The parish of Radcliffe

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

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'The parish of Radcliffe', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5, (London, 1911) pp. 56-67. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

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Radeclive,Dom.Bk., 1193,1202,1212,1311; Radclive, 1227; Radeclif, 1309, 1360. The place is said to take its name from a cliff of red sandstone on the side of the Irwell.

The township and parish of Radcliffe lies in a bend of the River Irwell, which bounds it on the east and south, except in a few places where the difference of boundary may be explained by changes in the course of the river or other causes. The principal ancient buildings, the church and the tower, are situated in the south-east corner, at which point the Roch, flowing from the east, joins the Irwell. The township measures 2½ miles from east to west, and has an area of 2,533 acres. (fn. 1) The highest land, about 500 ft. above sea level, is in the north-west, and from it the surface gradually descends to the east and south, the land by the river being of course the lowest. The population in 1901 was 20,590. (fn. 2) The Coal Measures underlie the entire parish. There is a large area in the valley of the Irwell, both above and below the confluence with the River Roch, covered by alluvial deposit. The principal road is that passing northwest through Pilkington and crossing the river by a bridge about a mile west-south-west of the church. Around this point a hamlet called Radcliffe Bridge gradually formed, and has in modern times become the centre of trade and population. The road, after crossing the bridge, goes northerly to join the Bury and Bolton road, passing through the hamlet called Black Lane. To the north of the Bury and Bolton road is the Radcliffe portion of Cockey Moor. From the bridge roads go eastward to the church, and then cross the Irwell to join the Manchester and Bury road. Other roads go west through Little Lever to Bolton.

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's Liverpool and Bury line crosses the north of the township, going east and north-east, and has a station at Black Lane. The company's East Lancashire section, with a station at Radcliffe Bridge, runs through the township, and is joined by the line through Prestwich to Manchester, which has a station called Radcliffe. The Bury Canal crosses the township on the north-west side of the town, and then goes west near the Irwell till it joins the Manchester and Bolton Canal in Little Lever. (fn. 3)

Dr. Aikin in 1795 found the 400 houses in the township for the most part 'of an inferior sort,' and the inhabitants chiefly weavers, crofters, or employed in the coal works which abounded in the neighbourhood; those who lived by farming being very few. (fn. 4) The village has now grown into a town, and gives a name to one of the Parliamentary divisions of the county. (fn. 5) Part of the area was incorporated in Bury in 1876, and the remainder was governed by a local board formed in 1866. (fn. 6) The town, together with a portion of Whitefield in Pilkington, is under the Act of 1894 governed by an Urban District Council of twenty-four members, elected from four wards—Radcliffe Hall, Radcliffe Bridge, Black Lane, and Stand Lane; the last is in Pilkington. (fn. 7) The council-room is at the public baths, built in 1899. The market house and market rights were purchased from Lord Wilton in 1897. Technical schools were opened in 1896, a public park in 1902, and a free library, the gift of Mr. Carnegie, in 1907. A museum has been given by the Literary and Scientific Society.

Gas is supplied by a company formed in 1846. Electric lighting works have been established recently. Tramways, constructed by the district council, are leased to the Corporation of Bury.


A market-house was erected by the Earl of Wilton in 1851; Friday is the market day. (fn. 8) The wakes begin on the third Saturday in August.

A convalescent hospital was presented to the town in 1903 by Mr. Adam Crompton Bealey in memory of his parents.

A weekly newspaper, The Radcliffe Times, founded in 1899, is printed at Bury.

A Roman road, commemorated by Blackburn Street, passed northwards through Radcliffe Bridge.

There was a cross to the north-west of the church. (fn. 9)

There were 108 hearths liable to the tax in 1666. The rectory had only five hearths, but there was one larger house, that of James Holland, with six. (fn. 10)

The following is the apportionment of agricultural land in the parish: Arable land, 561 acres; permanent grass, 1,221; woods and plantations, 75.

There are several collieries, with cotton mills and factories, the trades of the town including cottonspinning, the weaving of ginghams, scarves, handkerchiefs, sarongs, &, and the making of small-wares; bleaching, finishing, dyeing, paper-making, iron-founding, and machine-making; there are also chemical manufactories.


At his death in 1066 Edward the Confessor held RADCLIFFE as one hide. (fn. 11) The extent of the royal manor must have been much greater than that of the present township, which was in 1212 assessed as one plough-land only. Allowing for a reduction of the assessment by a third, it is clear that the later manor of Radcliffe can have been but a fourth part of the original one. At the later date mentioned it formed part of the Marsey fee, and was held of Ranulf son of Roger by William de Radcliffe. (fn. 12) William was in possession in 1193, when he proffered 5 marks for having the king's favour after the rebellion of John, Count of Mortain. (fn. 13) In 1199 he paid 10 marks for an inquiry concerning land in Hartshead, (fn. 14) and later he contributed to tallage and scutage. (fn. 15) In 1202 he secured an acknowledgement of his right to the advowson of Radcliffe Church. (fn. 16) He was one of the 'trusty knights' who made the great Survey of 1212, at which time he was found to hold, in addition to Radcliffe, 12 oxgangs in Edgeworth. (fn. 17) He died before 1221, when his widow Eugenia sued Adam de Radcliffe for her dower in a plough-land in Radcliffe, a plough-land in Edgeworth, and 4 oxgangs of land in Little Lever. (fn. 18)

Radcliffe of Radcliffe. Argent a bendlet engrailed sable.

Adam de Radcliffe is mentioned in 1223, (fn. 19) and in 1227 acknowledged the service due to the lord of Manchester for Little Lever. (fn. 20) In 1246 as Adam son of William de Radcliffe he was acquitted of having disseised Adam son of Alexander de Radcliffe and Peter son of Adam of 4 acres of common of pasture in Radcliffe, where he had dug a mine; but he was convicted of other disseisin. (fn. 21) Adam had also to answer Cecily de Gorhull, who claimed an oxgang in Radcliffe, of which she alleged William father of Adam had disseised her, but he alleged that Hugh son of Spraging, Cecily's father, had exchanged that oxgang for other land in Gorhull. (fn. 22) Geoffrey son of Hugh de Gorhull in 1284 claimed a messuage and lands in Radcliffe against Richard son of Robert de Radcliffe. (fn. 23)

Richard de Radcliffe was in 1302 holding the eighth part of a fee in Radcliffe of the Earl of Lancaster. (fn. 24) Two years later he had from the king a grant of free warren in his demesne lands of Radcliffe and Quarlton. (fn. 25) William son of Richard de Radcliffe is next found in possession. He married Margaret daughter and heir of Adam de Hindley, and with her had Peasfurlong, a fourth part of Culcheth. (fn. 26) In 1324 he held the manor of Radcliffe by homage and the yearly service of 6s. for castle-ward and 2s. 6d. for sake fee, and by the service of the half and the tenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 27)

Richard son of William succeeded, and in 1346 held Radcliffe by the half and tenth part of a knight's fee, the service of 2s. 6d. a year, and puture. (fn. 28) He occurs in various ways down to 1371, (fn. 29) and appears to have been followed by his grandson (fn. 30) James, who in 1403 received the king's licence to rebuild the manorhouse at Radcliffe, erecting a hall and two towers of stone, and fortifying them with crenellation and battlements. (fn. 31) He died in 1409, holding the manor of Radcliffe, the fourth part of Culcheth, and other lands; Richard his son and heir was thirty years of age. (fn. 32) Livery was at once granted to the heir, (fn. 33) who was knight of the shire in 1425. (fn. 34) He died in or before 1442, (fn. 35) and was succeeded by his son James, (fn. 36) whose son John followed and died in 1485, holding the manor of Radcliffe and the advowson of the church, and various other manors and lands; the heir, his son Richard, was thirty-one years of age. (fn. 37)

