Townships: Bradford

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'Townships: Bradford', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 274-275. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]

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Bradeford, 1332.

This township, (fn. 1) which has an area of 288 acres, lies between the Medlock on the north and Ashton Old Road on the south, and is crossed about the centre by Ashton New Road. It is now almost covered with streets of dwelling-houses. The Manchester and Stockport Canal crosses the northern end. To the north of the canal lies Philips Park, opened in 1846, in which are open-air baths; a recreation ground has been formed near the border of Ardwick. There is a small library, opened in 1887. The population in 1901 was reckoned with that of Newton.

The hearth tax return of 1666 gives a total of twenty-seven hearths; the largest house was that of Edward Charnock with five hearths. (fn. 2)

The industries include large ironworks, a mill, and chemical works; the coal-pits have long been worked. (fn. 3) There was a water-mill in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 4)

Though Bradford was included in the Parliamentary borough of Manchester in 1832 it was left outside the municipal borough in 1838. A local board was formed in 1857, (fn. 5) enduring till the township was included in Manchester in 1885. Its existence as a separate township ceased in 1896, when it became part of the new township of North Manchester.

A schoolboard was formed in 1876. (fn. 6)


In 1282 BRADFORD and Brunhill formed part of the demesne of the manor of Manchester, and were worth 40s. yearly. (fn. 7) A century earlier the Norreys family claimed two oxgangs of land in Bradford, but nothing further is known of their title. (fn. 8) The lords of Manchester had in 1322 a wood in Bradford a league in circuit; also meadow and pasture land and heath; a grange and shippon had been built there. (fn. 9) Ten years later, at the request of his wife Joan, John La Warre granted his estate in Bradford to John de Salford of Wakerley and Alice his wife for life, £20 being paid down and a rent of £10 being due. (fn. 10) In 1357 Roger La Warre granted the manor of Bradford to Thomas de Booth of Barton in Eccles, (fn. 11) who at once bought out the Wakerley family, (fn. 12) and Bradford descended like Barton until the latter part of the 16th century, when it became the portion of Dorothy, youngest daughter and co-heir of John Booth of Barton. (fn. 13) By her first husband, John Molyneux of Sefton, she had a daughter Bridget, (fn. 14) who married Thomas Charnock of Astley in Chorley. (fn. 15) The manor was still in Bridget Charnock's possession in 1654, (fn. 16) and descended to the Brookes of Astley, a branch of the Mere family. (fn. 17) On the death of Peter Brooke in 1787 the estates went to his sister Susannah, who married Thomas Townley Parker of Cuerden. (fn. 18) Her son, R. Townley Parker, died in 1879, leaving this estate to his second son, Robert (d. 1894), whose granddaughter, a minor, is the present owner.

George Chorlton of Bradford had land in Manchester in 1613, and John Fletcher of Bradford in 1619. (fn. 19)

A constable of Bradford is mentioned in 1616. (fn. 20)

Christ Church was built in 1862 for the Established worship. (fn. 21) The rector is collated by the Bishop of Manchester. St. Aidan's, at the southern end of the township, begun as a mission church, was consecrated in 1899; the Crown and the Bishop of Manchester present alternately. The same patronage is exercised in the case of St. Paul's district, recently formed.

The Wesleyan Methodists, Independent Methodists, and United Methodist Free church have each a place of worship. The Unitarians have a chapel, built in 1900. The congregation was formed in 1894.

St. Bridget's Roman Catholic church was opened in 1879.


