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The
Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale


Rochdale’s Oldest
Buildings

One of Rochdale’s
oldest buildings is the present Lloyd’s Bank in Lord Square. It originated
in 1705. It is believed that this was the site of the original Rochdale
settlement, and stands on part of the original market square. Originally
called Union Buildings, it was the headquarters of Jacobite rebels in
1745. It was subsequently an inn, and then in the late-19th century
it became shops and offices. Lloyd’s Bank Limited took possession in
1930.

St Leonard's Church, RochdaleOld Boars Head Inn, Middleton, RochdaleHeally Dell Viaduct near Rochdale
St Leonards Parish
Church, Middleton, The Old Boar’s Head Inn Middleton and Healey Dell Viaduct

St Chad’s Parish
Church, Rochdale

Standing on Sparrow
Hill, St Chad’s overlooks the town centre – it is Rochdale’s oldest
building and originated in Saxon times. The tower dates from 1190 and
parts of the churchyard wall are pre-1066. In the churchyard lie buried
John Collier
(also known as Tim Bobbin). The church represents many different
styles and periods of architectural building, although it was sorely
neglected in the early 19th century, and considerable restoration was
carried out in 1873, as well the addition of the topmost section of
tower, carried out by Crossland, the designer of Rochdale Town Hall.

St Leonard’s
Parish Church, Middleton

This is a Grade
1 Listed building, being of both architectural and historical importance.
Its tower dates from 1412, and much of its stonework comes from earl
12th century Norman origins. A school existed here since 1412, founded
by Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham and Chancellor of England. The school
survives as Queen Elizabeth’s Senior High School, it being the oldest
founded school in Greater Manchester. A great deal of extension and
improvement was done by Lord Richard Assheton as thanksgiving for his
delivery at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and there is a Flodden Stained
Glass Window bearing the names of Middleton archers who fought there.
Around the year 1700 a wooden steeple was built on top of the tower
and in 1714 a set of 5 bells were installed, later to be increased to
eight, and these regularly rang the curfew until 1939, and still do
so on special occasions.

Modern Rochdale

Although modern
Rochdale still has its fair share of industrial and commercial development,
the major part of the borough is open countryside, or within view
of it. To the north and east, the landscape is dominated by Pennine
moorlands, while the south and west abounds in pleasant river valleys,
farmland and woodlands.
The whole
Metropolitan Borough lies in the wide valley created by the Rivers
Roch, Beal and Irk. The Rochdale Canal runs through the borough on
its trans-Pennine route from Manchester to Huddersfield and beyond.
Open Air and Leisure facilities are wide and varied, from the 155
acre Country Park at Hollingworth Lake to the Cheesden Valley which
once ran 15 watermills and is now a conservation area. Fine country
walks can be found around the Naden and Greenbooth Reservoirs, there
is a Nature Reserve at the Ashworth Valley and Healey Dell, as well
as the Piethorne Valley with its great walking opportunities and views.
Rochdale
also has 8 Golf Courses within its border, 5 Swimming Pools, 3 Sports
Halls, and 28 Parks and Recreational Areas. Its professional Rugby
Club, Rochdale Hornets, and Rochdale Association Football Club both
play at the Spotland Stadium in Sandy Lane.

Rochdale Local
Heroes

The town also
claims some prominent and celebrated sons and daughters – the pop
star Lisa Stansfield who was born and still lives in the town; radio
and TV personalities Andy and Liz Kershaw were brought up in the borough;
actress Julie Goodyear, who played Bet Gilroy in “Coronation Street”
lives in Heywood; comedian songwriter
Mike Harding
was brought up and has
a home in Middleton. Historic and celebrated figures from the past
have included Samuel
Bamford
, born in Middleton; Edgar Wood the noted architect
who lived and worked in Middleton; John
Bright
the famous political radical was born in Rochdale;
Norman Evans, the great stage and radio comic hailed from Rochdale,
and was discovered by Gracie
Fields
when he performed at the Rochdale Hippodrome; Lord Byron,
the English Romantic poet, became a resident of Hopwood Hall in Rochdale
in 1808 when he inherited the estate.

Middleton

Middleton in the
second largest settlement in the Borough. People born and brought
up in Middleton can claim the traditional title of “Moonraker”. This
refers to the legendary poachers who, at the approach of the local
Constabulary, threw their booty in a pond and began raking the reflection
of the moon in water, in the hope of recovering the green cheese.
Many of the buildings reflect the influence of one of the towns most
famous sons, the architect Edgar Wood. These are complemented by attractions
such as St Leonard’s Parish Church, which has on eof the three remaining
wooden church towers in the country, and Ye Olde Boar’s Head Inn on
Long Street, which, according to legend, has a secret tunnel that
links the inn with the Parish Church. Other famous residents of Middleton
were Cardinal Thomas Langley and the writer Samuel Bamford. For more
about Middleton, visit www.middleton-online.co.uk

Heywood

Midway between
Rochdale and Bury lies Heywood, which together with nearby villages
of Heap Bridge, Hopwood and Hooley Bridge, accounts for some 15% of
the Borough’s population. Heywood is surrounded by agricultural land,
but is also a thriving and convenient centre for industry and distribution,
being close to the M60, M62 and M66 motorways. The origins of Heywood
date back to the 13th Century, but the area owes much of its character
to the father of Sir Robert Peel, the originator of Britain’s first
police force, who created the textile town from a greenfield site.
For more about Heywood, visit www.heywood.org.uk

Littleborough

Littleborough,
on the Pennine edge is one of the larger townships of Rochdale and
has a history of both wool and cotton weaving. In the 15th Century
Littleborough was only important because it stood at the junction
of two ancient routes – the road over Blackstone Edge and the packhorse
route climbing out of the valley to the Reddyshore Scout Gate and
Todmorden. However, the coming of the Rochdale Canal (1794-1804) and
the trans-Pennine railway changed that and by 1860 a small town was
growing where the road and canal met.

Milnrow

Milnrow is a minor
literary shrine to the Lancashire dialect satirst John
Collier
), and is a residential area full of character and variety.
The village has its own shops, churches and pubs, and the magnificent
Hollingworth Lake Country Park is on the doorstep. To find out more,
visit www.milnrow.co.uk

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© John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 27 Apr 09.