Richard Radcliffe died 8 June 1502, holding the manors of Radcliffe, Oswaldtwistle, and Moston, the moiety of Crumpsall, the fourth part of Culcheth, and the advowson of Radcliffe Church, with houses, mills, lands, and rents in those places, and in Lowton, Bolton, and Manchester. In 1500 he made a feoffment of his estates, with reversion after his male issue to his brothers John and Roger. The manor of Radcliffe was held of the king as Duke of Lancaster by the fourth part of a knight's fee and the yearly rent of 8s. 6d., and its clear annual value was £10. John his brother and next heir was forty years of age. (fn. 38) John Radcliffe, who thus succeeded, died 4 April 1513, leaving two daughters, and the manor passed to his nephew John son of Roger Radcliffe, fourteen years of age. (fn. 39) The wardship of the heir was early in the next year given to Queen Katherine, (fn. 40) but he died in 1517, before attaining his majority. (fn. 41) There upon the family manors, in accordance with the settlement made by his uncle John, came into the hands of Robert Radcliffe, Lord Fitz Walter, created Viscount Fitz Walter in 1525 and Earl of Sussex in 1529. (fn. 42) Radcliffe descended to his son Henry (fn. 43) and grandson Thomas, second and third earls, but the lastnamed, who died without surviving issue in 1583, (fn. 44) sold Radcliffe and the other Lancashire manors and lands. Radcliffe was in 1561 purchased from him by Richard Assheton, lord of the adjoining manor of Middleton, (fn. 45) and descended with the latter until 1765, when the Assheton estates were divided between the two daughters of Sir Ralph Assheton. (fn. 46) One of these, Eleanor, married Sir Thomas Egerton of Heaton, afterwards Lord Grey de Wilton, and the manor of Radcliffe appears to have been included in her share. (fn. 47) It has since descended with the Wilton estates, the present lord being Sir Frederick Johnstone, by demise of the Earl of Wilton. (fn. 48) A court-baron used to be held on the first Friday in April. (fn. 49)

Johnstone, Baronet. Argent a saltire sable, on a chief gules three cushions or, in base a man's heart ensigned with an imperial crown proper.

The ruins of Radcliffe Tower stand about 200 yds. southwest of the church and inclosed within a farmyard. The house was of timber construction, and seems to have consisted of a main block standing east and west, with a west wing, which may have been an addition to the original building, and a stone tower at the east. No authentic record of the plan of the building, however, remains, the chief source of information concerning the structure being the description of it given by Whitaker in his History of Whalley, together with a view of the north or principal front of the hall made in 1781. (fn. 50) This latter shows a two-storied house of timber and plaster with gabled roofs of the usual type. The stone-built wing, or tower, then in a state of ruin, is the only part of the building now remaining. The rest of the house was allowed to fall into decay, and was taken down in the early part of the 19th century.

The position of Radcliffe Tower, like that of the church, is one naturally of defence, being built in the centre of a bend of the River Irwell. The ground within the bend is flat and low-lying, but the river itself, being on three sides of the house at a distance of only about quarter of a mile, would afford sufficient protection to account for the absence of a moat to the house. The present stone-built tower probably belongs to 1403, being erected in accordance with the licence recorded above, and had a contemporary timber building adjoining it on the west side. It is difficult to reconcile the provisions of the licence of 1403 with the existing remains, as it seems clear that there was no stone hall in connexion with this tower. Of the second tower nothing can be said, and if it was ever built, no trace or tradition of it remains.

The great hall, which was doubtless the building which left its roof-line on the ruined tower, occupied the east part of the main block, and according to Whitaker was 42 ft. 2 in. in length, and in one part 26 ft. and in another 28 ft. in width. (fn. 51) It had an open-timbered roof supported by two massive principals, which are described by Whitaker as the 'most curious specimens of carved oak work I have ever seen.' They appear to have been, however, of a not unusual type. At the east end of the hall was a door, which still remains, opening into the basement of the tower, and higher up in the wall another door, also still in existence, which led into the chamber above. At the west end of the hall were the kitchen and servants' apartments, and in Whitaker's time there were still to be seen 'the remains of a doorway opening into what was once a staircase, and leading to a large chamber above the kitchen, the approach to which beneath was by a door of massy oak pointed at the top. The kitchen and apartment above stood at right angles to the top of the hall, and are separated from it by a wall of oak work. The chamber is 38 ft. long by 18 ft. 5 in., and has two massy arches of oak without mouldings, but an oaken cornice mould like those in the hall, the floor of thick oaken planks.' On the south side of the hall were the remains of a square-headed window-frame in oak with Gothic tracery.

In 1833 the fabric, except the tower, was described as of 'brick inclosed in squares of wood, (fn. 52) and the large chamber above the kitchen had been converted into two rooms. The building was then supported by 'substantial buttresses'; but where such supports were wanting the walls had fallen. The great hall was then used as a hayloft and cowshed. The ancient timber framework had apparently by that time been filled in with brick, and the whole structure was in a state of ruin and dilapidation. It had been taken down before 1844, and the materials, described as 'chiefly beams and planks of solid black oak,' used for building purposes.

The stone tower, the bottom part of which is still standing, is 50ft. in length and 28 ft. in width. These measurements are external, the greater length being from north to south. The walls are 5 ft. thick all round above the plinth, which has a projection of 12 in. The tower was probably of two stories, with an embattled parapet; but the upper part has now almost entirely disappeared, only portions of the walls above the level of the first floor being still in situ, the rest having crumbled away in comparatively recent years. The walls being quite exposed to the weather at the top this process of gradual disintegration of the structure is likely to continue. The lower room of the tower was originally covered by a semicircular barrel vault, the springing of which at each side may still be seen. Some portion of this vault was standing as late as 1844, when Samuel Bamford, who visited the tower in that year, described it as hanging by a single stone, and 'unless it be protected from further wanton outrage must soon share the fate of the hall.' (fn. 53) The spring of the vault is about 5 ft. from the ground, which would make the height of the apartment about 15 ft. It was lit at each end by a window high up in the wall, and on the east side by two smaller windows nearer the ground. The entrance on the west side is through a pointed doorway, 4 ft. wide, the jambs and head of which have a continuous double chamfer. The chief feature of this lower room of the tower, however, consists of three large arched openings about 10 ft. in width, one at each end and the other in the middle of the east wall opposite the entrance. They have an inner and outer arch, 15 in. in thickness at the wall faces, with a space between of 2 ft. 6 in., from the centre of which a square flue is carried up in the thickness of the wall. The outer arch was built up on the outside, the plinth being carried across the blocking wall at the line of the springing, about 4 ft. 3 in. from the ground. From the evidence of the masonry this is part of the original work done at the time of building. The height to the top of the arch, which is pointed and built of voussoirs, is about 9 ft. It seems most reasonable to regard these openings as fireplaces, and that at the north end of the room is still in its original state. The other two have been opened out, and are now open archways, that in the south side forming the principal entrance to the tower, which is used for store purposes in connexion with the adjoining farm and roofed with wood. The east archway now gives access to a wooden shed built along that side of the tower. The north and south fireplaces are not in the middle of the end walls, but immediately against the west side of the building. The presence of three such fireplaces in so comparatively small an apartment would at first sight suggest that the room had been used as a kitchen, but this is unlikely if the tower were used, as it appears to have been, as the part of the house allotted to the family. The three square flues are still well preserved in the walls, the stones of that on the south side yet showing a calcined surface.

Plan of Radcliffe Tower

The room above was approached by a stone staircase in the thickness of the wall at the south end of the west wall, leading out of the great hall at a height of about 7 ft. 6 in. above the floor. The doorway to this staircase has a pointed head, and the wall is thickened to 6 ft. at this point to allow of room for the stairs. The steps are still in position, along with the sill of a small two-light window which lit the landing at their head. There is an ordinary fireplace opening on the first floor 7 ft. wide in the centre of the west wall.

The outer walls of the tower are constructed of heavy blocks of coursed stone on the north, south, and east sides, and for a distance of about 12 ft. on the north end of the west side. At this point the plinth stops, and the coursed masonry leaves off at the height of the sill of the doorway of the upper room. The point where the ashlar ceases marks the line of the front of the timber-built hall, the line of the roof of which may still be seen on the rough walling at the west side of the tower. On this side the centre portion of the wall yet stands nearly 30 ft. above the ground, though the end walls of the building are reduced to something like half that height. About midway in the height of the west wall, 15ft. 3 in. from the ground, and formerly the end wall of the great hall, is a projecting string-course, which stops at either end at the line of the ancient roof.

