The possible origin of the Ludchurch name.
I came across the following account in a book that was 120 years old, the book stated that it had been copied from a manuscript 140 years previously, if that manuscript was 200 years old it would tie into the dates regarding the building of the first wooden Hugs Bridge which crosses the river Dane between Cheshire and Staffordshire. Therefore this account could be as valid as other theories regarding how Ludchurch received its name. This following account was copied as I stated from a manuscript by a Mr William Shirley, of Rewlach, Sheen around 250 years ago and is as follows:-
England, after being ruled by the Romans was evacuated by them about the year 450 A.D, after a dominion of 500 years. The country thus left without protection was invaded by herds of hungry foreigners from across the channel, called Saxons; they took possession of the land and became the ruling power. Following them, large gangs of ferocious plunderers, from the North of Europe, called Danes, found there way to Britain, under their respective chieftains, called Vikings. Their object at first was plunder, but they soon took to settling on the land, and kept up a continual warfare with the Saxons for possession of the country.
The Saxon chronicles, among many others, relate the exploits of King Ludd, a Danish Viking, and we shall endeavour to trace the career of this noted freebooter.
As the Saxon chronicles are difficult to make out we will make no further use of them, but follow him by the traditionary marks he has left behind him, and supply the rest from whence is derived the great supply of modern literature – the imagination.
The first notice we have of him is on the Lincolnshire side of the Humber in a village called Lud Town or Luddington, where he landed and commenced his plundering, but as that part of the country was well used up his stay was short.
The next trace we have of Ludd is at Nottingham, where a tradition of his destructive doings was remembered by the mob which burned the castle and made great devastation in the town and neighbourhood, their leader taking the name of Captain Ludd.
On arriving at the Derwent Valley, Chatt, one of the chiefs, determined to settle with his dependants. He enclosed a farm, built a house, and called it Chatsworth. Pill,another of the party, chose the opposite side of the valley and called it Pilsley, but he afterwards abandoned it and went forward with the main body.
In the Dowve Valley, they found a copious supply of water, at which they refreshed themselves and called it Ludwell. Pill would settle there, and built a fortified house, which was called Pilsbury, some remains of what still exist.
In marching forward they found old Cronth grinning in his cote; with much persuading and more threatening they learned where the Thane of Crongstone herded his cattle. After a successful foray they decided to have a feast, which with killing and eating lasted over a week. The bones and refuse of their feast was great, and the place so filthy, that Nab from the opposite hillside called it Glutton.
Thirkil, a stout trencherman, over-gorged himself, was sick and died. The gang was delayed some time in making a barrow over his grave; it is amongst the hills, and is now called Thirkelow.
From here they made their way to the top of the mountain range. The place where they camped is called Dane Bower. They plundered the country around but found little spoil; some of the poor natives they took prisoners, as the time for holding their yearly festival was at hand, to offer up human sacrifices to Thor and Woden. As they passed along they came upon the trace of a boar. They hunted it around Wildboarclough, but with what success is not known.
Lower down the valley they found a large fissure or gorge in the rocks adapted to the performance of their religious rites, and to sacrifice their prisoners to their divinities. Here amidst the most diabolical yells and contortions they tortured and killed their prisoners amidst the praises of Thor, their great god, more like madmen than human beings endowed with reason. This rent or gorge is now called Ludd Church, in remembrance of the horrid scenes there enacted at that time.
The herdsmen of the Thane of Swythamley reported that they heard strange noises in the dale. On going to ascertain the cause they looked into the cave and reported that some ferocious looking foreigners were gone mad and murdering one another. The Thane on hearing this report judged rightly that they were robbers as well, and putting his cattle in a place of safety, he summoned all his retainers and servants, determined on battle if they invaded his territories, but the Danes passed down the valley and escaped a conflict with the Thane.
A begging friar, returning from his round, alarmed the monks of Gawsworth with the news that the Danes were coming, and knowing something of their character determined on resistance. They summoned all their tenants, retainers and servants, and armed them with such weapons as were at hand, as scythes, pitchforks and flails, and with the cross bearer at their head, marched to repel any invasion of their territories by the Danes. The monks found the Danes at the ford in the act of crossing the river. A furious battle took place. The monks and their allies fought with desperation, and having the advantage of numbers drove the invaders back into the river; some were wounded and some were drowned, and the monks were masters of both field and flood. A bridge afterwards erected at this place was , and is, called Hug Bridge, to keep in remembrance this celebrated battle of the monks and danes.
Ludd and his party moved forward, marking his way by fire and murder, and found his way to his countrymen in Shropshire, where a large party of them had taken possession of the country and burned down Shrewsbury Cathedral and killed the monks, but what he did afterwards, or how long he lived is not known, but he certainly died and was buried, and a lowe or barrow was raised over his grave, and as such lowes were named after the persons buried there, his was called Lud Lowe, where is now a large town built round his grave, and also gives the name to the parish of Ludlow, in Shropshire.