Thomas Baines.

Lancashire and Cheshire, past and present: a history and a description of the palatine counties of Lancaster and Chester forming the North-western division of England, from the earliest ages to the present time (1867) online

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Online LibraryThomas BainesLancashire and Cheshire, past and present: a history and a description of the palatine counties of Lancaster and Chester forming the North-western division of England, from the earliest ages to the present time (1867) → online text (page 1 of 78)
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LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE,



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AUTHOR OF THE'HISTORY OF LIVERPOOL.



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EX-PRESIDENT OF THE LITERARY AND PH I L\o)sO PH i C A L SOCIETY OF MANCHESTER



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LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE,

PAST AND PRESENT:

A HISTORY AND A DESCRIPTION OF THE

PALATINE COUNTIES OF LANCASTER AND CHESTER. FORMING THE
NORTH-WESTERN DIVISION OF ENGLAND,

FROM THE EARLIEST AGES TO THE PRESENT TIME (1867).

By THOMAS BAINES,

MEMBER OF THE HISTOUIC SOCIETY OF LAN'OASHIltE AND CHESHIRE, ASl) AUTHOR OF "THE HISTORY OF LIVERPOdl,



\YITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE

RISE AND PROGRESS OF MANUFACTURES iND COMMERCE, AND CIVIL AND
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING IN THESE DISTRICTS.

By WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN, LL.D., RRS.



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS FROM ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY H. WARREN, R.A.
AND A SERIES OF PORTRAITS.



VOL. I.



WILLIAM MACKENZIE, 22 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON

LIVERPOOL, 14 GREAT GEORGE STREET; MANCHESTER, 69 DALE STREET;
LEEDS, 27 PARK SQUARE; CARLISLE, 3 EARL STREET.



PRINTED BY WILLIAM MACKENZIE, 45 & 47 HOWARD STREET, GLASGOW.



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ADDRESS BY MR. THOMAS RAINES.



N. It is now nearly forty j'ears since the History of the County Palatine of Lancaster was written by my

^5fe^ late father, Edward Baines, M.P., and it is nearly fifty years since Dr. George Ormerod's learned and

I ■ elegant History of the County Palatine of Chester was published. The Counties described in those two

excellent works are closely connected with each other, both in their political and social history, and by

tlieir position and natural formation. Together they include the whole of the great valley of the Mersey,

which is the most populous and the richest portion of the United Kingdom, ■with the single exception

-^.j of the Metropolitan district. On account of their proximity to each other, and of the close connection of

JnS many of their most important interests, the Counties of Lancaster and Chester have been united with each

^ other, during the whole of the present century, in the decennial census of the English people, under the

\]^ title of the " North-western Division " of England, a portion of the kingdom containing, in round numbers,

\3i a population of three million persons, and yielding from the products of its soil, its mines, its manu-

^ facturing industry, and its wide-reaching commerce, a yearly income of about ^50,000,000 towards the

resources of the nation. It is the object of this work to combine the history of the two counties thus

forming the North -western Division of England. In doing this, the earlier parts of the History have been

rewritten down to the periods at which Dr. Ormerod and my father completed their labours ; and the

History of both the Counties has been carefully continued to the present time. The historical portion

has also been preceded by a' much fuller description of the natural history andproductions of this portion

of the kingdom than has ever been before published. lOOO/C'^O

In the interval of from forty to fifty years which has elapsed since the publication of the histories of
Lancashire and Cheshire above referred to, the ancient history of the two counties has been illustrated in
almost innumerable points by the publications of the Cheetham Society, and of other societies formed in
those counties for the purpose of illustrating their earlier history. The publications of the Cheetham
Society alone— which were commenced in the year 1841— contain nearly seventy volumes of original matter
illustrative of that history. Those publications consist entirely of the contents of original manuscripts
never before published in extenso, and many of them absolutely new. The earliest of the jiapers thus
brought to light by tlie Cheetham Society commence in the twelfth century, and tlie series extends to the
beginning of the eighteenth century. Together they form such a mass of original and interesting materials
as was never before brought together to illustrate the early history of any one division of England. In
addition to the publications of the Cheetham Society, there have also been many other papers illustrative
of the early history of the two counties published in the Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire
and Cheshire, the Memoirs of the Manchester Philosophical and Literary Society, and in the Transactions
of the Archaeological Society of Chester. I have also had access to the historical papers collected during
many years' labour by the late Charles Okill, of Liverpool, for the purpose of writing the history of that
populous part of the Coimty of Lancaster kno-wu as the Hundred of West Derby.

