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Charles Barker reported in the Endowment House Records that he was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, England.  Below you will find information about the county of Lancashire and about St. Chad's, the mother church of the Parish in Rochdale.  I hope this information will give you a better feel for where our ancestor, Charles, came from.

LANCASHIRE

A county of England, lying on the Irish Sea, and bounded by Cumberland, Westmorland, Yorkshire, and Cheshire.  It is 75 miles in length, and 30 in breadth.  It is divided into 6 hundreds, which contain 27 market towns, 62 parishes, an 894 villages.  This county comprises a variety of soil and face of country; there being mountains of more than 2000 feet high, in the north and eastern parts, with wide moorlands or heaths amongst them; extensive bogs or mosses, which yield only turf for fuel, and are very dangerous; and some most fertile land for agricultural purposes.  It yields iron, coal, slate and other building stones; salt, etc.  Grazing is more attended to than agriculture.  The fisheries, both in the rivers and the sea, are valuable.  As a commercial and manufacturing county, Lancashire is distinguished beyond most others in the kingdom.  Its principal manufactures are linen, silk, and cotton goods; fustians, counterpanes, shalloons, baize, serges, tapes, small wares, hats, sail-cloth, sacking, pins, iron goods, cast plate-glass, etc.  Of the commerce of this county, it may suffice to observe, that Liverpool is now the second port in the United Kingdom.  The principal rivers are the Mersey, Irwell, Ribble, Lune, Leven, Wyre, Hodder, Roche, Duddon, Winster, Kent, and Calder, and it has two considerable lakes.  Windermere and Coniston Water.  Lancaster is the county town.  Population, 1,667,054.  It returns 26 members to parliament. 

(From Barclay's Complete and Universal Dictionary of 1842.)

ST CHAD'S

The mother church of the parish is of great antiquity, and stands on a commanding eminence, the ascent to which is by a flight of 124 steps.  The church was erected in the 12th century, and has undergone various changes, alterations, and renovations.  The local legend is, that the site of the church was, in point of fact, the place chosen by spirits and fairies for the purpose.  On several occasions, as the story relates, the materials brought together for the erection of the church, on an entirely different site, were removed from the place originally selected to the hill or eminence on which St. Chad's stands.  That this removal was the work of superhuman agency, was the firm belief of our forefathers in those far-distant days; and we should be sorry to do or say anything which could in the remotest manner interfere with this time-hallowed belief, which has been handed down to us, and which, with vast numbers among us, is received with the greatest deference and respect.

The site ultimately adopted, under such supernatural pressure, led, of course, to the formation of the celebrated church steps; to ascend which is always considered a necessary piece of work to be performed by all visitors to our good old town.  To come to Rochdale and not mount the steps is considered a breach of good manners, as well as a serious deprivation of a very agreeable exercise.

 

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