other estates in the township. (fn. 34)

Royton Moss has long been inclosed. (fn. 35)

For the Established Church St. Paul's was built in 1754 (fn. 36) and consecrated in 1757; it was restored and enlarged a century later, and was rebuilt between 1883 and 1889. An ecclesiastical parish was assigned to it in 1835. (fn. 37) There is a mission church, All Saints', in connexion with it. The rector of Prestwich is the patron. St. Mark's, Heyside, was built in 1878; (fn. 38) the patronage is vested in five trustees; it has a mission room called St. Chad's.

The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel built in 1804. The Primitive and Independent Methodists also have chapels

The Baptist Church dates from 1873.

From 1847 to 1861 Royton and Shaw were worked together by the Congregationalists. In the last-named year a separation was made, and a church was built at Royton in 1864. At Heyside, where services began in 1842, a school-room was built in 1851 and a chapel in 1880. (fn. 39)

The Society of Friends have had a meeting-place at Turf Lane, Heyside, from about 1665; (fn. 40) the first burial took place in that year. The house was rebuilt in 1885, but is used only occasionally. (fn. 41)

The Roman Catholic school-chapel of SS. Aidan and Oswald was built in 1880. (fn. 42)

The Calvinistic Methodists and the Mormons had meeting-places in 1856.

