Townships: Middleton

Pages 161-169

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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Midelton, 1212; Middelton, 1292.

This township stretches for about 2 miles along the north bank of" the rich valley of the Irk, and has an area of 1,930 acres. (fn. 1) The highest point, nearly 500ft., is on the northern border; from this the higher ground stretches south-east towards the centre, with a valley to the north, through which Langley Brook flows west to the Roch, and another valley to the east, through which Whit Brook and another flow south from Hopwood to the Irk. The portion of the township to the north-east of the latter brook is called Boarshaw. Hebers and Langley occupy the northern part of the township; Bowler and Rhodes the western; Woodside is in the centre; and Middleton with its church, and formerly its hall, grew up in the angle between the Irk and Whit Brook. On the other side of the Irk is Tonge, now incorporated with Middleton. The population in 1901 was 25,178. (fn. 2)

The principal road is the 'new road' from Manchester to Rochdale, which crosses the Irk by a bridge, and passes northward through the town to the west of the church, and is there called Long Street. Outside the town a branch of it runs north-west and north to Heywood. Another road to Heywood runs near the west and north-west border. The other principal road is the Manchester road from the west through Rhodes, keeping near the Irk, and joining the Rochdale road to the south-west of the church. It continues eastward, through the Market Place, and then divides, going south and east into Tonge, and north-east to Thornham. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway from Manchester to Rochdale, and the canal between the same places, pass through the extreme north-east part of the township. There are light railways along the roads from Rhodes to Tonge and Oldham, and from Middleton to Rochdale. The town is also connected with Manchester and other places by electric tramways.

In 1840 the town was described as 'situated in a fertile vale, skirted by rising grounds, well cultivated and rendered pleasant by groves of trees; a narrow steep ridge of sandy soil extends along the eastern side of the place, and a large number of the buildings have been erected on the summit and slope of this hill; a considerable number of cottages which may be considered a part of the town are on the sides and at the foot of the western and eastern banks of the eminence.' (fn. 3) There was formerly a medicinal well, commemorated by the name Spaw.

The curfew bell is still rung at ten o'clock. (fn. 4)

The Boar's Head Inn, on the west side of the Rochdale road, is a picturesque black and white timber building on a stone base, with three gables to the street filled with quatrefoil ornament. The timber framing is plain, consisting of uprights and horizontal cross pieces, and the gables are without barge-boards; but the whole presents a very charming appearance, the roofs retaining the old stone slates and the restoration of the building having been effected in a manner so as to preserve all the characteristic features of the old work. At the north end is a later addition (fn. 5) in brick with a good 18th-century window and doorway. A stone in the cellar of the inn bears the date 1632. The building is the property of the Corporation.

The annual rush-bearing or wakes are held on the last Saturday but one in August. A mock mayor was formerly chosen on Easter Tuesday. (fn. 6)

The hearth tax return of 1666 shows that there were here 113 hearths liable. The largest dwellings were those of Lady Anne Assheton with eighteen hearths; Mr. Simmonds, fourteen; Richard Hilton the younger, ten; Susan Wrigley, nine; and Isaac Walkden, six. (fn. 7)

In the latter part of the 17th century the cotton manufacture began to take root in Middleton. For a long time it was a cottage industry, and even in 1770 there were only about twenty habitations in the village. The widow of the last Sir Ralph Assheton is stated to have been resolutely opposed to the introduction of the mill system, perhaps because of its destructive effect on the amenities of the place. The Suffields not residing, this objection ceased, but the land tenure was unfavourable. Silk-weaving was introduced about 1778, and has continued to be one of the chief trades. By 1795 the 'more profitable branches of muslin and nanken' employed the weavers. The first cotton mill was built about 1800. In 1812 the Luddites attacked the mills. (fn. 8) By 1833 all the branches of the cotton manufacture had been established. In that year the great calico-printing works were established at Rhodes. All these trades continue to flourish; there are also iron foundries, machinery is made, and the manufacture of chemicals and soap is carried on.

A botanical society was formed in 1842 and an agricultural society in 1859. The Mechanics' Institute was opened in 1848.

The Middleton Albion, a weekly paper, was started in 1857, and lasted till 1895. The present newspaper, the Guardian, published on Fridays, was established in 1873.

The people were formerly very Radical in their politics, Chartism finding a ready welcome. Samuel Bamford, born at Middleton in 1788, poet and politician, was several times imprisoned on charges of treason. He died in 1872 and has a monument in the cemetery. (fn. 9) Amos Ogden, who died in 1850, was another prominent Radical. (fn. 10)

The Boar's Head Inn: The Front


MIDDLETON, like Bury, in the 12th century formed part of the Montbegon fee of Tottington, held later by the Lacys and the Earls and Dukes of Lancaster. With its dependencies or hamlets—making up the whole parish of Middleton—it was held of the lord of Tottington by one knight's fee, with payments of 10s. a year for castle-ward and 13s. 4d. for sake fee. (fn. 11)

The tenants adopted the local surname. The earliest on record is Roger de Middleton, son of Alexander, who about 1180 made a grant of Ashworth. (fn. 12) In 1193, having shared in the rebellion of John, Count of Mortain, he made peace with the king by a fine of 5 marks. (fn. 13) It was found in 1212 that he held the fee of one knight (in Middleton) 'of ancient tenure,' of Roger de Montbegon, and also held a plough-land in Cheetham of the king. (fn. 14) He died before 1226, when Avice his widow was of the king's gift. (fn. 15) His son Robert (fn. 16) succeeded, but was dead in 1242, when his heir held the knight's fee in Middleton, part of the dower of the Countess of Lincoln. (fn. 17)

This heir was his son Roger, who in 1243 had a suit with Geoffrey de Middleton respecting the third part of four plough-lands in Middleton. (fn. 18) It was perhaps a later Roger de Middleton who appears in various ways as lord of the manor in the last quarter of the century, (fn. 19) and whose son Roger succeeded him. (fn. 20)

Barton of Middleton. Ermine on a fesse gules three annulets or.

In 1313 Roger de Middleton and Agnes his wife made a settlement of the manor, the remainders after the death of Agnes being, in default of male issue, to their daughters in succession—Maud, Ellen, Alice, Margaret, Margery, and Joan. (fn. 21) Four years later a similar arrangement was made with respect to the third part of the manor and the advowson of the church. (fn. 22) Roger died in August 1322; (fn. 23) his widow Agnes was living in 1353, but probably died shortly afterwards. (fn. 24) The manor and advowson then went to the representative of the second daughter, Maud, who was first in the remainder. She married Thomas de Barton of Fryton in Rydale, by whom she had several sons; (fn. 25) and secondly John de Amsworth, (fn. 26) who continued after her death to hold the manor by the courtesy of England, but was outlawed. (fn. 27) Maud's right passed to her son John de Barton, (fn. 28) after whom Thomas de Barton, perhaps as trustee, was in possession, (fn. 29) followed by William, the son of John. William de Barton occurs between 1363 and 1384. (fn. 30) He married Isabel, daughter of William de Radcliffe, and had a son Ralph, who died in 1398 seised of the manor of Middleton with its hamlets of Ashworth, Birtle, Ainsworth, Meadowcroft, and Lynalx. The heir was his son Richard, born at Middleton in 1386. The wardship was granted to James de Radcliffe. (fn. 31) Richard de Barton had sons John (fn. 32) and Richard, and was living in 1457. (fn. 33) The elder son died before his father, leaving a daughter and heir Margery, who was in 1439 contracted to marry Ralph Ashton, a younger son of Sir John Ashton of Ashton-under-Lyne. (fn. 34)

