Longdendale Historical & Descriptive Sketches, 1863 - Mottram.


The town of Mottram is situated at the foot of the High Peak of Derbyshire. It is in the hundred of Macclesfield and the county of Chester, and comprises the townships of Mottram, Tintwistle, Staley, Hollingworth, Newton, Matley and Hattersley. The name Mottram is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Mot, or rather the old Danish Moter, a meeting or convention, and Ham a village, meaning "the village of the moot or convention." There is a tradition that Mottram received its name from its being once the meeting place for public business of the people of Stockport and Longden. The name Longdendale, or Vale of Longden, is of the same derivation, meaning "the Long Valley," graphically descriptive of the natural features of the district. It takes the name Longden, from the upland district of Longden. The whole of this "Long Valley Dale" was called by the Normans Tingetwistle, in the Doomsday Book Tingetvisie, a name that with some slight alteration remains to one of the townships of Mottram, namely, Tintwistle.

The town of Mottram stands on a high shelving rock, sloping down on the east side to the valley, and breaking off with a bold promontory to the south, commanding a wide expanse of beautiful and picturesque scenery, which is often the admiration of strangers. The view from the churchyard, or the fields thereabouts, is truly grand and picturesque; before us spreads the expansive and diversified Vale of Longden, clothed with verdant meadows, and studded with pleasantly situated halls and hamlets, with the river Etherow winding along the valley like a stream of silver; bounded on the left with the lofty crescent-shaped moorlands at Wood-head called Nell's Pike and the Devil's Elbow; on the fight with the dark Derbyshire Moors, in the bosom of which nestles the town of Glossop; while immediately before you in the valley is the picturesque hill of Mousley and the classic and romantic Melandra.

High beyond this to the south rises the lofty ridge of the Penine Chain, called "the backbone of England," whilst to the west the eye rests on the fertile plains of Cheshire and the Welsh mountains. Fresh and pure is the breeze that blows in summer, fragrance-laden o'er the hills and dales of Longden, but keen, dry, and piercing is the wintry blast as it comes careering up the valley, or roars and storms around the elevated places. The variety of weather in different parts of this district at the same time is often remarkable. Often in summer days when rainy clouds are lowering, and showers . descending on the hills, the valleys are basking in the sunshine of a cloudless sky; and, on the contrary, often when the valleys are deluged with showers, the hills and uplands enjoy sunshiny serenity.

The lordship of Mottram or Tingitwistle, in the Doomsday Book, belongs to the crown. It appears subsequently to have formed part of the wide domain of Hugh de Avaranches, Earl of Chester. By Ranulph, Earl of Chester, it was granted in the reign of Stephen to Sir Thomas de Burgo. The earldom of Chester being annexed to the crown, by letters patent, in the reign of Henry II., Mottram became again crown land, held of the king in chief. In the second year of Edward II., Robert de Burgo gave Longdendale to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the grandson of Henry III.; but, he being attainted of high treason, and beheaded in the 5th year of the said king's reign, it was again confiscated. It was then granted to Sir Thomas Holland. Sir Thomas, on his decease, left a little granddaughter, called Maud, heir to his property, who became the wife of Lord John Lovel, of Minster Lovel, Oxfordshire, and thus brought Mottram to the Lovels. In an old document in Norman French, namely, "The Inquisition of Tenures, 16 of Edwd. III., 1343," we have an interesting account of how Mottram was disposed of at one of the most glorious periods of English history. It is as follows: " John Lovel holds from the king the lordship of Mottram, in capite 1, by knight's service, along with the advowson of the church, worth £20 per annum." Under him, as fee tenants, "Robert de Staveleigh holds the will of Staley, worth 20 marks; John de Hollynworthe, Hollinworth, worth 100 shillings; Richard de Massey, the vills of Matley and Godley, worth 20 marks."
1.The term in capite means that it was held immediately of the crown. See Coke on Littleton, Lib. II, Sec. 19.)

Lord William Lovel, son of Lord John, married Alicia, daughter of Sir John Deincourt, and widow of Sir Ralph Butler of Sudbury, and gave her, for her dower, at the church door, the manor of Mottram; and in an old document 14th of Edward IV., we find her holding the manor of Mottram, as her dower, along with the advowson of the church, being then the widow of Lord William Lovel. Next heir, Francis, Lord Lovel 2. Mottram remained with the Lovels till the attainder of Viscount Francis, Lord Lovel, 2nd of Henry VII, when it was again confiscated. Then Henry VII granted it to Sir William Stanley, of Holt Castle; but he being at­tainted of high treason shortly after, it was a third time confiscated to the crown. It was afterwards granted to Sir Richard Wilbraham of Woodhey. The present proprietor, and lord of the manor, is John Tollemache, Esq., of Cheshire, a representative of the above-mentioned family.
2. Dugdale's Baronage, Ormerod's Cheshire, Vol. III.

