Historic Lancashire (Incl. Manchester & Merseyside)
The history of Lancashire is thought to have begun with its founding in the 12th century. In the Domesday Book (1086), some of its lands had been treated as part of Yorkshire. The land that lay Inter Ripam et Mersam, "between the Ribble and Mersey", formed part of the returns for Cheshire. Once its initial boundaries were established, it bordered Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire and Cheshire.
Lancashire emerged during the Industrial Revolution as a major commercial and industrial region. The county encompassed several hundred mill towns and collieries. By the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in Lancashire. Preston, Accrington, Blackburn, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham, Chorley, Darwen, Nelson, Colne, Burnley and Wigan were major cotton mill towns during this time. Blackpool was a major centre for tourism for the inhabitants of Lancashire's mill towns, particularly during wakes week.
The county was subject to a significant boundary reform in 1974, which removed Liverpool and Manchester with most of their surrounding conurbations to form part of the metropolitan counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester respectively. At this time, the detached northern part of Lancashire in the Lake District, including the Furness Peninsula and Cartmel, was made part of Cumbria. Today the county borders Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and North and West Yorkshire. The Duchy of Lancaster exercises the right of the Crown in the area known as the County Palatine of Lancaster, which includes the counties of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
The county was established in 1182 and later than many other counties. During Roman times the area was considered part of the Brigantes tribal area and was in the military zone of Roman Britain. The towns of Manchester, Lancaster, Ribchester, Burrow, Elslack and Castleshaw were all originally Roman forts. In the centuries immediately following the Roman withdrawal in 410AD the northern parts, at least, of the county probably formed part of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged, a successor entity of the Brigantes tribe of northern Britain. During the mid 8th Century, this area was incorporated into the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, which itself became a part of England in the 10th Century. In the Domesday Book, its lands between the Ribble and the Mersey were known as "Inter Ripam et Mersam" and were included in the returns for Cheshire. Although some historians have taken this to mean that south Lancashire was, at that time, part of Cheshire, neither can it be said clearly to have been part of Cheshire. It is also claimed that the territory to the north formed, at that time, part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It bordered on Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire, and Cheshire. The county was divided into the six hundreds of Amounderness, Blackburn, Leyland, Lonsdale, Salford and West Derby. Lonsdale was further partitioned into Lonsdale North, which was the detached part north of "the sands" of Morecambe Bay (including both Furness and Cartmel), and Lonsdale South.
The historical boundary of Lancashire, in red, and the modern-day boundary of the ceremonial county, in greenLancashire is now much smaller than its historical extent, following a major reform of local government. In 1889 an administrative county of Lancashire was created, covering the historical county except for county boroughs such as Blackburn, Burnley, Barrow-in-Furness, Preston, Wigan, Liverpool, Manchester. The area covered by the Lord-Lieutenant (termed now a ceremonial county) continued to cover the entirety of the administrative county along with the county boroughs, and thus was expanded slightly whenever boroughs annexed areas in other neighbouring counties. Examples of this include Wythenshawe (an area of Manchester south of the River Mersey and historically in Cheshire), and southern Warrington. This area also did not cover the western part of Todmorden, where the ancient border between Lancashire and Yorkshire runs through the middle of the town.
During the 20th century the county became increasingly urbanised, particularly the southern part. To the existing county boroughs of Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Bolton, Bootle, Burnley, Bury, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Salford, St Helens and Wigan were added Blackpool (1904), Southport (1905), and Warrington (1900). The county boroughs also had many boundary extensions. The borders around the Manchester area were particularly complicated, with narrow protrusions of the administrative county between the county boroughs – Lees urban district formed a detached part of the administrative county, between Oldham county borough and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
By the census of 1971 the population of Lancashire (including all its associated county boroughs) had reached 5,129,416, making it then the most populous geographic county in the UK. The administrative county of Lancashire was also the most populous of its type outside of London, with a population of 2,280,359 in 1961. On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the administrative county of Lancashire was abolished, as were the county boroughs. The urbanised southern part largely became part of two new metropolitan counties. The south-western part became part of Merseyside, the south-eastern part was incorporated into Greater Manchester. The new county of Cumbria took the Furness exclave.
The boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens and Sefton were removed entirely from Lancashire. In Greater Manchester the successor boroughs were Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham (part), Rochdale, Salford, Tameside (part), Trafford (part) and Wigan. Warrington and Widnes, south of the new Merseyside/Greater Manchester border, rather than become part of Greater Manchester or Merseyside were instead made part of the new non-metropolitan county of Cheshire. The urban districts of Barnoldswick and Earby, the Bowland Rural District and the parishes of Bracewell and Brogden and Salterforth from the Skipton Rural District from the West Riding of Yorkshire became part of the new Lancashire. One parish, Simonswood, was transferred from the borough of Knowsley in Merseyside to the district of West Lancashire in 1994. In 1998 the county borough system re-appeared in all but name, when Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen became independent unitary authority areas. The Wars of the Roses tradition continued with Lancaster using as its symbol the red rose and York the white. Pressure groups, including Friends of Real Lancashire and the Association of British Counties advocate the use of the historical boundaries of Lancashire for ceremonial and cultural purposes.
The history of Manchester encompasses its change from a minor Lancastrian township into the pre-eminent industrial metropolis of the United Kingdom and the world. Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as part of a process of unplanned urbanisation brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The transformation took little more than a century.
Evolving from a Roman castrum in Celtic Britain, Manchester was the site of the world's first passenger railway station and many scientific achievements of great importance. Manchester also led the political and economic reform of 19th-century Britain as the vanguard of free trade. The mid-20th century saw a decline in Manchester's industrial importance, prompting a depression in social and economic conditions. Subsequent investment, gentrification, and rebranding from the 1990s onwards changed its fortunes, and reinvigorated Manchester as a post-industrial city with multiple sporting, broadcasting, and educational institutions.
According to Oxford University Press, Manchester derived its name from Mamucium, the Roman name for the 1st century-settlement and fort. Mamucium itself is a Latinised form of the Celtic meaning "breast-shaped hill".
The Latin name for Manchester is often given as Mancuniun. This is most likely a retronym coined in Victorian times, similar to the widespread Latin name Cantabrigia for Cambridge (whose actual name in Roman times was Duroliponte).
Runway 2 of Manchester Airport lies on top of Oversley Farm, a Neolithic farming community.Prehistoric evidence of human activity in the area of Manchester is limited, although scattered stone tools have been found.