Footnotes

1 2,145, including 11 of inland wa er, according to the Census Rep. 1901; this includes the added portion of Thornham.
2 Pop. Ret. 1901.
3 In 1795 the farms were small; the land was mostly pasture, but oats, potatoes, and a few turnips were grown. There were then 'a great number of cotton mills and a fulling mill, chiefly for the Rochdale baize.' The collieries had been worked for a century. Freestone was obtained; Aikin, Country Round Manch. 238, 239.
4 Butterworth, Oldham, 97. The people were formerly very Radical in their politics. In 1794 they held a reform meeting, but were put to flight by a mob from Oldham; the episode was called the 'Royton Races'; ibid. 137.
5 Lond. Gaz. 16 Oct. 1863.
6 Local Govt. Bd. Order 31625; the population of the included portion was 939.
7 Butterworth, op. cit. 107.
8 Vol. i, 181–5. A list of curates is given. It is mentioned that a botanical society was formed there in 1794.
9 Dict. Nat. Biog.; Scott, Admissions to St. John's Coll. Camb. iii, 159, 671.
10 Dict. Nat. Biog.
11 Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. vi, 182.
12 Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9, Lancs.
13 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 69. For pedigree see Collins, Peerage (1779), v, 160–1.
14 On 23 Feb. 1223–4 the sheriff was ordered to take security for his relief, and give seisin; Thomas had already done homage and fealty; Fine R. 8 Hen. III, m. 9. William's name, however, is retained in the roll of 1226; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 138.
15 The sheriff was in 1254–5 ordered to make a perambulation between the lands of Thomas Fitz William in Royton and Geoffrey de Chetham in Crompton; Close R. 70, m. 8 d.
In 1253 Alice de Sar' and her sisters Cecily and Agnes charged Cecily widow of Richard de Royton with being concerned in the burning of their houses, &c.; Curia Regis R. 150, m. 8 d.
William de Royton contributed to the subsidy in 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 31.
16 Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 133. See also the agreement of 1270, from Close R. 91, m. 5 d., printed in the same volume, 216. The grant by the Luttrells is given in the Black Bk. of Clayton, no. 62/47; a rent of 1d. was due to the grantors.
17 Assize R. 404, m. 10 d.; the record is corrupt, there being some confusion between Alice and a Margery—perhaps the above-named wife of Alexander Luttrell.
18 The 24s. paid by Richard de Byron (in Royton) appears in the extent of the lands of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, in 1297; Inq. and Extents, i, 301. Richard de Byron in 1324 held a plough-land and a half by a rent of 24s.; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals and Surv. 379, m. 13. The mesne lordship of the Luttrells was still remembered in 1346, when it was recorded that Andrew Luttrell held 12 oxgangs of land in Royton in socage, and by his tenants, Sir James Byron and John his brother, rendered 24s. rent, puture, &c.; Add. MS. 32103, fol. 146. In the inquisition taken soon after the death of Sir Richard Byron of Clayton in 1397 it was stated that he had held four messuages and twelve oxgangs in Royton of the Duke of Lancaster by knight's service; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 65.
In an extent of 1445–6 Sir John Byron was said to hold twelve oxgangs of land in socage by a rent of 24s. yearly; he stated that he held of Andrew Luttrell, and also by feoffment; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20. The tenure was less correctly stated in 1498 after the death of Sir John Byron, the four messuages and twelve oxgangs being held of the king as of his duchy of Lancaster in socage, by the service of 24s., being worth 10 marks clear; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 48. Royton occurs down to 1608 in Byron settlements, e.g. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 15, m. 147; 61, m. 347; 71, no. 2.
In 1310 John de Byron granted to Adam de Chadderton 4 acres of the waste in Royton; Clowes D.
19 In 1432 a release to Sir John Byron was made by the feoffee concerning lands in Royton and Butterworth; the deed is dated at Royton; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 70.
Sir John Byron in 1588 addressed a letter to the Salford justices, dated at Royton; Lancs. Lieutenancy (Chet. Soc.), ii, 215. Described as 'of Royton,' he heads the list of freeholders in Salford Hundred in 1600; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 246.
20 In a petition of 1622–3 Sir John Byron the younger is described as 'lord and owner of the manor and lordship of Royton'; Shaw, Oldham, 60. In 1622, however, Ralph Standish contributed to the subsidy for lands in Royton; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 158. Ten yean later there is further evidence that Ralph Standish was in possession; Shaw, op. cit. 75.
21 On 27 Mar. 1662 Thomas Percival and Richard his brother purchased Royton of Edward Standish and William his son and heir apparent for £2,530. The purchase included cottages, &c., and all their interest in Royton and Chadderton; the rents amounted to £120 a year; Shaw, op. cit. 157.
22 There is an erroneous pedigree in Burke's Commoners, iv, 612, stating that Thomas's son Richard was baptized in Drogheda in 1675, and Thomas was himself made an alderman of that corporation in 1690 by William III. It is further stated that his will was made in 1702 and proved in Dublin in 1703; but Thomas Percival of Royton was buried at Manchester 10 Dec. 1694; Shaw, Oldham, 214. At Royton he apparently acted as banker for the neighbourhood; see the list of his loans in Shaw, 196, 197. Thomas's elder brother Richard Percival purchased the manor of Allerton in Childwall. In 1664 Thomas Percival of Royton was summoned to attend the Herald's Visitation, but no pedigree is recorded; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), p. v. He was a trustee of Oldham Grammar School in 1673; Shaw, op. cit. 180. By his will, dated 1693, he gave £150 to the poor of Manchester, to be laid out by his executors and his cousin Richard Percival; in 1826 this was supposed to be represented by an estate of 10 acres in Royton; Char. Rep. (1826), xvi, 148.
In 1682 John Gilliam of Manchester married Jane daughter of Thomas Percival of Royton; he was buried 20 July 1688, and an account of the funeral expenses, &c., is printed by Shaw, Oldham, 187, 200. Their daughter Jane married John Greaves of Culcheth in Newton.
Richard Percival of Royton married Katherine daughter of Thomas Norris of Speke, and their sons Thomas, William, and Richard were baptized in 1688, 1690, and 1696, the two former at Manchester; ibid. 199, 203, 205, 217. Richard was buried 27 Apr. 1697; 220. His widow Katherine appears as granting a lease in the next year; 221; see also 229.
Thomas Percival, 'of Royton, esquire,' was buried 19 Mar. 1710–1; his father and grandfather had been described as 'gent.'; ibid. 248. His brother William succeeded, and in 1713 took part in the settlement of the boundaries of Hollinwood in Oldham, but did not sign the agreement; 253. He married Dorothy daughter of Thomas Kenyon of Salford (Butterworth, op. cit.); his son Thomas was bora 1 Sept. 1719; Shaw, op. cit. 269. William was buried 12 July 1721; 275.
