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TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
A. J. HOWCROFT.
OLDHAM : H. C. Lee, Whitehead & Co. Ltd., Printers, King Street.
N our part of the Pennine region, absorbed as we are in Industrialism, we are not entirely devoid of the sense and culture of things historical; nor do we lack interest in the record of strong personalities and extraordinary or humorous events.
I offer this book, mostly written during the dark days of the War, for the entertainment of all such natures, to englamour our district with something of its own true spirit and to save from obscurity and oblivion matters of more than ordinary interest.
What is historical herein is plainly so; as for the rest there are many kernels which will not escape shrewd discrimination.
On_ the lighter side, I hope the native cheerfulness of our population will be able to read additional humour into the book, if but little be found there.
I am indebted to my young friend, Miss Hilda Chatterton, who is still in her schooldays, for the clever sketches of the Brownhill
The Merry Elves of Brownhill.
2 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
There was in the midst of the forest a beautifully rounded and conspicuous hill near the confluence of two rivers, well elevated above the swampy valley, whose wooded slopes dipped down into the spreading waters. William and the monks had often admired this beautiful hill and they wisely chose its very crown for the new church, where it could be plainly seen from almost every part of the forest.
It was good of William de Stapleton to build the new stone church. But had he not promised the fierce Roger that he would
TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
Would be with saving merit fraught ; Would expiate his life-long sin, And blissful heaven triumphant win ; Would swing his plight direct to glorv In bless’d escape from purgatory. As truth such doctrine was received, Thus monks persuaded, dupes believed. In thirteen hundred, more or less (The date we can’t with truth express). No matter, for there was a date, But when, we can’t precisely state. This Stapleton his work began, He fixed the site, arranged the plan ; The site and plan by him arranged Were both miraculously changed. From Brownhill, where it should have stood, Building material—stone and wood—- Were shifted and in order laid ; No indication thus conveyed— No footprint, track of hoof or wheel Appeared the secret to reveal. But Stapleton would try again. He and his vassals toiled with pain The stone and timber to replace, But still, as in the former case, When morning dawned the ground was cleared. No trace of all their toil appeared ; Fair Brownhill showed no broken sward, No daisy crushed, no herbage marred. It was, according to report, Of fairy haunts the choice resort ; Human intrusion on the scene Was odious to the fairy queen Whose power, such trespass to resent, Could punish sore, if not prevent. But in this case it was ordained Her power vindictive was restrained ; The pious scheme redeemed from harm
THE MERRY ELVES OF BROWNHILL.
And proved a counteracting charm. She took the only.course she
TALES OF A PENNINE. PEOPLE.
To place it where it meant to stand ; Or urged its bearers course to where It would be placed, and only there— As if each ponderous stone was still Possessed with fairy power anc will. The builders’ agency was just To do—not what they would—but must : To such constraint they were resigned With passive un-idea’d mind, And thus through strange conditions passed An edifice was reared at last. But, as tradition further tells, The queen prohibited the bells ; And disappointed were the people To find they could not raise a steeple. The next they tried but were not able To perch a belfry on the gable. Materials stubbornly refused To be for such a purpose used. No steeple rose, no bell was hung, And consequently none was rung. Fairies have natures most refined, Their frames a sort of denser mind Compressed to such consistency That mortal eye miay dimly see. If such the frame, how fine the sense !-— The sense too exquisite to bear Metallic clangour in the air: And power that could frustrate the plan Ot Stapleton and all his clan. They took their fairy ways and spite And reached, perhaps, some distant sphere To us unknown, no matter where.
THE MrErry ELVES OF BROWNHILL. 7
And bells that steeple’s walls enclose. Which fling their joyous peals around And neighbouring hills reverb the sound. —ANONYMOUS.
Let us not imagine for a moment that elves and fairies have not played their part in human affairs. The human mind, especially the young human mind, has always been aglow and eager to learn something of these elusive and happy little creatures. They abounded in olden times. And if the sleepy cows and frisky lambs could have talked, many of their secrets would have been revealed. They wouldhave told, too, of the graceful gambols and dances they had seen, and how, in the fading twilight, decked in gauzy gears of moss and woodbine, some with white fox glove caps, some with red, they had handlocked themselves into a long serpentine and threaded their way in and out about the legs of the cows and sheep. Then they would scutter off with glee and rippling laughter to hide and find each other under toad stools and large mushrooms. And do you wonder if the lambkins suddenly frisked and ran too? What a beautiful and ideal life the fairies must have lived ! But fairies could be more serious on occasion. Their achieve- ments and fame were notorious before noisy railways and policemen and prosy newspapers drove them away. That Saddleworth fairies were not mere nonentities we have seen. It is plain they caused the removal of the Church from Brownhill to Saddleworth village, which, for such tiny and ethereal creatures, was a very substantial achievement. Of course, there were other fairies besides those at Brownhill, but here was a favourite haunt in dark recesses of trees and
8 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
bushes where the brook babbled, and thick mosses and ivies revelled in the cool deep shades reflected still deeper in the black pools of the swamp below. The queen, it was supposed, had a dislike for bells. The truth is, all her elves and fairies were not of one mind on this im- portant matter. TheShades of Brownhill covered a counter-plot.