The descent of the manor is somewhat uncertain. (fn. 35) By a number of agreements made in 1457 a great part of the estate was settled upon heirs of 'Richard Barton, of Middleton, the elder, esquire,' (fn. 36) the grandfather of Margery. Richard's widow Alice had lands granted to her as dower early in 1466. (fn. 37) By 1480 the greater part of the Middleton estate was held by Sir Ralph Ashton and Margery his wife; but Alice Barton widow of Richard, Margery Barton widow of John, and Richard and Ralph Barton, held various messuages and lands 'of the inheritance of Margery.' (fn. 38) Three years later it was recorded that Sir Ralph Ashton held the manor of Middleton in right of his wife, by one knight's fee, rendering yearly 13s. 4d. and for ward of Lancaster Castle 10s. (fn. 39)

Sir Ralph Ashton, brought up at court and made a knight before 1464 and a banneret by Richard Duke of Gloucester at Hutton field in Scotland, 1482, (fn. 40) held various public offices (fn. 41) and was by Richard III appointed ViceConstable of England. (fn. 42) In his native place he acquired an evil reputation, the custom of 'riding the Black Lad' at Ashton commemorating (according to the general opinion) the popular detestation of his conduct. (fn. 43) Early in 1484 he made a lease to Richard his son for twenty years of the manor of Middleton, (fn. 44) and probably died shortly afterwards. (fn. 45) In 1487 Richard Ashton, his son and heir, obtained a general pardon from Henry VII. (fn. 46) He was made a knight in 1497, (fn. 47) and held the manor of Middleton by the service of a knight's fee, until his death, 28 April 1507; the clear value at that time was estimated at £109 6s. 8d. (fn. 48)

Ashton of Middleton. Argent on a molet sable an annulet or.

Richard Ashton, his son and heir, then about twenty-five years of age, succeeded. At the battle of Flodden he captured Sir John Forman, serjeantporter to James IV, and Alexander Barrett, high sheriff of Aberdeen, with two others, whom he delivered to the English commander, the Earl of Surrey, afterwards created Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 49) From the king in 1523 he received a perpetual grant of a leet or view of frankpledge in the vill of Middleton, with courts, fines, and amercements belonging; also the park and free warren in his demesne lands in the manor, with all liberties. (fn. 50) He was also made a knight. (fn. 51) Sir Richard died 11 January 1548–9, and was buried at Middleton. (fn. 52) His son and heir Richard was thirtyeight years of age, but did not long enjoy possession, dying on 4 August 1550. (fn. 53) His son, another Richard, who was fourteen years of age, (fn. 54) had also but a brief tenure, as he died on 17 July 1563, holding the manor of Middleton by the ancient service of a knight's fee and 23s. 4d. rent, and also the manor of Radcliffe, a recent acquisition. Richard his son and heir was only five years old. (fn. 55)

Richard Assheton twice served as sheriff of Lancashire, (fn. 56) and was knighted at the coronation of James I. (fn. 57) He died in 1617, (fn. 58) and his son and heir Richard followed him within twelve months, leaving as heir his son Ralph, then twelve years of age. (fn. 59) He paid £25 in 1632 on refusing knighthood. (fn. 60) In 1640 he was returned as one of the knights of the shire. (fn. 61) In the Civil War he took a leading part on the Parliamentary side. (fn. 62) He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of the county in 1642, in opposition to the Crown nominees, and sequestrator in 1643. Ascolonel of the levies he was constantly in active service; commanded at the siege of Bolton in 1643, relieved the town of Lancaster and defeated Lord Derby at Whalley, but was himself defeated at Mid dlewich in Cheshire. Soon afterwards he took part in the siege of Lathom, and fought at Preston and Appleby with greater success. (fn. 63) He died 17 February 1650–1, and was buried at Middleton, where there is a memorial brass commemorating him and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Kay. (fn. 64)

The eldest son, Richard, having died in infancy, by witchcraft as it was supposed, (fn. 65) the new lord of Middleton was Ralph Assheton, the second son. Like others of his father's party he welcomed the restoration of the monarchy and was created a baronet in 1660. (fn. 66) He died five years later, (fn. 67) and was succeeded by his son Ralph, the second baronet, who enjoyed the estates for fifty years, dying in 1716. (fn. 68) He had succeeded to the Whalley Abbey estate in 1697, in right of his mother. He represented Liverpool in Parliament in 1676, and was knight of the shire, as a Whig, from 1694 to 1698. (fn. 69) Having no son he was succeeded in the baronetcy and at Middleton by his nephew Ralph, son of his brother Richard. This Sir Ralph (fn. 70) died in 1765, leaving two daughters as coheirs, and the baronetcy became extinct. (fn. 71) Mary, the elder daughter, married Harbord Harbord, afterwards Lord Suffield, and had Middleton Manor with her moiety of the estate; Eleanor, the younger daughter, married Sir Thomas Egerton, afterwards Lord Grey de Wilton, and received the manor of Radcliffe. (fn. 72)

Harbord, Lord Suffield. Quarterly azure and gules a king's crown or between four lions rampant argent.

The manor and estates remained in the Harbord family for the greater part of a century. (fn. 73) They were about 1848 sold by Lord Suffield to Peto and Betts, great railway contractors, (fn. 74) and on their bankruptcy in 1861 were disposed of to various persons. (fn. 75) William Wagstaffe acquired the lordship of the manor and the advowson, with a considerable share of the land, and about 1880 Mr. Alfred Butterworth of Werneth purchased them. (fn. 76)

Middleton Hall was situated a little to the south of the church, and was pulled down in 1845, a cotton factory being built on the site. An account of the house written immediately before its demolition describes it as an ancient structure erected at different periods, the oldest part being of timber and plaster, with later additions in stone. A south front, which was of brick, was added at the beginning of the 19th century by the first Lord Suffield. The house contained some good panelling and plaster ceilings, and a large stone chimneypiece with the date 1587. (fn. 77) The original timber house is said to have been built round two spacious courts, and was approached by bridges over a moat. The great entrance was described about the year 1770 as 'resembling a ship turned upside down,' from which it appears that it had rested on crucks. (fn. 78)

In 1840 and later the manor courts continued to be held annually for the appointment of constables for the several townships in the manor and parish. (fn. 79)

LANGLEY, on the north-west of Middleton, gave its name to a family which occurs from time to time till the 15th century. (fn. 80) Cardinal Langley and the Langleys of Agecroft, lords of Prestwich and Pendlebury, are supposed to have belonged to it. At Langley the local family was succeeded by a branch of the Radcliffes; (fn. 81) by sale and descent it passed to the Wrigleys (fn. 82) and Ferrabees. In 1846 it was purchased by James Collinge of Oldham. (fn. 83) The hall was pulled down in 1886. (fn. 84)

It appears from the inquisitions that many of the neighbouring families held land in Middleton, but the position of the holdings is not given. (fn. 85) 'Hebers,' an estate of 26 acres, &c., then lately inclosed from the waste, was in 1611 held of the king by knight's service by Edmund Hopwood of Hopwood. (fn. 86) Boarshaw was the home of a yeoman family named Jones; one of them, Thomas Jones, was Protestant Archbishop of Dublin from 1605 to 1619, and ancestor of the Viscounts Ranelagh. (fn. 87)

Early in the reign of Henry VIII disputes broke out respecting the boundaries of the manors of Middleton and Bury, which were much intermingled, and a commission was issued to determine them. (fn. 88)


Formerly the government of the place was in the hands of the constables chosen at the manor court held in May. An Improvement Act for Middleton and Tonge was passed in 1861; (fn. 89) these townships had long been treated as forming one town, though in different parishes. In 1886 a charter of incorporation was granted, (fn. 90) and the town is governed by a council composed of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, six for each of the wards—North, South, and West—into which the borough has been divided. The corporation own the gasworks, which were established in 1847 and transferred to the town in 1861. (fn. 91) Water is supplied by the Heywood and Middleton Water Board. (fn. 92) The town has a commission of the peace; the police station, with court room, was built in 1873. The corporation have established a free library, (fn. 93) built in 1888, a small park, public baths, and a fire brigade. A cemetery was formed in 1861.