Letters from Thomas Percival to one of the Kenyon family, 1759–61, are printed in Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 496–8. In one he speaks of himself as 'enlisted among the men of speculative learning'; in another, though 'sincerely for the good of the Church of England,' he objected to the interference of the clergy in state affairs, and affirmed, 'whenever you want a key to a priest's conduct, that interest is his ruling motive.' James Butterworth in his history of Oldham (ed. 1817) states: 'To Sir Joseph Radclirfe, Bart., of Mills Bridge in the county of York, I owe all my most material information, chiefly collected by his fatherin-law, T. Percival, Esq., of Royton Hall (who appears to have been a great lover of antiquity); his pedigrees of the Lancashire families, collected by himself, with the great additions made by the beforementioned worthy baronet, are an invaluable treasure, and with them I have been kindly favoured by him'; p. xi. In the same work (102) is a Percival-Radcliffe pedigree.
There are monuments in St. Paul's Church to Katherine Pickford, 1765, and to Sir Joseph Radcliffe, 1819.
23 Joseph Pickford in 1779 paid 24s. to the Duchy for Royton; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 14, no. 25 m.
24 Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xiv, 161.
25 Aikin, A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty Miles round Manchester, 239.
26 Corry, Lancs. 1825, ii, 527 ; Butterworth, Oldham, 1826.
27 The local but foolish tradition is that the stairs are built round the trunk of a tree which grew on the spot, and now forms the newel.
28 Dugdale, Visit. 260; they had only recently settled in Royton. The epitaph of Oliver Shaw, who died I Aug. 1706, 'after various conditions of life,' is given by Butterworth, op. cit. 29. 'Old Mrs. Shaw, from Heyside,' was buried at Oldham, 1 Nov. 1710. She was probably Alice daughter of Thomas Chetham, of Heyside, and wife of Oliver.
For the Chetham family's connexion with Royton see Ernest Axon's Chet. Genealogies (Chet. Soc. new ser.), 6, 9, 12. A Ralph Chetham, who died in or about 1538, left his 'take and farmhold' in Royton to his sons Adam and Robert, and part of the Moor Hey to his son James; ibid. 17. In 1541 James Chetham contributed to the subsidy 'for goods'; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 145.
The Shaws had disappeared before 1817, when Butterworth wrote.
Heyside was in 1842 'notorious for wickedness of the vilest description'; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 267.
29 Sir John Byron (about 1270) granted to Robert the Falconer lands in Royton, within bounds beginning at Royton wall and following the bounds of the oxgangs of the vill of Royton as far as Eliclough on the south, by the edge to Wallsyke (where was Robert's house) and to the Mill Brook; up this to Royley Brook, and so to the starting-point; at a rent of 6s. 6d.; Black Bk. of Clayton, 81/241. Two Falconers, Adam and Robert, contributed to the subsidy of 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. 30, 31.
The charter cited is headed 'Copy of the Charter of Adam de Tetlow, of Royley in Royton.' Alexander son of Adam de Tetlow complained that a number of men had seized his goods at Royton in 1372, taking his linen and woollen cloth, maser bowls, and silver, brass, wood, and pewter utensils, &c.; Coram Rege R. 463, m. 55. John Tetlow of Royley is mentioned in 1541; Shaw, Oldham, 18. Mary Tetlow widow seems to have been the principal resident in 1641, having an income of £20 a year; ibid. 92.
30 In 1653 John Rhodes (Roades) of Royley in Royton leased land in the Ryott and the Gorsey Hill in Hartingstead Yate to Edmund Taylor; ibid. 145. A further lease was made in 1655; 149. Edward Shacklock of Moston in 1666 bequeathed lands he had purchased of Henry Wrigley and John Rhodes to John Rhodes, the younger son of the last-named; ibid. 166.
Royley is mentioned by Butterworth (op. cit. 115) as noted for its coal. At the adjacent hamlet of Streetbridge there were in i8i7apaper mill and collieries; 107.
31 Holdenfold, it is supposed, took its name from the proprietors. Ralph Holden contributed to the subsidy in 1622; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 158. Ralph Holden died 23 Aug. 1625, leaving a son and heir Ralph, about nine years of age. His lands in Royton were held of the king. By his will he left them to his son, then to his wife, and to his brothers Edmund and Ralph in succession. If Edmund or the other brother should succeed he was to pay a rent of £4 a year to the poor of Oldham; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), p. 518.
32 Butterworth, op. cit. 108. James Taylor died 19 Dec. 1624 holding lands in Heaton Fallowfield, Castleton, and Royton; the last estate was two messuages, &c., held of the king. All was left to his son John, then over fifty; then a division was to take place among John's daughters—Elizabeth Hayward, Susan Butterworth, and Mary Ogden. The Royton lands were to go to Elizabeth, then wife of Thomas Heaward or Hayward, and their son Robert; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13, p. 1,187. For another John Taylor of Thorpe (1654) see Oldham Notes and Gleanings, iii, 53.
Ralph Taylor is said to have had a small cotton mill at Thorpe Clough as early as 1764 ; E. Butterworth, Oldham (ed. 1856), 119.
33 Ibid. 113; they were in 1817 'regular carriers to different parts of the kingdom.' Mr. Andrew had there a large malt kiln. The only windmill in the parish stood there, and there were collieries.
34 In 1369 William son of John de Chadwick and Agnes his wife had 2 messuages, 24 acres of land, &c., in Royton; Final Cone, ii, 176.
Robert Wyld died in 1625 holding lands of the king; Robert his son and heir was fourteen years of age; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13, p. 1291.
Humphrey Booth in 1635 held a messuage, &c. in Royton of the king; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, 44.
35 A moiety of the fields 'lately enclosed' from Royton Moss was sold in 1626; Shaw, 72. In 1817 there was no waste land, and only a few acres needed draining. There were no woods; Butterworth, 104, 105.
36 Butterworth, op. cit. 99, 100. The ground was given by Thomas Percival and the cost of the building defrayed by subscription.
For its endowments and services in 1778 see Booker, Prestwich, 85; and in 1808, Oldham Notes and Gleanings, iii, 94, 95; see also iii, 205.
37 Lond. Gaz. 5 May 1835.
38 For district, ibid. 25 Mar. 1879.
39 Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 264–8. The barn of Robert Wild of Heyside was in 1672 licensed as a Presbyterian meeting-place; Shaw, Oldham, 176. Some of the Wilds were Quakers.
40 Meetings of Quakers were reported at the Bishop of Chester's Visitation, 1669.
41 Sylvester Sykes was buried at Heyside in 1665, and the place was used on sufferance till 1686, when a lease was secured, and a house built. This was pulled down in 1832.
John Lees, a Royton Quaker, made an improvement in the carding machine in 1772; E. Butterworth, Oldham (ed. 1856), 116.
42 Kelly, Engl. Cath. Missions, 337.