Journalist and publisher Joseph Aston was to describe Ardwick as “one of the best built and most pleasant suburbs in the Kingdom to which its elegant houses its expanded greens and its lake in the centre all contribute”. The cotton magnates would recognise this, building their fine houses on all sides of what was once countryside, the nearest building being Ancoats Hall, whilst the Corn Brook stream ran through open fields lined with trees. The village takes its name from…

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William Camden visits Manchester


William Camden is acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of English local history. His publication of Britannia in 1586 and subsequent additions was the first chorography of the British Isles, notably England and Wales and presents a county by county description of the realm. William Camden was born in London in 1551, and attended Christ’s Hospital, St Paul’s School and Oxford University. From 1575 he taught at Westminster School but spent holidays travelling for antiquarian research. The first edition…

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Manchester Cathedral


Whilst Manchester had become a busy market town by the fifteenth century, in ecclesiastical terms it had been usurped by Ashton Under Lyne, once a sub manor of the town but now having seen its chapel gain independence with its own rector for nearly one hundred years.   Christianity had come to the area during the time of the Romans, the Sator Rotas being discovered during excavations at Castlefield, dated from around 175 AD. After the Roman’s left, one can…

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Manchester in the Dark Ages

Popular myth tells that in 448 the Saxons became masters of the whole of Lancashire in 448 AD and seized the Roman Fort at Castlefield, once again raising its walls and building a castle within it. Led by Torquin, a monster of a man in both size and reputation and who was said to have kept sixty four brave knights in bondage within its walls until they were rescued by St Lancelot. In reality we know little of this time…

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