In 1592 the Earl of Derby sent certain widows, who were recusants, to prison in the tower, it being 'withinland and in the hundred where the people are well affected.' (fn. 54)

Junior branches of the local family occur from time to time. In 1357 Robert son of Adam de Radcliffe made a claim against Adam son of William de Radcliffe. (fn. 55)

Robert Radcliffe had messuages and lands in Radcliffe and Sharples in 1589, (fn. 56) and a further estate in the same places was the subject of agreement between James Radcliffe and Robert Radcliffe the elder in 1595. (fn. 57) The elder and younger Robert were freeholders in 1600. (fn. 58) It was probably the younger Robert who died in 1617, holding messuages in Radcliffe of Sir Richard Assheton in socage by 12d. rent, and having other property in Manchester and Salford. (fn. 59) Edward Radcliffe, the son and heir, was twelve years of age, and was living in 1665, when a pedigree was recorded—Radcliffe of Radcliffe Bridge. (fn. 60)

Alexander Radcliffe of Leigh, who recorded a pedigree at the same visitation, in 1680 purchased Edward Raddiffe's estate in Radcliffe, which his descendants continue to hold. (fn. 61) The land-tax return of 1788 shows that Mr. Radcliffe paid about a thirtieth of the tax. Lord Grey de Wilton paid nearly half. The rest of the land was in small holdings. (fn. 62)

Plan of Radcliffe Church

A few other families occur from time to time— Openshaw, (fn. 63) Wroe, (fn. 64) and Hardman. (fn. 65) In 1688 the principal inhabitants were Gervase Staynrod, Henry Coulborne, John Allen, and Roger Walker. (fn. 66)

Land called Nickerhole in the south-west of the township was in the 16th century the subject of several disputes. (fn. 67)

An Inclosure Act for Radcliffe and Ainsworth was passed in 1809, and an award made in 1812. (fn. 68)


The church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW (fn. 69) stands at the east side of the town in the centre of a bend of the River Irwell, the ground between which and the church on the south side still remains open as field and pasture. The building consists of chancel 23 ft. by 19 ft., with vestry on the north side and chapel on the south, each 22 ft. 6 in. by 21 ft.; nave 36 ft. by 20 ft., north and south transepts each 21 ft. 6 in. by 18 ft., north aisle 12 ft. 6 in. wide, south aisle 21 ft. wide, and western tower 12 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. All these measurements are internal.

A great deal of alteration and rebuilding, done in the 19th century, has made the whole of the outside of the church, with the exception of the tower, of modern date; but it still preserves to a large extent its ancient appearance. The history of this later work may be thus summarized: In 1817 the chancel and vestry were rebuilt; in 1846 the north transept was reconstructed, an organ chamber built on the north side of the chancel, the south porch removed, and a west door opened out in the tower; in 1870–3 the building underwent a very thorough restoration, when the clearstory was taken down and rebuilt and a new roof constructed, the south aisle was enlarged, and a new chapel was added on the south of the chancel; in 1903 the north vestry was enlarged, the plaster stripped from the walls, and the interior refaced with Runcorn stone, the floor, which had been raised 19 in. in 1846, reduced to its original level, and the arches between the transepts and vestry and chapel reconstructed. Since then the outside wall of the south transept has been refaced in red sandstone and the tracery renewed. The exterior of the church is built of sandstone, with slated gabled roofs to all parts except the nave, the roof of which is of flat pitch and covered with lead. The clearstory, south aisle, and chapel are finished with square parapets, the north aisle, transept, and vestry having overhanging eaves.

The oldest details of the building are the piers supporting the chancel arch, which are of 13th-century date, but it is possible that the four angles of the nave may belong to an older church dating from the 12th century. The south wall of the south transept belongs to the 14th century, while the tower arch and west wall of the nave are probably a century later; the nave arcade is of 16th-century date, and the tower was rebuilt in 1665.

The original church may have been a rectangular 12thcentury building covering the area of the present nave, with a small square-ended chancel. In the 13th century a new chancel, of which the western arch still remains, was built round the former one, and in the 14th century transepts were added to the nave, their length suggesting that the nave may by this time have had aisles. A tower may have been built towards the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century against the end of the original nave. In the early years of the 16th century the present nave arcades of two bays, with the clearstory, were erected, and the tower, as before stated, having apparently become insecure, was rebuilt in 1665, many of the old stones being used.

The chancel has an east window of three lights with modern 14th-century tracery, and an open arch on the north and south sides to the organ chamber and the south chapel respectively. The chancel arch is of two plain chamfered orders with a label of 13thcentury masonry recently reset, and springs from half-round piers with a fillet on the face, the capitals of which have been renewed. The wall above the chancel arch is probably of 13th-century construction, and shows the line of the older roof, which strikes the side walls at the level of the crowns of the present nave arches.

The nave arcades are of two bays with pointed arches resting on responds, and central piers of 16thcentury date consisting of engaged clustered shafts with coarsely-moulded capitals and bases, the arch mouldings being composed of two rounds and a hollow. Over each arcade is a clearstory of squareheaded four-light windows, three on each side. The nave roof is modern, of flat pitch, but preserving the features of the older one. It consists of four principals, one against the tower wall, and one close to the chancel arch, with moulded ridge and wall pieces and intermediate ribs in the panels. The corbels carrying the roof have figures of eight prophets, and the four central bosses are carved with (1) a ship, (2) the five wounds, (3) a dove, and (4) a hand.

The north transept, which is entirely rebuilt, has a pointed window of three lights with curious tracery of flowing type with an external label. It is apparently original, or at any rate not of recent reproduction; but the jambs and head of the window have been restored. The transept has diagonal angle buttresses of two stages, with gabled heads. The north aisle has a modern three-light square-headed window on the north with net tracery, and a similar flatpointed window at the west end, also modern.

The south transept is now is open to the church for its full depth both on the east and west sides, but its south wall is of 14th-century date, and has a threelight pointed window with peculiar tracery into which two human heads are introduced. The whole of this wall has been refaced on the outside with red sandstone, and the window tracery renewed. On the interior the wall retains its ancient facing, and there is a 14th-century piscina in the south-east corner.

Radcliffe Church: Interior Looking East

The new south aisle replaces one about 10 ft. wide which was pulled down in the rebuilding of 1872, and had a south porch over its doorway. It is lighted at the west end by two two-light windows, and on the south side by three square-headed traceried windows of two lights each. Similar windows light the modern south chapel, and there is an external doorway at its south-west angle.

The tower, which has a vice in the south-west corner, was rebuilt in the 17th century, presumably carrying out more or less the style of the earlier tower. The internal arch is of 15th-century date, and consists of two plain chamfered orders, and the two-light west window appears to be old work retained in the rebuilding. Externally the tower has a rather stumpy appearance, and its three stages are unmarked by any horizontal line or string-course. It has diagonal buttresses of seven stages, with plain weatherings, and is finished with an embattled parapet with angle pinnacles, and a conical slated roof with a good 18thcentury vane. In the top stage on the north, west, and south sides are three-light windows. Over the west door is an ornamental panel with the date 1665, and the arms of Beswick (fn. 70) inscribed rector carolus beswicke. The north side has a two-light squareheaded window on the second stage, immediately above which is a stone inscribed edward ratcliffe 1665, and on the south side of the tower is a stone bearing the name of Sir Ralph Assheton with the same date. The clock-dials on the north and west sides dated 1786 were replaced in 1908. The putlog holes are a very conspicuous feature.

The fittings are all modern, but at the west end are two oak seats incorporating portions of the 17thcentury pulpit and reading desk. That on the south of the tower arch has five inlaid panels: (1) the date 1606 with the Assheton molet below, (2) the initials s. r. a. with the Assheton crest (a boar's head erased), (3) the Assheton molet with the letters L.S. P. R.W. (probably denoting Leonard Shaw and Robert Walkden, rectors during the 17th-century alterations), (4.) the initials I.I. with a molet between, and (5) the letters T.H. I.M. probably the initials of churchwardens. On the back of the seat on the north side are the initials R. C.B. and the date 1665, denoting Charles Beswick, rector, and the inscription, which probably ran along the upper part of the desk (now in two lines), 'All my words that I speak unto thee, receive into thine heart with thine ears. Ezekiel III Chap. 10 verse . . .' The font, which is early modern Gothic, has a canopy (dated 1858) raised by a chain pulley and cannon-ball weight. There is no ancient glass, but Baines, writing in 1833, notices in one of the north windows the arms of Radcliffe and the head of a queen. Another window on the north side had the head of a king, and one of the east windows had a boar's head in a shield, and in a window to the west was a painting of St. John the Evangelist with a chalice in his right hand and a palm in his left. (fn. 71) All this glass has now disappeared.