There is evidence of Bronze Age activity around Manchester in the form of burial sites. Although some prehistoric artefacts have been discovered in the city centre, these have come from redeposited layers, meaning they do not necessarily originate from where they were found; wider evidence has been found for activity in other parts of the borough. Before the Roman invasion of Britain, the location lay within the territory dominated by the Brigantes and prior to the Roman conquest of the area in the 70s AD, it was part of the territory of the Brigantes, a Celtic tribe, although it may have been under the control of the Setantii, a sub-tribe of the Brigantes.
A reconstructed gateway of Mamucium fortThe Roman fort of Mamucium was established c. AD 79 near a crossing point on the River Medlock. The fort was sited on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell in a naturally defensible position. It was erected as a series of fortifications established by Gnaeus Julius Agricola during his campaign against the Brigantes who were the Celtic tribe in control of most of northern England. It guards the Deva Victrix (Chester) to Eboracum (York) Roman road running east to west, and a road heading north to Bremetennacum (Ribchester). The neighbouring forts were Castleshaw and Northwich. Built first from turf and timber, the fort was demolished around 140. When it was rebuilt around 160, it was again of turf and timber construction. In about 200 the fort underwent another rebuild, this time enhancing the defences by replacing the gatehouse with a stone version and facing the walls with stone. The fort would have been garrisoned by a cohort, about 500 infantry, of auxiliary troops.
Evidence of both pagan and Christian worship has been discovered. Two altars have been discovered and there may be a temple of Mithras associated with Mamucium. A word square was discovered in the 1970s that may be one of the earliest examples of Christianity in Britain. A civilian settlement (the first in Manchester), or vicus, grew in association with the fort, made up of traders and families of the soldiers. An area which has a concentration of furnaces and industrial activity has been described as an industrial estate. The vicus was probably abandoned by the mid 3rd century, although a small garrison may have remained at Mamucium into the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. The Castlefield area of Manchester is named after the fort.
Looking west along Nico Ditch, near LevenshulmeOnce the Romans abandoned Britain, the focus of settlement in Manchester shifted to the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. During the Dark Ages that followed – and persisted until the Norman Conquest – the settlement of Manchester was in the territory of several different kingdoms. In the late 6th and early 7th centuries, the kingdom of Northumbria extended as far south as the River Mersey, south of what was then the settlement of Manchester. Etymological evidence indicates that the areas to the north west of Manchester (such as Eccles and Chadderton) were British while the parts of Manchester (such as Clayton, Gorton, and Moston) were Anglian, and the south west of Manchester was Danish (including Cheadle Hulme, Davyhulme, Hulme, and Levenshulme).
Between the 6th and 10th centuries, the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex struggled for control over North West England. In 620, Edwin of Northumbria may have sacked Manchester, and the settlement may have been sacked again in 870 by the Danes. According to legend, Nico Ditch – which runs east–west from Ashton-under-Lyne to Stretford and passes through Gorton, Levenshulme, Burnage, Rusholme, Platt Field Park in Fallowfield, Withington, and Chorlton-cum-Hardy – is a defence against Viking invaders and was dug in 869–870. Whether this is true is uncertain, but the ditch does date from between the 7th and 9th centuries. The Anglo Saxon Chronicles detail that in 919 Edward the Elder sent men "to Mameceaster, in Northumbria, to repair and man it"; this probably refers to a burh at Manchester as an advanced post of Mercia. Although it is unsure where the site is, it is possibly a reference to the Roman fort. In 1055, most of what later became Lancashire was under the control of Tostig.
The ancient parish of Manchester covered a wider area than today's metropolitan borough (although not including its full extent), and was probably established in the Anglo-Saxon period (there were at that time only two churches in the parish: at Manchester and Ashton under Lyne). Forty distinct townships developed in the parish and in medieval times the royal manor of Salford was the most important of these.
The Old Wellington Inn Shambles Square was built in 1552.Manchester was administratively part of the Salford Hundred which was created after the Norman Conquest. In 1086 the hundred covered about 350 square miles (910 km2) and had a population of about 3,000. It was given to Roger de Poitou; Roger divided the hundred into fiefdoms and made the Gresle family barons of Manchester. Albert de Gresle was the first baron of Manchester. Although the Gresle family did not reside at the manor, Manchester continued to grow in their absence and stewards represented the lords of the manor.
Manchester's entry in the Domesday Book reads "the Church of St Mary and the Church of St Michael hold one carucate of land in Manchester exempt from all customary dues except tax". St Mary's Church was an Anglo-Saxon church on the site of Manchester Cathedral; St Michael's Church may have been in Ashton-under-Lyne. The parish of Manchester – of which St Mary's Church was a part – was the ecclesiastical centre of the Salford Hundred. It covered about 60 square miles (160 km2) and extended as far as the edges of Flixton and Eccles in the west, the Mersey between Stretford and Stockport in the south, the edge of Ashton-under-Lyne in the east, and the edge of Prestwich in the north. That such a large area was covered by a single parish has been taken as evidence of the area's "impoverished and depopulated status". The only tax the parish was subject to was Danegeld.
There was a castle in Manchester overlooking the rivers Irk and Irwell, where Chetham's School of Music stands today. This castle was probably a ringwork and has been described as "of no political or military importance". By the late 13th century the Grelleys or Gresles, who were barons of Manchester for two centuries, had replaced the castle with a fortified manor house. They used the house as the administrative centre of the manor. While the town was owned by the lords of the manor, they directly leased land to tenants and created burgage tenements for indirect rent; as well as containing a house, these plots of land could also contain workshops and gardens. The family also owned the only corn mill in the manor which was used by all the tenants of the manor to grind their corn. Medieval Manchester was centred around the manor house and the Church of St Mary mentioned in the Domesday Book. As well as a castle at Manchester, there was also one in Ringway. Ullerwood Castle, a motte-and-bailey, probably dates from the 12th century and was owned by Hamon de Massey who owned several manors in the north east of Cheshire.
