On Thursday Nov 1st Ian Meadowcroft. a retired history teacher, gave a talk to the Good Neighbour’s History Group on “Chorlton in the Middle Ages”. Over 40 people came to hear Ian present his ‘thought experiment’ about what it was like to live in Chorlton in medieval times
Ian explaining how much of the Manchester area was covered by bog, peat moss and moorland, hence the preponderance of local names with ‘moss’, ‘moor’ or ‘hulme’ ( an old Norse word for a small island, or land surrounded by water or marsh).
Some of the audience who came to listen to Ian’s talk
A short video clip from Ian’s talk
Even though Ian’s starting point was that we knew almost nothing specific about medieval Chorlton, he was able to give a very good picture of what life must have been like it what was border country, with the Mersey being the border between Northumbria (‘the North’) and Mercia (‘the Midlands’) and this area being one of the main route for invasion by the Scots – used as late as 1745 by Bonny Prince Charlie
Life was tough, with hunger and widespread disease. Famine was commonplace and there was little protection from a harsh climate and difficult terrain. On a cold, showery Autum day, we all went home grateful for simple things that we take for granted – like waterproof clothing and dry houses to live in.