In regard to the condition of this district before the Norman Conquest, from memorials still existing, we know that the Roman power was long established here, that a Roman British town existed at Whooley; and we learn also that the Saxons populated it, industriously husbanding its resources, and giving names to most places about. After the Norman Conquest it appears to have been inhabited by a sturdy and primitive race of peasantry, and a number of gentle families, who came in inferior positions with the Conqueror as retainers and vassals to some of the powerful men, and had lands granted to them in fee by the lord of Longdendale, but who appear to have been what one would call "gentlemen farmers" - breeding and grazing cattle, delighting in the weight and quality of their crops of corn and hay, and the number of their cows, stirks and heifers: in war time, by virtue of their tenure, fighting under the banner of their lord, disporting themselves from time to time by hunting the stags they kept in their deer-parks, and other old English sportes and customes - relics of which have come down to our own time.

A wild place, though beautiful in its wildness, would Longdendale be when the Lovels received "suit and service" in Mottram. The names of many places about call up before the mind's eye many a spot of wilding beauty here in olden time; as witness, Rose Greve, Gorsey Brow, Thorncliffe, Lady's Walk, &c. Great part of Mottram was yet moorland, and on the church-hill heath-bells lifted their heads amid wimberry bushes and yellow broom. The valley was thickly wooded, and the Etherow flowed, not as now, a tranquil murmuring stream, but a broad deep current, full of trout and other of the finny race: when swollen by heavy rains rushing on impetuously, washing down timber from its banks.3 From the halls of Matley, Staley, and Hollingworth, a fair road still traditionally called "Lady's Walk" - eloquent of the "fair ladyes" that used to frequent it - led to church. Narrow zigzag roads, up hill down dale, led to the neighbouring towns of Stockport, Ashton, and Manchester, traversed only by pedestrians, pack-horses, and litters.
3. In an old document 'tis said that the bailiff of the Lord of Stockport has for his perquisite, all the trees washed clown by the Mersey from the hills of Longden.

The annals of Mottram are rather sparse. There is a record to the effect that in the time of King Stephen, Ranulph, Earl of Chester, made a survey of the lands in Longdendale, on which occasion he ejected eight freeholders of Longden from their lands. Then there is the traditionary battle fought between the armies of Empress Maud and King Stephen, of which more anon. In the French wars, in the reign of Edward III., certain fee tenants of Longdendale fought under the banner of Lord John Lovel, at Cressy and Poietiers, and again under that of Lord William Lovel, at Agincourt. In 1748, Prince Charles Stuart and his army passed through Mottram and Glossop, on their unfortunate march to Derby. Tradition has preserved an account of how these gallant and unfortunate "adherents of royalty" roughed it during their temporary stay in Mottram. That they killed cattle, and for lack of culinary utensils, broiled the meat in the hides, skewered up at the corners; and also of the alarm of the inhabitants, and of their hiding their money and valuables, and driving off their cattle to places of safety.

History, and "the memory of the oldest inhabitants," have preserved the memory of a fearful storm that broke over this district at the commencement of the present century. About noon, on a summer's day of 1802, the heavens became dark as night, the birds hushed their song, and a fearful stillness reigned around; then vivid and terrific flashes of lightning burst from the sky, seeming to envelope all in flames, accompanied by loud and tremendous peals of thunder, and hailstones of prodigious size, and pieces of ice breaking the glass in the windows, filling the stoutest hearts with fear,and making them think that the Day of Doom was come. About four o'clock in the evening, the storm ceased, the sun shone out again, and the birds resumed their song as if it were morning.

The town of Mottram was a place of importance in olden time, from its being the head of the parish, the place of religious ministrations, and the market of the surrounding villages. In the infancy of the cotton-trade, Mottram had its cotton-spinning concerns. The names of Harrop, Bevin, and Shaw, figure as cotton-spinners here (that is, by hand) in the last century.

Several natives of Mottram, it is proper to remark, have distinguished themselves in the arts and sciences. Among these may be mentioned the brothers Oldham, as musicians. The most remarkable man, in this line, belonging to Mottram, is Mr. Lawrence Earnshaw. He was born somewhere about the year 1701, at Mottram Moor, on the road to Glossop. His house is still pointed out there with a sort of veneration by old inhabitants. Born of poor parents, and having none of the advantages conferred by education, he was nevertheless a wonderful self-taught genius. Of the depth and versatility of his genius, Aikin (History of Manchester) gives an amusing account. His business was clock-making, and he made a wonderful astronomical clock, representing the revolutions of the planetary system, for which the Earl of Bute gave him £100. His great forte appears to have been Mechanics, and he seems to have anticipated many of the wonderful mechanical inventions of modern times. He invented a machine to spin and reel under one operation and, having let his neighbours see it work, destroyed it from the fear, as he expressed it, that it would take bread from the mouths of the poor. He died in humble circumstances, in the year 1764. Poor Laurence Earnshaw! Others, with less scrupulous minds and harder wills, pushed their inventive faculties to the uttermost; and, whilst they increased the facilities for English manufactures, made themselves princely fortunes.

But to return. Surrounding places having through manufactures become independent places, and the town being unsuited for modern manufactures, Mottram has become a very dead place. Scientific tastes however, still linger among the inhabitants, and the beautiful science of botany, which for four centuries has been cultivated in Mottram, has many votaries there. Mottram is also famous for its change-ringing, the ringers having been victors in many a steeple conflict.