Radcliffe Church: From the West

Under the altar is an alabaster slab, now very much defaced, said to be that of James Radcliffe the builder of Radcliffe Tower, but probably that of the founder's grandson, the first of the line of Radcliffe of Langley. (fn. 72) The figures of a knight and lady with the heads of their children below can still be traced, and two shields in the upper part, but the inscription is illegible. The slab had been lost when Baines wrote in 1833, but was recovered in the restorations of 1870–3. One of the shields has the arms of Radcliffe, and the other is defaced, but is said to have had those of Langley. (fn. 73)

There are eight bells; six of these are by Rudhall, but were recast in 1861, and two more added. There is a tradition that they came from Middleton.

The plate consists of a chalice and flagon of 1754, with the maker's mark T.W.; and a Birmingham paten of 1898 and cruet of 1906. There is also a chalice similar in design to the first made by Oliver and Botsford of Manchester, and two silver-plated patens the gift of Anne Bealey, 1868.

The registers begin in 1559. (fn. 74) The tithe maps are kept in the vestry.


The church existed in the 12th century, and is first mentioned in 1202, when William de Radcliffe, lord of the manor, secured from Roger de Middleton an acknowledgement of his right to present. (fn. 75) From this time the advowson appears to have descended with the manor. The only dispute recorded took place in 1514, when the feoffees of John Radcliffe were hindered in their right, probably because the wardship of the heir had been granted to Queen Katherine. (fn. 76)

The income being very small the benefice was omitted in the taxation of 1291, but fifty years later the value of the ninth of the sheaves, wool, &c., was returned as 33s. 4d. (fn. 77) In 1534 the gross value was found to be £21 2s. 4d., of which 2s. was paid to the archdeacon for synodals and procurations. (fn. 78) The Commonwealth Commissioners in 1650 found the income to be about £50 a year; in addition Colonel Assheton, lord of the manor and patron, had demesne lands worth £150 a year for which he paid no tithe. (fn. 79) At the beginning of the next century the value had risen to £90, of which more than a third was the rent of the glebe. (fn. 80) It is now £950 a year; (fn. 81) Sir Frederick Johnstone, by purchase from the Earl of Wilton, is at present the patron.

The following is a list of the rectors:—

Institution Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
c. 1240 Robert (fn. 82)
oc. 1292 John de Hulton (fn. 83)
14 June 1310 Richard de Radcliffe (fn. 84) William de Radcliffe d. J. de Hulton
14 Jan. 1318–19 Roger de Freckleton (fn. 85) " " exc. R. de Radcliffe
18 May 1322 Thomas de Clipston (fn. 86) " " d. R. de Freckleton
21 Jan. 1363–4 Robert de Newton (fn. 87) Richard de Radcliffe d. T. de Clipston
1 Apr. 1367 Alexander de Pilkington (fn. 88) d. R. de Newton
18 Feb. 1367–8 Richard de Radcliffe (fn. 89) Richard de Radcliffe res. A. de Pilkington
oc. 1374 Richard de Clipston (fn. 90)
John Fitheler (fn. 91)
13 Nov. 1389 Roger de Lache (fn. 92) James de Radcliffe exc. with J. Fitheler
9 Mar. 1407–8. Christopher Walker (fn. 93) " " d. R. de Lache
31 Jan. 1437–8 Richard Forth (fn. 94) Richard Radcliffe
23 May 1459 Oliver Smethurst (fn. 95) James Radcliffe d. R. Forth
6 Aug. 1481 John Bendelouse (fn. 96) John Radcliffe res. O. Smethurst
23 Feb. 1483–4 Thomas Blakelowe (fn. 97) " " d. J. Bendelouse
18 July 1486 Hugh Radcliffe (fn. 98) Richard Radcliffe d. T. Blakelow
7 Dec. 1496 Roger Longworth (fn. 99) " " d. H. Radcliffe
? 1514 Richard Beswick (fn. 100)
14 Nov. 1534 Thomas Mawdsley (fn. 101) Earl of Sussex d. R. Beswick
4 Apr. 1538 Robert Ashton (fn. 102) " " res. T. Mawdsley
— 1559 John Ashton (fn. 103)
4 Feb. 1583–4 Leonard Shaw (fn. 104) Richard Assheton d. Joh. Ashton
24 May 1624 Robert Walkden (fn. 105) Robert Holt, &c. d. Leon. Shaw
4 Feb. 1637–8 Peter Shaw, (fn. 106) M.A Ralph Assheton d. R. Walkden
c. 1644 Thomas Pyke, (fn. 107) B.A " "
27 Oct. 1662. Charles Beswick (fn. 108) Sir Ralph Assheton exp. T. Pyke
8 June 1698 Charles Pinkney, (fn. 109) B.A. " " d. C. Beswick
23 Jan. 1698–9 Roger Dale (fn. 110) " " depr. C. Pinkney
5 Oct. 1716. Edward King, (fn. 111) M.A. " " d. Roger Dale
18 Mar. 1719 Henry Lister, (fn. 112) M.A " " d. E. King
14 July 1724. William Lawson, (fn. 113) B.A. " " d. H. Lister
6 Apr. 1757 Richard Assheton, (fn. 114) M.A. " " d. W. Lawson
15 Oct. 1757 Richard Wroe (Walton), (fn. 115) M.A. " " res. R. Assheton
1 Oct. 1784 Thomas Foxley, (fn. 116) M.A. Lord Grey de Wilton res. R. Wroe Walt
1 Feb. 1839 Nathaniel Milne, (fn. 117) M.A. Earl of Wilton d. T. Foxley
—1867 Henry Arthur Starkie, (fn. 118) M.A. " " res. N. Milne
26 June 1896 Stanley Swinburne, (fn. 119) M.A. " " res. H. A. Starkie

As the benefice was of small value and the people few, it is probable that even before the Reformation the clerical staff consisted of the rector and his curate only. (fn. 120) There was no endowed chantry. Little is known of the rectors, but some of them may have been pluralists. The church does not seem to have been very well furnished in 1552. (fn. 121) About this time the rectors of Radcliffe were also rectors of Middleton, (fn. 122) but there seems usually to have been a resident curate. The later resident rectors seem to have managed without a curate. (fn. 123) As at Middleton a new rector, a Protestant, appears in 1559, but the reason is not ascertained. (fn. 124) The later history has been uneventful, with the exception of the Commonwealth period; at the beginning of this the rector, Peter Shaw, disappeared; at the end of it his successor, Thomas Pyke, was ejected.

There was a school of some kind in the 17th century, for the schoolmasters are mentioned. (fn. 125)

During the last century a number of places of worship were erected to accommodate the increasing population. For the Established worship St. Thomas's, Radcliffe Bridge, was built in 1819 and rebuilt in 1864, (fn. 126) and St. Andrew's, Black Lane, in 1877; (fn. 127) the patronage of the first is now vested, like that of the parish church, in Sir F. Johnstone, and that of the second in the rector of Radcliffe.

The Wesleyans, (fn. 128) Primitive Methodists, and Methodist New Connexion have chapels. The Congregationalists have a chapel, built in 1872. (fn. 129) The Baptist chapel dates from 1880.