In preparing the introductory description of the Natural History of Lancashire and Cheshire, I have
availed myself of the numerous papers published during the last forty years by the most eminent writers
on the geology, the minerals, the agriculture, and the other branches of natural history connected with this
part of England. Within that period the whole history of the Lancashire Coal-field has been written by
Blr. Edward W. Binney, and other distiuguisTied local geologists, vAxh. a clearness which has thrown new



light, not only on the history of the formation and the deposit of coal in this district, but also in other
parts of the kingdom and in other countries. In the same period there have appeared new and original
accounts of the Salt-field of Cheshire, the iron district of Furness, and of all the principal rocks, soils, and
mineral products of the two Counties. Within the same period excellent accounts of the agi-iculture of
Lancashire and Cheshire have been published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Agricidture, as
well as in local works. In preparing the description of the two Counties this information has been care-
fully condensed into a connected description of the natural history of the whole district.

It is also within the same period that the railway system has grown up in Lancashire, and has
extended throughout the whole kingdom, and that ocean steam navigation has connected the ports of the two
Counties with almost every part of the Globe. The rise of these two great systems of communication has
in that period brought the industry and the personal communications of this populous district into close
connection with those of all parts of the United Kingdom, and of the whole world, and has given an
impulse, both to industry and intercourse, that was entirely unknown in former times.

Within the same period the cotton manufacture, the greatest of aU branches of manufacturing industry,
has increased at least threefold, so as now to require a yearly supply of more than one thousand millions
of pounds of cotton for the employment of the mills and looms of the two Counties. In the latter part
of this period the cotton manufacture has passed through a season of the severest trial, owing to the Civil
War in America, and the sudden and %'iolent breaking up of the system of slave labour in the cotton
districts of that coimtry. But it has survived the terrible trials of that period ; it has succeeded in drawing
supplies of its raw material from numerous and distant countries ; and it is freed from its dangerous
dependence on a single source of supply, and on a description of labour which is rapidly disappearing
before the progress of freedom and of justice. This great branch of industry has thus escaped from
the principal perils which have long threatened its existence. The progress of this great change and
its influence, both at home and abroad, will be carefully traced in this work, along with the history
of the heroic patience with which the sufferings of the cotton district were borne, and of the noble
generosity with which they were relieved.

I shall also endeavour to trace in this work that great migration of the people from all parts of the
United Kingdom, by which the population of the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Cheshu-e,
as well as that of a few other districts of England, have been so rapidly increased during the last forty
years, the general result of which is, that the population of the North-western District is now four times
as great, in proportion to its area, as that of the United Kingdom in general




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LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE

PAST AND PRESENT.



CHAPTER I.

HISTORY AND NATURAL RESOURCES — GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

The object of tlus Work is to trace the progress of Society, Industry,
and Invention, in the populous counties of Lancaster and Chester,
forming the north-western division of England, from the earhest and
rudest ages to the present time. In can-ying ovit this imdertaking, it
will be necessary to give an account of the geograpliical position of
the north-western district of England, with reference to the other
parts of the United Kingdom and to Foreign countries, with both of
which it is now so closely connected by the relations of trade and
commerce. It will also be requisite to describe the abundant and
varied natvu-al resources and means of production, which a bountiful
Providence has placed at the disposal of its inhabitants, in a fertUe
sod, a mild chmate, a coast iadented with ports and harboru-s, num-
erous rivers and streams flowing from the lofty hills that bound it
on the east, and abundant supphes of coal and other valuable minerals.
Having described the position and the resources of this district, we
shall then trace the gradual development of those resources, by the
industry and intelligence of its inhabitants, under the various races
of men, and the difierent forms of society, that have successively existed
in it. We shall thus be able to show what influence the position
of the north-western district in the British islands, and on the
shores of the Atlantic ocean — combined with its natiu-al resources,
the industry and rnteUigence of its inhabitants, and more general
causes, connected with the progress of the whole kingdom and -with
the development of distant countries — has had in promoting its
prosperity, and in bringing together, within the naiTOW hmits of the
two counties that compose it, a population of three millions of persons,



LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE :



endowed by the genius of Arkwright, Watt, and their successors in
the race of mechanical and scientific discovery, with unlimited powers
of industrial production; and in there estabhshing the greatest brand i
of manufacturing industry that exists in this kingdom, and a commerce
with foreign nations extending to the whole world.

