Place:Manchester, Lancashire, England

Alt namesMamecastersource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) II, 560
Mamecestresource: Domesday Book (1985) p 156
Mamuciumsource: Athena, Romano-British Sites [online] (2000); Encyclopædia Britannica (1988); Hutchinson Family Encyclopedia Online accessed 8/01
Mancenionsource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) II, 560
Mancuniumsource: Blue Guide: England (1980) II, 560; Hutchinson Family Encyclopedia Online accessed 8/01
Memcestresource: Blue Guide: England (1980) II, 560
Manchester (city)source: another form
City of Manchestersource: another form
Manchestersource: shortened form
North Manchestersource: short lived civil parish
South Manchestersource: short lived civil parish
Ancoatssource: Family History Library Catalog|inner city area
Castlefieldsource: inner city area
Clayton (Manchester)source: inner city area, in Droylsden after 1890
Collyhurstsource: inner city area
Miles Plattingsource: inner city area
Miles-Plattingsource: hyphenated
TypeAncient parish, Civil parish, Borough
Coordinates53.5°N 2.217°W
Located inLancashire, England     ( - 1974)
See alsoSalford Hundred, Lancashire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Manchester (metropolitan borough), Greater Manchester, Englandmetropolitan borough which includes Manchester since 1974
NOTE: The City of Manchester, described here, and Greater Manchester are NOT synonomous. See the section, "History of local government", below.

There is a map of the ancient parish of Manchester further down this page.

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Manchester is now a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It is the central part of the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, which has a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about AD 79 on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. It was an ancient parish in the Salford or Salfordshire Hundred but was made a "borough" in 1227.

Manchester became a municipal borough in 1838 (the term was legally defined in 1835). It achieved ”city status” in 1853 when it became a diocese within the Church of England. The increase in population that occurred through the rest of the 19th century was the primary cause of its being awarded the status of County Borough in 1889. Until 1974 Manchester was a part of the County of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated into the borough during the 20th century. The first to be included, Wythenshawe, was added to the city in 1931.

It is notable for its architecture, culture, musical exports, media links, scientific and engineering output, social impact, sports clubs and transport connections. Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the world's first inter-city passenger railway station. The city has also excelled in scientific and engineering advancement, as it was at the University of Manchester, in 1917, that scientist Ernest Rutherford first split the atom. The university's further achievements include the development and building of the world's first stored-program computer in 1948; and, in 2004, the identification of graphene. In 2002 Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games.



North Manchester and South Manchester

For a 20-year period, 1896 to 1916, the County Borough of Manchester was divided into two civil parishes. After 1916 the terms North Manchester and South Manchester were abolished and all the townships came under Manchester.

North Manchester contained the former townships and chapelries of

South Manchester contained

Image:Manchester ancient parish revision.png

The terms North Manchester and South Manchester have been redirected to Manchester, but they were used as Registration Districts and show up in the censuses of 1901 and 1911. Each of the townships and chapelries listed have their own article here in WeRelate. Prestwich was partly in the North Manchester Registration District until 1916; otherwise it is treated separately.

Hashed areas on the map cover parishes that were removed from the County Borough of Manchester shortly after its formation between 1890 and 1896. They are now all part of Greater Manchester, but located in different metropolitan boroughs. The suburb of Clayton is covered under Droylsden. Broughton is now part of Salford.


the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Manchester is recorded as being within the hundred of Salford. Its tenant in chief was a Norman named Roger of Poitou, later being held by the family of Grelley, lord of the manor, and residents of Manchester Castle until 1215 when a Manor House was built. By 1421 Thomas de la Warre founded and constructed a collegiate church for the parish, now Manchester Cathedral; the domestic premises of the college now house Chetham's School of Music and Chetham's Library. The library, which opened in 1653 and is still open to the public today, is the oldest free public reference library in the United Kingdom.

Manchester is mentioned as having a market in 1282. Around the 14th century, Manchester received an influx of Flemish weavers from what is now Belgium. These weavers are sometimes credited as the foundation of the region's textile industry. Manchester became an important centre for the manufacture and trade of woollens and linen, and by about 1540, had expanded to become, in the words of John Leland, "The fairest, best builded, quickest, and most populous town of all Lancashire." The cathedral and Chetham's buildings are the only significant survivors of Leland's Manchester.