The Parish Church of Mottram is a venerable embattled structure with tower, side aisles, and a spacious chancel, a west door or porch, and a little lowly door leading sideway into the chancel, called "the priest's door." It is built of a very hard pebbly stone, exceedingly endurable, which according to tradition came from Tintwistle Nor; and, standing on the highest part of the hill on which the village is built, is seen at different points for miles round. It is dedicated to St. Michael and Holy Angels.4 Tradition says that the morter or cement used in building it was mixed with strong ale, which was brewed in a booth or shed, at the "Church Stile." The body and chancel of the present fabric, replaced a former one of wood and plaster in the 14th century. The tower, however, was built long after, namely, about the year 1487, as appears by the will of Sir Edmund Shaw, Lord Mayor of London, wherein he bequeaths a sum of money for its erection.5
4. King's Book, Gastril's Notitia, Ormerod.
5. After bequeathing to Stockport Church "As good a suit of vestments of blue velvet as may be bought with the sum of 40 marks," he says, "I bequeath to be spent of my goods upon the making of the steeple of the church of Mottram, if it be not made at my decease, and also upon other works or ornaments such as are necessary to be had for the said church, 40 marks."

In the year 1854, it underwent a partial restoration.

There are several objects of ecclesialogical interest inside. On entering, at the west door is the rude old baptismal font, believed to have been "the laver of regeneration" here from a very early period. It was for many years outside the church under the spout, but was with praiseworthy thought brought inside and placed in its proper situation during the late restoration.

In "Stayley Chapel," as it is called, is an ancient monument of a knight and his lady, which the good taste of the gentleman who has recently become the impropriator of the chapel 6 has had cleaned from the nasty coats of white paint with which it was incrusted. It is without arms or inscription, but generally understood to be to the memory of Sir Ralph and Lady do Staveleigh, of Stayley Hall. They are represented in the costume of their day, and their hands folded in the attitude of meek supplication, common on monuments of olden time; the lady in a wimple, a dress falling in plaits from the shoulders and gathered round the middle with a girdle and long pointed sleeves; the knight in armour, with a collar of S.S.S. and spurs, indicating his knightly degree; by his side a long sword. Their feet resting on cub-lions.
6. John Chapman, Esq., Mottram.

Of the persons whom this monument is intended to represent, tradition has perpetuated a beautiful legend, which, following the popular tradition, may be told as follows:
Ro (the old vernacular for Rofe or Ralph), a young knight of Stayley Hall, left his fair domain and his newly-wedded wife to wend, like many others, to the Holy Wars in the train of Richard the First. Before parting, with many tears and many a fond adieu, they broke her gold wedding ring, each one retaining a half as a pledge of mutual fidelity. Arrived in Palestine, after fighting bravely, he had the misfortune to be taken prisoner by the Saracens. After many years captivity, he obtained his freedom by some means, and putting on the garb of a palmer went to visit the Holy Places before his return home. ln Jerusalem, one night, he had a dream, boding ill to his wife and home far away. His dream, on awaking, troubled him much, and walking out by the side of a river he sat down under a shade, and gave vent to his anxiety with a deep sigh, invoking the aid of St. Mary, and presently after fell into a slumber. Awaking, he found himself lying on the grassy bent, beside a large stone, the cool zephyrs of evening were fanning his face, and the birds were singing sweetly around; and he knew at once that he was not beneath the burning sky of Syria; but, looking round him, he saw that he was in a well-remembered and familiar spot in the neighbourhood of his own home. Rising, he walked on; and, bye and bye, crossing the daisy-powdered meadow and the draw-bridge came to his hall-door. Knocking at the ring, a damsel came, of whom he asked to speak to her mistress. She told him that his request could not be granted, that tidings had reached them that Sir Ralph, her husband, was slain in the holy wars, that her friends were forcing her marry another husband, that to-morrow was her wedding day, and she, poor lady! was distraught with grief, and wished to see nobody. She, however, invited him to come into the hall, and partake of some refreshment. When he was sat, she brought him some viands, manchets of fine bread, and a cup of methyglin. Having drunk the liquor, he took from his bosom the broken ring, and dropt it into the cup, desiring the maid to give it to her mistress. As soon as the lady saw the ring, she exclaimed that it was her wedding-ring, that the palmer was some messenger sent by her dear husband when dying on the field of battle, and bade her instantly admit him. His altered appearance and palmer's habit prevented her from recognizing him, but bye and bye he discovered himself, when the joy of both may be imagined.

On the old road to Stalybridge from Mottram is Roe Cross, so called from a wayside cross, erected in memory of his return; and tradition still points out the stone under which he found himself laid: and a queer old stone it is.

