The first half of the tenth century saw the English Kings continued struggle against the Danes, of which Manchester located just inside the region governed by Danelaw being at the cusp. Only with the coronation of Edward the Peaceful in 973 did England come under the rule of one King.

The country was now administered under the system of Hundred’s, the name deriving from the area’s assessment as having 100 hides, made up from villages surrounded by open fields, arable land, forests or wastes, with South East Lancashire coming under the jurisdiction of what was then known as Salfordshire.

Manchester would have been a fortified town, inhabited mainly by agricultural workers or even merchants trading within the Hundred.

The Danish kings had not gone away, even though their population was now integrated into Britain and the divisions with the Saxons had become blurred.

With a weak King Ethelred in the south, King Sweyn of Denmark landed in 1013 and was succeeded by his son Canute. Rumour has it that Canute visited the town of Manchester in 1028 and allowed it, in his honour to mint its own coinage. It is said that the town of Knutsford was named after him.

Canute, during his reign which lasted until 1035, would follow the Anglo Saxon model of government and appoint Englishmen to top roles, even marrying Ethelred’s daughter. However, his sons failed to follow his precedent and in 1042 the English throne went to Edward the Confessor, Ethelred’s son.

Brought up in Normandy, during his reign the petty squabbles of the English quickly returned, none more so than between the future King Harold and Tostig.

Tostig had become Earl of Northumbria in 1055, having been previously exiled by Edward the Confessor and ruled over Northern England; probably including Manchester, implementing new laws and severely punishing offenders. He ruled until 1065 when rebellion broke out and he was accused of increasing brutality and misrule when his lands were confiscated by Edward and he was forced to take refuge in his wife’s native home in Flanders.

He would be killed at the battle of Stamford the following year and the victor Harold was rush south from there to take on William of Normandy’s troops.



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