During the English Civil War Manchester strongly favoured the Parliamentary interest. Although not long-lasting, Sir Oliver Cromwell granted it the right to elect its own Member of Parliament. Charles Worsley, who sat for the city for only a year, was later appointed Major General for Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire during the Rule of the Major Generals. He was a diligent puritan, turning out ale houses and banning the celebration of Christmas; he died in 1656.

Rise of the textile industry

Significant quantities of cotton began to be used after about 1600, firstly in linen/cotton fustians, but by around 1750 pure cotton fabrics were being produced and cotton had overtaken wool in importance.

Manchester's history is concerned with textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution. The great majority of cotton spinning took place in the towns of south Lancashire and north Cheshire, but Manchester became the dominant marketplace for their wares. A commodities exchange, opened in 1729, and numerous large warehouses, aided commerce. In 1780, Richard Arkwright began construction of Manchester's first cotton mill. During the Victorian era Manchester was dubbed "Cottonopolis" and "Warehouse City". In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the term "manchester" is still used for household linen: sheets, pillow cases, towels, etc.

The industrial revolution brought about huge change in Manchester and was key to the increase in Manchester's population. Manchester began expanding "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century as people flocked to the city for work from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other areas of England--unplanned urbanisation brought on by the increase in factory production and by the Irish famine of the 1840s. It developed a wide range of industries. Engineering firms initially made machines for the cotton trade, but diversified into general manufacture. Similarly, the chemical industry started by producing bleaches and dyes, but expanded into other areas. Commerce was supported by financial service industries such as banking and insurance. In 1878 the General Post Office (GPO) (the forerunner of British Telecom) provided its first telephones to a firm in Manchester.

Canal building

The Rivers Irwell and Mersey were made navigable by 1736, opening a route from Manchester to the sea docks on the Mersey. The Bridgewater Canal, Britain's first wholly artificial waterway, was opened in 1761, bringing coal from mines at Worsley to central Manchester. The canal was extended to the Mersey at Runcorn by 1776. The combination of competition and improved efficiency halved the cost of coal and also halved the transport cost of the incoming raw cotton. Trade, and feeding the growing population, required a large transport and distribution infrastructure: the canal system was extended, and Manchester became one end of the world's first intercity passenger railway—the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Competition between the various forms of transport kept costs down. The Manchester Ship Canal was built between 1888 and 1894, in some sections by canalisation of the Rivers Irwell and Mersey, running 36 miles (58 km) from Salford to Eastham Locks on the tidal Mersey. The ship canal enabled ocean-going ships to sail right into the Port of Manchester. On the canal's banks, just outside the borough, the world's first industrial estate was created at Trafford Park. Large quantities of machinery, including cotton processing plant, were exported around the world.

Post World War 2

Manchester’s fortune declined after the Second World War, owing to deindustrialisation, but the devastatation to the central commercial area caused by the IRA bombing in 1996 led to extensive investment and regeneration.

History of local government

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

The town of Manchester was granted a charter by Thomas Grelley in 1301, but lost its borough status in a court case of 1359. Until the 19th century local government was largely in the hands of manorial courts, the last of which was dissolved in 1846.

From a very early time, the township of Manchester lay within the historic or ceremonial county boundaries of Lancashire and the hundred of “Salfordshire”. Salfordshire’s hub was Salford, a community just to the west of Manchester, but it was Manchester which became the dominant town. Salford became the judicial seat of Salfordshire, including the ancient parish of Manchester.

When Manchester became a municipal borough in 1838, it comprised the townships of Beswick, Cheetham, Chorlton upon Medlock and Hulme. In 1853, Manchester was granted "city status" in the United Kingdom.

