The evidences as to the earlier history of the district are so few that much more has been left to ingenious conjecture than is at all satisfactory. With the Norman Conquest we have a document of great importance, though the information it contains is not always clear. The passage in Domesday Book relating to the Manchester district is thus translated: "King Edward held Salford. There are iii. hides and xii. carucates of waste land. There is a forest iii. leagues long and the same broad. There are many hays and a hawk's aery there. King Edward held Radeclive for a manor. There is i. hide, and another hide there belongs to Salford. The Church of Saint Mary and the Church of Saint Michael held in Mamecestre i. carucate of land free from all customs but the gelt. To this manor or hundred belonged xxi. berewicks, which so many thanes held for so many manors. In which there were xi. and a half hides and x. and a half carucates of land.  The woods there are ix. leagues and a half long and v. leagues and a furlong broad. Gamel, a tenant of ii. of these hides in Recedham (Rochdale), was free of all customs but these six: theft, heinfare, forestel,breach of the peace, not keeping the term set him by the reeve, and continuing a fight after an oath given to the contrary. The fine for these was xi. shillings. Some of these lands were free from every custom but the gelt, and some were free even from the gelt. The whole manor of Salford, with the hundred, rendered xxxvii. pounds and iv. shillings. Of this manor there are now in the demesne ii. carucates and viii.serfs, and ii. villeins with i carucate.  The demesne is worth c. shillings. Of the lands of this manor these knights hold by the gift of Roger of Poicton, Nigel iii hides and half a carucate of land, Warin ii. carucates of land, another Warin 1. carucate and a half, Goisfrid i. carucate of land, and Gamel ii. carucates of land In these are three thanes and xxx villeins and ix. bordars and a priest and x. serfs They have xxii carucates among them. The whole is worth vii. pounds." (Beamont, Domesday Book, p.81.) After an intervening passage about Leyland, we read: "The men of this manor [Lailand] and of Salford were not bound by the custom to work at the King's hall or to mow for him in August. They only made hay in the wood, and they had the forfeitures for bloodshed and rape. In the other customs of the other manors above mentioned they bore their part."  (Beamont, p.81.) Of the entire district between Ribble and Mersey it is said: "In King Edward's time the whole was worth cxlv. pounds and ii. shillings and ii. pence. When Roger of Poictou received it from the King it was worth cxx. pounds.  The King now holds it, and has in his demesne xii. carucates, and [there are] ix. knights holding a fee. Amongst them and their men there are cxv. carucates and iii. oxen. The demesne which Roger held is valued at xxiii. pounds and x. shilllngs, what he bestowed on his knights at xx. pounds and xi. shillings." (Beamont, p.83.) It appears to be implied that there were two churches in Manchester, but if the Church of St. Mary be identified with the parish church, it is diflicult to know where St. Michael's could have been. One suggestion is that the passage applies to the whole district, and that St. Michael's at Ashton-under-Lyne is meant. The necessity for two churches in a place so small as Manchester then was is not at all apparent. The subject is discussed fully in Hibbert Ware's Foundations of Manchester.

Roger of Poictou, to whom William the Conqueror granted the land between Mersey and Ribble, was one of the sons of Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury, and grandson of Roger the Great de Montgomery. The pedigree is by no means undisputed, but the evidence is carefully analysed by Mr. H. H. Howorth in the Palatine Note-book (vol. ii.). The second Roger styles himself ex-Normannis Normannus, and was probably a descendant of one of the freebooters who, under Rollo, settled in Normandy.  The surname of Montgomery came from a fief in what is now the department of Calvados.

The wife of the second Roger was a daughter of William Talvas de Belesme. The father's character was a bad one, and the lady is described as small of body, a great talker, crafty, cruel, and audacious. The marriage is said to have taken place in 1048, and Roger de Pictavensis was the third son.  At the time of the Conquest, among the most important, rich, and influential of all William's feudatories, was Roger de Montgomery, viscount of the Hiesmois.  Wace has given a vivid account of his share in the battle of Hastings, and his statement is adopted by Freeman. On the other hand Orderic Vitalis states that he remained behind as Governor of Normandy. The question was fully debated between Mr. Howorth and Dr. Freeman (Palatine Note-book, vol.ii.). Mr. Howorth believes that it was Roger of Poictou, and not his father, who fought at Senlac, and, in confirmation, points out, that of the various sons of the Earl of Arundel, he was the only one who received a reward from the Norman Conqueror. His estates in what is now known as Lancashire are entered under Cheshire in Domesday Book. The people were rather Mercian than Northumbrian in speech and race. The population was sparse. His possessions were in the nature of an Honour, and not a County, and there is no good evidence that he exercised palatine jurisdiction or was an Earl. He was a great seignor, holding of the Crown and having extensive privileges.  The courts of criminal and civil jurisdiction of such great landowners have heen well described as public jurisdictions in private hands. It is thought that he fixed his residence at Clitheroe, and in that stronghold this lord of 300 manors may have held his court. He obtained his surname of Poictou from his marriage with a lady of that duchy.  This was Almades, daughter of Adalbert III, Count of La Marche. Roger, between the Conquest and Domesday, had forfeited the great grants made to him in Lancashire by his defection from the King, but his honours were restored by William II. He appears to have been a turbulent spirit, and having joined Robert Duke of Normandy in a rebellion against Henry I., he was finally deprived of his possessions and banished from the country in 1101.