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Half a mile south-east from Blackrod Church, formerly a pre-Reformation chapel dedicated to S. Catherine, is "Castle Croft," in Ancient Gothic letters. The stocks are marked a few yards north-west of the church, and on the easterly side of the village is Hanging Ditch. A careful local investigation might clear off some of the problems attaching to the name "Hanging Ditch," the encircling trench which formed part of the fortification of the Manchester baron's yard.

The word "Great Stone" appears on the map by the side of a road one-third of a mile south-west from the village of Chequerbent. This village is on the hypothetical Roman road shown on Mr. Harrison's archæological map from Pendlebury to Blackrod. The stone adjoins Lee Common. Barn Hillock is one and a half miles northwest by west from Hulton Hall, and Smithy Hillock one and three-quarter miles north-north-east from the same spot.







BY W. H. CLARKE, L.R.C.S., L.R.C. P.


EFORE proceeding to describe the various charters, documents, and insignia relating to this ancient borough it will be necessary to give a brief account of its history, especially in relation to these documents. The earliest mention we have of this township is contained in the Domesday Survey of 1086, in which is stated that the Saxon earl, Edwin, held it, and most probably held a court here. It also states that this Saxon earl was succeeded by the Norman Earl of Chester, and he and his successors held this manor until the earldom became extinct in 1237. It is to one of these Norman Earls of Chester that the town of Macclesfield owes its first charter. About the year 1220, Randle Blundeville, probably the third earl, is stated to have made the town into a free borough, and ordered it to consist of one hundred and twenty burgesses, each of whom should pay 12d. per annum to the earl. Of this

charter there is no trace, as far as I can gather, but Ormerod, in his History of Cheshire, prints a charter in connection with this matter. After the extinction of the Norman Earls of Chester in 1237, the manor passed to the Crown as one of its appendages, and it was held by the Princes of Wales or reigning sovereigns, as Earls of Chester, who frequently granted it to their consorts, or devised it at times to various families in the country. As an instance of this I may mention that in 1270 it was granted to Eleanor, the wife of Edward, Prince of Wales, who afterwards became queen, and who, eight years later, in 1278, founded our parish church. In subsequent years it passed through various hands. The manor belonged to Joan, widow of the Black Prince, in 1382; in 1386 it was granted by the latter's executors to Dame Joan de Mohun, and this was confirmed to her for her life by King Richard II. This latter lady exchanged it in 1389 with Queen Ann, consort of Richard II., for an annuity of £100. On February 28th, 1437, a lease of the manor of Macclesfield was granted to Sir Thomas Stanley and John Savage, Esq., for twelve years from the death of Queen Catherine, widow of Henry V. About 1650, after the execution of Charles I., it was again sold, one portion to Peter Brereton and James Winstanley, and the other to Mr. Samuel Rowe, of Macclesfield; but at the Restoration these sales became void. Ultimately, the profits of the manor were leased to various persons, and in 1796, when the commons and waste lands were enclosed, the manorial rights of the Crown, except as to coal mines, were extinguished.

Such is the brief history of the manor of Macclesfield from the earliest known times, that is, the Domesday Survey, but we are more particularly interested with the charters, documents, &c., connected with these many

changes, and it is with those I now intend to deal. I am sorry to say that, unfortunately, many of our records are missing, but we are fortunate in possessing a charter dated May 29th, 1261, and granted by Edward, son of King Henry III., Earl of Chester, and afterwards Edward I., to his burgesses of Macclesfield. The seal is destroyed, but otherwise it is in very good condition. I will not repeat it verbatim, but will describe a few of its salient points. After the usual greeting, it goes on to say that the king has conceded and confirmed to the burgesses of Macclesfield that the town shall be a free borough, that the burgesses shall have a guild hall with all its liberties and free customs. Also that they shall be free throughout Cheshire, by water and land, of toll, passage, i.e., money paid for leave to pass through certain liberties or over rivers and streams, pontage (tolls over bridges), stallage (money paid for leave to erect stalls and booths in any market town), and lastage, i.e., a toll paid for goods sold by the last or load, and all other customs, except salt, in the "Wyches." The reason of this last proviso is that the tolls on salt brought from Nantwich, Northwich, &c., were a source of revenue to the Earls of Chester. They also had the privilege of pasture and "housebote and haybote in our forest," that is, in the forest of Macclesfield. The terms haybote and housebote refer to wood for making fences or hedges and houses, but this privilege is followed by an important proviso, in those days, which runs as follows: "Saving to us our pannage when there are acorns," that is, reserving the acorns for pigs, which were then kept in large quantities in charge of a swineherd. I may here mention Earwaker states that as late as the middle of the eighteenth century a "pig catcher" was an officer annually appointed by the corporation. The charter then proceeds to grant certain

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