Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing beneath the roof of the venerable edifice originally erected for the residence of the Collegiate body, and now appropriated to the benevolent and excellent institution of Mr Chetham, and situated, as Mr Whittaker maintains, on the site not only of the residence of the Saxon and Norman Barons of Manchester, but of the summer camp of the Romans, he naturally felt a wish to retrace its history, and to obtain some acquaintance with its former inhabitants. This, however, he soon found not less difficult than it appeared to be desirable. Few documents seemed to remain, and information was to be drawn in small portions from widely scattered sources. Many valuable and interesting records were doubtless destroyed when in the civil wars the College writings were forcibly seized and sent by the Parliamentary forces to London, where they are said to have perished in the great fire. While collecting, merely with a view to the amusement of his own leisure, such particulars as his access to the Chetham library afforded him, the author was induced to devote a more particular degree of attention to the subject from the following circumstance :

“ • A few years ago, a gentleman of the first eminence in the literary world happening to visit Manchester, complained that he had in vain sought for information concerning our principal institutions ; he thought they were not deserving of this obscurity; that the trouble which should be employed in investigating them would not be unprofitably bestowed ; and was pleased to recomiend the task to the author. From this encouragement he proceeded to examine every source to which he had access, and lays, with all due respect, the result before the public. Should the reader find the following pages less satisfactory, he may be assured that nothing is contained in them for which the authorities are not carefully adduced, that neither invention nor conjecture (non erat his locus) are offered to his attention, but a statement which lays claim to nothing but fidelity."

;

Unfortunately for this undertaking Mr Greswell did not live to complete his labours ; his lamented decease having taken place before any part of the history from his own pen had commenced. The materials, however, of his intended volume remained. They were a compilation from the works of various authors, who have in different periods incidentally touched upon the annals of Manchester, interspersed with many curious original notices derived from manuscript documents. These formed altogether a body of matter far more valuable and comprehensive than any which had been previously collected.

The publishers having obtained a transcript of Mr Greswell's manuscript volume, were anxious to present such a part of it to their subscribers as related to the principal institutions of this town. But they soon found that much additional matter was still required, particularly as the historical compilation broke off in the year 1781, and the contents of the volume required much preliminary arrangement.

In the present volume this deficiency will be in some measure supplied; the publishers have therefore a few remarks to offer on the particular subjects to which it is limited.

One of the most grateful of occupations which can engage the attention of the moralist is to trace the origin and progress of foundations consecrated to Learning, to Benevolence, and to Religion. It is in a peculiar degree instructive to inquire into the benefits produced by such establishments during the period when they were formed, and to observe their progressive influence on the manners of society. It is also a duty, if we would perpetuate the objects of useful institutions, to avail ourselves of every opportunity which is afforded us of preserving the memories of public benefactors, who may have devoted their talents, their time, or their wealth, to the important end of ameliorating and advancing the condition of their fellowcitizens.

This is the true value of local history. In the town of Manchester there are several distinguished institutions that deserve such an elucidation ; but of these the Collegiate Church, the Free Grammar School, and Chetham's Hospital, stand in the foremost rank. The publishers have therefore undertaken, in this volume, to perpetuate the names of founders and benefactors, to enumerate their useful labours, to specify their munificent grants, and to describe the internal regulations which have been established for the government of the institutions to which they have contributed. In pursuance of this plan, the biographic notices which will be found interspersed

throughout this work are abundant. And, as the chain of narrative extends through several centuries, many occasional anecdotes are given, illustrative of the moral, the civil, and political state of the town, at various periods of its history.

To complete this labour the publishers have been indebted to several literary gentlemen. Dr Hibbert of Edinburgh has undertaken the arduous task of remodelling the materials of Mr Greswell's volume, and has considerably added to them : he has also prefaced the whole with an Introductory Memoir on the earlier and more obscure annals of the town. The obligations which the publishers are under to other gentlemen during the course of getting up the work will be found acknowledged in their proper place. In the History of the Wardens of Manchester, the Reverend Mr Hollingworth's manuscript is preserved as the chief text.

Graphical embellishments, executed in the first style of the art, from original paintings and drawings, made purposely for the work, are also given. They chiefly consist of architectural plans, elevations, and views of the several structures, sepulchral monuments, and carvings, which come under description. The plates are engraved by Mr Pye.

The present work is divided into Four Parts.

The first part comprises a History of the Collegiate Church of Manchester.

The second part is a History of the Free Grammar School.
The third part is a History of Chetham's Hospital ; And

The fourth part is devoted to an Architectural Description of the ancient Collegiate Church and College of Manchester.

PART I.

HISTORY

OF THE

Collegiate Church of Manchester.

« PreviousContinue »