A SITE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED BY A MANCUNIAN
MANCHESTER FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH
FOR METHODICAL THOROUGH AND EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH
PUT THE KETTLE ON...AND SETTLE DOWN FOR A READ
THE PARISH AND CITY OF MANCHESTER
MANY people are confused about the relationship between Manchester and Salford, after all they are only the width of a river apart and not a very wide one at that. Another thing that puzzles many people is why so many baptisms and marriages took place at Manchester Parish Church. Some Manchester Archive Records are available here.
Salford existed as a manor before Manchester became a manor and was the civil centre of the Salford Hundred or Wapentake, of which Manchester was a part. Yet Manchester was the site of the church and hence gave its name to the parish. The Parish of Manchester covered an area of almost 60 square miles and in the middle1 700s included 8 townships. As the population grew the smaller hamlets became townships. Eventually there was a total of 30 Townships within the Parish boundaries.
These are the townships that made up the Parish. The township of Manchester probably evolved from the demesne of the manor. Possibly the same could be said for Salford and its hamlet, Broughton. Although they were in the Parish of Manchester they were not subject to its lord.
Three other townships existed before 1066, Cheetham, Reddish and Stretford, all originally under the rule of the King by way of thanage. This was the system of the King granting land to high ranking freemen in return for military service. Hulme was controlled by the lord of Salford. Just to paint the picture of how undeveloped the area was, Blackley was the lord's deer park whilst Bradford was his woods. Beswick may also have been part of the demesne.
Newton along with Kirkmanshulme represented the endowment of the church as stated in the Domesday Book. Ardwick, Crumpsall, Gorton, Moston and Openshaw are all named as hamlets of Manchester in early surveys. There were also some submanors at Ashton under Lyne, which became a parish in itself, Heaton Norris and Withington.
Withington was inexistence in the early 1300s before the barony of Manchester was formed and was governed by Salford. It was later gifted to Manchester with its hamlets of Didsbury, Chorlton -cum-Hardy, Burnage, Levenshulme, Rusholme, Moss Side, Denton and Haughton. Chorlton on Medlock or Chorlton Row as it was named was a manor in c1300. Failsworth dates back to c1200. Droylsden which included Clayton, was approximately the centre of the manor, and Harpurhey were lands held by the Manor of Manchester by William Harpour in the early 1300s.
In 1853 Salford extended to included Broughton and the township of Pendleton. Later parts of Pendleton were also swallowed up by Salford. These last two places being in the parish of Eccles.
Although all of these places were part of the ancient parish, some of them had no other connection with Manchester, others which were within the manor or barony have, through the various changes in local government, separated from what was to become the city of Manchester. The remainder have, of course, eventually have formed part of Manchester.
Manchester was incorporated as a municipal borough in October 1838. The first election of councillors to the new Borough Council took place 14th December 1838.The Council consisted of a Mayor, 16 Aldermen and 48 Councillors representing 15 wards in the townships of Manchester, Chorlton upon Medlock, Hulme, Ardwick, Beswick and Cheetham. New Cross Ward was represented by 6 Councillors, whilst the other 14 were represented by 3 Councillors. Incorporation was not without its problems. Some of the townships objected to its legality and in some cases two sets of officials still operated side by side An example of this was with Coroner's Inquests whereby two Inquests would be held into the same death, one by the Borough Coroner and one by the township Coroner. There were also problems with policing (see here). Manchester gained city status in 1853. In 1890 another 8 townships were incorporated. Between 1903 and 1913 expansion continued, in 1931 the area we now know of as Wythenshawe became part of the city. It is worth noting that West Gorton was incorporated into the City prior to Gorton. The last changes to the boundaries were made in 1972 when the civil parish of Ringway came into the city and Heaton Norris transferred to Stockport Metropolitan Council.
THE PARISH CHURCH AND CATHEDRAL OF MANCHESTER
THE International Genealogy Index lists all events that took place in this church as being at Manchester Cathedral. This is purely for their convenience, but the church was not actually elevated to Cathedral status until 1847,when the Diocese of Manchester was created. Why did so many couples get married there? Read on and you will find the answer.
The Manchester (parish) church dates back to at least the year700. This was proved by the finding of the Angel Stone which was embedded in the original South Porch of the church. In 1086 Manchester Parish church was mentioned in The Domesday Book as being at the corner of Exchange Stand, St Mary's Gate. At the time the church was dedicated to St Mary.
