Medieval Life

The countryside

The countryside of Rochdale would have looked very different from what we see today. Thick forest would have covered a lot of the areas around Rochdale and in Sparth, with clearings containing small villages and hamlets. In each town and village the largest buildings would have been the church and the manor house. It is probable that a Saxon church existed on the site of the present St Chad’s Parish church which was first erected in the 12th century.

The growth of towns

Large amounts of forest were cut down in medieval times as wood was required for fuel, building castles, churches, homes and ships. The number and size of towns started to grow after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Towns grew up around the new castles because of the protection given from the Norman invaders.

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