Close to the vestry door is an elegant marble monument representing a Sergeant-at-law in his robes, with a brief in his hand. It is to the memory of Sergeant Bretland, of Thorncliffe Hall, who died in the year 1703. It has on a pompous Latin inscription in "the classic style," as it is called, purporting that he was burdened with virtues (virtutibus onustus)! and finishing off with a line from Horace, Ode 5, Bk. 1. Over the chancel-arch is a striking painting of Moses and Aaron, done by a wandering artist for his board and a little money. In the chancel and Stayley Chapel, are beautiful and truly ecclesiastical stained glass windows, the gift of the owner of Stayley Chapel. Inside the altar rails is a mutilated and defaced alabaster slab, having on a Latin inscription, scarcely decypherable, in abbreviated church text, and the outlines of a figure of a priest in his vestments. Of this monument an account is given in Church Notes, taken in 1692, as it appeared at that time. Then it appears it was an altar tomb, standing in the middle of the chancel, and that on the slab was the recumbent figure of a priest in his vestments, his hands folded, and his head reposing on a lozenge-shaped cushion, betwixt a book and an hour-glass,with the following inscription round the slab. "Hic jacet Magister Johannes * * * istius ecclesia persona qui feliciter obit, anno Domini millemo CCCCCVII. Cujus anime propiciat Deus, Amen." 7 That is, "Here lies Master John (surname then erased), parson of this Church, who died happily in the year of our Lord 1517 (sic). To whose soul may God, be merciful. Amen." An ancient carved-oak screen separated the chancel from the church, and the chancel was stalled in the recollection of old inhabitants.
7. Ormerod, Vol. III.

Mottram Church, like most old churches, has suffered from "the spoiler's hand," and cupidity, ignorance, and fanaticism, have reft it of its ancient glory.

The living of Mottram was anciently a rectory, in the gift of the Lord of the manor. It was given to the see of Chester at the Reformation, when many rectories were given to sees to make up for the revenues taken from them.

The living in the Bishop of Chester's appointment, is now a vicarage, of the yearly value of £250.

Mottram can boast of a long line of ancient rectors or parsons, as they were called, and vicars. The following is from the "Chester Record."
1. Master Jordan de Macclesfield, inducted 10 Kal. of June, 1300; advowee or patron, Sir Thomas de Burgo,
2. Master Thomas de Cressacre, 2 non. Feb., 1314, on the resignation of the above; advowee, Sir Thomas de Burgo.
3. Master Thomas de Leigh, acolyte, 8 id. of Dec., 1317. on the resignation of the above.
4. Master John de la Zouch, presbiter, 8 kal. of July, 1318. on the resignation of the above; advowee, Lord Robert de Holland. This parson was a near relation of the patron's wife, Maud de la Zouch.
5. Master Adam de Mosley, acolyte in the year 1324, on the resignation of the above; advowee, King Edwd. II.
6. Master John de Woodhouse, presbyter, 10 kal. of Octr., 1327, on the resignation of the above; advowee, King Edward III.
7. Sir William de Keldsley (no date of induction, or patron's name).
8. Sir Richard de Breugh of Bunbury, 8 id. of March, 1329, on the resignation of the above; advowee, Maud, Lady Holland.
9. Master Robert de Rompston, clerk, 4 kal. of Dec., 1339, on the resignation of the above; advowee, Maud, Lady Holland,
10. Sir Roger de Hassalbach, clerk in 1342, on the death of the above; advowee, Maud, Lady Holland.
11. Sir Thomas Hobarde, 11 kal. of Novr., 1375, on the resignation of the above; advowee, John, Lord Lovel.
12. Sir William de Gayton, Nov. 5, 1396, on the death of the above; advowee, John, Lord Lovel.
13. Sir Robert Gilbert, Nov. 7, 1401, on the resignation of the above; advowee, John, Lord Lovel.
14. Sir John Attewell, Jan. 31, 1411, on the dismission (post dimissione) of Sir Robert Gilbert; advowee, Maud, widow of Lord John Lovel.
15. Master John Yoxale, sometimes called Alleyne, no date or patron's name.
16. Sir Jacob Gerveys, who exchanged livings with Sir John Yoxale in 1422.

Here is an hiatus in the "Chester Record," and no induction till Nicholas Hyde, in 1547. The names of two parsons, however, who laboured here in the interim can be supplied from other sources. The Master John whose monument we have mentioned, would be the next in order. The symbols on the slab, and the inscription, tell us he was a pious clerk, economizing his time for sacred studies and the duties of his holy vocation, and that he ended his labours by a holy and happy death here in 1517. The next is Sir Robert Massey. He is mentioned in the Pension Roll as "parson of Mottram" in , 2nd of Queen Mary's reign, in receipt of a pension of 17 shillings per annum. He was one of the "old clergy" restored on the accession of Mary. He was assisted it appears by a curate called Sir David Ithell, who, as "curate at Mottram," witnesses to the will of Alexander Newton, Esq., of Newton, 13th July, 1559.