The first lord of the manor to actually live in Manchester was Robert Grelley (1174–1230); his presence led to an influx of skilled workers, such as stonemasons and carpenters, associated with the construction of the manor house. In the early 13th century, Manchester for a period was not under the control of the Grelleys. Robert Grelley was one of the barons who made King John sign the Magna Carta. Grelley was excommunicated for his role in the rebellion and when King John later ignored the terms of the Magna Carta, Grelley forfeited his lands. King John died in 1216 and Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent, returned Grelley's land to him on behalf of King Henry III In the medieval period Manchester grew into a market town and had a market every Saturday. In 1223, Manchester gained the right to hold an annual fair; the market was held in Acresfield – where St Ann's Square is today – on what was then arable land. It was the first fair to be established in the Salford Hundred and the fourth in south Lancashire. Manchester became a market town in 1301 when it received its Charter. On 1 November 1315, Manchester was the starting place of a rebellion by Adam Banastre. Banastre, Henry de Lea, and William de Bradshagh rebelled against Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster.
The medieval town's defences incorporated the rivers Irk and Irwell on two sides and a 410-metre (450 yd) long ditch on the others. The ditch, known as Hanging Ditch, was up to 37 metres (40 yd) wide and 37 metres (40 yd) deep. It was spanned by Hanging Bridge, the main route in and out of the town. The name may derive from hangan meaning hollow, although there is an alternative derivation from the Old English hen, meaning wild birds, and the Welsh gan, meaning between two hills. It dates to at least 1343 but may be even older.
In the 14th century Manchester became home to a community of Flemish weavers, who settled in the town to produce wool and linen, thus beginning the tradition of cloth manufacture. This sparked the growth of the city to become Lancashire's major industrial centre. The various townships and chapelries of the ancient parish of Manchester became separate civil parishes in 1866.
Thomas de la Warre was a Lord of the Manor and also a priest. He obtained licences from the Pope and King Henry V to enable him to found and endow a collegiate church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, St. George, and St. Denys or St. Denis, the latter two being the patron saints of England and France respectively. Construction began around 1422, and continued until the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The 'merchant princes' of the town endowed a number of chantry chapels, reflecting an increasing prosperity based on wool. This church later became Manchester Cathedral.
Thomas also gave the site of the old manor house as a residence for the priests. It remains as one of the finest examples of a medieval secular religious building in Britain, and is now the home of Chetham's School of Music.
Growth of the textile trade
The Royal Exchange, Cross StreetBy the sixteenth century the wool trade had made Manchester a flourishing market town. The collegiate church, which is now the Cathedral, was finally completed in 1500–1510. The magnificent carved choir stalls date from this period, and in 1513 work began on a chapel endowed by James Stanley, Bishop of Ely, in thanksgiving for the safe return of his kinsman (sometimes said to be his son) John Stanley from the Battle of Flodden.
The English Reformation resulted in the collegiate church being refounded as a Protestant institution. One of the more famous Wardens of this institution at the time was Dr John Dee, known as "Queen Elizabeth's Merlin".
The town's growth was given further impetus in 1620 with the start of fustian weaving. In this period Manchester grew heavily due to an influx of Flemish settlers who founded Manchester's new weaving industry. In the course of the 17th century, thanks to the development of the textile industry and contacts with the City of London, Manchester became a noted centre of puritanism. Consequently, it sided with Parliament in the quarrel with Charles I. Indeed, it might be said that the English Civil War started here. In 1642, Lord Strange, the son of the Earl of Derby attempted to seize the militia magazine stored in the old College building. In the ensuing scuffle, Richard Percival, a linen weaver, was killed. He is reckoned by some to be the first casualty in the English Civil War.
Lord Strange returned and attempted to besiege the town, which had no permanent fortifications. With the help of John Rosworm, a German mercenary, the town was vigorously defended. Captain Bradshaw and his musketeers resolutely manned the bridge to Salford. Eventually, Strange realised that his force was ill-prepared, and after hearing that his father had died, withdrew to claim his title.
During the Commonwealth, Manchester was granted a seat in Parliament for the first time. Maj Gen Charles Worsley, scion of an old Lancashire family and one of Cromwell's most trusted lieutenants, had been given the Mace at the famous dissolution of Parliament in 1654. Elected Manchester's first MP, he did not sit for long before Parliament was again dissolved, leading to the Rule of the Major Generals: effectively martial law. Worsley, given responsibility for Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire, took his duties seriously, turning out ale houses, banning bear baiting and cracking down on the celebration of Christmas. He eventually died in 1656, at a time of the gradual ebbing away of Cromwell's authority.
On the English Restoration in 1660, as a reprisal for its defence of the Parliamentarian cause, Manchester was deprived of its recently granted Members of Parliament. No MP was to sit for Manchester until 1832. The consequences of the restoration led to a great deal of soul searching. One clergyman, Henry Newcombe, could not remain in the remodeled Anglican Church, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Cross Street Chapel in 1694. This later passed into Unitarian hands, and a new chapel on the original site can be visited.
Humphrey Chetham purchased the old College buildings after the Civil War, and endowed it as a bluecoat school. Chetham's Hospital, as it was known, later became Chetham's School of Music. The endowment included a collection of books, which in 1653 became Chetham's Library, the first free public library in the English-speaking world. As of 2007, it is still open and free to use.
Despite the political setbacks, the town continued to prosper. A number of inhabitants supported the Glorious Revolution in 1688. They became discontented with the Tory clergy at the collegiate church, and a separate church, more to their tastes, was founded by Lady Ann Bland. St Ann's Church is a fine example of an early Georgian church, and was consecrated in 1712. The surroundings, what is now St Ann's Square but was previously known as Acresfield, were in imitation of a London square.
About this time, Defoe described the place as "the greatest mere village in England", by which he meant that a place the size of a populous market town had no form of local government to speak of, and was still subject to the whims of a lord of the manor.
In 1745, Charles Edward Stuart and his army entered Manchester en route to London. Despite its previous radicalism, the town offered no resistance and the Jacobites obtained enough recruits to form a 'Manchester Regiment'. It is suggested that this was because the town had no local government to speak of, and the magistrates, who could have organised resistance, were mostly conservative landowners. Moreover, these Tory landowners had taken to apprenticing their sons to Manchester merchants, so the political complexion of the town's elite had changed. The Jacobite army got no further than Derby, and then retreated. On their way back through Manchester, the stragglers were pelted by the mob. The luckless 'Manchester Regiment' were left behind to garrison Carlisle, where they quickly surrendered to the pursuing British Army.
Cotton mills in Ancoats about 1820. Manchester from Kersal Moor, by William Wyld in 1852. Manchester acquired the nickname Cottonopolis during the early 19th century owing to its sprawl of textile factories. Liverpool Road Station the terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway A 19th century slum dwelling. The overhang contained privies, whose waste fell straight into the River Medlock below.Manchester remained a small market town until the late 18th century, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Some sources define the start of the industrial revolution as July 1761, when the Duke of Bridgewater's canal reached Castlefield. The myriad small valleys in the Pennine Hills to the north and east of the town, combined with the damp climate, proved ideal for the construction of water-powered Cotton mills such as Quarry Bank Mill, which industrialised the spinning and weaving of cloth.