The Society of Friends has a meeting-place, erected in 1892. (fn. 130)

The Roman Catholic church of St. Mary and St. Philip Neri was built in 1894. (fn. 131)


The principal charity is that founded by James Walsh Howarth in 1886; he bequeathed £3,000, partly for church purposes, but as to half for the benefit of the poor. (fn. 132) The poor also receive £7 from the benefaction of John Guest, (fn. 133) and the highways have 15s. from a quarry allotment. (fn. 134) Some older gifts have been lost. (fn. 135)


  • 1. 2,473, including 120 of inland water, according to the census of 1901. Various alterations in the boundaries were made in 1894 and 1896. In the former year part of Radcliffe on the east of the Irwell was included in Bury, while a fragment of Elton was placed in Radcliffe (Local Govt. Bd. Orders 31671 and 30905); and later Whitefield in Pilkington had a portion of Radcliffe added to it; ibid. 33855.
  • 2. Including Stand Lane, the population was 25,368.
  • 3. The canal has a large reservoir on the border of Radcliffe and Elton.
  • 4. Country round Mancb. 259.
  • 5. Radcliffe-cum-Farnworth Division.
  • 6. Lond. Gaz. 25 May 1866.
  • 7. The bounds of each ward are given in detail in the official year-book issued by the council.
  • 8. There were unchartered fairs held at the end of April and September 5 Baines, Lancs, (ed. 1868), i, 533.
  • 9. Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xxii, 139,
  • 10. Subs. R. bdle. 250, no. 9, Lancs.
  • 11. V.C.H. Lancs, i, 287.
  • 12. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 71. The service mentioned is 6s.; in later inquisitions it is described as the eighth part of a knight's fee, held of the Earl or Duke of Lancaster directly. The parentage of William de Radcliffe is not known. One Henry de Radcliffe attested a charter in 1189; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 350. Alexander son of Uvieth received 2 oxgangs in Little Lever from Albert Grelley the younger (1162 to 1180), and as Adam de Radcliffe was in possession in 1227, it is possible that Alexander was the father of William; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 57, 130. It will be seen that an Adam son of Alexander occurs in 1246. William de Radcliffe and Hugh his son attested aWithington charter about 1200; Hulme D. no. 1.
  • 13. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 77.
  • 14. Ibid. 117, 129, &c. He had given Nicholas of the Oak the two plough-lands, and seems to have desired to withdraw the grant, alleging it to have been made under compulsion of confinement while in prison.
  • 15. Ibid. 151, 153, 176, &c.
  • 16. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 10.
  • 17. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 2, 67.
  • 18. Ibid. 129; Curia Regis R. 78, m. 14 d.
  • 19. Final Conc. i, 44 n.
  • 20. Ibid, i, 47. This may be a different Adam.
  • 21. Assize R. 404, m. 6 d. Adam son of Alexander at the same time claimed, as heir of his grandfather Simon de Radcliffe, certain land in Radcliffe held by Henry de Oswaldtwistle; ibid. m. 12 d.
  • 22. Ibid. m. 11 d.
  • 23. Assize R. 1268, m. 12 d. Robert de Radcliffe was probably the Robert son of Adam, who had land in Oswaldtwistle in 1241; Final Conc, i, 85. Robert was a juror in 1269, and Richard in 1282; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 235, 244. John son of Adam son of William de Radcliffe was nonsuited in a claim against Roger de Middleton in 1292; Agnes widow of Adam de Radcliffe was also nonsuited in a claim of dower; Assize R. 408, m. 32 d. 30 d.
  • 24. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, i, 314.
  • 25. Chart. R. 97 (32 Edw. I), m. 2, no. 17; dated 23 July 1304. The 'park' at Radcliffe used to be to the south of the Tower. In the same year and up to 1307 Richard de Radcliffe had to defend his title to a messuage and land in Radcliffe which were claimed by William de MarkIan, rector of Prestwich, as the free alms of his church; De Banco R. 149, m. 255; R. 155, m. 137 d.; R. 163, m. 162. Robert son of Richard de Radcliffe, and William his brother were defendants in 1306 and 1307; Coram Rege R. 185, m. 1 d.; R. 188, m. 38. Richard de Radcliffe, Robert his son (dead in 1309), and Adam brother of Robert about the same time seized the lands of Adam de Lever in Little Lever, pretending a right of wardship; Assize R. 423, m. 1 d.
  • 26. They were married in or before 1303; De Banco R. 148, m. 71; Margery was a widow in 1333; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 152b/188b. See further in the account of Culcheth.
  • 27. Duchy of Lanc Rentals and Surv. 379, m. 13; Lancs. Inq. and Extents, ii, 102. In the elaborate pedigree in Whitaker, Whalley, ii, 292, said to have been prepared by William Radclyffe, Rouge Croix, and verified by deeds in the Townelef MSS. it is stated that Ralph, the eldest son of Robert, elder brother of William, dying childless, left Radcliffe to his uncle William. It appears, however, that in 1309 the family manors of Radcliffe, Oswaldtwistle, and Quarlton were settled on William son of Richard de Radcliffe by Richard son of Robert de Radcliffe, with remainder to Richard son of William; Final Conc, ii, 5. In 1323 William son of Richard de Radcliffe was defendant in a claim by John son of Richard de Radcliffe regarding a tenement in Radcliffe; Assize R. 425, m. 1. He was returned by the sheriff in 1324 as one of those having lands over £15 annual value; Palgrave, Parl. Writs, ii, 1319. As appears by a previous note, he died before 1333.
  • 28. Add. MS. 32103, fol. 146. In 1344 it appears that Richard de Radcliffe was the husband of Isabel daughter and co-heir of John son of Michael de Harcla; De Banco R. 340, m. 400. In 1347 William son of Robert de Radcliffe and Richard de Reddish complained that Richard son of William de Radcliffe and his feoffees had disseised them of the manors of Radcliffe and Prestwich, and various lands there and in Edgeworth and Oswaldtwistle. It appeared that the plaintiffs had been enfeoffed by Richard in 1342, and that he had recently made a new feoffment; Assize R. 1435, 18 d. See farther under Prestwich.
  • 29. About 1355 livery was granted to Richard de Radcliffe of a messuage and 12 acres in Radcliffe seized into the duke's hands, because Adam de Radcliffe, who had held them of Richard, was hanged for felony, the duke having had his year and day and waste therein; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. 344. In 1365 licence was granted by the bishop for the oratories of Richard de Radcliffe at Radcliffe and elsewhere; Lich. Epis. Reg. v, fol. 11b. In 1369 Richard son of William de Radcliffe and Isabel his wife were concerned in a settlement of Prestwich manor; Final Conc, ii, 176.
  • 30. So in the pedigree referred to above. Whitaker gives the descent as follows, from a deed in the church chest at Blackburn, written about 1514: Richard de Radcliffe the old — s. William — s. Richard — s. William — s. James — s. Richard — s. James — s. John — s. Roger — s. John (then under age); Wballey, ii, 290. A William de Radcliffe, perhaps the father of James, was sheriff in 1357–8; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 6, m. 3.
  • 31. Cal. Pat. 1401–3, p. 255; it is printed in full by Whitaker; Whalley, ii, 291. The hall is the alleged scene of the events related in 'Lady Isabel's Tragedy, or the Stepmother's Cruelty,' a ballad in Percy's Reliques; the stepmother is said to have made the cook kill her husband's only daughter (Ellen or Isabel) and serve her up in a pie, which was ready on his return. A scullion boy, who had offered himself as a substitute, revealed the iniquity and was made heir; Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Soc. vii, 282.
  • 32. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), i, 94. The service for Radcliffe was the half and tenth part of a knight's fee, and 8s. 8d. a year. Lands in Harwood went to Henry de Radcliffe. From a later inquisition it appears that Henry was the son of James, and ancestor of the Radcliffes of Framsden in Suffolk, who became extinct in the male line in 1527. The heir male was then Robert Radcliffe, Lord Fitz Walter, who also inherited Radcliffe, his pedigree being given as son of John Lord Fitz Walter, son of Sir John Radcliffe, son of John Radcliffe, son of James and brother of Henry; ibid, ii, 152. In another version of inquisition the grant to Henry de Radcliffe is recited; the remainders, after Henry son of James, were to Richard, John, Peter, William, and Roger, brothers of Henry, and then to Richard son of Thomas de Radcliffe of Winmarleigh; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, 45.