The birthplace of many of the rectors may be ascertained by their surname, the clergy of olden time generally took for their surname, the name of their native place. 8 Thus Sir Roger de Hassalbach is Sir Roger of Hassalbach; - it will be seen that many of them were from places in Cheshire. But, au revoir. Peace to the olden parsons of Mottram - they rest from their labours, and their works follow them. Many a stormy winter, and many a bright summer, has past o'er their wide parish, since they were wont in pellice, tippet, and cap, to cross the parsonage-green, to say their matins and masses at church.
8. “It was the fashion in those days,” says Hollinshead, “for a learned spiritual man, to take away his father's surname, were it never so worshipful; and give him for it the name of the town where he was born”

The first vicar of Mottram is Master Nicholas Hyde, called "Vicar Hyde." 9 He was inducted by Bird, first Protestant bishop of Chester, in 1547, 2nd Edward YI, It appears there was some difficulty about his induction - the living having gone to the see of Chester, and the parsonage being let for a farm. Bird, however, found him temporary accommodation, "a room at the old parsonage;" and allowed him £13 6s. 8d. per annum. 10 He was out in Queen Mary's reign, and in again in that of Elizabeth, and died at Mottram in 1575. After him the following vicars succeed, on the death of each other: - Mr. John Hyde (no date of induction), died 17th May, 1636; Mr. Gerard Brown, 3rd Sept., 1637; Mr. Wm. Colburn, 1677; Rev. Thomas Robinson, 1715; Rev. John Harrison, 28th June, 1748; Rev. Thomas Potts, 27th July, 1762; Rev. Ralph Kinder, A.M., June, 1775; Rev. James Turner, A.M., March 25th, 1794; Rev. Win. Johnson, A.M., June 7th, 1826; Rev. David Seddon, 1840. The present vicar is the Rev. W. H. Jones,A. M.; on the resignation of Mr Seddon, in 1850.
9. Gastril's Notitia.
10. Gastril's Notitia.

There are many curious stray traditions of the vicars. One of them is said to have had a wife with a nose like a pig's snout, and to have eaten from a silver trough. This, says the story, was a judgment on her mother; who once saw a poor woman, with a number of little children, come to her door to beg, and, in her sinful pride and scorn, exclaimed, "Just see yon old sow, with her litter after her." Another of the vicars, in his family, was a perfect Vicar of Wakefield.
There is an account, amusing in its way, of one of the vicars, whose name for some reason, does not occur in the list - Mr. Andrew Grey. He was a Scotchman by birth, and, for some time, Nonconformist or Independent preacher at Tintwistle, and preached in a barn there; the first place of worship of the Independents in that township, after the repeal of the laws against conventicles on the accession of William III. He was uncommonly zealous, says my account, in the peculiar principles of Nonconformity, and was wont to apply to the white surplice of the church established, the epithet, "Rag of the Lady of Babylon.". 11 But, all at once, a change came over the man - not a theological change called conversion, but a change of position; he conformed, and obtained the vacant living of Mottram. My account goes on to say, that his old congregation, the Nonconformists of Tintwistle, feeling a curiosity, which was very natural, to see how he would look in the robe of the above-mentioned naughty lady, came flock-mell to see him, the first Sunday he preached at Mottram Church; and that he looked very "sheepish."
11. I have been obliged to substitute the word "Lady" for the original word, lest we should shock polite ears.

He was the author of a book that I have often seen in the possession of old families in Mottram, called "A Door open to Everlasting Life;" a remarkable book, in its way; very quaint, notwithstanding its puritanical spirit, abounding with quotations from the Fathers, schoolmen, and old Catholic ascetic writers; as, St. Bernard, St. Augustine, St. Anselm, John Gerson, and Johannus a Picus Mirandola. It is dedicated to Mistress Mary Reddish, of Hill End, whom he calls "his dear helper in the Lord." He was living here in 1698.

Near the church-gate, is the Free school,built and endowed in 1620 by Robert Gars, Esq., Mayor of Norwich. The endowment having been recently recovered from Chancery, and the school re-built, it was re-opened in 1862, under the management of Mr. George Green. Opposite; the church-gates is the old market-place, and village-cross - a round pillar, rising from three circular steps, surmounted by a square entabliture (a comparatively modern addition), on which is the following snuffling inscription:-

Watch and pray,
Time hastes away;
When time 's done,
Eternity will come.

This place is called "the War Hill;" and tradition says that a great battle took place here, between the armies of Empress Maud and King Stephen, and that the first church, on the present site, was erected in memory of this battle. The foot of this hill, to the south, is called "War Hill Foot," where, the same authority states, that blood ran down after the battle.

In a straight line from the church-gates, is " the Parsonage," the site of the ancient parsonage of Mottram, standing on a kind of green; and further on is Hill End, an antique locality, wearing an air of bygone importance. Hard by, is Hill End House, the residence of John Chapman, Esq., M.P. Below, is the picturesque valley of Broadbottom. Here is Broadbottom Hall, the site of the olden hall of the De Wholleys, now the property of John Bostock, Esq. The scenery, down the river here, very beautiful. Here are Sire Cliff, and the Eagle Cliff - picturesque names! Here are the large cotton-mills late of Sidebottom and Brother, and The Hodge - the residence and print-works of the late Richard Matley, Esq.

