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Ducie Muniments

Date range: 13th–19th centuries

Number of items:

The Manchester (Strangeways) portion of the muniments of the Reynolds Moreton family, Earls of Ducie of Tortworth, Gloucestershire, was transferred to the John Rylands Library in 1954. The collection is particularly significant for the early history of Manchester.

Covering some seven centuries and consisting of 4,370 documents and papers and 43 manuscript volumes, the collection contains a wealth of information concerning Manchester properties, land, streets, general topography and, to a lesser extent, bridges and railways. It comprises muniments of title, rentals, plans, legal records, agents’ accounts and correspondence, and allied estate documents concerning the Reynolds, Hartley and Strangeways families of Strangeways near Manchester.

Included are 14th-century charters, which enable early street patterns of Manchester to be reconstructed, and later records such as Parliamentary Bills and Acts concerning roads, bridges and railways in the area. The documents relate to properties in Manchester (particularly the Millgate, Hanging Ditch, Corn Market, Parsonage, Market Street and Deansgate areas), the neighbouring townships of Cheetham, Gorton and Levenshulme, and the township of Castleton near Rochdale.

Among the papers of John Hartley is a number respecting the money collected in London and Westminster for the relief of the poor of Manchester and Salford afflicted by the plague of 1645 and the financial aid which Manchester, remembering this kindness, gave to London some twenty years later during the Great Plague. There are also letters from the Merchant Taylors’ Company (1654–5) relating to their school at Crosby near Liverpool, founded in 1620.

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Further Information:

Catalogue available online via The National Archives Discovery portal.

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