Around 1282 one hundred and fifty tenants are created free of servitude.

Known as Burgesses they had their own Portmoot or borough court which was distinct from the Lords feudal court and was able to pronounce on local disputes and trade agreements.

There is also mention of a profitable fulling mill, giving the first reference to weaving in the region suggesting that the weaving of cloth was already a staple industry.

Manchester is granted its first charter in 1301, almost identical to that of Salford’s which was granted seventy years previously.

The charter laid down the regulation in minute detail of the size, rent and jurisdiction of the burgesses, the jurisdiction and procedure of the Portmoot, regulations containing markets and tolls and the necessity of grinding corn at the Lord’s mill and to bake at his oven.

There were many regulations laid down concerning agriculture, one of the clauses reserving rent for the Lord for the autumn pasturing of the Burgesses pigs in the woods outside the town.

A Burgess was also given a certain amount of freedom in the charter, able to pay a fixed and moderate rent to the Manor for his Burgage with his rights for mobility assured if he wanted to leave the area.

The charter laid down the procedure for elections, the burgesses were allowed to elect one of them on a yearly basis to be reeve of the borough, its chief officer but he was responsible to the Lord.

The Lord also decided on what or what could not be tried at the Portmanmoor, Manchester differed in its charter from Salford was that theft would be tried in the feudal court and a steward of the Lord would preside over the Portmanmoor.

Just sixty years later Manchester found itself downgraded from that of a Borough to a market town as central government grappled with the issues of local order and taxation.

Liverpool, for example had been granted the right to form a merchant guild which would see its powers of tax raising greatly enhanced and accelerate the move to incorporation.Market towns were taxed differently from their counties, generally at a lower rate than that of a borough.

One consequence of this was that with the exception of a brief period under Cromwell, Manchester would be unrepresented in Parliament until the Reform Act of 1832.

Another would be that the town languished for many centuries being run along the lines of a rural manor instead of being as a borough council.



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