Now among the strange powers the fairies possessed was the temarkable faculty of changing themselves into men and boys in the day-time, when it suited their purpose. Moreover, they were entirely, ignorant of their nocturnal exploits in their changed condition. This was a very singular trait in the character of the Saddleworth fairies. They would, when thus transformed, look upon some piece of fairyonic mischief in the greatest innocence and amazement and ask who had done it! And what nore striking or convincing evidence of fairyonic reality’ and power than to have made William de Stapleton build the new Church, not where he had appointed it to be, but on the edge of Saddleworth Clough, so much against his will. In great haste the sturdy manor-reeve rode over to Cudworth and told his master of the mysterious destruction of the Church, and its removal by the fairies. William was wrath and, like a bishop, swore by his halidom that it should be built again. But these were no ordinary fairies. Now, although Roger de Lacy and William de Stapleton had great power over men’s bodies and the hooded monks over men’s souls, these roguish elves feared them not. For, shocking to relate, they spirited the building away a second time. At last the conduct of these daring sprites so impressed William that he willed not to oppose them any longer and the building began to grow rapidly at its new place. And all the people on that side of the valley greatly rejoiced that the fairies had won the day. But this did not bring an end to these mysterious events, for when the bell tower was well advanced Saddleworth was again filled with excitement and wonder. On the western side of the beautiful Brownhill, towards the setting sun, where the twilight lingers and follows round to hail the summer morn, there stood in those days a pyramid of rude
THE MERRY ELVES OF BROWNHILL. 9
black stones which no man dared to move or disturb for fear of evil and disaster.
10 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
that the fairies and elves of Brownhill met others from Hollin- greave, Hazlegreave, Dob Cross, Leyd, Sheldlow, Quick and Hildebrighthope, and on a dark, still night they flew over to Saddleworth Clough and made, with great fairyonic force, an attack on the bell tower of the translated Church. [In their haste, however, they tumbled the stones down and did not attempt to spirit them away, for they feared the other fairies. In alarm they would fly away and slyly return to do
TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
THE STRANGER. 13
The great religious Reformation, led by Luther and Calvin, had shaken all Western Europe and set burning the fires of Smithfield, Paris and elsewhere, to consume the victims of Mary Tudor and the Holy Inquisition. The Protestants or Huguenots of France, encouraged by the Prince of Conde and by Henry of Navarre to boldness, were cruelly served and suppressed by the Kings, and the vicious Catherine de Medici, over a long period. The “Chambre
14 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
for wonder that a general exodus of Huguenots now commenced, for life in France had been made impossible for them. The country was soon overrun with refugees seeking safety abroad. The King and his wicked mather, at last alarmed at the mischief they had wrought, dispatched troops to the frontiers to prevent their escape. But half a million of the best citizens of France, with their knowledge, their trades and skill, some of their wealth, and not least, their character, left their native land for ever. Some found homes in Switzerland, Germany and Flanders; many came to England, where settlements were established in London, Canterbury and Norwich. The Pro- testant communities in all these countries received them with sympathy, So great a penetration through the military barrier —often by artifice, sometimes by force—left France, as a result of her fanaticism, wasted and poor. Hitherto France had monopolised many trades to herself. Eventually, the manufacture of paper, glass, velvets, satins, silks, laces, galloons, tafetas, gloves, buttons, beavers and felt hats, etc., became English trades with considerable exports, to the permanent injury of France. Among the refugees, after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, was a small family which had stealthily worked its way, by begging in disguise and vending small wares, northward to the borders of Flanders. Frequent resort had to be made to the woods and out of the way tracks in order to proceed at all. Armed groups of Huguenots were often seen, fighting their way through to freedom; many, however, were arrested, turned back and treated with the greatest indignity and severity. The elder child of this poor family of fugitives, Jean, whose father was slain on that dreadful day, was about ten years of age. He and his young sister were slowly dragged by their mother along the rough roads by night to avoid the King’s soldiers, hiding themselves in the woods after sunrise. At other times they.were secretly sheltered by kind people, even Catholics, whose hearts revolted against such inhumanity. Eventually the day, or rather, the night, came after wearisome and anxious waiting,
THE STRANGER. 15
Numerous were the arrivals and scarce the food to feed so many, for Philip of Spain, the husband of Mary, late Queen of England, was now harrassing the Netherlands at the instance of the Pope.
Madame Mallalue, although in great poverty, having deft fingers, was fortunately able to support her family with some parsimony. As Jean grew up he contrived to relieve the burden a little, but circumstances drove them about the disturbed country for many years.
It was well for Europe and its freedom that Elizabeth was on the throne of England.
Never did monarch so strive to give help and countenance to peoples in distress and yet to avoid the catastrophe of war. Like herselt her subjects burned to range themselves against the papal oppression, and many were the volunteers who assisted the Dutch forces to drive out the Spanish King.
