Sites & cities that bear the name of Oldham


Today in : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
First trace of activity : 865 C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Aldehulme

Description : Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, amid the Pennines and between the rivers Irk and Medlock, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) southeast of Rochdale and 6.9 miles (11.1 km) northeast of Manchester. The earliest known evidence of a human presence in what is now Oldham is attested by the discovery of Neolithic flint arrow-heads and workings found at Werneth and Besom Hill, implying habitation 7–10,000 years ago. Evidence of later Roman and Celtic activity is confirmed by an ancient Roman road and Bronze Age archaeological relics found at various sites within the town. Placenames of Celtic origin are still to be found in Oldham: Werneth derives from a Celtic personal name identical to the Gaulish vernetum, "alder swamp", and Glodwick may be related to the modern Welsh clawdd, meaning "dyke" or "ditch". Nearby Chadderton is also pre-Anglo-Saxon in origin, from the Old Welsh cadeir, itself deriving from the Latin cathedra meaning "chair". Although Anglo-Saxons occupied territory around the area centuries earlier, Oldham as a permanent, named place of dwelling is believed to date from 865, when Danish invaders established a settlement called Aldehulme. From its founding in the 9th century until the Industrial Revolution, Oldham is believed to have been little more than a scattering of small and insignificant settlements spread across the moorland and dirt tracks that linked Manchester to York. Although not mentioned in the Domesday Book, Oldham does appear in legal documents from the Middle Ages, invariably recorded as territory under the control of minor ruling families and barons. In the 13th century, Oldham was documented as a manor held from the Crown by a family surnamed Oldham, whose seat was at Werneth Hall. Richard de Oldham was recorded as lord of the manor of Werneth/Oldham (1354). His daughter and heiress, Margery (d.1384), married John de Cudworth (d.1384), from whom descended the Cudworths of Werneth Hall who were successive lords of the manor. A Member of this family was James I's Chaplain, Ralph Cudworth (father of the Cambridge Platonist philosopher Ralph Cudworth). The Cudworths remained lords of the manor until their sale of the estate (1683) to Sir Ralph Assheton of Middleton.

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