Lord Suffield in 1791 procured a charter for holding a weekly market on Friday and three annual fairs; he also erected a market-house and shambles, taken down in 1851. The charter was for a long time practically useless; in 1840 there was no market held on Friday, and the business done on Saturday was trivial. At that time also the fairs were scarcely observed; the times fixed were the first Thursdays after 10 March and 15 April, and the second Thursday after 29 September. (fn. 94) A monthly fair was established in 1862.

To minister to the largely increased population many places of worship have in recent times been erected. In connexion with the Church of England Holy Trinity, Parkfield, was consecrated in 1862; the rector of Middleton is the patron. (fn. 95)

The Wesleyans 'originally met for devotion in a chapel at Back of the Brow, where they continued till about 1788, when they removed to a chapel at the bottom of Barrowfields.' (fn. 96) This was followed in 1805 by a chapel in Wood Street, represented by the present one in Long Street, built in 1901. There is another chapel at Rhodes. The Primitive Methodists appeared in 1821 at Middleton, and at Rhodes in 1835; they have also a chapel at Bowlee. The New Connexion held meetings in 1804, and though they erected a chapel at Barrowfields, became extinct in a few years. The Wesleyan Association held meetings in 1837, but failed; subsequently work was resumed, and as the United Free Church the body has chapels in the town and at Hebers.

The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion used the abandoned New Connexion chapel in 1815, but in 1824 built St. Stephen's in High Street.

The Congregationalists held meetings as early as 1818, and used the New Connexion chapel for some years, with varying success, and at last in 1836 built Providence Chapel; this was replaced by the present building in 1860. A division in the congregation occurred in 1866, and Salem Chapel, built in 1855 by secessionists from the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, was acquired and continues in use. (fn. 97)

The Baptists have a chapel, dating from 1862.

The Swedenborgians first met in a cottage in 1801, and in 1832 opened the New Jerusalem Temple in Wood Street; they have another at Rhodes, begun in 1861.

The Unitarians in 1825 unsuccessfully tried to form a congregation. Their present church originated in services in the Temperance Hall in 1860.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic school-chapel was built in 1867. There is a house of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and Passion. (fn. 98)