Indeed, it was the importation of cotton, which began towards the end of the eighteenth century, that revolutionised the textile industry in the area. This new commodity was imported through the port of Liverpool, which was connected with Manchester by the Mersey and Irwell Navigation - the two rivers had been made navigable from the 1720s onwards.
Manchester now developed as the natural distribution centre for raw cotton and spun yarn, and a marketplace and distribution centre for the products of this growing textile industry. Richard Arkwright is credited as the first to erect a cotton mill in the city. His first experiment, installing a Newcomen steam engine to pump water for a waterwheel failed, but he next adapted a Watt steam engine to directly operate the machinery. The result was the rapid spread of cotton mills throughout Manchester itself and in the surrounding towns. To these must be added bleach works, textile print works, and the engineering workshops and foundries, all serving the cotton industry. During the mid 19th century Manchester grew to become to the centre of Lancashire's cotton industry and was dubbed "Cottonopolis", and a branch of the Bank of England was established in 1826.
The city had one of the first telephone exchanges in Europe (arguably the first in the UK) when in 1879 one was opened on Faulkner Street in the city centre using the Bell patent system. By 1881 it had 420 subscribers - just 7 years later a new exchange had the capacity for 10 times that number. Manchester Central exchange was still the largest outside the capital in Edwardian times employing 200 operators.
The growth of the city was matched by expansion of its transport links. The growth of steam power meant that demand for coal rocketed. To meet this demand, the first canal of the industrial era, the Duke's Canal, often referred to as the Bridgewater Canal, was opened in 1761, linking Manchester to the coal mines at Worsley. This was soon extended to the Mersey Estuary. Soon an extensive network of canals was constructed, linking Manchester to all parts of England.
One of the world's first public omnibus services began in 1824; it ran from Market Street in Manchester or Pendleton in Salford. In 1830, Manchester was again at the forefront of transport technology with the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first steam passenger railway. This provided faster transport of raw materials and finished goods between the port of Liverpool and mills of Manchester. By 1838, Manchester was connected by rail with Birmingham and London, and by 1841 with Hull. The existing horse drawn omnibus services were all acquired by the Manchester Carriage Company, Ltd in 1865. Horse drawn trams began in Salford (1877) and Manchester (1880–81), were succeeded by electric trams in 1901-03 and by 1930 Manchester Corporation Tramways were running the third largest system in the UK.
Manchester's population exploded as people moved from the surrounding countryside, and from other parts of the British Isles, into the city seeking new opportunities. Particularly large numbers also came from Ireland, especially after the Potato Famine of the 1840s. The Irish influence continues to this day and, every March Manchester plays host to a large St Patrick's Day parade. It is estimated that about 35% of the population of Manchester and Salford has at least some Irish ancestry.
Large numbers of (mostly Jewish) immigrants later came to Manchester from central and eastern Europe. The area, including Salford and Prestwich, today has a Jewish population of about 40,000. This is the largest Jewish community outside London by quite some way. To these groups may be added (in later years) Levantines (involved in the Egyptian cotton trade), Germans, and Italians. By the end of the nineteenth century, Manchester was a very cosmopolitan place.
The unconventional background of such a diverse population stimulated intellectual and artistic life. The Manchester Academy, for example, opened in Mosley Street in 1786, having enjoyed an earlier incarnation as the Warrington Academy. It was originally run by Presbyterians being one of the few dissenting academies that provided religious nonconformists, who were excluded from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, with a higher education. It taught classics, radical theology, science, modern languages, language and history. In the arts, the Hallé Orchestra, was patronised, in its early years, by the German community and attracted a loyal following.
Manchester's rapid growth into a significant industrial centre meant the pace of change was fast and frightening. At that time, it seemed a place in which anything could happen - new industrial processes, new ways of thinking (the so-called 'Manchester School', promoting free trade and laissez-faire), new classes or groups in society, new religious sects, and new forms of labour organisation. It attracted educated visitors from all parts of Britain and Europe. "What Manchester does today," it was said, "the rest of the world does tomorrow." Benjamin Disraeli, at that time a young novelist, had one of his characters express such sentiments. "The age of ruins is past ... Have you seen Manchester? Manchester is as great a human exploit as Athens ..." Such radicalism culminated in the opening of the Free Trade Hall which had several incarnations until its current building was occupied in 1856.
The Peterloo Massacre was a major event in the history of the cityAt the beginning of the 19th century, Manchester was still governed by a court leet on the medieval model, and a Boroughreeve was responsible for law and order during the daylight hours. The Manchester and Salford Police Act of 1792 created Police Commissioners, whose job was to provide a night-watch. The commissioners were also given responsibility for road-building, street cleaning, street lighting, and the maintenance of fire engines.
The end of the 18th century saw the first serious recession in the textile trade. There were food riots in 1797, and soup kitchens were established in 1799. Manchester was the scene of the Blanketeer agitation in 1817. Popular unrest was paralleled by discontent with Manchester's lack of representation at Westminster, and the town quickly became a centre of radical agitation.
Protest turned to bloodshed in the summer of 1819. A meeting was held in St Peter's Field on 16 August to demonstrate for parliamentary reform. It was addressed by Henry Hunt, a powerful speaker known as Orator Hunt. Local magistrates, fearful of the large crowd estimated at 60,000–80,000, ordered volunteer cavalry from the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to clear a way through the crowd to arrest Hunt and the platform party. The Yeomanry were armed with sabres and some reports say that many of them were drunk. They lost control and started to strike out at members of the crowd. The magistrates, believing that the Yeomanry were under attack, then ordered the 15th Hussars to disperse the crowd, which they did by charging into the mass of men, women and children, sabres drawn. These events resulted in the deaths of fifteen people and over six hundred injured. The name "Peterloo" was coined immediately by the radical Manchester Observer, combining the name of the meeting place, St Peter's Field, with the Battle of Waterloo fought four years earlier. One of those who later died from his wounds had been present at Waterloo, and told a friend shortly before his death that he had never been in such danger as at Peterloo: "At Waterloo there was man to man but there it was downright murder."