Turning down into the fields by War Hill Foot, before-mentioned, is a summer walk, replete with interest and pleasure; by glades, where " the pale primrose" blows, and sunny banks, blue o'er with the sweet wild hyacinth. Along here, are fields that hear such quaint names as the Dowel, the Steer Field, and the Sow Fields - reminding one of days when swine pastured in the woods and fields, like cattle. Along here, archeologists point out

"The grassy burrows of the ancient dead;"

green mounds, under which are interred the warrior chiefs of bygone ages.

Pursuing this walk, we come to the Hague, a pretty rural hamlet on the hill-side; with rustic cottages, gardens, orchards, and shady bye-lanes, where the violet nestles, and the high hedges are festooned with woodbine; and taking one of these paths across, we come to the margin of the river Etherow. flowing bright and tranquil through the valley, where the Naiad willows let fall their green tresses on her bosom. This fair Longdendale river, has its source in the moorlands above Woodhead, and flows along the valley to Marple-bridge; where, joining the Goyt, it becomes the Mersey (the Seteja of the Romans), and, flowing along by Stockport and Warrington to Liverpool, pours itself through the estuary there, into the ocean.

The first enumerated township of the parish of Mottram, is Hattersley. It is on the road to Stockport, and consists of several good farms, where, for many years, a great deal of corn has been grown. Here is Bottom's Hall, according to Webbe (Itinerary), the site of an old manor-house of the lords of Mottram, now, a farm-house; and Bottom's Hall Wood - a wood of pretty large dimensions, - where, according to the same authority, the lords of Mottram had a deer-park, and a warren for conies and leverets. Here, also, is Britomley Mill, the ancient village corn-mill, now in ruins.

Overlooking Hattersley, is Werneth Low, a picturesque green hill. Hattersley was formerly remarkable for the great number of noble trees - particularly oaks - that grew here.

The Hattersley estate originally belonged to a family who bore the local name. It afterwards became the property of the Masseys, and the Booths of Dunham. In the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, the Carringtons held lands here, and in Werneth, by the annual tender of a barbed arrow, to the heir of Stockport. 12 The Hattersley estate, has been recently purchased of the Earl of Stamford, by John Chapman, Esq., of Mottram.
12. Hansall's Cheshire.

Next to Hattersley, is Godley, or Good Ley, as the old Saxon name means. This place belonged, originally, to a family called, Godleigh; to which it was granted by the De Burgo. In the reign of Edward II, William de Baguley obtained Godley from Robert de Godleigh. It was, subsequently, purchased by the Masseys of Sale, from John Hyde, son-in-law of William de Baguley. It is now in many hands. On Godley Hill, a picturesque, antique-looking locality, is Godley Hall, the site of the old hall of the Godleghs. There is a small district church, early English style, the incumbent of which is Rev. R. K. Bateson.

Adjoining Godley, is Newton, a large township, very populous. Here are the cotton factories and collieries of Messrs, Ashton, Marlors, &c., and two or three machine shops. On Newton Brow, is a Catholic church of early English design, dedicated to St. Paul, the ground for which was given by the late Robert Ashton, Esq., in 1853. The rector is Rev. John Hill.

Thomas de Newton, held Newton as early as 1302. Alexander Newton, almost one of the last of the old family, fought at the siege of Boulogne. In his will, 1557, he commends his soul to God, and his body and bones to the church of St Michael, at Mottram. Newton Old Hall has made way, I believe, for the railroad. It may be interesting to some to know that Newton is the birthplace of John Collier, alias, Tim Bobbin, of humorous and Jacobite memory. Adjoining Newton, is Matley, a township consisting chiefly of farms, meadows, and pastures; and by-places, sweetly rural and pretty. Matley Hall, the seat of the De Matleghs (original grantee), is now the property of Thomas Howard, Esq., of Hyde. Adjacent, is a rambling, woody dell, called, Pingot - remarkable for its beautiful varieties of eglantine - the favourite habitat of our sweetest wild-flowers. Matley, it would appear, was once covered with large sheets of water, called "Meres." An old document states, that Richard de Massey enclosed, and brought in, the meers of Matley and Godley.

Stayley, is an extensive township, containing large tracts of land, and, in parts, very populous. Here are many large cotton-mills. Stayley is also adorned with a great number of elegant residences, principally in the Gothic style, belonging to influential families about. Here is a district church, called St. George; incumbent, Rev. J. W. Hoare; and a Catholic church, in the cruciform Gothic; rector, Rev. John Hilton. Stayley Hall, the olden residence of the Staveleghs, stands on a picturesque knoll overhanging the river Tame. The Stavelegh family became extinct in the male line, in the reign of Edward IV, when Stayley passed by marriage to the Ashetons. It passed from them to the Booths of Dunham, and now belongs to their representative, Lord Stamford.

Micklehurst, adjoining Stayley on the borders of Yorkshire, is an appendage to the manor of Mottram. It is interesting, from containing Buckton Castle -an ancient British castle. Near the south wall of this romantic place, the country people dug, in 1778, in search of treasure. Nearer Mottram, is Gallows Clough; where, in feudal , the Lords of Mottram inflicted the extreme penalty of the law, on malefactors.