  • 1. The acreage in the Census Report of 1901–4,775 acres, including 64 of inland water—is that of the enlarged area of the borough-township. Tonge was included with Middleton in the first Improvement Act, 1861. Alkrington and parts of Hopwood and Thornham were added in 1879. The borough of Middleton was incorporated in 1886 and now includes, in addition to the above, parts of Great and Little Heaton. In 1894 the whole borough was made into a single civil parish, the separate townships thus disappearing; Loc. Govt. Bd. Order 31625.
  • 2. This also refers to the enlarged area.
  • 3. E. Butterworth, Middleton, 6. To this work also are due the notes on the rise of the manufactures. Other details have been derived from Mr. S. Partington's illustrated Handbook for the 1900 Jubilee of the Middleton and Tonge Industrial Society, an offshoot of the Cooperative movement. This volume contains extracts from the overseers' accounts of 1766 and later years (148, &c.); also a valuation of 1789 (157).
  • 4. Information of the late Mr. John Desn, of Middleton, who kindly supplied other details.
  • 5. Formerly the old Sessions House; now used as an assembly room; Manch. Guard. 29 Oct. 1904.
  • 6. Handbook, 131. See also N. and Q. (4th ser.), vii, 119.
  • 7. Subsidy R. bdle. 250, no. 9 Lancs.
  • 8. There were also riots in 1820 and 1843.
  • 9. There is an account of him in Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 10. Handbook, 143.
  • 11. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 59, 60. Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, in right of his wife Alice, held the manor of Middleton before his forfeiture; ibid, ii, 102. In the sheriff's compotus of 1348 account was rendered of 13s. 4d. of the rent of Isabel the queen for the manor of Middleton, of the inheritance of Alice, Countess of Lincoln; also of 10s. for ward of Lancaster Castle. In 1840 it was stated: 'Middleton is held of the Castle of Clitheroe alone, and the lord owes suit and service to the principal court of the honour only; but in modern times courts have been established in various parts of the honour for the convenience of the holders in fee; and the court at which Middleton renders service is held at Holcombe in Tottington'; E. Butterworth, Middleton, 9.
  • 12. The charter is printed in Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), iii, 448.
  • 13. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 77. In 1201–2 he paid ½ mark to the tallage, and 20s. to the scutage in 1205–6; ibid. 151, 205. In 1202 he released to William de Radcliffe his claim on the advowson of Radcliffe; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 10. On the Middleton family see Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xvii, 32–47.
  • 14. Inq. and Extents, i, 60, 66. Roger de Middleton released to the monks of Stanlaw all his claim to Threpfield by Marland, his son Alan concurring; Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc), ii, 619, 620.
  • 15. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 129. She held nothing of the king.
  • 16. Whalley Coucher, ii, 621. Roger de Middleton and Robert his son also attested a Byron charter; Byron Chartul. (Towneley MSS.), s.d. 22. Robert son of Roger de Middleton made a grant to his aunt Helewise; his brothers William and Alan were witnesses, and his seal—bearing a fleur de lis?—is appended; see notes on Middleton Church.
  • 17. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 153. Robert was living in 1236; Final. Conc. i, 74.
  • 18. By fine at Lancaster (in or before 1241) Geoffrey de Middleton had obtained the third part of four plough-lands with their appurtenances in Middleton, of which Robert de Middleton was then tenant. At Easter 1243 Roger son and heir of Robert made complaint respecting the third part of four plough-lands in Middleton—Pilsworth, Thornham, Ainsworth, and Birtle; for Geoffrey should have only 6 oxgangs in Pilsworth, 1 oxgang in Ainsworth, and the moiety of the assart in Pilsworth which used to belong to Robert father of Roger, whereas he had occupied about 10 oxgangs; and further, Geoffrey had thrown down the houses which Roger had erected on his part of those 10 oxgangs, and carried off all the corn sown there. The 6 oxgangs in Pilsworth were held by Avice widow of Roger de Middleton (4), Aylward Brand (1), and Robert son of Blethyn (1), and that in Ainsworth by Adam Blundus. Geoffrey on his part denied having occupied more than 7 oxgangs or done the damage alleged. The parties afterwards came to an agreement; Curia Regis R. 128, m. 4; 130, m. 12; also Assize R. 404, m. 3 d. A Butterworth charter, but perhaps of much later date, was attested by Roger de Middleton and Geoffrey his brother; Byron Chartul. Edw. I, 64.
  • 19. There is nothing to show whether three or only two Rogers held Middleton in succession. If there were three the connexion between the first and second is unknown. By an undated charter (about 1260) Sir Geoffrey de Chetham granted to Roger son of Robert de Middleton his claim to the homage and service of Robert del Holt; Thomas de Prestwich and David de Hulton were witnesses; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 129b. Roger de Middleton occurs in 1275 when Robert de Stakel claimed a tenement in Middleton against him; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xliv, App. 185. He was witness to a Lacy grant in 1277; Whalley Coucher ii, 595; see also Final Conc, i, 218. Roger was defendant in claims made in 1292 by the Radcliffes, who were nonsuited; Assize R. 408, m. 30 d. 32 d. In 1297 he presented his son John to the rectory of Middleton; Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 8. In the same year he attested a Farnworth charter; Lever Chartul. (Add. MS. 32103), no. 69. Roger de Middleton and Roger his son attested a Rochdale charter in 1296; Byron Chartul. Edw. I, 15. About this time a Robert son of Roger de Middleton appears. He made a grant to Sir Roger de Pilkington and Margery his wife; Lever Chartul. no. 32. In 1306 he gave all his lands in Middleton to Roger de Middleton, 'his lord'; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 129b. To a Hopwood charter of 1302 among the witnesses were John, rector of Middleton, Roger de Middleton, and Robert de Middleton the younger.
  • 20. Roger de Middleton, the 'lord' of Robert (see last note), was probably this son), and the surrender made by Robert may indicate approximately the time of succession. In 1302 Roger (or perhaps his father), as holding a knight's fee in Middleton of the Earl of Lincoln, contributed to the aid for marrying the king's daughter; Inq. and Extents, i, 313. In 1311 it was found that he held of the earl the manor of Middleton by a knight's fee and suit to the court of Clitheroe; De Lacy Inq. (Chet. Soc), 19. In another extent of about the same period he was stated to hold four plough-lands and 2 oxgangs in Middleton; Duchy of Lane. Knights' Fees, bdle. 1, no. n, fol. 27 d. In 1306 as Roger son of Roger de Middleton he appeared as defendant; Coram Rege R. 184, m. 24 d. He obtained from Ellis de Ainsworth in 1310 a messuage and land in Middleton; Final Conc, ii, 6. In 1317 he secured three messuages and various lands from Richard de Rumworth and Maud his wife; ibid, ii, 22.
  • 21. Ibid, ii, 17. This fine concerns twothirds of the manor; the other third may have been held as dower by his father's widow, together with the advowson of the church.
  • 22. Ibid, ii, 24. The widow had probably died. The remainders are the same as before. Roger and his wife in 1319 had an estate in Middleton settled upon them by Henry de Orrell and Cecily his wife; the remainders were as before, except that Joan was omitted; ibid, ii, 30.
  • 23. Inq. p.m. 16 Edw. II, no. 49. The writ was issued on 18 Aug. He held of the king in chief, inasmuch as the lordship of Tottington, like all other of Earl Thomas's lands, had been taken into the king's hands. There was a capital messuage; 80 acres in demesne worth 53s. 4d.; 10 acres of meadow, worth 10s., but 'nothing this year because mowed before Roger's death'; 10 acres of several pasture worth 20d.; the moiety of 100 acres of wood, held in common with the lady of Bury, 'whose herbage lies in the common pasture for the tenants of Bury and Middleton'; pannage of the same moiety; a water-mill worth 13s. 4d. a year; rents of free tenants 46s. 10d.; rents of other tenants 14s. The clear value of the manor was £7 2s. 6d. The manor was held by Roger jointly with his wife by the service of one knight's fee; by suit to the county court of Lancaster from six weeks to six weeks, to the wapentake court of Salford from three weeks to three weeks, and to the court of Tottington from three weeks to three weeks; also by a payment of 10s. a year for castle-ward and 13s. 4d. for sake fee. Roger's heirs were his daughters—Ellen (aged twenty), Maud (eighteen), Alice (sixteen), Margaret (twelve), and Margery (nine). There is nothing to show why Maud, the second daughter, took precedence of her sister Ellen in the succession. The younger daughters, Margaret and Margery, appear to have died without issue, as in 1350 Maud, Ellen, and Alice were described as the co-heirs, and the last-named seems to have resigned her right to her sister Maud; Assize R. 1444, m. 3 d.
