|Lancashire and Cheshire tenants, patrons and friends of Whalley abbey
About to leave for the Holy Land in 1178, John, constable of Chester, founded an abbey at Stanlawe (Stanlow) in Cheshire, endowing it with the townships of Staneye (Stanney) and Aston. Inundated by the sea at Stanlow, the monastery was removed to Whalley in Lancashire in 1294, and this foundation of Cistercians (grey monks) became one of the wealthiest in northern England. It received grants of lands in Ince, Garston, Childewall, Aykebergh, Little Woolton and Warrington in southwest Lancashire; Eccles, Barton, Maunton, Swynton, Pendleton, Worsley, Hulton, Westhalghton, Rumworth, Pendlebury, Cadishead and Denton in the south; Spotland, Chadwick, Castleton, Marland, Todmorden, Rochdale, Whitworth, Heley, Falenge, Chaderton, Wardle, Howarth and Saddleworth in the east; Wytton, Derwent, Plesyngton, Balderston, Salebury, Read, Downham, Clithero, Ribchester, Withnall, Wheelton and Stanworth in Blackburn hundred; and Warton, Carleton, Steyninges, Elswick and Preston in Amounderness hundred; as well as further property in Cheshire, in Chester, Nantwich, Northwich, Aston, Backford, Walton and Wynlaton. A careful copy of all these grants was compiled in the 14th century in what is called the Coucher Book or C(h)artulary of Whalley Abbey. The evidence had been carefully sorted and collated in twenty chapters or titles, each containing a transcript of the grants and evidences relating to a separate parish or township. The people that appear in these deeds are the donors, the witnesses, and occasionally tenants or occupiers of adjoining plots of land. The Coucher Book was edited for the Chetham Society by W. A. Hulton, and published in four volumes, starting in 1847.
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