  • 33. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 8.
  • 34. Pink and Beaven, Parl. Repre. of Lancs. 52. This seems to have been about the only service of the kind rendered by this family.
  • 35. The inquisition, taken in 1441–2, shows him to have held the manors of Radcliffe, Oswaldtwistle and Culcheth (part), and the advowson of Radcliffe; Harl. MS. 2085, fol. 446 b.
  • 36. In 1445–6 James son of Richard de Radcliffe held the half and the twentieth part of a knight's fee, viz. the manor of Radcliffe ; Duchy of Lanc. Knights' Fees, 2/20.
  • 37. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc), ii, 120–2. The manor of Radcliffe was said to be held of the king as duke by knight's service and a rent of 10s. Robert Radcliffe and others held lands of Richard Radcliffe by a rent of 13s., and Richard held of the crown by knight's service and 1d. rent. The other manors were Oswaldtwistle and part of Culcheth. Shortly afterwards Isabel widow of John Radcliffe, and John Radcliffe her son, and Henry Radcliffe, another son of the deceased, as executors, complained that George Ainsworth and others had cut down and carried off 200 thraves of oats at Oswaldtwistle; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 63, m. 4. Richard Radcliffe was in 1498 called upon to show by what warrant he claimed waifs and strays, &, and free warren on his manors of Radcliffe and Oswaldtwistle; Pal. of Lanc. Writs Proton. 13 Hen. VII. A feoffment of the manors was made by Richard Radcliffe in 1500; Final Conc, iii, 149. For some reason a special licence of entry on all his lands was given him in 1501; Dep. Keepers Rep. xxxix, App. 558.
  • 38. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iii, 98. His will is given. Bequests were made to his wife Alice and his brothers; an honest chaplain was to be provided to celebrate divine service in the church of Radcliffe for seven years next after his death. The widow received as dower lands in Culcheth, Crumpsall, Moston, and Lowton of the yearly value of £40 3s.
  • 39. Duchy of Lane. Inq. p.m. iv, 7. In 1505–6 he made a settlement of his manors and lands, and in 1511 provided for the jointure of his wife Anne. His will, dated 24 November 1512, is given in full ; by it he set apart 6½ marks a year for 'a sad, discreet and well-disposed ' priest to pray in Radcliffe Church for the souls of the testator, his parents and brothers, &c., during the nonage of the heir male. He provided for his bastard son John, and his two daughters Ellen and Agnes; also for the four daughters of his brother Roger—Ellen, Isabel, Agnes, and Elizabeth. Should his nephew John die without male issue, the manors, &c., were to descend in succession to the male heirs of Robert Radcliffe (son of) 'the late Lord Fitz Walter, which deceased at Calais' —having been attainted for participating in the Perkin Warbeck attempt, and beheaded in 1496; of Thomas Radcliffe, lately lord of Framsden; of Thomas Radcliffe, sometime lord of Winmarleigh; and of William Radcliffe, sometime lord of Ordsall. The clear annual value of Radcliffe Manor was £40; the tenure is stated as in previous inquisitions. It appears from the inquisitions that the Radcliffes of Ordsall held a few acres in Radcliffe, but the tenure is not stated.
  • 40. On 1 Feb. 1513–14; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxix, App. 558.
  • 41. Writ of Diem clausit extr. issued 3 Sept. 1517; Towneley MS. CC. no. 802. He held the manors, &, as before; the heirs general were his four sisters named above, and the heir male was Robert Radcliffe, Lord Fitz Walter; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. iv, 8. Lord Fitz Walter on succeeding found that many of the charters were in the hands of Thurstan Tyldesley, as executor of the John Radcliffe who died in 1513; but Thurstan professed his willingness to deliver them up, as soon as he was assured as to the heir; Duchy of Lanc. Plead. xiz, R. 1.
  • 42. The descent has been given in a preceding note. For this branch see G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 371, 372; vii, 334–6. There are accounts of John Radcliffe, Lord Fitz Walter, and of the Earls of Sussex in Dict. Nat. Biog. Robert, Earl of Sussex, was Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire in 1537 and high steward of the Duchy in 1539 and 1540. He died in 1542, holding the manors of Radcliffe at Tower, Moston, and Crumpsail, and leaving a son and heir Henry, aged twenty-five and more ; Chan. Inq. p.m. 66 (38), E. file 643 (18).
  • 43. He died 17 Feb. 1556–7; ibid.
  • 44. Ibid. His second wife, Frances Sidney, survived him and bequeathed funds for the foundation of Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge.
  • 45. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 23, m. 3. The estate is described as the manor of Radcliffe, otherwise 'Radcliffe Tower,'with the appurtenances, and of 100 messuages, 100 cottages, 40 tofts, 4 watermills, a fulling-mill, four dovecotes, 200 gardens, 2,000 acres of land, 1,000 acres of meadow, 2,000 acres of pasture, 100 acres of wood, 200 acres of marsh, 1,000 acres of furze and heath, and £10 rent in Radcliffe, Bolton, and Manchester, and the advowson of the church of Radcliffe. The sum named in the fine is 2,000 marks. In 1564 Richard Assheton had to make a further arrangement with Richard Blunt and Margaret his wife regarding the manor of Radcliffe, he paying them £1,000 ; ibid. bdle. 26, m. 256. A deed between Richard Blunt and Gilbert Gerard concerning Radcliffe was enrolled in the Common Pleas, Easter, 1564. The manor of Radcliffe or Radcliffe Tower was in 1582 included in a settlement of the Middleton estates made by Richard Assheton and Mary his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F., bdle. 44, m. 73. Similar settlements were made later, down to 1721; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 512, m. 3. See also Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 105–7.
  • 46. See the account of Middleton.
  • 47. In 1766 there was a settlement of a moiety of the manors of Middleton and Radcliffe upon Harbord Harbord and Mary his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 375, m. 153. This was followed in 1771 by a similar settlement of the other moiety upon Sir Thomas Egerton and Mary his wife; ibid, bdle, 385, m. 246. Shortly afterwards a division was arranged, Lord Grey dc Wilton alone presenting to the rectory in 1784.
  • 48. See the account of Heaton in Prestwich.
  • 49. Baines, Lancs, (ed. 1836), iii, 7.
  • 50. Drawn by H. Wyatt, lithographed by J. Ford, Manchester, 1823.
  • 51. His view of the interior, however (1801), exaggerates the length, but this defect of the drawing was afterwards remedied, and a view 'with the erroneous perspective corrected' published in the Gent. Mag. for July 1840.
  • 52. Butterworth for Baines, Lancs.
  • 53. A woodcut in The Pictorial History of Lanc. 260 (1844), shows part of the vault still standing. The stairs to the chamber were cut from solid blocks of oak; Manch. Guard. 1844 and 1888.
  • 54. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1591–4, p. 288. Mrs. Anne Hoghton was one of them.
  • 55. Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 5, m. 10 d.
  • 56. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 51, m. 125.
  • 57. Ibid. bdle. 57, m. 23.
  • 58. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 247.
  • 59. Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 75. James Radcliffe of Sharples was one of the jurors.
  • 60. Dugdale, Visit. (Chet. Soc), 239.
  • 61. Richard Radcliffe of Leigh — s. Thomas —s. Alexander, d. 1646—s. Alexander, d. 1700 — s. John, d. 1700 — s. John, Recorder of Liverpool, d. 1744 — s. Alexander, Recorder of Wigan, d. 1786 —s, John, d. 1799—s.Thomas Hayward, d. 1829 — s. John, d. 1845 — dau. Frances, d. 1897. She married James Darlington and had several sons and daughters; information of Mr. R D Radcliffe.
  • 62. Land Tax returns at Preston. This Radcliffe family is named in Baines, Lancs, (ed. 1836), iii, 7.
  • 63. James Openshaw appears to have sold lands in Radcliffe in 1558, and purchased others in 1565; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 20, m. 69; 27, m. 115; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 250. John Openshaw, who died in 1638, held two messuages and lands in Radcliffe of Ralph Assheton of Middleton; John, his son and heir, was thirty-nine years of age; Towneley MS. C. 8, 13 (Chet. Lib.), 949.