  • 24. She presented to the rectory in 1328 (as Agnes de Barton), 1339, 1340, and 1343, as will be seen by the list of rectors. She married (2) John de Barton, and (3) John de Malton. From a Rivington dispensation it appears that Agnes was a sister of Adam de Hulton; Towneley MS. GG, no. 2055. John de Barton and Agnes his wife were plaintiffs in 1324 in respect of a messuage and land in Middleton; De Banco R. 252, m. 43 d. In 1328 John de Malton and Agnes his wife demised to trustees the dower lands of Agnes, after the death of John de Barton; Dods. MSS. cliii, fol. 82. In the following year Richard de Whitlegh and Alice his wife, Henry the Mouner of Thornton and Ellen his wife, and Robert son of Robert de Thornton did not prosecute their claim for land in Middleton against John de Malton and Agnes his wife, Thomas de Barton, Maud his wife, and John, Roger, Thomas, Adam, and William, their sons; Assize R. 427, m. 3 d. A settlement was made in 1335; Final Conc, ii, 97. Agnes, as widow of Roger de Middleton, in 1336 released to her daughter Maud her right to lands in Meadowcroft, Lynalx, Birtle, Ainsworth, and Ashworth in the vill of Middleton; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 129. Her seal showed a lion rampant. Agnes, the widow, complained in 1340 that Thomas de Newbold, rector of Middleton, Geoffrey son of Ellen de Middleton, and others had broken her close at Middleton; De Banco R. 321, m. 244; 326, m. 79. In 1347 she made a claim against Roger de Harwood and Ellen his wife, who was the eldest daughter of Roger; and in the same year Geoffrey Pusshe claimed half an oxgang of land against Agnes; Assize R. 1435, m. 51 d; De Banco R. 351, m. 223 d. Agnes was a defendant in 1353; Assize R. 435, m. 22 d.
  • 25. See the plea quoted in the last note. Thomas de Barton and Maud his wife were in 1331 defendants in a plea respecting a messuage and lands in Middleton; De Banco R. 287, m. 480 d. The Bartons are usually described as 'of Rydale,' and probably did not reside at Middleton till the end of the 14th century.
  • 26. Maud wife of John de Ainsworth in 1342 complained that her trees at Middleton had been cut down and carried off; De Banco R. 332, m. 30 d. Roger de Harwood and Ellen his wife in 1344 and later claimed a messuage, 80 acres of land, &c., in Middleton, against John de Ainsworth and Maud his wife. It was alleged that Joan, daughter of Roger son of Roger de Middleton, had died without issue, and that the estate claimed should then have passed to Ellen; De Banco R. 340, m. 430; 345, m. 330 d.; 349, m. 279 d.
  • 27. He was outlawed for the death of Adam son of Ellis de Knowles, and the manor taken into the duke's hands, as appears by an inquiry held in 1366. After a year and a day it should be given to William son of John de Barton of Rydale, and others; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 130b; L.T.R. Memo. R. 131, 132; Chan. Inq. p.m. 43 Edw. III, pt. i, no. 72. Though the date of the inquiry was 1366 it will be seen from the list of rectors that the Duke of Lancaster presented to the rectory in 1351, by reason of the forfeiture of John de Ainsworth. John was still living, and the duke in possession, in 1382, but must have died soon after this, as Ralph de Barton presented to the rectory in 1386; Cal. Pat. 1381–5, p. 132; and list of rectors. John de Ainsworth's son John was outlawed for debt in 1373; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 27, 37.
  • 28. John de Barton of Rydale in 1350 claimed thirty messuages, 200 acres of land, &c., in Middleton, held by John de Ainsworth, Maud his wife, and John their son. It appeared that the elder John received two-thirds of the estate claimed with Maud his wife, and the other third by grant of her sister Alice, with life remainder to Robert son of Thomas de Barton; Assize R. 1444, m. 3 d. Grants by Alice daughter of Roger de Middleton to John son of Robert de Ainsworth and Maud his wife in 1347–8 are preserved in Towneley MS. GG. no. 1710, 1927. In 1351 John de Barton charged Adam de Meadowcroft and others with driving his cattle away; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1, m. 5, 6. He made a similar complaint in 1352; ibid. R. 2, m. 10 d. He was defendant for a debt as late as 1356, but 'did not appear;' ibid. R. 5, m. 7, 25. He is called 'John de Rydale' in the aid 1346–55, when he held the knight's fee in Middleton formerly held by the heirs of Robert de Middleton; Feud. Aids, iii, 87.
  • 29. Thomas was no doubt the younger brother of John, mentioned above in 1329. He appears as defendant in a plea respecting lands in Middleton from Dec. 1355, the claimant being John son of Adam de Wardley; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 4, m. 25 d.; 5, m. 10; 6, m. 4; 7, m. 5.
  • 30. As in the above-cited inquisition on the outlawry of John de Ainsworth, William son of John de Barton was defendant in 1363 and plaintiff in 1367, in suits respecting tenements in Middleton; De Banco R. 415, m. 142 d.; 426, m. 285 d. In 1370 Thomas de Barton of Rydale released to William de Barton and Isabel daughter of William de Radcliffe all his right in the manor of Middleton; the armorial seal shows ermine, on a fess three annulets; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol 130b. About the same time the feoffees settled on William and Isabel the manor of Middleton with the advowson of the church, and lands in Ainsworth, Meadowcroft, Thornham, Hanging Chadder, Birtle and Ashworth, after the death of John de Ainsworth; ibid. fol. 130. In 1379 William de Barton of Fryton was to cross the seas in the forces of John of Gaunt; Baines, Lancs, (ed. 1868), i, 115. In 1381–2 he granted to Richard Browne of Nasserton land in Middleton and the advowson of the church there; Close, 5 Ric. II, m. 28 d. By fine in Aug. 1382 he granted the manor to William de Atherton for life, with reversion to himself and his heirs; Final Conc, iii, 14. The writ of Diem cl extr. after his death was issued 12 Dec. 1384; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 357. Isabel survived her husband, for in 1391 Ralph son of William de Barton of Rydale granted a rent of £10 to his mother Isabel daughter of William de Radcliffe, to be taken annually out of his manor of Middleton; Raines D. (Chet. Lib.).
  • 31. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 86, 93. Nothing is said as to the tenure of the manor, but its 'hamlets' are named as Ashworth, Birtle, Ainsworth, Meadowcroft, and Lynalx. See also Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 528. A settlement of the manor of Middleton was made in 1390, the remainder being to Richard the son of Ralph; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 131. The feoffees granted Ralph leave to present to the rectory; ibid.; and in fact he presented in 1386, 1390, and 1395, as appears by the list of rectors. Ralph probably married a daughter of William Fairfax; Dods. MSS. cliii, fol. 94. In 1389–90 he enfeoffed John Fairfax, rector of Prescot, Thomas Gerard, and Thomas Fairfax, of the manor of Middleton, for his life; Close R. 13 Ric. II, pt. i, m. 20 d.
  • 32. Richard de Barton proved his age in 1408; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 8. He in 1418 enfeoffed John del Booth and others of the tenements occupied by William del Holt, William del Lumhalghes (Lomax), and Christopher Kay, to hold for his mother Isabel for her life and then to that one of his sons who should marry a daughter of Sir John Byron; Dods. MSS. lviii, fol. 166. The seal showed the Barton arms as before. It appears that John his son and heir waa to marry Margaret daughter of Sir John Byron, or, should she die, then Ellen, another daughter; Dods. MSS. lviii, fol. 166b; Harl.MS. 2112, fol. 113b/150b. In 1421 John del Booth, the elder, and other feoffees demised to John son of Richard de Barton of Middleton and Margaret his wife certain tenements in Ainsworth; Dods. MSS. lviii, fol. 164b.
  • 33. In 1425 Robert de Pilkington and William his brother released to Richard de Barton of Middleton all their right in his lands; ibid, cxlii, fol. 131. Richard had sworn on the gospels that he would give to Richard son of Robert de Pilkington seisin for life of lands called the Rhodes in Middleton; ibid. fol. 131b. There are several deeds relating to this grant in Towneley MS. GG, no. 1692, 1778–9, 1837–8, 1844–5. In 1431 he was found to hold a knight's fee in Middleton; Feud. Aids, iii, 96. He was in 1444 exempted from serving on juries, &c.; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 538.
  • 34. Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 132, 133; the agreement was made between Richard Barton and Sir Thomas Ashton, brother of Ralph. Richard was to settle £100 a year out of his lands on Margery in fee. She is described as 'cousin and heir apparent' of Richard, and was under fourteen years of age. Alice the wife of Richard is mentioned; ibid. fol. 133.
  • 35. See an essay by Mr. John Dean in Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xvi, 102–33. There may have been two Richards in succession, which would explain the uncertainty as to the patronage of the church in 1462, when a Richard Barton presented. This uncertainty, however, may have been due to a claim put forward for the Crown. In an extent of 1445–6 it is recorded that 'Richard Barton holds the manor of Middleton by the service of one knight's fee; the relief therefor being 100s. He was in ward'; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, bdle. 2, no. 20. The tenant at this time at first sight appears to have been Richard the son of Richard, and a minor, but the final clause no doubt refers to the minority of the elder Richard. There is on record, moreover, a description of the monument of Richard de Barton and Alice his wife. The inscription has been incorrectly read, stating that Richard died in 1451; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), vi, 258. His widow Alice was still alive in 1480.
