Understanding the Archaeology of Medieval Manchester and Salford
Lecture held on December 05th 2012 at the Methodist Church Hall, Delph
by Norman Redhead, County Archaeologist for Greater Manchester

Paul Renshaw introduced the lecturer, Norman Redhead, and said it was appropriate that Norman should give our last lecture, remembering the number of times he has given lectures throughout the years. Paul also gave a brief resume of our merger with Friends of Castleshaw Roman Forts and the dates of next year’s meetings, which will be held at Saddleworth Museum.




The first slide showed an old map of Salford and Manchester at the Irwell crossing area, by the Church and Hanging Ditch. The origin of the name Salford was from “ the Willow by the ford”, and Hanging Ditch from the times when cloth was hung across the Irk to dry. Pule fold , a moated house ,was in the area. Several slides showed the Salford Cross, and the Court House. The Salford Hundreds were the manor lands which covered the area from the Ribble down to Stockport. Manchester was part of the Salford manor then. Salford was made a free borough in 1230 and by 1346 there were 129 burgesses .The first stone bridge linking Manchester and Salford was built around 1368, now replaced by Victoria Bridge. Salford Hall (Ordsall Hall) was built in the 16th century on the site of a medieval hall.


During 2004/5 the council under took the regeneration of Greengate, On removing some of the railway arches it opened up the area of Collier St Baths and the medieval Cross. The Bull’s Head pub in Greengate has a medieval section and a well had been found during excavations in the 1980’s. The first excavation found evidence of a gravel lane near the medieval market and sandstone footings for a timber framed house, also pits with medieval pottery and leather archery armlets. The next site examined was a new development opposite the Cathedral , and more pottery was found together with fertile soil from the days of agriculture in the area. The final site was opposite Trinity Church, at Clowes St , the edge of the Salford borough, again pottery and sandstone footings were found, indicating wooden houses. The old Greengate Bus Station is to be a renewal area with a footbridge over to the Cathedral, and it may soon be possible to excavate the embankment area. Manchester




The Cathedral has a medieval wooden screen, and the proposed rework of the new organ may allow excavations under the floor. Manchester received its charter in 1301. The hanging Ditch area was a defensive point over the Irk, and the cultural area defines the medieval era. Chethams was built in 1421, and has many medieval ditches beneath the building, Angel St dates from 1300’s and the Red Bank Urn was found here, then later lost. There was a medieval castle, probably motte and bailey, near to the old church, at the North end of Chethams, and a hanging bridge was situated in the cathedral area, also timber framed buildings around Long Millgate. Spinney Fields had over 100 sherds of medieval pottery just from a tiny area of excavation on a new development. Future excavations hope to be in the Exchange St site where it is hoped to restore the Medieval market, and Chapel St area is also of interest.


Nora Moncur thanked Norman for a most interesting slide lecture and talk.


Future meeting of Friends of Castleshaw Forts 2013  (See www.castleshawarchaeology.co.uk )


Wednesday January 16th

Monday February 11th

Wednesday March

6thMonday April 15th



Edith Howarth     

© Saddleworth Archaeological Trust , 2012