The medieval town grew up around a bluff at the confluence of the rivers Irwell and Irk. This was the site of the manor house of the Grelley family by the 13th century, and probably also their castle, recorded in 1184. The parish church (made a cathedral in 1847) may be on the site of one of the two churches mentioned in Domesday, though there is little evidence for fabric earlier than the 13th century. It was made collegiateGlossary Term in 1421 and almost completely rebuilt thereafter.
The 15th century priest's college with its great hall and cloistered lodgings which was erected on the site of the Grelley manor house, is the best and most intact example of its type in the country.
By the end of the C17 the textile trade was of prime importance and Manchester was established at the centre of a network of South Lancashire towns that specialised in the production of cloth containing cotton. It is no coincidence that the cloth trade formed the basis for the fortune of Humphrey Chetham, whose bequest founded a bluecoat school and free library in the building of the college of priests in 1654-8. The institution, which still occupies the building, is the custodian of the C17 fittings and remarkable library furnishings.
(of church seating): Arranged in confronted rows facing north and south, rather than towards the altar; so called after the chapels of the older university colleges.