  • 36. These agreements, between Ralph Ashton and Margery his wife on the one side and Richard Barton the elder on the other, make provision for Richard Barton the younger, Thomas, William, and Ralph, four sons of Richard Barton the elder, giving each a life interest in certain messuages and lands in Middleton, with remainder to 'the right heirs of the said Richard Barton the elder'; Final Conc. iii, 119–20. 'Richard Barton the elder' must be the grandfather of Margery, the fines securing the reversion of the lands to her as the 'right heir,' and the fine of 1480, quoted later, helps to show that this is the true meaning.
  • 37. Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 133; an indenture reciting that Sir Ralph Ashton and Margery his wife had assigned to Alice widow of Richard Barton certain rents in Lancashire for her dower in Fryton and other rents for her dower in Middleton. About the same time Sir Ralph and Margery, as heir of Richard Barton, were claiming the custody of the manor of Great Lever; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 6 Edw. IV.
  • 38. Final Conc. iii, 138. Sir Ralph Ashton and Margery held twenty-seven messuages, 1,000 acres of lands, &c. in Middleton; while Alice Barton held eight messuages, 300 acres of land, &c.; Margaret Barton eleven messuages, 200 acres of land, &c.; Richard Barton two messuages, 100 acres of land, &c.; and Ralph Barton six messuages, 40 acres of land, &c. all of the inheritance of Margery and reverting to her.
  • 39. Feodary of 1483; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Vols. 130.
  • 40. Metcalfe, Bk. of Knights, 6.
  • 41. See the account in Dict. Nat. Biog. and the numerous references to him in the Calendars of the Patent Rolls of Edward IV and Richard III. Reservations of grants to him were made in several acts of resumption; Rolls of Parl. v, 528, 608; vi, 97, 234. He seems to have been concerned with Yorkshire principally. His celebrity makes it the more remarkable that the date and circumstances of his death are unknown. A Ralph Ashton of Middleton, perhaps a son, was pardoned in 1479; Towneley MS. RR, no. 1442.
  • 42. The patent is printed in Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 151. It gave, in particular, authority to examine and proceed against persons suspected of high treason. About the same time Richard III is said to have made a grant to Sir Ralph of the manor of Middleton; Aikin, Manch. 242. In 1480 Sir Ralph Ashton of Fryton and Margery his wife granted land in Birtle and Middleton, &c. to his son Richard and Isabel his wife, daughter of John Talbot of Salebury; Kuerden fol. MS. 39, no. 648; also 38, no. 635; Towneley, MS. HH, no. 2061.
  • 43. See the account of Ashton-underLyne.
  • 44. Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 132b; it included the reversion of all the lands in Middleton after the death of Dame Margaret Harcourt, widow, Richard Barton, and Ralph Barton, which sometime were the lands of Richard Barton, father of the said Richard. Dame Margaret Harcourt was the widow of John Barton, who married Sir William Atherton (Kuerden III, A 13, n. 32), and then Sir Robert Harcourt, K.G.; their monument remains in Stanton Harcourt Church; Collins, Peerage (ed. 1779), v, 267.
  • 45. In a plea of 1509 is cited an inquisition of 20 Hen. VII made after the death of Sir Ralph Ashton of Middleton, in which he is stated to have died on 10 April, Richard his son and heir being twentyfour years of age; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 110, m. 8. The year of his death is not mentioned, but from the age of his son as given it must have been about 1485, as the son was a father in 1482. Sir Ralph was living in 1485, as appears by the Calendar of Patent Rolls of that year.
  • 46. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xl, App. 541.
  • 47. In Scotland, by Lord Strange; Metcalfe, Knights, 31.
  • 48. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 24; there is recited a feoffment of two messuages, 200 acres of land, &c. parcel of the manor, to his son Richard and Anne his wife. His brass, showing the figures of himself, his wife Isabel, and their family of seven sons and six daughters, is given in Mr. Dean's paper above mentioned, and in Thornely's Lancs. Brasses, 73. It may be identified by the description in Trans. Hist. Soc. vi, 258–9. There is another brass commemorating his daughter Alice and her three husbands; Thornely, op. cit. 203.
  • 49. Visit, of 1533 (Chet. Soc), 59; he wished to know how his achievement could be commemorated in his arms. His wife was Anne daughter of Sir Thomas Strickland, and she had borne him seven sons and a daughter. In June 1521 an agreement was made by Sir Thomas Gerard and Richard Ashton by which Richard son and heir of the latter was to marry Anne daughter of Sir Thomas; Anne wife of Richard Ashton the father, and Thomas and Edmund his brothers, are named; Dods. MSS. lviii, fol. 166, no. 34. Sir Richard Ashton partly rebuilt the church; see Iter Lancastrense (Chet. Soc), 3, 34.
  • 50. Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. 22, p. 63.
  • 51. He was not described as a knight at the visitation in 1533, but in 1541 as Sir Richard he contributed to the subsidy; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 143.
  • 52. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, 28; he held the manor of Middleton, twenty messuages, &c. there, and the advowson of the church, by the service of a knight's fee and a rent of 23s. 4d. a year. The inquisition gives details of provision for Lady Anne Bellingham, widow of Sir Robert Bellingham, whom he married as his second wife (19 Oct. 1541) and who was living at Middleton in 1549; also (1541) for Katherine wife of his son and heir Richard, also living at Middleton; also for Ralph, Leonard, John, and Thomas, younger sons, living respectively at Atherton, Chelsea, Cambridge, and Newstead, Notts. Robert, another son, was rector of Middleton, John succeeding him. Sir Richard was buried at Middleton on 14 Jan. 1548–9. In the older printed pedigrees there seems to be some confusion at this point. Special licence of entry was given to the heir in 1549; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 550.
  • 53. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. ix, no. 23. The provision made for the younger sons is set forth as in the last inquisition; John Ashton was still at Cambridge. Mary the daughter of Sir Richard had married Sir John Southworth. By Richard Ashton and Katherine his wife various messuages in Middleton, including the manor or site of the manor, were granted to trustees as a marriage settlement on Richard the son and heir, and Elizabeth daughter of Sir William Davenport. For the marriage see Earwaker, East Ches. i, 437, 451. The marriage was arranged in 1551, and Elizabeth accordingly became seised of Middleton Hall, the Little Park (2 acres), and lands in Middleton called Brereleighs, the Bottoms, and the Hills. After Richard Ashton's death she appears to have married one Bradburn, and being convicted of felony and murder, her lands came into the queen's possession. Elizabeth died at Middleton 17 Feb. 1606–7, the conviction having never been rescinded; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 75.
  • 54. Special licence of entry was granted to the heir on 24 June 1558; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 550.
  • 55. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xi, 3; in addition to Middleton and Radcliffe he held land in Bamford of the Earl of Derby. The inquisition states that Katherine widow of his father Richard, who afterwards married Sir William Radcliffe, was then living at Ordsall. A few days before his death Richard Ashton granted to trustees the manor and church of Radcliffe and Middleton Park for the use of John, a younger son. In April 1564 the queen granted Gilbert Gerard custody of the body and marriage of the heir, with an annual rent of £13 6s. 8d. out of the manor of Middleton; Duchy of Lanc. Misc. Bks. xxiii, 262 d.; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 550. Warrant for livery of his lands was granted to the heir in Nov. 1579; ibid. The minority probably accounts for the unsatisfactory character of the pedigree recorded in 1567; Visit. (Chet. Soc), 64.
  • 56. In 1597–8 and 1606–7; P.R.O. List, 73. About this time the spelling of the surname became fixed in its present form. A settlement of the estates was made in 1582 by Richard Assheton and Mary his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 44, m. 73.
  • 57. Metcalte, Knights, 145. About the same time a settlement of the manors of Middleton and Radcliffe, &c., was made by Sir Richard Assheton and Mary his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 65, no. 42. A brief pedigree was recorded in 1613; Visit. (Chet. Soc), 7.