In 1885, various places that had been townships within the ancient parish became part of the City of Manchester. In 1889, the city became a county borough as did many larger Lancashire towns. With county borough status Manchester could govern itself independent of Lancashire County Council. Between 1890 and 1933, more areas were added to the city which had been administered by Lancashire County Council. Those that were to be found in the short-lived parishes of North Manchester and South Manchester are listed below. Others that were absorbed after 1916 included the neighbourhoods of Fallowfield and Longsight (parts of Withington and Rusholme respectively) and, in 1931, the Cheshire civil parishes of Baguley, Northenden and Northen Etchells from the south of the River Mersey were added. In 1974 Ringway, the village where the Manchester International Airport is located, was added to the city.

In 1974, by way of the Local Government Act 1972, the City of Manchester became a metropolitan district of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. Today, the City of Manchester is governed by the Manchester City Council. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, with a directly elected mayor, has responsibilities for economic strategy and transport, amongst other areas, on a Greater Manchester-wide basis.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Manchester.

Research Tips

  • Wikipedia article "City Status in the United Kingdom". The English concept of a "city" is different from that held in North America, and perhaps from that held in Europe and other parts of the world as well. In England the word "borough" better reflects the governmental status of a municipality.
  • See the Wikipedia articles on parishes and civil parishes for descriptions of this lowest rung of local administration. The original parishes were ecclesiastical (described as ancient parishes), under the jurisdiction of the local priest. A parish covered a specific geographical area and was sometimes equivalent to that of a manor. Sometimes, in the case of very large rural parishes, there were chapelries where a "chapel of ease" allowed parishioners to worship closer to their homes. In the 19th century the term civil parish was adopted to define parishes with a secular form of local government. In WeRelate both civil and ecclesiastical parishes are included in the type of place called a "parish". Smaller places within parishes, such as chapelries and hamlets, have been redirected into the parish in which they are located. The names of these smaller places are italicized within the text.
  • An urban district was a type of municipality in existence between 1894 and 1974. They were formed as a middle layer of administration between the county and the civil parish and were used for urban areas usually with populations of under 30,000. Inspecting the archives of a urban district will not be of much help to the genealogist or family historian, unless there is need to study land records in depth.
  • Civil registration or vital statistics and census records will be found within registration districts. To ascertain the registration district to which a parish belongs, see Registration Districts in Lancashire, part of the UK_BMD website.
  • The terms municipal borough and county borough were adopted in 1835 replacing the historic "boroughs". Municipal boroughs generally had populations between 30,000 and 50,000; while county boroughs usually had populations of over 50,000. County boroughs had local governments independent of the county in which they were located, but municipal boroughs worked in tandem with the county administration. Wikipedia explains these terms in much greater detail.
  • Lancashire Online Parish Clerks provide free online information from the various parishes, along with other data of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire.
  • FamilySearch Lancashire Research Wiki provides a good overview of the county and also articles on most of the individual parishes (very small or short-lived ones may have been missed).
  • Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has a number of county-wide collections of Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials, some from the 1500s, and some providing microfilm copies of the manuscript entries. There are specific collections for Liverpool (including Catholic baptisms and marriages) and for Manchester. Their databases now include electoral registers 1832-1935. Another pay site is FindMyPast.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1888 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time includes the boundaries between the parishes and shows the hamlets within them.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1954 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time is a similar map for a later timeframe.
  • GENUKI provides a website covering many sources of genealogical information for Lancashire. The organization is gradually updating the website and the volunteer organizers may not have yet picked up all the changes that have come with improving technology.
  • The Victoria County History for Lancashire, provided by British History Online, covers the whole of the county in six volumes (the seventh available volume [numbered Vol 2] covers religious institutions). The county is separated into its original hundreds and the volumes were first published between 1907 and 1914. Most parishes within each hundred are covered in detail. Maps within the text can contain historical information not available elsewhere.
  • A description of the city and parish of Manchester from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1911. The chapter contains a map of the ancient parish. (There are two following chapters dealing with (1) the cathedral and (2) the parish and advowson and a further two on the township of Manchester for the first chapter. The second chapter deals with the manor of Manchester, some of the early land-owning families, and some of the early settlements, e.g., Ancoats and Collyhurst.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Manchester. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.