"A Copy of an old Manuscript"

"possessione Jonae Harrop de Bardsley"

"Anno 1749"

"Nunc possessione Ralf Assheton, Bar. de Middleton."

Taken from James Butterworth's book 'History and Description of the Town and Parish of Ashton-under-Lyne' first printed in 1823.

"This is a covenant made between John de Assheton, Knight, and the Tenants of the Town of Assheton, of their swine, the year of the reign of King Richard the Second after the Conquest, the third, that the aforesaid Tenants shall have their Swine going into the Demesnes of the foresaid Town. Fro the end of the Harvest unto the Sowing time (out taken the little Parke and the Hall-yards) so that the aforesaid Swine be ringed fro the foresaid latter end of the Harvest unto the foresaid time of the Sowing. And, the foresaid Tenants shall keep them, that they do no harm to the Lord, nor to their neighbours, in the time out taken, that is to say fro Seeding Time to Harvest be in, and this Covenant to be fulfilled, the foresaid Tenants will then, when so any Swine be taken in default aforesaid, that he that own the Swine shall loose to the Lord 4d, and each Tenant of them aforesaid shall have as many Swine as it is written underneath, That is to Witt, every Tenant of Tenants aforesaid of the said Town that Brews to Sell and the Milner, shall hold three Swine; and every Tenant of the Tenants aforesaid, that hold Land in the Fields, shall hold two Swine; and every Tenant of the Tenants aforesaid, that holds no land, shall have one Swine."

Richard the Second's reign began on 22nd June 1377, so a date of 3 Richard 11, could be any date between 22 June 1379 and 21 June 1380

Another Covenant survives dated Tuesday before Ascension, 1 Henry 1V, which was 25th May 1400

"The Free Tenants-at-will of the lordships of Assheton, the year of the reign of King Henry rhe Fourth, after the Conquest the first, grantyn to John of Assheton, Knight, in his plain Hall Court*, theTuesday next before the Ascension of our Lord, that if any Free Tenant or Tenants that owe multer** to the milne, sell their Corne growing upon their Tenements, and buy Corne of other, and with the same Corne bought come to the milne and multer not, but the Love Sucken*** of that Corne, and this they been convicted in the Lord's Court by Inquest, they shall pay to the Lord XXs. the which they shall be raised of their Goods by the Lord's Bailey."

An explanation

The next page concerning the customs of 1422 give more clues to the meaning of this paragraph.Tenants were obliged to grind their corn at the Lord of the Manor's Corn Mill and pay multure/multer, they were not allowed to go elsewhere to grind it. The portion of corn paid as multer to the Lord from corn growing on their own land was one sixteenth (6.25%). The portion of corn paid as multer for corn bought in from another manor is at a concessionary rate (the Love Sucken) of one twenty fourth (4.166%). Therefore if tenants tried to take advantage of the concessionary love sucken rate by selling their own home-grown and buying corn from elsewhere, then they must pay a fine of 20 shillings. So by the above convenant the Lord was trying to close a tax loophole.

Very many thanks to Matt Tompkins - Leicester University for help in translating the meaning of this covenant.

Source: "History and Description of the Town and Parish of Ashton-under-Lyne" by James Butterworth, first printed 1823, Thomas Cunningham. Reprinted E J Morton.

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