Commencing with the dawn of society in this district, in times far
different from our own, we shall have to pass in review before our
readers the original inhabitants of this part of Britain, such as they
were when Agi'icola led the armies of Rome into the north-western
parts of Britain, in the campaign of A.D. 79. We shall find that the
British tribes which then inhabited this district were a rude and uncul-
tured people, spnmg from the Celtic branch of the great Indo-European
family of nations, long cut ofi" from the only civifization then existing,
namely, that of Greece and Rome, by their remote position at the
extremity of the then known world, and by a stormy ocean, whose
real dangers were magnified by ignorance and superstition ; but who,
nevertheless, possessed great natural intelligence and aptitude for
acquiring the arts of civilized fife.* We shall also find that, even at
that time, they had sufficient skUl to work mines of copper, tin, lead,
and silver, and even to extract gold from some of the ores found in
their mountains; that they understood the art of improving and
increasing the produce of the soil, by dressings of marl of various
kinds; that they tamed horses, built and armed chariots, and no
doubt made roads for them to traverse; that although they
themselves were ignorant of navigation, and possessed no larger
vessels than mere canoes, built of laths and covered with skins,
they had for many ages been willing to trade in the produce of
their mines and fields, first with the merchants of Cadiz, Tyre,
and Carthage, who visited these shores by way of the ocean; and
afterwards with the Greek colonists of Massdia- — the present Mar-
seilles — and with the people of Italy, who found their way to Britain,
by ascending the river Rhone from the MediteiTanean, and then,
descending the Loire, the Garonne, and the Seine, to the shores of the
Atlantic.t

Under the influence of Roman cultivation, we shall next see order
and civilization, though without freedom, slowly taking the place of a
stormy independence tlu'oughout the more fertile and accessible

* C. C. Tacitus' Life of Jnlins Agricola.

t Prithard's Eastern Origin of the Celtic Nations. C. C. Tacitns' Life of Julius Agiicola, c. xxi. Strabo's

Geograpliy, Book ITI. Pliny's Natural History, Book 111.



PAST AND rilESENT.



portions of Britain ; the British youth drafted into the Koman armies,
and shedding their blood in distant lands ; Britain governed by three
great Koman Legions, and by multitudes of auxihaiy troops ; the city
of Devana, or Deva, the present Chester, occupied for nearly three hun-
dred years as the head-quarters of the twentieth victorious Legion, and
the north-western district of Britain ruled by that Legion, and by
auxihary bands of Gauls, Spaniards, Dalmatians, Noricans, Frieslanders,
and Dacians; numerous cities and towns, most of which still exist
and flourish, founded, and rising mto note in all parts of the island,
including the city of Deva or Chester, Mamucium or Mancunium
(the present Manchester), Eibodunum or Kibchester, and Alauna or
Lancaster, on the banks of the rivers Dee, Irwell, Ribble, and Lune.
We shall further see mihtary roads, which almost defy the ravages of
time, laid out with the greatest engineering skill, and ran along the
valleys and over the hills of this district, and of the Avhole island, for
the purpose of connecting them with that great system of military
roads, extending through all the countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa,
from the Euphrates and the Deserts of Libya to the borders of
Caledonia, which the Romans formed as the means of governing the
ancient world by theu* aiToies ; great lines of fortification constracted
from sea to sea, to restrain the inroads of the hardy mountain tribes
whom the Romans were unable to conquer; agriculture so much
improved, that the Roman garrisons along the Rliine were frequently
fed with the harvests of Britain; the metals produced in so great
abtmdance as to induce some of the Roman emperors to limit the
production, in order to raise the price ; the tribute paid by Britain so
much increased as to be considered an important part of the Roman
revenue; and the cruel rites of the Druids superseded, even in the
most remote parts of Britain, first, by the milder, though not purer
heathenism of Greece and Rome, and before the close of the Roman
dominion m Britaua, by the hght and purity of Cliristain trath.""'