In 1421 Thomas la Warre, who was both lord of Manchester and rector of the parish, created a college of clergy in connection with the parish church of Manchester. He endowed it with money, land and properties, including his manor house. As it was close to the church it made a convenient place for a residence for the clergy of the newly formed collegiate church and a new building was erected on the site to house them. The foundation of the college signaled the start of alterations to the church and it was also rededicated. It was known as the Church of Our Lady, St George and St Denys (the patron saint of France).
When the college was founded the church was subject to Rome and a copy of the Papal Bill confirming the foundation of the college of priests is still preserved. Although the buildings of the college were monastic in style, it was created solely to provide a supply of clergy to the large parish of Manchester. The clergy took no special vows and did not belong to any order. When the Dissolution of Monasteries took place in the reign of Henry VIII, the college was left untouched. However his son Edward VI dissolved the college and confiscated the building in 1547. He granted it to the Earl of Derby. At this time, there were around thirty clergy at the college. They were granted pensions and Derby used the buildings as a residence .Later he rented them to subsequent Wardens of the College.
Mary re-founded the college in 1557, giving back some of its land, but it was snatched back again the following year. In 1578 Elizabeth restored the College under the new name of Christ's College but by now there was only a clergy of less than a dozen. In 1635 a new charter was granted, which apart from the Cromwell times, was in force until the Diocese of Manchester was created in 1847.The college was dissolved and its warden became the Dean of Manchester.
There had been only one church in the Parish of Manchester right through until the early part of the seventeenth century, but by the middle of that century there were several other chapels within its boundaries. These were located at Blackley, Newton, Gorton, Denton, Birch, Didsbury, Chorlton and Salford. Over the years, especially from 1800, the population of the Parish ballooned, necessitating the building of many churches within the Parish. As the Mother Church had the monopoly on fees for events such as weddings and burials, this led to discontent amongst the wider clergy and parishioners of Manchester.
If for instance, a couple chose to marry in their local chapel or church, a fee would be payable to the church and to Manchester Parish Church, so most people just came straight to the Collegiate Church. In the early part of the nineteenth century, on holidays such as Whit Monday, dozens and dozens of people got married. A chapter in the book The Manchester Man deals with this subject and tells of ten or twenty couples being married at the same time amongst scenes of utter chaos. This probably explains why the early registers were not kept in the manner that they should have been with signature of the witnesses and sometime the bride or groom missing.
This monopoly of the fees was a major factor in the life of Joshua Brookes. He was the most prolific "hatcher, matcher and dispatcher" in the country. In other words he performed more marriages, baptisms and burial services than any other cleric before or since in the UK. So marrying at the Collegiate Church or as it was later known, the Cathedral was not any sign of high rank or wealth. In fact the opposite may have been true with many rich and affluent couples getting married at churches such as St Thomas's, Ardwick. More often than not they married by Licence which was more expensive than marrying after Banns, so the double fees were rather hefty.
Following a petition from the parishioners of Manchester (and I would suggest also by the clergy from the other churches in the Parish), an Act of Parliament was passed in 1850 to reduced the size (and influence) of the Parish and to put an end to the practice of charging double fees. The rest of the parish was split into smaller parishes. As the then clerks were allowed to keep their incomes until they retired or died, double fees carried on until 1876. This also marked the time when the Cathedral became less busy and saw the end of its period as the "event factory". However the controversy rumbled on for a few more years.
The following article appeared in The Manchester Guardian dated 21st April 1879.