The Manchester Guardian, a newspaper with a radical agenda, was established shortly afterwards. In 1832, following the Great Reform Act, Manchester elected its first MPs since the election of 1656. Five candidates, including William Cobbett stood and Liberals Charles Poulett Thomson and Mark Philips were elected. The Great Reform Act led to conditions favourable to municipal incorporation. Manchester became a Municipal Borough in 1837, and what remained of the manorial rights were later purchased by the town council.
Industrial and cultural growth
The prosperity from the textile industry lead to an expansion of Manchester and the surrounding conurbation. Many institutions were established including Belle Vue leisure gardens and zoo (founded by John Jennison in 1836), the Manchester Athenaeum (1836–1837), the Corn Exchange (1837) and the Royal Victoria Gallery of Practical Science (1840–42).
This wealth fuelled the development of science and education in Manchester. The Manchester Academy had relocated to York in 1803 and, though it returned in 1840, in 1853 it moved again to London, eventually becoming Harris Manchester College, Oxford. However, a Mechanics' Institute, later to become UMIST, was founded in 1824 by among others, John Dalton the "father of atomic theory". In 1851 Owens College was founded by the trustees of John Owens, a textile merchant who had left a bequest for that purpose. Owens College was to become the first constituent college of the Victoria University (UK) which was granted its Royal Charter in 1880. This flowering of radicalism and reform took place within the context of a ferment in Manchester's cultural and intellectual life. John Dalton lectured on his atomic theory at the Literary and Philosophical Society in 1803. The establishment of the Portico Library in 1806, the Royal Manchester Institution (later the Art Gallery) in 1823, and the Manchester Botanical and Horticultural Society in 1827 are evidences of this.
The growth of city government continued with Manchester finally being incorporated as a borough in 1838, covering what is now the city centre, along with Cheetham, Beswick, Ardwick, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme.
In 1841, Robert Angus Smith took up work as an analytical chemist at the Royal Manchester Institution and started to research the unprecedented environmental problems. Smith went on to become the first director of the Alkali Inspectorate and to characterise, and coin the term, acid rain.
Manchester continued to be a nexus of political radicalism. From 1842 to 1844, the German social philosopher Friedrich Engels lived there and wrote his influential book Condition of the Working Class in England (1845). He habitually met Karl Marx in an alcove at Chetham's Library.
In 1846 the Borough bought the manorial rights from the Mosley family and the granting of city status followed in 1853.
In 1847 the Manchester diocese of the Church of England was established.
In 1851, the Borough became the first local authority to seek water supplies beyond its boundaries.
By 1853, the number of cotton mills in Manchester had reached its peak of 108. Warehouse became commonplace in what now makes up the city centre. These 19th century Mancunian warehouses were often decorative and ornate for a building of such simple function. The most notable 19th century warehouse is Watts Warehouse on Portland Street.
The Cooperative Wholesale Society was formed in 1862. Manchester is now home to The Co-operative Group, the largest mutual business in the world with over six million members. The Group remained based on their listed estate in Manchester city centre.
The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 saw an immediate shortage of cotton and the ensuing cotton famine brought enormous distress to the area until the war ended in 1865.
The first Trades Union Congress was held in Manchester (at the Mechanics' Institute, David Street), from 2 to 6 June 1868. Manchester was the subject of Friedrich Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, Engels himself spending much of his life in and around Manchester. Manchester was also an important cradle of the Labour Party and the Suffragette Movement.
Manchester's golden age was perhaps the last quarter of the 19th century. Many of the great public buildings (including the Town Hall) date from then. The city's cosmopolitan atmosphere contributed to a vibrant culture, which included the Hallé Orchestra. In 1889, when county councils were created in England, the municipal borough became a county borough with even greater autonomy.
Albert SquareDuring the late 19th century Manchester began to suffer an economic decline, partly exacerbated by its reliance on the Port of Liverpool, which was charging excessive dock usage fees. Championed by local industrialist Daniel Adamson, the Manchester Ship Canal was built as a way to reverse this. It gave the city direct access to the sea allowing it to export its manufactured goods directly. This meant that it no longer had to rely on the railways and Liverpool's ports. When completed in 1894 it allowed Manchester to become Britain's third busiest port, despite being 40 miles (64 km) inland. The Manchester Ship Canal was created by canalising the Rivers Irwell and Mersey for 36 miles (58 km) from Salford to the Mersey estuary at the port of Liverpool. This enabled ocean going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester Docks (technically in Salford). The docks functioned until the 1970s, when their closure led to a large increase in unemployment in the area.
Trafford Park in Stretford (outside the ciy boundaries) was the world's first industrial estate and still exists today, though with a significant tourist and recreational presence. Manchester suffered greatly from the inter-war depression and the underlying structural changes that began to supplant the old industries, including textile manufacture.
Expansion of the city limits was constrained westwards (with the borough of Salford immediately to the west, having been given a charter in 1844). These areas were included in the city limits of Manchester at these dates:-
1885: Harpurhey, Bradford-with-Beswick, Rusholme 1890: Crumpsall, Blackley and Moston, Newton Heath, Clayton, Openshaw, West Gorton 1903: Heaton Park. So far most expansion had been northerly and easterly. 1904: Moss Side, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Withington, Burnage, Didsbury, all to the south. 1909: Gorton, Levenshulme. 1931: The parishes of Northenden, Baguley, and Northen Etchells, beyond the River Mersey, previously in Bucklow Rural District in Cheshire. They later formed the Wythenshawe housing estate. This followed an unsuccessful attempt to annex the same area in 1927. 1974 (Local Government Act 1972): Ringway, Manchester International Airport.  Twentieth centuryBy 1900 the Manchester city region was the 9th most populous in the world. In the early 20th century Manchester's economy diversified into engineering chemical and electrical industries. The stimulus of the Ship Canal saw the establishment of Trafford Park, the world's first industrial park, in 1910 and the arrival of the Ford Motor Company and Westinghouse Electric Corporation from the USA. The influence is still visible in "Westinghouse Road" and a grid layout of numbered streets and avenues.
In 1931 the population of Manchester reached an all-time peak of 766,311. However the period from the 1930s onwards saw continuous decline in population. During this period, textile manufacture, Manchester's traditional staple industry went into steep decline, largely due to the Great Depression of the 1930s, and foreign competition.
Signicant changes in this period were the move of the Manchester Royal Infirmary from Piccadilly in 1908 and the building of a new Public Library and Town Hall extension in the 1930s.
