Category Archives: Lancashire

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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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 »

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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Bowd Slasher

For hundreds of years the Peace Egg or Pace Egg play was a common part of the Easter festivities in Lancashire with bands of disguised mummers going from house to house presenting their play.

Gradually what was once an adult tradition became one enacted by children often gaining more in donations than their parents could earn in the wool and cotton industries.

Below is an contemporary observation of one of these performances by the Lancashire dialect writer John Trafford Clegg (Th’ Owd Weighver)

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Robin Hood and the Monstone

The Monstone Looking towards Blackstone Edge

Blackstone Edge on the horizon

From “In Olden Days” by Rev. G. R. Oakley, M.A., B.D.,

The glorious beauty of an early autumn morning, the sweet scent of the wide-stretching moorland, the invigorating breeze from the east sweeping over the hills, the occasional calls of the birds or the flutter of their wings, all combined (as they still combine) to make life seem more than usually joyous on a certain day in the year 1247, when a company of men might have been seen assembled on that part of Blackstone Edge which we now call “Robin Hood’s Bed.”

Robin Hood's Bed

Robin Hood’s Bed

Stalwart fine fellows were they, clothed in well-fitting tunics of the fashion of the day, and of a colour so like that of grass that one could readily understand how easily the owners might lie in ambush in some parts of the country—in forest lands, for instance—were they so disposed.

There were at least a hundred men, and every man was armed, most of them with that splendid English weapon, the long-bow, which in later days gained Crecy and Poictiers and Agincourt, and the use of which Bishop Latimer (in 1549) described as “a godly art, a wholesome kind of exercise, and much commended in physic.” Many of them, however, carried quarter-staves—tough poles of wood some seven feet long, shod at each end with iron, and which, when grasped in the hands of athletic men and twirled with practised skill, became terrible weapons, one blow from which usually terminated a combat.

These archers and others—all clad in the costume of Lincoln green already described—made a striking picture as they stood in a semi-circle listening intently to the words of the man who stood upon one of those great stones which still mark “Robin Hood’s Bed.”

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