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MANCHESTER IN THE MIDDLE AGES (excerpt by and thanks to Tim Lambert)

A the time of the Normans in the 11th century Manchester was a small village but things changed in the 12th century. The population of England grew and trade and commerce grew rapidly. Many new towns were founded. The village of Manchester was made into a town in the early 13th century. The Lord of the Manor, a man named Robert Grelly built a manor house nearby. He also built the church of St Mary. He divided up some of his land into plots for building and rented them to craftsmen. He may also have started a weekly market. Soon Manchester grew into a town.

In the year 1222 Manchester was granted the right to hold an annual fair. In the Middle Ages a fair was like a market but was held only once a year. It would attract buyers and sellers from all over Lancashire. In the Middle Ages Manchester was, at best, a medium sized town. It was not nationally important. It is not known what its population was. An educated guess is 2,500. It would seem very small to us but settlements were tiny in those days.

In Manchester there was a wool industry. After wool was woven it was fulled. That means it was beaten in a mixture of water and clay to clean and thicken it. Wooden hammers powered by a watermill beat the wool. When it dried the wool was dyed. There was also a leather tanning industry in the town.

In 1301 Manchester was given a charter (a document granting the townspeople certain rights). Before that date the Lord of the Manor appointed a bailiff who ran the town day to day. Afterwards the merchants of Manchester were allowed to elect an official called a Reeve who did the job.

In the late Middle Ages water from a spring was brought along elm pipes to a conduit in Manchester where the townspeople could fetch water. The spring gave its name to Spring Gardens and Fountain Street.

Nowadays most of the leather product in the UK is imported, usually as finished furniture, shoes and other goods. Leather has certainly forged its place in the british household and with it companies like Ferndown Leather Services have come into existance to provide repair services to trade and general public. Ferndown Leather Services provides leather repair, cleaning and conditioning activities aimed at bringing leather back to as near its original state as possible prolonging its useable life and ensuring that the item continues to look good even after many years active & continual use.