World War II
Manchester Central Library, St Peter's SquareIn the Second World War Manchester played a key role as an industrial manufacturing city, including the Avro aircraft factory (now BAE Systems) which built countless aircraft for the RAF, the most famous being the Avro Lancaster bomber. As a consequence of its war efforts the city suffered heavily from bombing during The Blitz in 1940 to 1941. It was attacked a number of times by the Luftwaffe, particularly in the "Christmas Blitz" of 1940, which destroyed a large part of the historic city centre and seriously damaged the Cathedral.
The Royal Exchange ceased trading in 1968.The 1950s saw the start of Manchester's rise as a football superpower. Despite the Munich air disaster, Manchester United F.C. went on to become one of the world's most famous clubs, rising to a dominance of the English game from the early 1990s onwards.
Mancunian Films had been established by John E. Blakeley in the 1930s as a vehicle for northern comedians such as George Formby and Frank Randle. The company opened its own studios in Manchester in 1947 and produced a successful sequence of films until Blakeley's retirement six years later. The studio was sold to the BBC in 1954, the same year that saw the advent of commercial television in the UK. The establishment of Granada Television based in the city attracted much of the production talent from the studios and continued Manchester's tradition of cultural innovation, often with its trademark social radicalism in its programming.
The same period saw the rise to national celebrity of local stars from the Granada TV soap opera Coronation Street and footballers such as George Best.
As with many British cities during the period. The 1950s and 1960s saw extensive re-development of the city, with old and overcrowded housing cleared to make way for high-rise blocks of flats. This changed the appearance of Manchester considerably, although the high-rise experiment later proved unpopular and unsuccessful. The city-centre also saw major re-development, with developments such as the Manchester Arndale.
Manchester's key role in the industrial revolution was repeated and the city became a centre of research and development. Manchester made important contributions the computer revolution. The father of modern computing Alan Turing was based at Manchester University and it was his idea of the stored program concept that lead in 1948 to The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, nicknamed Baby, which was the first stored-program computer to run a program. This was developed by Frederic C. Williams and Tom Kilburn at the University of Manchester. This was followed by The Manchester Mark 1, in 1949. These inventions were commercialized in the Ferranti Mark 1, one of the first commercially available computers.
The town of Manchester (as it was then) was granted a charter in 1301 by Thomas de Grelley, Baron of Manchester, who was also the Lord of the Manor of Manchester.
Until the 19th century, Manchester was one of the many townships in the ancient parish of Manchester which covered a wider area than today's metropolitan borough.
In 1792 commissioners, usually known as police commissioners, were established for the improvement of the Township of Manchester. By the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, the Borough of Manchester was established in 1838 as a local authority, which included the areas of Manchester, Beswick, Cheetham, Chorlton-on-Medlock and Hulme townships.
On 11 December 1840, the Manchester Poor Law Union was formally declared and took responsibility for the administration and funding of the Poor Law in the area.
City of Manchester
In 1853 the Borough was elevated to City status. In 1885 further areas were added to the City of Manchester with Bradford, Harpurhey, Rusholme and parts of Moss Side and Withington townships.
By the Local Government Act 1888, the City of Manchester became in 1889 a County Borough, although it still kept the city title.
Other areas, which had been under the control of Lancashire County Council, were added to the City between 1890 and 1933:
1890: Blackley, Crumpsall, Moston, Openshaw and Newton (incl. Kirkmanshulme) townships, Clayton area (part of Droylsden township) and part of Gorton township. 1901: A very small part of Gorton Urban District. 1903: Part (Heaton Park area) of Prestwich Urban District. 1904: Burnage, Didsbury and Chorlton-cum-Hardy civil parishes and Moss Side and Withington Urban Districts. 1909: Levenshulme Urban District and the remaining area of Gorton Urban District. 1913: Part of Heaton Norris Urban District. 1933: Part of Denton Urban District. In addition to these areas, in 1931 the Cheshire civil parishes of Baguley, Northenden and Northen Etchells were also added to the City of Manchester. Under the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester, with the addition of the civil parish of Ringway, became on 1 April 1974 one of the ten Metropolitan Boroughs of the newly created Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester.
In 1986 Greater Manchester County Council was abolished by the Local Government Act 1985 and most of its functions were devolved to the ten boroughs, making them effectively unitary authorities. Some of the County Council's functions were taken over by joint bodies such as a passenger transport authority, and joint fire, police and waste disposal authorities.
In one of its most noted acts Manchester City Council carried a resolution in 1980 to create the UK's first Nuclear Free Zone  The Peace Gardens were later constructed on a small piece of land in St. Peters Square.
Before 1974 the area of Greater Manchester was split between Cheshire and Lancashire with numerous parts being independent county boroughs. The area was informally known as "SELNEC", for "South East Lancashire North East Cheshire". Also small parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire (around Saddleworth) and Derbyshire were covered.
SELNEC had been proposed by the Redcliffe-Maud Report of 1969 as a "metropolitan area". This had roughly the same northern boundary as today's Greater Manchester, but covered much more territory in north-east Cheshire – including Macclesfield and Warrington. It also covered Glossop in Derbyshire.
In 1969 a SELNEC Passenger Transport Authority was set up, which covered an area smaller than the proposed SELNEC, but different from the eventual Greater Manchester.
Although the Redcliffe-Maud report was rejected by the Conservative Party government after it won the 1970 general election, it was committed to local government reform, and accepted the need for a county based on Manchester. Its original proposal was much smaller than the Redcliffe-Maud Report's SELNEC, but further fringe areas such as Wilmslow, Warrington and Glossop were trimmed from the edges and included instead in the shire counties. The metropolitan county of Greater Manchester was eventually established in 1974.
Greater Manchester's representative county council was abolished in 1986, following the Local Government Act 1985. However, Greater Manchester is still a metropolitan county and ceremonial county.
Historic Liverpool (Merseyside)
For a period popularly known as the Bronze Age, there is very little evidence on Merseyside for metal production at this time. There have been discoveries of metal hoards, however (Portfield Camp, Whalley and Winmarleigh
Of course the most intriguing remains of the Bronze Age in Britain are the numerous ritual monuments left scattered across the landscape. While south west England is internationally famous for its Bronze Age monuments, henge-like features have been found in Halsall in west Lancashire, and the Calder Stones, before they were dismantled and moved to their current location, formed a burial chamber – possibly a passage grave – like those seen across Wales (and Anglesey), Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. Those links with their Irish Seaboard cousins clearly continued into the late stages of prehistory. The tomb of which the Calder Stones were a part was certainly open in the Bronze Age, as they were carved with footprints and spirals, cups and concentric circles – typical Bronze Age features. In Liverpool itself have been found the remains of ritual activity. In Wavertree eight urns were found in the 19th Century, along with cremated bones, but no structure (such as a burial mound) was recorded.
