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scription found at Rome, of which I shall insert a copy from
T. FL. VICTOR.
Whether the Mancunian cohort was the same with the Cohors I. Frixagorum of the Notitia, stationed, in the decline of the empire, at Vindobala, is a question that must be decided by future discoveries, as no inscriptions occur at Rutchester, which is supposed, by Mr. Horsley, to coincide with that station."
The Roman station of Mancunium was connected with “ seven" others, by means of military-ways, or roads. Of these Mr. Whitaker endeavours to define and describe six ; one leading to Ribchester, a second to Blackrode, a third to Warrington, a fourth to Buxton, a fifth to Ilkley, in Yorkshire, and a sixth to Kinderton, in Cheshire. Besides the station already described as occupying the site of Castle-field, Mr. Whitaker contends, that it was connected with a Castra-Æstiva, or summer-camp, which he fixes at that part of the town where the college, &c. now stand. His account of this spot, furnishes a curious specimen of ingenious conjectural writing. He says, “ this is infinitely the properest site in the vicinity of the town, that can pretend to attract the notice of the enquiring antiquarian. This is absolutely the only site in the vicinity of the station that could pretend to attract the notice of the examining Romans. In the earliest period of the Saxon history of Manchester, selected for the seat of its lord, as I shall shew hereafter, and accordingly denominated Barons-hull, and
Inscript. Antig. DXXXII. 7.
Barons-yard, and a part of it still retaining the appellation Huntsbank, it, and it alone, is exactly such a site as the exigencies of the Romans required. It is banked on two sides by ribs of rocks, either very steep, or absolutely perpendicular, and looks down from a very lofty summit upon the waters of the Irke, stealing directly along it on one side, and upon the stream of the Irwell breaking directly against it on the other. It spreads its area of dry compacted sand, gently leaning to the north and west; and from the lowness of the ground about it, on the south-west, westnorth-west, and north-east, and from the constant ventilations of the air, by the briskness of the currents below, peculiarly feels, in the summer, a succession of refreshing breezes : and thus admirably fitted for a camp, by its formidable barriers upon two sides, and incomparably adapted for a summer-camp, by its position upon two concurrent streams, its overlooking all the low grounds of Salford and Strangeways, and commanding a distant view of the country, even as far as Howick-Moor; it had the Roman road, to Ribchester, stretching along the western side of it; it still shews the striking remains of an ancient ditch along the southern and eastern sides; and it just contains, within its limits, the requisite number of acres for a summer-camp. The area comprised within the ditch and the rivers, is exactly twelve statute-acres and an half in compass.”
After describing the manner of its formation, it is added by Mr. Whitaker, such “was the pleasing, impregnable site of the summer-camp of the Romans, lined with tall impracticable precipices behind, covered with a fosse enormously deep and broad before, and insulated by the three lively currents of water around it; where, for more than eight successive centuries the public devotions of the towns have been regularly preferred to Heaven, and where, for more than twenty successive generations, the plain forefathers of the town have been regularly reposited in a place, the Romans once kept their summer residence, and enjoyed the fanning breeze of the west and north. Where the bold barons of Manchester spread out the hospitable board in a rude
magnificence of luxury, or displayed the instructive mimicry of war in a train of military exercises; where the fellows of the college studied silently in their respective apartments, or walked conversing in their common gallery; and where young indigence now daily receiving the judicious dole of charity, and folds his little hands in gratitude to God for it, there previously rose the spreading pavilions of the Romans, and there previously glittered the military ensigns of the Frisians *.”
Without following this sanguine and elaborate historian any farther, or dwelling longer on the Roman annals of Manchester, it may be briefly remarked, that after the Romans had possessed this station for nearly 400 years, it was re-occupied by the Britons, who soon relinquished it to the Saxons. During the dynasties of these invaders, Manchester was several times a place of military eonflict, for, seated near the borders of the Northuinbrian kingdom, it was likely to be stubbornly defended by its possessors, and fought for by those who sought to make conquests. It is said to have been fortified and partly rebuilt by Edward the Elder, king of the Mercians, in 920. In the next century, when the domesday, book was compiled by order of William the Conquerer, mention is niade of two churches as belonging to this place, St. Mary's and St. Michael's. One of the followers of the Norman invader fixed his residence here; and his name spelt Albert de Gresley, Gredley, Gressel, and Grelle, appears as witness to a charter to our Lady of Lancaster, in the time of William Rufus.