  • 64. Richard Wroe was a freeholder in 1600; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 249. Dr. Richard Wroe, warden of Manchester, a benefactor of the poor of Radcliffe, was probably a descendant of this family, though said to have been born in Unsworth; his grandson will be found among the rectors.
  • 65. John and James Hardman had a dispute with Richard Assheton, lord of the manor, in 1600; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 409. Roger Hardman of Radcliffe was a member of the Bury Classis in 1646.
  • 66. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 196. The Aliens and Walkers are later found among the landowners.
  • 67. John Harrison leased 'Niberhole' to Geoffrey Hulme, son of Roger, for sixty years, but afterwards expelled him and his family, whereupon Geoffrey in 1557 complained to the Chancellor of the Duchy; Duchy of Lanc. Plead, xxxv, H. 4. A few years later James Harrison, as heir of his father John, claimed land from Geoffrey and John Hulme, who held by lease from the father; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 243, 286. In 1602 John Harrison of Breightmet was the owner of 'Nytheroll,' and sold it to William Petto of Bury, as the latter alleged; but John Harrison, together with Henry Aspinall, Alice Harrison widow, and Elizabeth Hulme widow, having obtained divers charters, &c., would not allow him possession; Duchy of Lanc. Plead, ccvii, P. 4. Henry Aspinall of Radcliffe died in 1620 holding a messuage and lands called 'Nicolhole' of Richard Assheton in socage, by 2s. rent; John, his son and heir, was forty years of age; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 208.
  • 68. Act 49 Geo. III, cap. 8. Copies of the award are preserved at the parish church and the County Offices, Preston.
  • 69. In 1459 the church was called 'St. Mary of Radcliffe'; Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 1b. 'St. Mary' has been readopted lately.
  • 70. Gules three bezants, a fesse in chief or.
  • 71. A drawing of this is given in Baines, op. cit. (1836), iii, 8; (ed. 1889) ii, 429.
  • 72. See note in Baines, Lancs. (1889), ii, 429.
  • 73. There is an illustration of the slab in Baines, Lancs. (1836), iii, 9; (1889) ii, 429. Dr. Whitaker gave what he could decipher of the inscription as 'Orate pr. aia. Jacobi de Radcliff . . . qu. . . p'pietur Deus.'
  • 74. For extracts see W. Nicholls, Hist and Trad. of Radcliffe, 92–106.
  • 75. Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 10. An assize of 'last presentation' had been summoned, so that it would appear at least one rector had been appointed. On the other hand, as the parish and manor boundaries coincide, it is unlikely that the former is older than the latter.
  • 76. Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 117, m. 7.
  • 77. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 39.
  • 78. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 226. The total was made up of the value of the glebe-land, 40s.; tithe of grain, £8 10s.; tithe of lambs, &c., linseed and hemp, and Easter roll, 52s. 4d.; oblations, £8.
  • 79. Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 29. The glebe-lands were worth £20 a year; rents, 30s.; tithes, £28 10s. There was no need of another church, but part of Pilkington might be joined to the parish, as a number of the inhabitants used to attend Radcliffe Church.
  • 80. Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc), ii, 158. The glebe, 24 acres, let for £33, and ten cottages brought in 31s. 8d. There were three churchwardens and two assistants; the retiring churchwardens used to nominate six for the following year, of whom the rector chose one and the parishioners two.
  • 81. Mancb. Dioc. Cal.
  • 82. Robert, rector of Radcliffe, attested a Lacy charter printed by Whitaker, Wballey, ii, 226, but it may not be the Lancashire parish.
  • 83. John de Hulton, rector of Radcliffe, attested a family charter in 1292; Hulton Ped. 2. In 1298 was cited a quitclaim by John son of David de Hulton, rector of Radcliffe, to his brother Richard; De Banco R. 125, m. 110d.
  • 84. Lich. Epis. Reg. i, 8, fol. 58; the bishop granted him 'the custody of the sequestration' on 8 May. The previous rector died on the eve of Palm Sunday. The new rector was an acolyte; he was ordained subdeacon early in the following year, and deacon in 1315; ibid, i, fol. 114, 123.
  • 85. He exchanged Bury for Radcliffe with Richard de Radcliffe; ibid, i, fol. 86.
  • 86. Ibid, ii, fol. 99; the new rector was a priest.
  • 87. Ibid, iv, fol. 81b; he is called 'chaplain.' He died on the Monday after St. Gregory, 1366–7.
  • 88. Ibid, iv, fol. 83; 'son of Thomas de Pilkington; having the first clerical tonsure.' In the following January the Bishop of Lichfield granted letters dimissory to Alexander de Pilkington, acolyte, rector of Radcliffe, for his promotion to all holy orders; ibid, v, fol. 18b. Alexander resigned a few days afterwards.
  • 89. Ibid, iv, fol. 83; he was a priest.
  • 90. He may be the same as Richard de Radcliffe. He was rector in 1374, and one of the feoffees of Ralph de Langton; De Banco R. 456, m. 243; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 6.
  • 91. He became vicar of Rochdale, and died in 1402.
  • 92. Lich. Epis.Reg. vi, fol. 54; here called Roger son of William de Manchester, but elsewhere Roger de Lache. He had been vicar of Rochdale since 1369. His will, dated 28 February 1407–8, and proved a year later, is printed in Various Coll. (Hist. MSS. Com.), ii, 16; he desired to be buried at Radcliffe, and in addition to legacies to friends, he left bequests to the churches of Radcliffe, Rochdale, Saddleworth, and Manchester, and to Upholland Priory. His books included Stimulus Conscientie, Vite Patrum, Homilies, the Breviaries, an Ordinale, and a Manuale.
  • 93. Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 96b; a 'chaplain.'
  • 94. Ibid, ix, fol. 23b; a priest.
  • 95. Ibid, xii, fol. 1b; a chaplain.
  • 96. Ibid. fol. 113b; a chaplain. He granted an annual pension to his predecessor for life; ibid. fol. 114.
  • 97. Ibid. fol. 116b.
  • 98. Ibid. fol. 120b.
  • 99. Ibid, xiii, fol. 230; a priest. He died in or before 1514, when the aboverecorded dispute as to the advowson occurred; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 117, m. 7. The succession of rectors is given in the Cockey Moor Examinations (Chet. Soc. Misc.), 10.
  • 100. He may have succeeded Longworth in 1514. His will is printed in Piccope, Wills (Chet. Soc.), ii, 144; he made a number of bequests to Middleton Church, but none to Radcliffe; his father, Roger Beswick, is named as executor, together with John Cowope his brother-in-law, and Edward and Ralph his brothers.
  • 101. Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii-xiv, fol. 34. He was chantry priest at Middleton. His predecessor left him, among other priests, 16d. to say dirge and mass and pray for his soul. His own will, dated 1554, is printed in Raines' Chant. i, 124; he left to Radcliffe Church a vestment of baudekin and flowers. He may have been put into Radcliffe until his successor was old enough to be instituted.
  • 102. Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii-xiv, fol. 36b; an acolyte. He became rector of Middleton in 1541, and is supposed to have resigned in 1559.
  • 103. Also rector of Middleton, compounding for first-fruits for both on 29 Nov. 1559; Lancs, and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), ii, 409. He was buried at Middleton 9 Oct. 1584.
  • 104. Act Bks. at Chester. Shaw compounded for first-fruits 12 Mar. 1584–5; Lancs, and Ches. Rec. ii, 410. He contributed to the clerical subsidies in 1620, 1622, and 1624; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 54, 66, 80. There is an unsatisfactory notice of him in Chet. Misc. (Chet. Soc), v. He married Mary daughter of Peter Heywood; O. Heywood, Diaries, i, 116.
  • 105. Compounded for first-fruits 25 May 1624. The institutions from this time are printed in Lancs, and Ches. Antiq. Notes, from the Inst. Bks. P.R.O. The patrons in 1624 were Robert Holt, John Greenhalgh, and Robert Heywood, by grant of Sir Richard Assheton; the Earl of Nottingham was impropriator. There must be some error in the last statement. Robert Walkden was schoolmaster at Middleton in 1599. He contributed shipmoney, &c., in 1634., and later; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 95, 112.
  • 106. The Church P. at Chester begin here. Compounded for first-fruits 9 Mar. 1637–8. He was of Trinity Hall and Magdalene College, Cambridge; Cooper, Athen. Cantab, ii, 493. There is a very unfavourable account of him, alike as to character and conduct, by Canon Raines in Manch. Fellows (Chet. Soc), ii, 135–7. He was fellow from 1634 till 1645, when the chapter was dissolved by Parliament. Nothing is known of his subsequent career.
