Hugh of Mamcestre and William of Gaynesburgh were sent as ambassadors to the French King to vindicate the claim of Edward I. to the lands of Aquitaine. Hugh was a man of learning and distinction, and was professor and doctor of divinity, and Provincial of the Dominican Preachers in England. An impostor having claimed that miracles had been performed at the tomb of Henry III., Mamcestre detected the fraud and wrote an exposure of it, which he dedicated to Edward I., entitled "De Fanaticorum Deliriis" (or the Dotages of Fanatics). "I could wish," says Fuller, "some worthy divine would resume this subject." But it is doubtful if Hugh of Manchester belonged to Lancashire, and some regard him as a native of Warwickshire. The question is discussed in the second volume of the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society.
Henry de Ancotes
gives an acre of land and a messuage in Ancoats to Alexander le Tinctore
[the dyer], of Manchester. Another deed, probably of the same date, mentions
Robert, son of Robert son of Simon Tinctore. It is thus clear that dyeing
was carried on in the town at least as early as the middle of the thirteenth
"What fabrics," asks Mr. Harland, "were then dyed in Manchester?
The oldest textile fabric of England was woollen cloth; for even in the time of
the Romans a manufactory of woollen cloths was established at Winchester for
the use of the emperors. The English woollen manufacture is mentioned in 1185,
but it was not extensive till 1331, when the weaving of cloth was introduced by
John Kempe and other artisans from Flanders.
These were then called Kendal cloths and Halifax cloths; and blankets
were first made in 1340. But it is stated that the art of dyeing woollens was
first brought from the Low Countries to England in 1608, prior to which the
English cloths were usually sent white to Holland, dyed there, and returned to
England for sale. So late as the year 1625 two dyers of Exeter were flogged for
teaching their art in the north of England. The old records now under
consideration prove indisputably that the trade of a dyer was carried on in
Manchester in the thirteenth century. As early as 1311 an inquisition
specified a fulling mill at Colne; thus showing that the woollen manufacture
had its seat in this county nearly thirty years before the introduction of the
Flemish artizans by Edward III. It may be that the Manchester dyers of the
thirteenth century operated upon linen cloths, which were first manufactured in
England by Flemish weavers in 1253. However this may be, it is clear that the
manufacture of woollens existed in Lancashire at the very early period when our
dyers plied their trade in Manchester and Ancotes; and there seems some reason
for supposing that every process in the manufacture of coloured woollens was
carried on in this neighbourhood at the early period now under notice."
(Collectarea.) There was a fulling mill on the Irk at least as early
as 1282. By the Salford Charter no one could exercise the calling of fuller
anywhere in the wapentake except in the town of Salford.