Passing forward to another race of the inhabitants of tliis district,
from whom we claim to be descended, we shall see nearly all the
fniits of this early development of British and Roman civdization
swept away, after the withdi'awal of the Romans from Britain, by the
internal divisions of the Britons, and by the iiTuption of the Angles,
Saxons, and other Gemianic tribes, whose bold and independent
manners and wild life, in their native forests and on their native
shores, had been long before described in the eloquent pages of

» Pliny's Natural History. Itinerary of Antoninus Augustus. TertuUian's Works.



4 LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE :

Csesar and Tacitus, and from whom we justly claim to derive the
greater portion of oiu' language, of our love of freedom, and the germs
of our noblest pohtical institutions. These races, which were then the
boldest navigators and the most daring adventurers on the shores of
the ocean, we shall be able to trace gradually, and after overcoming
a most determined resistance on the part of the British people,
contmued for several hundred years, spreading themselves over the
level parts of the north-western district to the Irish sea; conquering
the islands between Britain and Ireland; forcing the Britons back
into Cartmel and the Cumbrian mountains in one direction, and
beyond the river Dee in another; and occupying the whole of the
present coimties of Lancaster and Chester, with their numerous septs
or tribes, whose names can be stiU traced in the names of existmg
towns, villages, and families.""

Before the Angles and Saxons were firmly estabhshed in the
western parts of Britain, or were collected as one nation, but when
they had lost their original familiarity with the perils of the sea, and
theu- love of naval adventiure ; and when they were beginning to settle
themselves down to the ciiltivation of the soil, and other peaceful
pursuits which they have since so successfully followed — we shall find
that the coasts of the north-western district, in common with those of
the greater part of England, were overrun and conquered by another
daring race of sea rovers, known by the names of Danes and Northmen.
These Scandinavian tribes, who were in the ninth and tenth centuries
what the Saxons and Angles had been in the fourth and fifth, after
occupying all the smaller islands, from the Shetland and the Orkneys
to the Isle of Man, and even to the SciUy Islands, poured into England,
both from the east and from the west, conquering extensive districts,
including the coasts of Lancashire and Cheshire, and drove the Angles
and Saxons, previously inhabiting them, into the wilder and more
inaccessible regions lying on the borders of the present coimties of
Lancashire and Yosksliire. Once established in England, we shall
find that the Danes and Northmen, continually reinforced from the
north, held their grotmd, even against the great Saxon kings of the
race of Alfred, and estabhshed themselves permanently along the
coasts of England, creating or reviving that love of the ocean and
that spirit of naval enterprise that have prevailed in England ever

• C. C. Tacitus on the Site, Manners, and People of Germany. C. J. Ca;sar on the Gallic War, Book VI.
J. JI. Kemble's Saxons in England. The Saxon Chronicle. Bede's History of the English Church. Life of
St. Cuthbert.



PAST AJS^D PRESENT.



since, both in peace and war. Whilst one race of the Scandinavian
tribes crossed the Atlantic in their frail vessels, and colonized Iceland,
Greenland, and the northern parts of America, others spread them-
selves along the coasts and islands of Europe, from Britain and France
to Sicily and Naples. In the long and sangumary conflicts between
the Danes and Saxons m this country, we shall find that Chester, the
capital of the north-west, was ruined by the Danes, was besieged by
Alfred the Great, and was reconquered and partiaUy restored by his
son, Edward the Elder, and his daughter Ethelfleda, the Lady of the
Mercians. We shall also find that Manchester was destroyed, but
afrerwards partiaUy restored by the same Edward; that all the other
towns and villages of the district were plundered or burnt; that the
cidtivation of the soil was abandoned, except in maccessible districts;
and that the whole land, wasted and phmdered by invadhig hordes,
was agam in danger of beconung a refuge for wUd beasts. Yet
amidst aU tliis horror and desolation, we shall still find Clu-istanity
gaining its final trivmiph over the heathenism of the north, and in the
days of Olafi" the Holy, and Canute, the greatest of the Danish Idngs
(whose names are probably preserved in Olafts or Ohve Mount near
Liverpool, as well as m numerous churches dedicated to St. Olave,
and in Kuutsford, or the Ford of Canute, m the county of Chester),
giving a short breathmg time to the exhausted nation.-'-