His son Robert resided chiefly at his barony here, but gave his mills on the river Irk to the Cistercian monks of Swineshead, in Lincolnshire; and, after attending the king in Normandy, obtained the grant of a fair at his lordship of Manchester, on St. Matthew's day, annually, and the day before and after. His great grandson Thomas, on the 14th of May, 1301, granted to his burgesses of Manchester a charter, which is said to be still extant, of the custom of the manor, and was summoned as a baron to parliament,
* History of Manchester, Vol. I. p. 184.
from the first to the fourth of Edward the Second. Dying with.. Gut issue, John, son of Roger Delawar, succeeded to this iplie. ritapce, and chiefly resided in Baron's-Hull, or Baron's Yard, as the site of the present college is still sometimes called. This John was summoned to parliament, as a Baron, from the first of Edward the Second to the sixteenth of Edward the Third, inclusive, and died about the twentieth of the last king's reign. His grandsoy, when of age, did homage to Edward the Third, and had livery of all his lands, and was with the prince at the memorable battle of Poitiers. His eldest son was summoned to parlia. ment as a Baron from 1370 to 1398, to whom, as he died without issue, his brother Thomas, who was rector of Manchester, and in those days of priestly celibacy, consequently unmarried, succeeded in this barony. In the ninth year of Henry the Fifth, 1422, op the payment of 200 marks into the exchequer, he obtained a licence to found a collegiate church, &c. here, which he liberally endowed. The establishment was to consist of a master, or keeper, eight fellows, (of whom two were to be parish-priests), two canons, four deacons, and four choristers. The bishop of Durham and other parties authorized in the licence of foundation, granted to the first master or warden of the said college, five meșsuages and ten acres of land, which were parcels of the manor of Manchester, one messuage with the appurtenances, and one acre and lwentyfour perches, called Baron’s-Hull and Baron’s-Yard, with eight acres of land in Nether Aldport, one messuage of eleven perches in Gorton-Green, and another in Heaton of the same extent. But Fuller, in his Worthies, observes on the subject, that “ the endow, ment of this coliegiate and parochial church were the glehe and tythes of the parsovage, which glebe was computed to be about &00 aeres of this county measure, (about half as many more of the statute measure), besides a considerable part of the town com monly called Dean's-Gate, (a corruption of St. Dionys-Gate, to whom and to the Virgin Mary and St. George the church was for, werly dedicated), now situate on the site of the glebe land belong ing to the church; and the tythes of the parish arose from the VOL. IX.
thirty-two hamlets or townships into which it is divided." At this time the founder is said to have erected the present college for the residence of the collegiate body, at the expense of 3,000l. The greater part of the church was probably completed during the life of John Huntingdon, the first warden, who was very anxious to adorn this new erection. He was president here about thirty-seven years, from 1422 to 1459, and consequently had full time to manifest his disposition and zealous perseverance. His effigy, in sacerdotal vestments, is engraven on a brass plate, in the choir near the altar, with an inscription expressive of the chief object of his zeal.
Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ. As the collegiate foundation and establishment are intimately connected with the ancient history of the town, it will be best to pursue this enquiry here.
On the dissolution of the original college, in the year 1547, the house and some of the lands were sold to the Earl of Derby, who maintained several ministers to officiate in the church. On its being refounded in Queen Mary's reign, when the statutes of the first foundation were revived, most of the lands were restored; but the Earl of Derby retained the collegiate house, with some of the lands of small value. In the twentieth year of Elizabeth, 1578, it was refounded by the name of Christ's-College ; but was once more dissolved, in
of some complaints exhibited against the warden, and refounded by Charles the First, by charter, bearing date the 2d of October, 1636. By this charter, the college was to consist of a warden, who was to be at least B.D. or L. L. B. and four fellows, who are to be M. A. or L. L. B. and two chaplains, to be at least A. B. with two clerks, of which one, by a recent regulation, is to be in orders, four singing men, and four choirister boys. The Bishop of Chester, for the time being, is visitor. The warden is appointed by the crown; but every other vacancy is filled up by the warden and fellows. These were again ejected by the parliament, their revenues seized, and in 1649, the door of the chapter-house and college chest were broken open