  • 107. Possibly of New Inn Hall, Oxford, B.A., 1634; Foster, Alumni. In 1650 it was recorded that 'about six years ago' Ralph Assheton of Middleton, patron, had bestowed the parsonage of Radcliffe, 'with the benefices and appurtenances thereunto belonging,' on Mr. Thomas Pyke, B.A., who was 'a godly preaching minister, well qualified in life and conversation'; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. 29. He was a member of the Bury Classis from its formation in 1647. The first-fruits, however, were not paid till 31 Jan. 1652; Lancs, and Ches. Rec. ii, 414. He signed the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648. After his expulsion from the rectory in 1662 he continued to minister to Nonconformist congregations in the neighbourhood until his death in 1672; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. iii, 216. See also Manch. Classis (Chet. Soc), iii, 444 ; Bury Classis, ii, 251, and passim. 'Good Mr. Pyke' is mentioned in O. Heywood's Diaries.
  • 108. He had been ordained deacon and priest on 13 Dec. 1656 by the Bishop of Ardfert and Aghadoe, and must therefore have been an episcopalian on principle. Before his presentation to Radcliffe he had received the Archbishop of York's licence to preach in the province; Stratford's Visit. List, 1691. He was, however, found 'conformable' in 1689; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 230. See Raines, Byrom Ped. (Chet. Soc). He rebuilt the tower and did other reparation in the church. In 1665 he made 'bitter complaints' to the justices regarding 'conventicles,' but they 'put him off'; Oliver Heywood, Diaries, i, 197. He was suspended by the bishop in 1671, for, though 'a scholar and no mean poet,' he was 'a dissipated and immoral man'; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), iv, 203. He was again in trouble in 1685, sentence of deprivation being pronounced; Church P. at Chester. Administration of his effects was granted in 1703.
  • 109. Of Christ's College, Cambridge, B.A. 1683.
  • 110. In 1691 Roger Dale was curate of Northenden; he had been curate of Denton; Booker, Denton, 88. Administration of his effects was granted in 1716; see Earwaker, East Ches. i, 418.
  • 111. As B.A. of Trinity College, Dublin, he was admitted a pensioner of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1715; M.A. Cambridge, same year; Admissions St. John's C. ii, 220. There is a monument to him in the church.
  • 112. Educated at University College, Oxford, M.A. 1718; Foster, Alumni. He was buried at Radcliffe 21 June 1724.
  • 113. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford; B.A. 1711. He bequeathed £10 to the poor. His will shows that he had a brother Richard, vicar of Bosham, Sussex; Mr. W. F. Irvine's note.
  • 114. Resigned this benefice for Middleton; see the account of the rectors of that parish.
  • 115. Of Brasenose College, Oxford; M.A. 1725; Foster, Alumni. Only son of Thomas Wroe, fellow of Manchester, and grandson of Richard Wroe, warden of Manchester. He succeeded in 1784 to Marsden Hall, Whalley, and resigned his benefice; see Wardens of Manch. (Chet. Soc), ii, 155. In 1763 he wrote at follows to George Kenyon: 'My friend Smethurst plays his old game ; he has sowed his grain in so many different fields that he has in some of them only nine riders—a rider is ten sheaves—in others nineteen, and so on. Another litigious fellow has bound up all his oats into nine large riders. They will say corn has usually been set up in riders in this county; but if I do not gather it of these people in the sheaf I am precluded from receiving tithe'; Hist. MSS, Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 499.
  • 116. Son of Thomas Foxley, fellow of Manchester. Educated at Manchester Grammar School and Brasenose College, Oxford; M.A. 1780. He also held the curacy of Chowbent in Leigh and the vicarage of Batley, Yorkshire; Foster, Alumni. He resided at Unsworth. In 1824 the parsonage at Radcliffe was occupied by the Rev. Thomas Parkinson, who had a school there.
  • 117. Educated at St. John's College, Cambridge; M.A. 1835. He restored the church, adding the north transept. He died at Leamington in 1892.
  • 118. Educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. M.A. 1869. Vicar of Padiham 1863 to 1865; and of Stainforth 1865 to 1867.
  • 119. Educated at Worcester College, Oxford; M.A. 1883. Vicar of St. Margaret's, Prestwich, 1885 to 1891; rector of St. John's, Broughton, Manchester, 1891.
  • 120. The Clergy List of 1541–2 (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), and the Visit. Lists 1548 to 1565 mention only a curate in addition to the rector.
  • 121. Ch. Gds. (Chet. Soc), 18. There were three sets of vestments, three bells, two hand-bells, &c.
  • 122. From 1547 to 1584.
  • 123. E.g. there was no assistant minister in 1650. There was one in 1620; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 54.
  • 124. The Visitation List names Laurence Pilkington as curate in 1563, while in 1565 the rector was at Durham, so that John Ashton appears to have been of the extremer sort of Protestants
  • 125. 'Dr. Bon (?)' in 1639; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 125. Abraham Mather wag licensed in 1662, and remained till his death in 1699; Stratford's Visit. List, 1691. There was no permanent endowment; Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 160.
  • 126. A district was assigned to it in 1839; Lond.Gaz. 5 July 1839. The old church was' on the model of an eastern pagoda'; Baines, Lancs, (ed. 1836), iii, 10.
  • 127. A district was assigned in 1878; Lond. Gaz. 24 May.
  • 128. The Wesleyan Chapel, Radcliffe Close, erected about 1800, benefited under the will of Richard Bealey, conditionally on 'the usual morning prayers of the Church of England' being read; End. Char. Rep. 1901, p. 4. St. Paul's Wesleyan Chapel, Black Lane, commenced in hired rooms in 1881; church built 1901.
  • 129. Preaching had begun in 1838, but the present church represents a secession from Stand Chapel in 1847; a schoolroom was opened the following year and a church formed in 1849; Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. iii, 233–7
  • 130. Information of Mr. Robert Muschamp, who states that the first meeting of the Society of Friends at Radcliffe began in 1676; the present one began in 1886. In 1689 there was a meeting at John Townson's house in Radcliffe; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 230.
  • 131. The first chapel was opened in 1865, the mission being served from Ramsbottom. A second chapel was opened in 1878; Kelly, Engl. Cath. Missions, 326.
  • 132. The account of the charities is from the Endowed Charities Report for. Radcliffe, 1901; in it is reprinted the report of 1828. Mr. Howarth's other gifts were £1,500 for the choir and £500 for the Sunday school treat. The income of the gift to the poor is called the Aged Poor Fund, and is distributed by the churchwardens.
  • 133. An estate in Buersill and Castleton was left in 1653 by John Guest for the benefit of the poor of Radcliffe and Middleton. A moiety of the net income, now £6 14s., is paid to the rector of Radcliffe, who gives £2 each to the vicars of St. Thomas's and St. Andrew's, and pays the residue to the poor fund of the parish church. Formerly the income was disposed of, according to the testator's wish, in a distribution of linen to the poor, and this course is closely followed by the vicar of St. Andrew's, who gives flannel.
  • 134. At the inclosure made in 1812 an acre of land was appropriated from the common for a public stone quarry for the repair of the roads. The suitable material has long been exhausted, and the land is let at £8 5s. a year, the district council as the highway authority claiming it.
  • 135. Charities founded by Nicholas Gaskell and by William Brown at the beginning of the 18th century are mentioned by Bishop Gastrell in 1718; Notitia, ii, 160. Dr. Wroe in 1718 gave £10 to the poor, the income to be distributed on Christmas Day, and William Lawson, rector, in 1757 bequeathed a further sum. In 1828 it was supposed that the capital had been expended in improvements of the Guest estate, £1 of the income from this having for long been treated separately, but the charities are now regarded as lost. In 1798 William Yates left £5 to augment the Christmas charity; it was lent to Mrs. Bealey of Worth, who in 1828 paid 5s. a year, but her representatives had discontinued the payment before 1862.