Meadowcroft lies midway between Bury and Middleton in an area of undulating drift, rising to over 130m above OD, drained by tributaries of the river Roch.
History tells us that in October 1202, William of Radcliffe quitclaimed to Roger of Middleton for four arrowheads, his rights in various parts of Middleton, including ‘…two bovates of land with appurtenances called Meadowcroft…’ In September 1258, the subject of a writ of novel disseisin between Benedict de Meduecroft the plaintiff, against Jordan de Meduecroft the defendant, was ‘…a tenement in Meadowcroft…’
Routine fieldwalking by members of B.A.G. on arable land at Meadowcroft, produced quantities of medieval pottery, also iron slag, which probably originated from ploughed out smelting sites. This evidence prompted trial excavations near one of the old barns in 1983.
B.A.G found medieval potsherds and tap slag during the excavation, but unfortunately not in a shared context. However, we discovered post pits and part of a silted ditch system, which contained a few animal bones and a late medieval turnshoe. The ditch, later supplemented with a wooden drain, ran under the barn towards a possible site of the original Meadowcroft messuage.
At Whittle Brook, half a mile southeast of the excavation, the Group found more slag and medieval pottery during pipeline work. Some of the Whittle Brook potsherds came from vessels made at Ryedale in North Yorkshire. This suggests tenurial links with an area held by the Barton family of Fryton in Ryedale, former lords of Middleton.
Refs: Tyson, N. ‘Excavations at Meadowcroft Fold, Pilsworth 1983-4’ Manchester Archaeological Bulletin 8 (1993) pp 11-30.