MARRIAGES AT THE CATHEDRAL
We are requested to publish the following statement relative to marriages at the Cathedral:-
The Parish of Manchester Division Act became law in 1850. It was the fruit of long consideration and controversy. The report of the evidence taken before the Parliamentary Committee proves beyond dispute that it was the intention of the promoters of the bill that the new parishes created by it should be wholly independent and enjoy exclusive rights for the solemnisation of marriage according to the rites of the Church within their own area. The operation of the Act in this respect was suspended during the lives of those whose vested interests it preserved, but until recently no doubt was ever expressed but that the known intention of the promoters had been fully secured. Accordingly, when the Act came into full operation on the death (in 1876)of Mr. Humphrey Nicholls, the last survivor of those whose life interests were preserved, the Chancellor of the Diocese ceased to issue licences for marriage at the cathedral to persons not qualified by residence in the cathedral parish, and the practice of the Diocesan registry has not been varied. A new scale of fees was also prepared, and issued by the bishop in accordance with the provisions of the Act, making the fees in all district parishes uniform with those customably(sic) charged at the Cathedral. The cathedral authorities also ceased marrying by banns persons not resident in the cathedral parish. After pursuing this course for more than a year they reverted to the old practice in August,1 878 without any notice being given to the clergy of the district parishes. The attention of the rectors having been called to this, the opinion of Dr. Deane, Q.C. was taken as to the proper construction of the Act, and was found to sustain fully that view of the law which up to this time had uniformly prevailed. After receiving this opinion, the rectors felt bound to defend the rights of their parishes, if necessary, by an appeal to the law courts. Before taking any steps of this kind, however, they resolved to seek an interview with the Bishop and the Chancellor, if possible to avoid the unpleasantness and scandal of litigation. The interview took place on the 20th January, 1879, the Dean being present by invitation. The Dean also introduced the minor canons and clerk in orders. After conversation the following agreement was come to:-
Agreement made at the Diocesan Registry on the 20th January, 1879.
It is hereby agreed that, pending counsel's opinion being taken by the minor canons of the Cathedral as to the legality of the practice now followed by them of marrying, at the cathedral persons residing in any of the parishes within the old parish of Manchester, no further banns shall be received at the said Cathedral (except from persons one of whom at least is resident in the residuary parish of Manchester), and that as soon as such opinion has been obtained, the minor canons shall seek a further interview with the Committee of the Rectors of Manchester, with a view to determine future proceedings to be taken for the settlement of the question at issue, and that the present practice shall not be resumed till after such interview.
In pursuance of this agreement, the minor canons obtained the opinion of Mr. Herschell, Q.C. and on the 22nd of February wrote to the Secretary of the Rectors' Committee as follows:- "Mr. Herschell's opinion has this day been received, and it is against the rights of the residents within the ancient parish of Manchester to be married at the Cathedral as to the points submitted to him." The following documents were inconsequence drawn up and signed by those whose names they bear:-
Whereas the practice of marrying persons at the Cathedral, one or both of whom were not resident in the residuary parish, has been resumed for a time, and has now been discontinued, counsel's opinion having been obtained, we, the Dean and minor canons and clerks hereby agree with the rectors of the other Manchester parishes that we will not resume such marriages, unless compelled to do so by mandamus, without giving the said rectors three months' notice of any such resumption
This document having been referred to us by resolution of the rectors of Manchester for approval, we hereby state that we consider it an adequate security, morally binding on the signatories, against the resumption of the practice referred to.
J. Manchester, Bishop
RichD. C Christie ,Chancellor, March 28, 1879.
Accepted as an arrangement for avoiding litigation respecting irregular marriages recently celebrated at the Cathedral, the fees for such marriages having been returned to those rectors respectively entitled to them, who made demand for same.
Chairman of Committee of Rectors, April4, 1879.
This statement is laid before the public in behalf of the rectors of the district parishes of Manchester by the undersigned committee:-
PARISH REGISTERS AT MANCHESTER
Sometimes when people are looking at the microfilms of the Parish Registers they get slightly confused as to what is actually written in the space for the name of the church. The problem lies in the fact that the registers were partly pre-printed and only a small space was left for the name of the church. As the correct title for the church was quite long the clerks had to run the words together in order to fit in the space provided.
Over the years the entries changed. The main complications appear from 1837 to 1847 and from 1847 onwards when the church was elevated to cathedral status. In the first period many of the registers would have had the following entered; theColl&ParishChurch (which is very difficult to read when handwritten) in the Parish of Manchester, which translates as the Collegiate and Parish Church in the Parish of Manchester.
After 1847 the following was entered; theCath&ParishChurch (again very difficult to read when handwritten) in the Parish of Manchester, which translates as the Cathedral and Parish Church of Manchester in the Parish of Manchester(+ sign or ampersand may be used).
CONTACT MFHR AT:
SEE THE MANCHESTER COLLECTION HERE
Copyright: Gerard Lodge (www.manchester-family-history-research.co.uk)2007-2017
All Rights Reserved
Do Not Reproduce Any Material Without The Prior Permission Of The Author.
Last update: 14th February 2017