  • 58. 'Dec. 27, St. John's Day [1617] I with my Coz. Assheton to Middleton. Sir Ric. had left his speech, and did not know a man. . . . He departed very calmly about eight at night. No extraordinary sorrow, because his death was so apparent in his sickness. Presently upon his death there was inquiring after his will, which was showed by Mr. John Greenhalgh of Brandlesome and Sir Richard's second son Ralph Assheton, who with my lady were executors, and Coz. Assheton of Whalley supervisor. My now Coz. Assheton of Middleton, Richard, began to demand the keys of the gates and of the study for the evidence, and to call for the plate, upon cause his brother John had some part in them. There were some likeness of present falling out of him and the executors, which certainly had been, had not my Coz. Assheton of Whalley so [managed] as was little or no discord. The reason was former unkindness between Sir Ric. and his son, to which Sir Ric. was moved by my lady and those that were of her faction'; N. Assheton's Diary (Chet. Soc), 70–2. Sir Richard was buried at Middleton on 28 Dec. 'My lady' was Sir Richard's second wife, Mary, daughter of Robert Holt, of Ashworth.
  • 59. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 104–7. The inquisition states that his father, Sir Richard Assheton, had in 1599 assigned an annual rent of £20 as provision for his son John, who in 1619 was still living at Middleton; he made a settlement on Mary his wife in 1604, who also was living in 1619; in 1614 he provided for his youngest son Ralph. On Sir Richard's death, 27 Dec. 1617, his son and heir Richard succeeded. He made various grants of annuities, including one of £13 6s. 8d. to his younger brother John, who gave him £100. The manor of Middleton and various messuages and lands in Middleton, Pilsworth, Thornham, Ainsworth, Birtle, Siddal, and Tonge were held of the king as of his Duchy of Lancaster by knight's service and 23s. 4d. rent, and were worth 100 marks clear per annum. Mary his wife survived him, and was the executrix. There is in the church a brass of Richard Assheton, his wife, and their six sons and two daughters, with an inscription stating that he died 7 Nov. 1618 in the forty-first year of his age. He was buried on 19 Nov. His widow, a 'right worthy and truly religious matron,' was also buried at Midaleton, 27 Feb. 1644–5.
  • 60. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 223. In 1628 and 1636 he made settlements of the manor of Middleton; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 114, no. 5; 129, no. 18.
  • 61. Pink and Beaven, Parl. Repre. of Lancs. 71; he was 'excluded or disabled by ordinance of the House in 1648.'
  • 62. In 1642 it was understood he was to bring £250 to the aid of the Parliament; N. and Q. (Ser. 1), xii, 360.
  • 63. The following references are from Ormerod's Civil War Tracts (Chet. Soc.): p. 2—Deputy-Lieutenant, 1642; p. 16— prevented the King's Commissioners from seizing the powder in Manchester, June 1642; pp. 51, 333—sent 150 of his Middleton tenants in complete arms to defend Manchester, where they behaved very steadily, Sept. 1642; p. 62—was allowed a 'small brass piece' for the defence of his house, Nov. 1642; p. 81—Colonel in command of the 500 troops who guarded Bolton against the attacks of Lord Derby's troops, Feb. 1642–3; p. 87–relieved Lancaster, Mar. 1643; p. 90—appointed on the committee for 'sequestering notorious delinquents' estates,' 1 Apr. 1643; pp. 95–8—defeated Lord Derby at Whalley, Apr. 1643; p. 98—the 'brave and victorious Colonel Assheton' drove the Royalists out of Wigan, 22 Apr. 1643; pp. 104–6 —captured Liverpool, Hornby, and Thurland, May and June 1643; p. 153— surprised and overpowered by Lord Byron near Middlewich, Dec. 1643; p. 154— took part a few days later in the relief of Nantwich, being particularly praised by Fairfax; pp. 162–85—took part in the first siege of Lathom, Feb. to May 1644; p. 252—commanded the Lancashire forces against the Duke of Hamilton, June 1648; p. 261—he and his men highly praised by Cromwell for their gallantry in the fight at Preston, Aug. 1648; p. 274—relieved Cockermouth and took Appleby, Oct. 1648; p. 277—his disbanded troops mutinied at Clitheroe, Mar. 1649. Colonel Assheton is frequently mentioned in the Lancs, War (Chet. Soc.); in particular are described his activity and success in clearing the county of Lord Derby and his men in the spring of 1643 (pp. 37–40). Some of his letters, dated 1645, are printed in Whitaker's Whalley, ii, 153, 154; one sentence is not complimentary to the other leading Parliamentarians of the county:—'If Stanley, Booth, Holcroft, Egerton, and such like must be applauded and chiefly observed, I will not only stay here but send for my son to come to me, for I scorn that he shall receive orders from them.' The same consciousness of his own importance is manifest on the spirited brass in the church.
  • 64. Thornely, Brasses, 291.
  • 65. Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 152; one Utley was for it executed at Lancaster Assizes. Richard son of Ralph Assheton, esq., was buried at Middleton 27 Mar. 1630. John another son is said to have retired to France after the execution of Charles I, and to have died there.
  • 66. G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, iii, 113. He married Anne daughter of Sir Ralph Assheton of Whalley, and recorded a pedigree in 1664; Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), 14. A settlement of the family manors was made in 1650 by Ralph Assheton and Elizabeth Assheton, widow; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 148, m. 119.
  • 67. He was buried at Middleton 2 May 1665. His funeral is described in Lancs, and Ches. Hist, and Gen. Notes, iii, 67.
  • 68. He died 4 May and was buried 10 May 1716 at Middleton, where there is a monument. Two daughters and coheirs were married at Middleton within twelve months—Katherine on 27 Nov. to Thomas Lister of Arnold Biggin, Yorkshire; and Mary on 19 Feb. to Nathaniel Curzon of Kedleston. A grandson of the former daughter, Thomas Lister, was created Lord Ribblesdale in 1797; the elder son of the latter daughter, Nathaniel, was created Lord Scarsdale in 1761, and the younger, Assheton, was created Viscount Curzon in 1802. The other daughter and co-heir Anne married Humphrey Trafford; from her are descended the Vavasours of Spaldington.
  • 69. Pink and Beaven, op. cit, 191, 80.
  • 70. Settlements of the manor were made by Sir Ralph Assheton in 1721 and again in 1739; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 512, m. 3; 548, m. 4.
  • 71. There is a monument to him in the church, erected by his daughters; also to his widow Eleanor, 'who closed a most exemplary life of piety and charity ' on 25 Mar. 1793.
  • 72. By fine in Mar. 1776 a settlement was made by Harbord Harbord and Mary his wife of a moiety of the manors of Middleton and Radcliffe (or Radcliffe Tower), and a moiety of 220 messuages, three water-mills, a fulling-mill, gardens, lands, rents, and views of frankpledge in Middleton, Pilsworth, Thornham, Ainsworth, Great Lever, Little Lever, Birtle with Hopwood, Prestwich, &c., also of the advowsons of Middleton and Radcliffe; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 375, m. 153. In 1779 the duchy received a rent of £1 11s. 10d. for Middleton from Harbord Harbord; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals, bdle. 14, no. 25 m. The other moiety of the estate was in 1771 settled by Sir Thomas Egerton and Eleanor his wife; ibid. bdle. 385, m. 246.
  • 73. The land tax returns of 1787 show that Lord Suffield owned practically all the land, except Langley; returns at Preston. For the pedigree see G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vii, 299. Sir Harbord Harbord (formerly Morden), 2nd baronet of Gunton, Norfolk, was created Lord Suffield in 1786 and died in 1810. His son William Assheton Harbord succeeded, but died in 1821 without issue, when a younger brother, Edward Harbord, followed. 'His lordship frequently visited Middleton, and occasionally manifested a kind regard to the indigent of the place'; E. Butterworth, Middleton, 18. He died in 1835 from injuries sustained by falling from his horse on Constitution Hill. His son Edward Vernon Harbord succeeded, and being without issue sold the Lancashire manors and estates. There was a recovery of the manor in 1814, Lord Suffield and Edward Harbord being vouchees; Pal. of Lanc. Assize R. 7, Lent 54 Geo. Ill, rot. 12.
  • 74. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1868), i, 469. Some half-dozen Middleton deeds in the possession of Sir S. Morton Peto, bart., were transcribed by Canon Raines in 1855; see his MSS. (Chet Lib.), xxxi, 57.
  • 75. Baines, ut sup.
  • 76. Ibid. (ed. Croston), ii, 410.
  • 77. Rev. T. Corser's notes to James's Iter Lancastrense (Chet. Soc. vii), 31.
  • 78. Rev. F. R. Raines's notes to Nicholas Assbeton's Journal (Chet. Soc. xiv), 70. A sculptured chimney-piece from the hall is now in possession of the Middleton Corporation, and some of the panelling is at Turton Tower.
  • 79. E. Butterworth, loc. cit.