The Iron Age
The woodland clearance that we saw begin as a patchwork in the Mesolithic was probably widespread across north west England by the Iron Age, and use of the land had intensified by this point. Marshy areas were still common, and temperatures were falling while rainfall increased. This reduced the space available for grazing animals and cultivating cereals, although the coast would have been relatively warmer.
Evidence for growing crops is not as extensive as that for farming animals, at least until the end of the Iron Age. The first permanent farmsteads in the region come from this period, as well as the transformation of the landscape with the first large scale field systems.
Construction efforts were often much more grandiose at this time, with huge multiple-ditched enclosures being constructed on hilltops (such as near Frodsham, Eddisbury, Kelsbarrow, and at Beeston in Cheshire), and similar features in the lowlands, such as at Mill Hill Road, Irby, Woolton, and Brook House Farm, Halewood. These enclosures may have formed part of a developing settlement hierarchy, with the hilltop settlements at the top, and the smaller, scattered villages and isolated enclosures beneath, such as the lowland promontory settlement at Peckforton Mere, Oakmere in Cheshire.
The houses people lived in were usually circular in plan, from 4m across (eg. at Tatton Park) up to 11m or more, such as the five roundhouses whose foundations overlap each other at Lathom.
Only Brook House Farm, in Halewood, has provided any plant remains or animal bones north of the Mersey (though grain storage structures were found at Lathom), so archaeologists clearly have a lot to learn about this stage in Liverpool’s history.
It has been suggested that Iron Age wealth was shown off not through belongings, precious metals or weapons, but rather through the breeding and large-scale consumption of cattle. The arrangement of ditches and entrances at Brook House Farm would support this idea, as they would have been suitable for corralling these animals. Also, despite not being set on a hilltop like Beeston, the farm could have been a site of high status not just for its cattle herds but because of the physical size of the place. The farm was most likely situated in a clearing, as pollen evidence suggests that heavy woodland surrounded the farm in the Iron Age.
Towards the end of the Iron Age, however, this situation was changing, and cattle enclosures become smaller, and it is possible that cereal cultivation was becoming more important. However, it could also mean that cattle corralling was no longer a communal activity, and each of the later enclosures was only designed for one family’s livestock.
Trade What were do know about this period is that Cheshire salt was already becoming a valuable commodity, traded over the north west of England, Wales and the Midlands. As the Iron Age progressed, and we come to the end of the prehistoric period, Carthaginian coins and Roman amphorae (from the south coast of France) found their way to Meols at the north end of the Wirral. This shows the very widespread trade which was going on, with links between Merseyside and mainland Europe, as well as more local links. Merseyside was in contact with the Romans, and almost all Iron Age sites produce some Roman artefacts, but much of the wider region was only slowly Romanised compared to some parts of the country.
The Romano-British Period
The term “Romano-British” is particularly well-suited to the period around 2000 years ago. Although the Roman armies built a road between Chester, Warrington and Carlisle, contact to the west of this route is hard to see in the archaeological record. As has been mentioned, some Roman artefacts did make their way up the Wirral and to where Liverpool itself now stands, but more Romanisation than this is doubtful. There was a settlement at Ochre Brook, Tarbock, from the prehistoric period, but even once the Romans had made inroads into the rest of the country, only selected parts of their culture made it into Ochre Brook. The farm here cultivated barley, and there was certainly hay and grassland, while the buildings were oval or rectangular. It is also possible that the inhabitants exploited the small amount of coal which was exposed in the banks of the Brook itself.
The clearance of woodland, and the increase in crop farming and field-creation continued into the period. Settlements, which were becoming more permanent, would have been separated by belts of woodland, scrub wasteland and the ever-present marshes. Most enclosures were still being created along stream channels (Bollin, Weaver, Glaze Brook). The extent of the field systems was still a lot smaller than similar features known from Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, however.
Industry In addition to the use of coal where available, in the Romano-British period sand was being exploited at Whitefield Sandhole, and sandstone was quarried at Bank Hey Delf (to the south east of Ochre Brook).
One of the intriguing aspects of industry at this time was the production of Roman tiles at Ochre Brook. Although no Roman coins have as yet been found in the immediate area, there is more evidence of Romanisation than in any of the surrounding region. Stamps on the tiles themselves show that there were certainly links between the tile manufacturer and the 20th Roman Legion based in Chester.
Pottery found on the site has been found to be locally made, with nothing quite the same being found anywhere else. There is some evidence that building style was influenced by Roman ideas, and it may be the case that whoever lived at Ochre Brook 2000 years ago was a retired Roman legionary who had taken to producing tiles for the Roman army based in Chester while living in his modest farmstead in the countryside!
By the beginning of the fifth century AD the Roman Empire was in disarray. The final garrisons left these shores during Constantine’s reign, around AD407. Left behind were the British, the indigenous population (albeit with some inevitable mixing with the Roman incomers). The Germanic tribes migrating around mainland Europe at this time (and contributing the Rome’s fall), reached these shores in the following centuries. Later on in the middle ages the Danes and the Norse also made their way across the North Sea, settling in vast areas of eastern England. This period lasted until the Norman Conquest of 1066, but what trace, if any, has it left on the landscape of Liverpool?
There is very little archaeological evidence on Merseyside for the so-called Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods. Our best source of evidence, given what we know about the British Isles as a whole during this time, are the place names of the towns and villages around the region. Looking at the map, we can see a whole load of clues as to where the European invaders landed and set their homes. [see figure] The origins of names in Merseyside are mixed. There are the old indigenous names of places such as Bootle (‘botl’ – a dwelling place) and Walton (‘wala tun’ – British farm). There are also the names which derive from the new settlers languages: Toxteth (Tocca’s staith, or landing place), the Mersey (‘maeres ea’ – boundary river) and Kirkby (‘Cherchebi’ – village with a church). Despite being able to pinpoint many settlements from the time, we can’t quite draw a line between the Norse communities and the indigenous Britons. Doubtless there was frequent contact, and we can’t be sure of the extent to which the newcomers mingle with the communities they found here. You’ll have to come to your own conclusions about the people who occupied your own part of the city!