Passmg onward to another dominant race, and another fonn of
society, we shall find the confusion produced by more than five hundred
years of foreign ravage and internal strife, succeeded by the stern
rule of the NoiTnan and Plantagenet kmgs, and the Scandinavian
sea-kings subdued or swept from the suiToimding seas and islands of
Britain. Under the tyrannical but energetic administration of the
Normans, we shall see the present coimties of Lancaster and Chester
ruled by great mihtary chiefs, and secured agamst attack from abroad
by a military organization, wliich rendered the whole people available
for the pm-poses of national defence, both by sea and land.t _ Durmg
tills period some symptoms of returnmg prosperity wiU be chscovered
in the forming of mvuiicipal governments, either by royal or other
charters, at Chester, Lancaster, Manchester, Liverpool, Wigan,
Preston, and other of the more ancient boroughs of the two counties.
We shall also find m tHs age the freeholders of the coimties, and the
burgesses of Lancaster, Liverpool, Wigan, and Preston, siunmoned

* Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Worsaaes's Danes in England,
t Domesday Book. Chronicle of the Kings of Man, in Camden'i ■"



LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE :



to send members to represent them in the early parhaments of
England. In the first two hundred years of this period, we shall see
the earls of Chester invested with sovereign power within their own
territories, and on more than one occasion, waging open war with the
Crown; whilst, in the next two himdred years, we shall find the
earls and dukes of Lancaster frequently in open rebellion against the
Crown, and at length successful in seizing, and even in retaining the
throne, after a long and murderous conflict, in which all the male
members of the royal house of Plantagenet, and the greater part of
the ancient nobility, were destroyed.'''

With the accession of the House of Tudor to the tlirone, we shall
see the foimdations laid of agriculture, manufactures, and industry,
in this as well as in other parts of the kingdom, and shall find the
middle class coming into existence. The land, instead of being held
in a few hands, will be found to be divided amongst a gi-eater nrunber
of proprietors, including a numerous class of yeomen, indebted for
their lands to the confiscations of the previous civil wars, and partly to
the alienation and sale of church lands at the time of the Reformation.
In this period the condition of serfdom or villeinage entu-ely disappears.
The towns become more popidous, Manchester and Bolton being ali-eady
flourisliing manufacturing places; the coal mines of Wigan begin-
ning now to be worked; NeTvi;on and Chtheroe being added to the
number of parhamentary boroughs ; the salt works of Chesliire being
extensively wrought ; and Liverpool and Chester having a considerable
trade in the export of wooUen goods, cutlery, salt, and coal, chiefly
to Ireland, Scotland, France, and Spain, and in retiu-n, importing
considerable quantities of linen and wooUen yam, and of wine and
fruits, from the south of Europe. Although there was in this age no
direct trade from England to the newly discovered regions of America
and India, yet we shall find that there was a considerable trade with
the New World by way of Antwerp, Bruges, Cadiz, and Lisbon, all
of which places then belonged either to Spain or Portugal, and
purchased largely Enghsh manufactiu-es for the use of the Spanish
and Portuguese colonists in America and the East. During this
period the daring navigators of England spread themselves over every
sea, both of the New and of the Old World, and prepared the way by
their discoveries for the planting of America and the trade with India.t

From the accession of the House of Stuart to the English throne,

* Baincs' History of Lancashire. Ormerod's History of Cheshire ; and Hall's Chronicle,
t Hakluyfs Voyages and Travels. Camden's History of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Leland's Itinerary.



PAST AND PRESENT.



we shall see the industiy and population of the north-western district,
as well as those of the whole kingdom, stimulated and extended by



Online LibraryThomas BainesLancashire and Cheshire, past and present: a history and a description of the palatine counties of Lancaster and Chester forming the North-western division of England, from the earliest ages to the present time (1867) → online text (page 1 of 78)