Middleton’s history dates back beyond our current knowledge of the area, it is speculated that a Roman road ran through Middleton from the Roman fort which was first built around the year 79 AD at the end of Deansgate in Manchester - on a promontory overlooking the junction of the Irwell and Medlock rivers.
The road passed through Blackley, Alkrington, Middleton Hall to Blackstone Edge and on to Ilkley - the Middleton part of this road would have been Long Street which carries the main road to Rochdale and on to Yorkshire, past the Old Boar’s Head public house and Idlers Corner (as the two pictures above.)
Mid-hul-tun - the settlement on the hill - midway between Manchester (Mamucium) and Rochdale.
It is possible a Roman position - with warning beacon - stood on the highest ground at the Top o’Middleton around the High Street area. This same area is known as Barrowfield., in early maps slit into - Smithy Barrowfield, Well Barrowfield, Middle Barrowfield and Church Barrowfield maybe indicating a much earlier use or description for the area.
A wooden Saxon Church is believed to have stood on the site of St. Leonard’s Church
pre-dating a Norman church, traces of a Norman arch can still be seen inside the church.
What started as a small settlement on the hill overlooking the main road from Yorkshire to West Chester has seen many changes.
Thomas Langley born of humble origins in 1363 at Langley Hall was to become private secretary to John o'Gaunt, he progressed to become Chancellor to three Kings of England, The Dean of York, Archdeacon of Norfolk and Bishop of Durham.
In 1412 Langley founded the Chantry School of St Cuthbert in the Chapel of Our Lady & St. Cuthbert of St. Leonard's or probably regularised an already existing one he had attended.
(From the book "The First Spin Doctor" by Ian Sharman)
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School (The Old Grammar School) was erected around 1586, to replace the Chantry School and was funded by Alexander Nowell, who was the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st.
The Old Hall - The Albany - (long demolished) was the ancestral home of a branch of the Assheton family.
(The 1937 - Middleton Baths - (built on the site of the Lake for the Old Hall) and recently demolished - is now a Tesco Super Store and car park with the River Irk culverted running under the site.
After the English victory over the Scots at Flodden in 1513 Sir Richard Assheton enlarged the parish church and the Flodden Window depicting the Middleton Archers was installed.