A “Roch” by any other name…

The Red Rose of Lancashire.
The Red Rose of Lancashire.

After the formation of Lancashire, the parish of Rochdale was located towards the south of the boundary of the county and was part of the Hundred of Salford. Records from the Domesday Book of 1066 show that the name of manor, then Parish, and, later, the borough of Rochdale, was one of complicated feudal ownership, changeable toponyms (place names or geographic entities), and malleable borders. William Robertson’s 1875 Rochdale Past and Present. A History and Guide and his 1881 Old and New Rochdale and Its People, Being a Companion Volume to “Rochdale Past and Present, and Henry Fishwick’s The History of the Parish of Rochdale In the County of Lancaster of 1889 discuss and trace some of these changes.

In the Norman survey (after 1066): “Recedham” (possibly pronounced “wretched-ham”); after the Norman conquest, Robertson (1881) notes that there are records of “Rached” and “Recedham” then “Racheham”; in 1117: “Rachdale” (and “Ratchdale”); there is a “Rachedale” mentioned in 1363; and, in 1582, the name Rochdale seemed to be in constant use; Robertson writes that the place was described at that time as a “market of no small resort” (1881: p.11).

In 1972, the Local Government Act was passed, in 1974 this was put into action; the regional borders were changed once again and, at the time of writing, Rochdale is one of the ten districts that make up the Greater Manchester region.

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Crest. Image from Civic Heraldry, image links to website.
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Crest. Image from Civic Heraldry, image links to website.
  • Darby H.C. & Maxwell, I.S. (Eds) (1962) The Domesday Geography of Northern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fishwick, H. (1881) The History of the Parish of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster. Rochdale: James Clegg. (A .pdf of the book can be viewed via this link.)
  • Robertson, W. (1875) Rochdale Past and Present. A History and Guide. Rochdale: Schofield and Hoblyn.
  • Robertson, W. (1881) Old and New Rochdale and Its People, Being a Companion Volume to “Rochdale Past and Present. Rochdale: William Robertson.
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