West Derby Hundred While we can’t look in detail at the divisions between the Brits and the Scandinavians and Germans, we do know the structure of the society; a situation that still affects many of the institutions in existence today. A ‘Hundred’ was one of the most important divisions in the country. There are many theories as to what the exact definition of a hundred was, but suffice to say that it was a large land division, but varying in size, and that the West Derby hundred was the most important in this area. West Derby in this sense, occupied the vast majority of what was until recently South Lancashire, from the Mersey to the Ribble. [figure]. At the time, communities were largely self-governing, but swore allegiance at a ‘wapentake’, a meeting of co-operative tribes, families or villages for purposes of defence.
However, this situation came under threat in the chaotic circumstances of 1st millennium Europe. Warfare became commonplace, and individual families and communities were no longer strong enough to deter marauding bands crossing the continent, or even particularly violent peasant revolts. The solution that was adopted, first in Europe and then imported by William the Conqueror, was one whereby a large number of landowners, on many scales, swore allegiance to a powerful overlord who, due to his large following, could assure mutual support. In exchange, unfortunately, the followers had to give up all ownership rights. They became the classic feudal serfs of the medieval period.
This form of social structure was gradually emerging in the British Isles at the time of Edward the Confessor, who had located his hunting lodge in West Derby Hundred, and built a castle here some time in the 11th Century. After Hastings in 1066, however, King William imposed the scheme wholesale on the whole country. For the first time, all land in England belonged ultimately to the Crown. This was then given as rewards to those who had been loyal in conquest. With this, Roger of Poitou received West Derby Hundred for his part in the invasion. He brought the areas of Croxteth, Toxteth and Smithdown into the great royal hunting forest, and by now West Derby rivalled Lancaster in administrative importance in Lancashire.
This importance began to wane while Roger was drawn into several failed rebellions against the monarch, and West Derby lost some of its importance as a result.
In 1199 John succeeded his brother Richard as King of England. He had a poor reputation as leader of men, and only became king as the Lionheart was killed in France. Having been trusted with ruling Ireland years earlier (and failing appallingly), John again looked to the west for his conquests. Merseyside’s position was of course the crucial factor in this turning point in its history. The land which once belonged to Poitier (‘between Ribble and Mersey’) had been given as a reward to Warine of Lancaster by Henry II (John and Richard’s father). John, remaining at home while Richard went Crusading, passed it in turn to Warine’s son, Henry Fitzwarine. In 1207 John bought back Liverpool itself, exchanging it for English Lea, an area near Preston. He clearly knew the location’s potential in relation to Irish campaigns. With this in mind, on the 28th August, 1207, King John signed a charter creating a borough, and giving anyone holding a burgage “all liberties and free customs… which any free borough on the sea has in our land”.
From Liverpool’s Founding to the Civil Warby Martin Greaney on May 3, 2011
John had chosen this position for his new borough for two reasons: on a large scale it was in an excellent position from which the King could start Irish campaigns. On a smaller scale, it was a defensible landscape, with the raised promontory on which the castle would later stand, and the views to all points of the compass, including out to Liverpool Bay. To encourage the growth of the town – any kick-off point for a navy needed a thriving settlement behind it – burgages were laid out, to be taken up by what were known as burgesses. The burgages were plots of land, enough for a house with room to set up shop. Unusually for the time, anyone inhabiting the town became a free person, and although the quality of life would not have been much better for those living here than in rural areas, the freedoms which were held here were enough to attract a regular stream of new settlers.
Before the influx of new people, buildings, farms and stalls, there was very little in the way of settlement on the north bank of the Mersey. Walton parish served the spiritual needs of the area. West Derby was only recently a very important centre, possessing its own castle which was constantly manned, if a little decrepid in its old age. As was described earlier, Saxon and Norse settlements had been established in the area during the years leadig up to the Norman conquest. The rural area now occupied by the city of Liverpool would have been the setting for scattered dwellings, farms, but no more.
What kind of people were attracted to the burgages then? As has been mentioned, those wishing to escape the traditional feudal hierarchy could come to a free borough without fear of being pursued. Traders of course were attracted as the newly established town was placed here for that very reason. Builders, carpernters, masons and farmers were drawn to the new source of work which the town created, along with labourers of other kinds. Local peasants who had occupied the area before Liverpool was created moved themselves into the settlement, although we don’t get to hear how willing they were to uproot their traditional lives. They had no choice if they were to stay in the area.
Daily life in early Liverpool was typical of that of any settlement in the early Medieval period. There were many more holidays then than are enjoyed by todays hard working urbanites! While these were of course predominantly religious celebrations, the populace lost no opportunity to enjoy themselves in the course of their duties. Dancing was a popular pastime on any occassion. More unpleasant (to modern eyes) were the cock fights and bull baiting which were widespread spectator sports (and a chance to gamble) throughout the country. In 1567 the town books record that “for further and greater repair of gentlemen and others to this own we find it needful that there be a handsome cockpit made”. It was even seen as a way to attract the tourists, i.e. the travelling traders and those of the upper classes touring the country. Lord Strange was one of the fortunate gentlemen who, waiting for a good wind to take him to the Isle of Man was entertained by dancers and displays. Another visitor, John Leland, made special note of the fact that the streets of Liverpool were paved, apparently a rare situation during these times. He contrasts this with the fact that it “hath but a chapel” rather than its own church. By the middle of the 15th Century, the population of the town was around 1000.
As well as the ‘ordinary’ people of Liverpool New Town, this place played host two rich and powerful families from its founding onwards. The castle, built by William de Ferres, the sherriff of Lancaster, was inhabited by the Molyneux family. This family were well established in the city, and Richard Molyneux had fourt at Agincourt in 1415. In 1406 Sir John Stanley had been granted the Isle of Man by Henry IV for his part in putting down the Percy Rebellion. The family built their impressive residence in Liverpool at the bottom of Water Street, facing out onto the river. This became an embattled fortress, an imposing structure in the waterfront, known as the Tower. As may be expected, these two families could not stay at peace with each other for long. There were confrontations from time to time, such as that in 1424 when three thousand men, a third on the side of Richard Molyneux, the others in support of Thomas Stanley, gathered outside the town on West Derby Fen. The Sherriff, however, prevented actual battle, and arrested Richard. Apart from these skirmishes, the families vented their frustrations in the various wars against the French, and their notoriety spread far beyond Lancashire. As well as these powerful men, there were other, less influential families, some of the names of whom might be familiar to anyone who has lived in the city for any length of time: Ferres, Moore, Cross, Norris.