On the verge of the Stayley moors, is Hollingworth Hall, the residence of the ancient family of Hollynworth. This old Mottram family, were settled here as early as the reign of King John. The hall is an antique fabric, surrounded by park-like grounds, and on the carriage-drive to Mottram, are some "fine tall ancestral trees." A collateral branch of this family, occupied another hall, called the Nether (that is, Lower), hall. On the site of Old Hall, the property of E. H. Shellard, Esq., Mr. Jacob Hollinworth sold this place in 1780. It was afterwards re-purchased by his grandson, Robert de Hollyngworthe, Esq., the present proprietor. Another branch of this old family, exists in the parish. Below, is Thorncliffe Hall, an ancient place. There is a pretty tradition of this place, reminding one of the White Doe of Rylstone, of Wordsworth - that a tame stag, used to walk before the squire and his lady to church, couch beside them, during service, and return with them, as it came. The lady was - according to the same authority - a very imperious dame; and very fond of hunting; while, the gentleman, was fonder of the pleasures of the table, than the sports of the chase: and that she was in the habit of taunting him in the following terms:- "If your Hollo, was as good as your swallow, you'd be a better huntsman!" Sergeant Bretland, belonged this place, at the end of the 17th century. It is now the property of C. L. Shellard, .Esq.; by whom, it has been improved, and enlarged.

Below, is Hollingworth, a pretty place containing many pleasant residences of respectable families about, the cotton-mills of Mr. Thomas Rhodes, and the print-works of Mr. John Dalton. Above, is Armfield, or Eagle Field - an ancient place, consisting of farms, and old tenements.

Tintwistle, is an high, straggling village, of great antiquity, and former importance. It was, once, a borough town, and had its manorial-hall and court-leet, at which the lord of Mottram received suit and service of his tenantry. 13 The old manor-house of the Lovels, built of wood and plaster, was pulled down in 1663; and the present antique house, called Tintwistle Hall, built on its site. There is a church of the establishment here, the incumbent, the Rev. J. A. Page, A.B., and an Independent chapel, of old standing, of which, mention has been made.
13. King's Vale Royal, Webbe's Itinerary.

Woodhead, is the high upland at the end of the long valley of Longden. It is so called from its being the head of the great forest which formerly existed here, of which, the following mention is made, in the Earl of Chester's survey, time of King Stephen. "Silva in Tingetvisie est quatuor leuces longa et undecim lata." So thick were trees in the vale of Longden, in olden time, that, according to tradition, a squirrel could leap from tree to tree, from Mottram to Woodhead.

Here lingers the primitive calling of the shepherd, and pastoral habits and customs. Here are the great reservoirs of the Manchester Corporation Waterworks - supplying Manchester with water: the immense sheets of water are a picturesque object in the landscape.

On an elevation stands Woodhead chapel, called St. James's, a chapel-of-ease to Mottram, a miserable building. Higher up in the valley, at a place called Robin a Miniers is the site, and, I believe, some remains, of an ancient chapel of the Blessed Virgin, built by Sir Edmund Shaw, in the reign of Richard III. In his will, dated 1487, he bequeaths an endowment to it as follows:- "I will have two honest priests founded perpetually, one of them to sing his mass and say his other divine service, in a chapel I have made to Our Lady in Longdendale; and he shall pray, especially, for my soul, and the soul of my father and mother, and all Christian people. And I will, that he have for his salary, yearly evermore, the sum of £4 6s 8d."

Sir Edmund Shaw, was a wealthy goldsmith in the Chepe, and Lord Mayor of London, and is said to have sprung from this district, where the name appears to be native, and to have made his way from a comparatively humble station to great wealth and distinction. With his brother, Dr. John Shaw, Austin friar, and a very popular preacher in his day, he is immortalized by Shakspeare, and the History of England, as a supporter of the Duke of Gloucester (Richard III). He appears to have had great influence with the good citizens of London, and to have been a great lover of religion, and to have been misled by the dissimulation and hypocrisy of the Duke of Gloucester. So Shakspeare evidently represents him. His will is remarkable for its dignified tone, its marvellously beautiful English, and the religious, charitable, and loving spirit that pervades it, and is highly creditable to his mind and heart.

He begins, "I bequeath and commend my soul to my Lord, Jesus Christ, my Maker and Redeemer; to the most glorious Virgin, his mother, our Lady Saint Marye; to the full-glorious Confessor Saint Dunstan, and to the Holy Company of Heaven: and my body to be buried in the church of St. James of Acres." He orders his body to be brought from his house, to his parish church of St. Peter's, in the Chepe, and from thence to St. James of Acres, "in discreet and honest wise, without pomp of the world, and that twenty-four honest torches be borne by twenty-four poor persons - each of which poor persons is to have down, full 20d."

