Gordon Batty Collection – Parish Church of St. Chad, Rochdale.

Church from Broadfield Park
St. Chad's Parish Church, Rochdale

There is a tradition that the Parish Church of Rochdale was intended to have been erected down by the river, but that when the foundations were being laid, overnight they mysteriously disappeared, to re-appear at the top of the hill near the present site of the church. Several attempts were made to build in the valley, but each time the same thing occurred, and the materials would mysteriously be moved over-night, so eventually it was agreed to build the church on its present site, and no further trouble was experienced. This in not an unfamiliar tale and St. Chad’s is not the only church to which it has been ascribed.

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REVIEW – Mike Leigh’s Peterloo

© Photograph: Simon Mein, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

On 16th August 1819, 60,000-80,000 men, women and children gathered together in St. Petersfield in Manchaster for a peaceful protest and to hear the orator and political reformer Henry Hunt.

The local magistrates concerned by the gathering issued a warrant for the arrest of Hunt (and others.) In the execution of this warrant the Yeomanry and 15th Hussars charged into the crowd, but coming from different directions left no route for the gathered throng to disperse.

In the chaos, 15 people were killed and 400-700 seriously injured.

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REVIEW – The Fool and his Dancers: Tales of Dark Morris from the Wild Welsh Border by Rob Elliot

The Fool and His Dancers
Available from Amazon

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…

It is a time of rebellion, Morris Dancing has been brought into submission by Cecil Sharp and has been reduced to a quaint show for those too slow to run away from the sound of approaching bells.

In an area far from the bright centre of the morris universe a small group turn their back on the empire and join the dark side, engaging in a morris style from a forgotten or ignored past.

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The Rainhill Trials

In 1824 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company was set up by merchants in the area in order to facilitate transport between the two major cities. The idea was heavily influenced by William James a land surveyor and property investor who had the vision of a national railway network after seeing the development of independent colliery lines and the advancement of locomotive technology.

Up until this point railways were generally run using a mixture of cables powered by stationary steam engines and horse haulage, occasionally using steam locomotives for short sections. George Stephenson, engineer for the project advocated using locomotives for the entire line to overcome the issue with cable haulage that one technical issue could paralise the entire system.

In 1829 as the construction of the line neared completion the directors of the company were still unsure how to power the railway, and so it was decided to hold a competition with a prize of £500, to find a locomotive that could prove the viability of the idea. Read more »

The Lincoln Imp

Turned to stone by an angel, the imp still resides within the cathedral
Turned to stone by an angel, the imp still resides within the cathedral

The imp hiding within the stonework

In medieval times it is claimed that the Devil sent a plague of imps to the northern part of the country to cause mischief.

Those imps came first to St. Mary’s church in Chesterfield and amused themselves by twisting the spire.

The imps spread out around the area causing diverse mishaps and irritations.

It was not long before two of them arrived at Lincoln Cathedral, at that time the tallest building in the world.

The imps set about wreaking havock, smashing stained glass windows, knocking the bishop to the floor, blowing out all the candles and upsetting the tables and chairs.

Summoned by the infernal noise, an angel appeared from a bible that had been left open and chastised the imps. One hid in the detritus caused by their vandalism, but the other enboldened imp started throwing stones at its adversary from it’s perch high up in the Angel Choir.

Finally weary of the onslaught, “Wicked Imp, be turned to stone!” proclaimed the angel.

The wizened creature can be seen in his final position to this day.

Of the imp who hid, it is said he escaped and continued to cause mischief around the country until he was finally cornered by the angel in St James’ Church, Grimsby.

The angel soundly thrashed the imp before turning him to stone which is why he can be found clutching his bottom.

A Short History Of Tim Bobbin Lancashire Author, Poet & Artist

Tim Bobbin
Self Portrait

Self portrait of John Collier (Tim Bobbin)

As a Mancuniun, I came to Rochdale some thirty odd years ago, knowing nothing of  this northern textile town. Coming from the big city I inevitably felt I was  moving into the back of beyond, until my wife took me in charge and began my re-education.

 

She began by taking me to the parish churchyard to see the grave of Tim Bobbin’.

“Tim who?” I said.

“You’ll see!” said she, and we did.

 

As we stood there in the sunshine at the eastern end of the lovely grey church, beside the great slab of granite lying on top of poor Tim and his wife, I peered through the wrought iron railings protecting the grave from vandals to read the epitaph reputed to have been written by the incumbent just twenty minutes before his decease and decided that I had to find out more.

 

” Here lies John and with him Mary,

Cheek by jowl and never vary,

No wonder they so well agree,

John wants no punch, and Moll no tea.”

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The Eleanor Crosses

Eleanor Cross in Hardingstone
Charing Cross

Replica cross outside Charing Cross Station

When you see road signs telling you the distance to London the distance given is to a point at the South of Trafalgar Square where a statue to Charles I currently stands. A plaque on the floor tells you that this was the location of the original Charing Cross (a replica of which now stands outside Charing Cross Station.

 

To find out how the original hamlet of Charing came to get such a monument and the addition to it’s name, we have to go back to the end of the 13th Century.

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