  • 80. William de Langley ('Longeley') attested a Hopwood charter in 1302. William son of William de Langley was in 1313 called upon by Roger de Middleton to defend his title to certain lands; De Banco R. 199, m. 124. The same name occurs in the Subsidy Roll of 1332, and as witness to another Hopwood charter in 1347. In 1388–9 Thomas son of William de Langley sold lands in Hopwood to Geoffrey de Hopwood; Hopwood D. In 1466 Thomas Langley of Essex sold the estate to James Radcliffeof Langley; Raines in Notitia Cestr. ii, 99. The homage and service of Robert son of Ellis del Holt and heirs for tenements held of Sir Geoffrey de Chetham in land called Langley was transferred to Roger de Middleton about 1270; Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 129b.
  • 81. James Radcliffe of Langley in 1492 granted to feoffees his 'manor of Langley,' and all his lands in Middleton and Manchester, for the use of Owen (Ewan) Radcliffe, his bastard son, and heirs male; in default, for Margaret Radcliffe, his bastard daughter, for life, and then for Richard Radcliffe of Radcliffe and his heirs. In 1496 accordingly the feoffees gave the estate to Owen Radcliffe, with remainder to Margaret then wife of William Urmston; Towneley MS. CC. no. 637. About 1524 Isabel, Agnes, and Elizabeth Radcliffe, daughters of Roger Radcliffe, the brother of Richard above named, claimed 'Langley's Thing in Middleton' in virtue of the above feoffment, Owen and Margaret being dead; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 250. Their contention was that Owen had only a life interest, but the above-cited deed shows that that was erroneous. He seems to have left male issue. A settlement of an estate in Middleton, Manchester, &c., was made in 1535; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 11, m. 71. This seems to have been transferred by Owen to Richard Radcliffe in 1547; ibid. bdle. 13, m. 227. Vane (Evan or Owen) Radcliffe was buried at Middleton, 15 Mar. 1547–8. Richard Radcliffe of Langley married Elizabeth daughter of James Gerard of Ince; Visit. of 1567 (Chet. Soc), 81. He died 2 May 1577, holding a capital messuage in Middleton called the hall of Langley, and messuages, &c., in Middleton and Siddal of the lord of Middleton in socage, by a rent of 20d. for all services. He also held messuages and lands in Bolton and Spotland. In 1564 the estate in Marland, Castleton, and Spotland had been settled upon him and his son and heir Owen, who at his father's death was about thirtysix years of age; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 19. Another settlement was made in 1575; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 37, m. 10. Owen Radcliffe made a settlement of his estates in Middleton and elsewhere in 1591; they comprised fifty messuages, three dovecotes, three water-mills, 2,000 acres of land, &c.; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 53, m. 38. He died 30 Sept. 1599, leaving a daughter as heir, Mary, the wife of Gabriel Tedder (Tudor), eighteen years of age; but his brother Edmund succeeded to the Langley estate; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xvii, 14. Owen and Edmund Radcliffe were engaged in various suits between 1586 and 1600; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 176, 245, 247, 425. Further details of the family and its property are given in the inquisition after the death of Edmund Radcliffe in 1604, when Henry, his son and heir, over twenty-two years of age, succeeded; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 20–2. Henry Radcliffe died 15 Dec. 1630, holding the manor of Marland in Rochdale and Langley and other lands in Middleton; the latter were held of Ralph Assheton, lord of Middleton, in socage by a rent of 2s. yearly. Richard, the son and heir, was twenty-seven years of age, and Henry's wife Elizabeth survived him; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. xxvii, 25. The widow and son joined in the sale of Marland in 1630; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxiv, 312. It appears from the Middleton registers that Elizabeth Radcliffe, the widow, was buried 9 Feb. 1632–3, and that Richard Radcliffe had a number of children; but the Langley estate was sold in 1631 by Gabriel Tudor and Mary his wife to Henry Wrigley of Manchester; Raines, loc. cit. The date given may be erroneous, for in Mr. Earwaker's notice of Henry Wrigley in the Manch. Ct. Leet Rec. iv, 186, it is stated that he purchased Chamber Hall in Oldham in 1646 and Langley Hall subsequently. The Radcliffes of Royton are said to be descendants of the Radcliffes of Langley; there is an unsatisfactory pedigree in the Raines MSS. xiii, 230.
  • 82. Several Henry Wrigleys in succession appear to have lived at Langley at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries. Henry son of Henry Wrigley of Langley entered Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1675, aged nineteen, and was afterwards of Gray's Inn; Foster, Alumni. Henry Wrigley of Langley was buried at Middleton, 21 Mar. 1709–10. Henry Wrigley son of Henry Wrigley, deceased, entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1715; M.A. 1722; B.D. 1729. He was fellow (and tutor) 1722–45, being presented by the college to the rectory of Cockfield in Suffolk in 1743. He died in 1766; Scott, Admissions St. John's C. ii,. 218, lxxxviii.
  • 83. On the Rev. Henry Wrigley's death Langley became the estate of his sister Mary, by whose will (dated 1779) it passed to her nephew Henry Ferrabee, son of her sister Elizabeth and Michael Ferrabee, rector of Rolleston. They had been married in 1740; she was living in 1751,. but died before her brother. Henry Ferrabee had several sons; one of them, Michael, was in possession in 1804, but died before 1807, leaving an infant son who died unmarried in 1823. The estate then became divisible among a number of co-heirs. For the deeds see Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxiii, 505–9. It was sold in 1846 for £30,000 to James Collinge, of Oldham; Raines in Notitia, ut supra. The owner in 1886 was Robert Ascroft, sometime M.P. for Oldham; he died in 1899.
  • 84. Oldham Notes and Gleanings, iii, 214. A plaster shield with the arms of a branch of the Radcliffe family was preserved and presented to the Technical School, Middleton; Dean, Historical Middleton, 37.
  • 85. Thomas de Chetham, who died in 1383, held land in Middleton 'of the heirs of Geoffrey de Chadderton' in socage by a rent of ½d. yearly; Towneley MS. DD, no. 1463. In 1615 the land was held of Richard Assheton of Middleton in socage; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 17. Robert Langley of Agecroft held land in Middleton, as part of his Oldham estate, of the king (Henry VIII); and Robert Heywood of Bury held of Langley, by a rent of 6d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, 7; vii, 29. In Elizabeth's reign, Adam Crompton of Farnworth held of the lord of Manchester, and Richard Smethurst held of the lord of Bury, while Christopher Tonge of Tonge held of Richard Assheton of Middleton; ibid, xvi, 18; xvii, 74; xviii, 14. Francis Pulteney, by his will of 1546, left his Lancashire lands—in Royton, Butterworth, and Middleton—to Michael Pulteney, his son and heir; Ct. of Wards and Liveries, Box 146 H, no. 1. Richard Bury died at Middleton in 1614, holding lands there of Sir Richard Assheton, deceased, in socage, by 14½d. rent. His heir was his grandson Richard Bury, son of Thomas, and then twentyfive years of age; ibid, ii, 249. See also the account of Birtle. For a dispute as to a fulling-mill in Middleton in 1601 see Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 437.
  • 86. a Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 206.
  • 87. Piccope, Wills (Chet. Soc), ii, 225; Thomas Jones was 'kept to learning in Cambridge' at the charge of Richard Jones, rector of Bury. He was consecrated Bishop of Meath in 1584, translated to Dublin in 1605, being made Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and died in 1619. His son, Sir Roger, was created Viscount Ranelagh in 1628.
  • 88. Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 239.
  • 89. 24 & 25 Vict. cap. 10; amended by 41 & 42 Viet. cap. 162, 42 & 43 Vict. cap. 86, &c.; by these Middleton and Tonge were amalgamated and (in 1879) Alkrington and parts of Hopwood and Thornham were added. Particulars of the Acts are given in the Corporation's Year Bk. which the town clerk, Mr. F. Entwisle, has supplied to the editors.
  • 90. Dated 21 July 1886. Parts of the townships of Great and Little Heaton were added in 1891.
  • 91. Under the Act of 1847 a joint-stock company owned the gasworks; a new company was formed under an Act in 1851; 9 & 10 Vict. cap. 8; 17 & 18 Vict. cap. 1.
  • 92. The water-supply was formerly in the hands of a private company, owning the Heywood waterworks, then of the Heywood Corporation, and since 1898 by the Heywood and Middleton Water Board, consisting of six members from each borough; 61 & 62 Vict. cap. 240.
  • 93. An account of the opening, with a view, is contained in Oldham Notes and Gleanings, iii, 192. There are also readingrooms at the Co-operative Hall in Long Street, Bowlee, and Rhodes.
  • 94. These details are from E. Butterworth's Middleton (ed. 1840), and the Middleton and Tonge Industrial Society's Jubilee Handbook (1900).
  • 95. A district was assigned to it in 1863; Lond. Gax. 24. Mar.
  • 96. This and other information as to the Nonconformists' chapels is taken from E. Butterworth, op. cit. 31.
  • 97. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. v, 275–9.
  • 98. Kelly, Engl. Cath. Missions, 277.