He then goes on to say, " And, as the usage of the city of London, at the burial of one who hath borne the office of mayoralty is, for the mayor and aldermen, and other worshipful and honest commoners, to be present in their proper persons; - to the intent that they may understand that I was a true loving brother of theirs, and am in perfect charity with them, and each of them - if it would like the mayor, and aldermen, and recorder of the city of London, to be present at my Dirge, and Mass of Requiem done for me: I would tenderly desire them, after the said mass, to take such a repast as mine executors, by the of Our Lord God, shall provide for them; and I will, that each of them, after his repast, have, of my gift, from the hands of my executors, to remember my soul among their devout meditations, inasmuch as I am a brother of theirs, 6s. 8d. He then orders his executors to ordain discreet persons, as many as they shall deem expedient, to distribute among poor persons, at the Mass of Requiem, at his Month's Mind, "£20, or little more or little less - giving to every poor creature, as they shall seem needful, after their wise discretion" In the following bequest, as in several others, he remembers his native district." I will, that my executors, as soon as they may goodly, after my decease, do buy so much Welsh frieze, half white, half black or grey, and thereof, do make at my cost, 200 party-gowns; and the 200 party-gowns, with 12d. in money along with every gown, I will, be given to 200 poor persons, dwelling in the parish of Stopford, in the County of Chester, and within the parishes of Cheadle and Mottram-in-Longdendale, in the said County, by the counsel and advice of the curates of the said parishes - such curates taking council with the saddest men dwelling in their parishes, to the intent that those poor persons should have them that have most need unto them.

The following sample of religious sentimentalism is very touching. "I will, that my executors, as soon as they may, goodly, after my decease, do make at my cost, sixteen rings of fine gold, to be graven with the Well of Pity, the Well of Mercy, and the Well of Everlasting Life; with all other images and other things concerning the same, like as John Shaw and Ralph Latham understand right well how to make them; and I will, that my executors distribute them unto my lovers ensuing, praying them, tenderly, to have my soul in good remembrance." He then names among those who were to have them, "Dame Ann Brown, Dame Elizabeth Hill, my gossip Cosin, my sister Cole, my sister Wood, my sister Kelke, my sister Harding, my daughter Margaret." He leaves a sum of money, to build and endow a grammar-school, at Stockport. The sums he leaves to his family, to Religion, and charitable purposes, give an high idea of his wealth.

The author of the Vale Royal, in 1596, describes Woodhead as "a place well-known to those weary travellers, who come over these mountains and craggy ways in Yorkshire." It is equally well-known to travellers now, who are whirled through, comfortably enough, from Sheffield, by the Manchester and Sheffield Railway, catching passing glimpses of its romantic scenery, as they go along.

On the road from Hollingworth to Mottram, is Wedenshaugh, a tract of waste-land with a new cotton-mill, and many old tenements. The name means, Woden's Hawe, or, The Valley of Woden; indicating it to have been a place sacred to the old Saxon deity, Woden, before the evangelization of Saxon England.

On the verge of Mottram parish, adjoining Glossop, is Wholley. It consists of a large farm, with excellent meadow-land, lying on the river-side. These lands, and all the lands, stretching on to Hill End, were granted in 1139, by Robert de Burgo, to Ranulph de Wholley, a retainer. In 1349, the Wholleys acquired Broadbottom. In the reign of Edward IV, they removed to Riber, near Matlock. In 1667, the last of the direct line, sold it to Sergeant Bretland.

The derivation of Wholley means - The Field of Woe - campus doloris! Tradition says, that a city once stood here, and the original church of Mottram. It used to be a custom for parents to take their children into Mottram churchyard, and point out to them in the valley the site of the fabled city. In corroboration of this, it must be stated that hearthstones, ashes, bricks, &c., have often been dug up here. Opposite, on the other side of the river, is Melandra Castle, as the villagers call it. Some fields here are called, in old deeds, "The Castle Carrs." Hard by, is an ancient house going to ruin, called "The Carr House." This old house, bye the bye, has an historical celebrity. A party of Royalists, on their march into Yorkshire, before the battle of Marston Moor, staid here one night. The name of the Captain, Joseph Oldfield of Spalding, that of King Charles, and the date (1644), long remained inscribed, in Latin, with a diamond-ring, on a window-pane of this old dwelling. In the parish of Mottram, linger many old customs and observances; the most remarkable of which is - the Rush-bearing and Morris-dance - a custom which had the following beautiful origin. On the eve of the anniversary of the Parish Church, the parishioners in those "church-loving" times, would bring a load of rushes, to strew the church-floor, and flower-garlands to adorn the pillars (rushes being in the place of carpets, in olden time, and strewn fresh on any important occasion; and decking the church with flower-garlands, being a practice derived from the earliest ages of Christianity 14) and would accompany it with music and their favourite dance, the May-morrice. On Shrove-Tuesday, "the Shrift Bell" is rung (when apprentices consider themselves at liberty for the remainder of the day), and on Easter-Monday are given Pace (that is, Pasch) eggs; and the prowess of "St. George, who slew the dragon," is represented by boys, drest out in ribbons.
14. St. Paulinus, of Nola (the inventor of church-bells), speaking in a poem of his, how the feast of the saint of his church should be kept, says:-
"Ferte Deo pueri laudem pia solvite vota, Spargite flore solum pretexite limina sertis."

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Last updated: 9 February 2021