  • 1. For a descriptive account see Crofton, Newton Chap. (Chet. Soc.), iii, 283, &c.
  • 2. Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9.
  • 3. See the account of the manor and Crofton, op. cit. iii, 394. Otes Boardman of Bradford and James Barker of the same, colliers, occur in 1630; Salford Port Mote Rec. i, 231.
  • 4. Crofton, op. cit. 398. Disputes as to the Bradford Mill occurred in 1561 and 1601; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 247; iii, 436.
  • 5. Lond. Gaz. 2 Jan. 1857.
  • 6. Ibid. 27 Oct. 1876.
  • 7. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 244.
  • 8. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 6; the date is 1196. The land no doubt reverted to the chief lord, for Bradford is not named in the survey of 1212, though Heaton Norris is.
  • 9. Mamecestre (Chet. Soc.), ii, 368, 363. The wood, with pannage, honey, and bees was worth 6s., the 'vesture' of the wood, £10; the 2 acres of meadow, 2s., the 54 acres of pasture, 27s., and another 12 acres, which could not be ploughed because within the wood, 4s.; the 70 acres of heath, 33s.
  • 10. Manch. Corp. D.; the grant was made at Wakerley. See also Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 157.
  • 11. The charter is recited in the Inq. p.m. of Sir John Booth of Barton in 1514; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, 15. The grant included the manor of Barton, the manor of Bradford, the hamlets of Openshaw and Ardwick, a plot of land in Manchester called Flowerlache, and another plot called Marshal Field; a rent of £10 14s. 2d. was to be paid during Thomas's life, and 1d. afterwards. The manor of Barton was Thomas's patrimony; the remainder was a fresh grant. Thomas de Booth in 1363 granted Bradford, with its lands and water-mill, to his son John for life; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 160.
  • 12. A fine between Roger de Wakerley and Margery his wife, plaintiffs, and John de Wakerley and Alice his wife, deforciants, was made in 1355 respecting a messuage, 160 acres of land, and 10 acres of wood 'in Manchester'; Final Conc. ii, 146. In 1358 Roger and Margery sold the same lands, described as 'in Bradford and Manchester,' to Thomas de Booth; ibid. ii, 158. Sarah de Wakerley also released her right; ibid. ii, 162; see also Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 6, m. 2 d. John de Wakerley was the John de Salford of 1332, and Roger was his son, as appears from Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 160. Sarah sister of John Clerk of Wakerley, and Amita daughter of Roger de Wakerley, released their rights in the lands of John and Roger by charter; ibid. Roger La Warre also concurred in the transfer; ibid.
  • 13. Bradford is mentioned in the Booth inquisitions. John Booth of Barton died in 1576, leaving four daughters as coheirs; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, 8; Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. i, 180.
  • 14. John Molyneux died at Dalton in Furness in Nov. 1596, his daughter Bridget being nine years old. Dorothy, the widow, soon afterwards married Edward Dukinfield at Bradford; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvii, 24. The Booth estates had not then been divided. Settlements respecting coal mines in Bradford, also the manors of Bradford, Over Ardwick and Lower Ardwick, with houses, lands, water-mill, dovecotes, and rents in the same places and in Manchester, were made in 1607 and 1608 by Edward Dukinfield and Dorothy his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 72, no. 10, 73. It thus appears that a division had taken place, and that these manors, &c., had been assigned to Dorothy; lands in Barton were added later. A further settlement was made in 1617; ibid. bdle. 92, no. 5.
  • 15. A settlement of the manors of Bradford, Over and Lower Ardwick, and Westleigh, with lands, &c., in these townships and in Manchester, Barton, and Pennington, was made in 1626 by Thomas Charnock, Bridget his wife, and Robert the son and heir of Thomas; ibid. bdle. 108, no. 14. In 1632 Bradford was joined in a settlement with Astley, Heath Charnock, and Charnock Richard, the deforciants in the fine being Thomas Charnock, Bridget his wife, Robert Charnock, Anne his wife, and Roger and John Charnock; ibid. bdle. 121, no. 46. For a note of the Charnocks see Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. ii, 180.
  • 16. She and Charles Walmesley with Mary his wife were deforciants in a fine respecting the manor of Bradford, with messuages, &c., and land in Bradford and Manchester, and coal-mines in the former township; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 156, m. 139. Mary Walmesley was a daughter of Thomas Charnock; there was no issue of the marriage; Burke, Commoners, iii, 231.
  • 17. Richard, second son of Sir Peter Brooke of Mere near Altrincham, married in 1666 Margaret daughter and heir of Robert Charnock; Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), i, 464. A settlement of the manor of Bradford, with lands, &c., there and in Manchester was in 1678 made by Richard Brooke and Margaret his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 200, m. 31. There was a recovery of the manor of Bradford and a moiety of the manor of Charnock Richard in 1716, the vouchees being Margaret Brooke, widow, Peter Brooke, and Bernard Francks; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 502, m. 4. Peter Brooke was the sole landowner in 1786, according to the land tax return.
  • 18. Burke, Commoners, i, 117, and Landed Gentry (Townley Parker).
  • 19. Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. ii, 285; iii, 18.
  • 20. Manch. Sessions (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 8. This seems to be the first indication that Bradford was considered a township; see also Manch. Constables' Accts. i, 20, 91, 93, &c.
  • 21. A district was assigned to it in 1862; Lond. Gaz. 5 Sept.