16 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
With the English irregulars were Sir Philip Sidney, and, from our own district, Captain Robert Radcliffe, of Shaw Hall, who was the third son of William Radcliffe, of Foxdenton and Chadderton Halls, an ancestor of the Saddleworth Radcliffes and of John Radcliffe, of Stonebreaks. Being a man of spirit, loathing the Inquisition and its barbarities, he lent his arm and sword to the Lowlanders to repel the invaders. In later and more acute times he went with the Earl of Essex to Cadiz to “‘singe the beard of the King of Spain” when preparing his armada. Sir Philip Sidney, who was called “the jewel of his times,”’ was ambushed by the Spaniards near Zutphen, and, although he defeated and drove off his enemies, he was mortally wounded. Captain Radcliffe and his servant, Jean, whom he had found among the forces and taken a liking for, attended the fallen knight during his last moments at Arnheim, whither he had been carried. His death was a grievous blow to Elizabeth. When Captain Radcliffe returned to England in 1586 he brought with him his trusted servant, Jean Mallalue, to make his home in Saddleworth, which he was well fitted to support by his knowledge and previous experience.
When Jean reached Saddleworth he found two or three strangers, Francois LeMann and Jaques Tailleur, who could understand his own speech—wayfarers who had drifted up country from the south-east. There was something homely, too, in Captain Radcliffe’s favour and a bright fireside, as well as the welcome sound of his own language. He had already, moreover, picked up a few words of the country of his adoption. True, the great hills sometimes looked awesome and wild, for he had come from a flat, green country, without variety or grandeur. Yet, his memory was able to picture the hills of his childhood, and as these were covered with sheep like the Saddleworth hills, he soon came to like them. Very soon he obtained useful work in the preparation and manufacture of wool into cloth, and, to a less degree in serving Captain Radcliffe.
THE STRANGER. 17
Friends were not lacking, nor were bright eyes for one so pleasing and thrifty as the Huguenot stranger.
One summer’s eve, a year after his advent into Saddleworth, when quietly and meditatively strolling through the leafy pastures of Carr Barn, Jean saw a vision which accelerated his breathing and set his heart a-thumping. The same vision had appeared to him before—two blue orbs framed in pink and white and hung about with golden tresses—but he had never before seen Margaret Wrigley look so fascinating and graceful.
They were approaching the stile at equal distances. Jean felt himself colouring up and agitated. On reaching the stile together, Jean stepped aside and took off his cap.
18 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
“Yea, it is a strange tongue, ‘J’aime, J’aime’,” looking teasingly at him. “That was ‘I love,’
THE STRANGER. 19
There was something of the cat and mouse about Margaret. She had reached her destination, almost, and she must proceed
20 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
These and other vital matters were disposed of in perfect concord and happiness with time and circumstances outside and beyond them. The world was no longer supported by Atlas, but by two bags of wool. Suddenly Margaret sprang to her feet, exclaiming, ‘“Where are we? What will—? Fie on thee, John, another will twist thy neck, too; hurry on with the wool.” John lifted the packs as if they had been feathers and both hurried on to Frenches where questions were looked if not asked. John stood shyly behind the door while Margaret made the explanation that it took three times as long to bring three packs as to bring one, which seemed quite fair and logical under the circumstances. So the golden bondage waxed and held them true, and, in spite of Ralph Kinder and his house, they were soon married and settled in their own home at Frenches, where they plied their trade and lived happily with their children. These were George, Wrigley, Margaret, Joane and John, the four latter named after their mother and father.
The small band of Huguenots soon became Anglicised and absorbed. The names of some became modified, others dis- appeared, but the Mallalieus have multiplied and maintained their identity until to-day. For generations the colony existed at Frenches and thereabouts, giving a geographical term to a vicinity. A later Mallalieu, in his prosperity, built Frenches Mill, as a later Le Mann built Mann’s Mill—planning and cutting their mill races and reservoirs for the industrial use of water and water power.
T was during the reign of King James the First, when a poor I girl sat weeping and anxiously looking out of the mullioned window of a small Saddleworth cottage in the twilight of a summer’s evening. It was the humble but tidy home of her aunt, which had given her shelter from childhood—since one cold and dreary day when she saw her mother breathe her last and was left alone in a strange world. Then after days of tears and waiting her mother’s sister came and took her to her own home. And here in this ivy-fronted cottage with its mullioned windows, little garden and patches of flowers, she had grown up to womanhood, well favoured and strong. Within, the cottage was low and somewhat dark. It was furnished with a table, a few high-backed chairs, a couple of rude stools, an oak langsettle of clumsy workmanship, and an old chest of the same material. On the limewashed walls were hung a picture of Queen Elizabeth, a few pewter utensils, and a piece of framed canvas-work in rude imitation of old tapestry. In a corner, next to the window, were two spinning wheels with spun and unspun materials spread upon the langsettle. Everything was neat and clean from the ceiling to the floor. Although not cold, a log burnt in the large open fireplace, where the smoke curled leisurely up into the spacious chimney. The years had passed by busily and happily both for the girl and her aunt who, in her widowhood, had found the child a comfort, so much so, that she came to love her as a daughter. Ellen Goldesborough (for this was the girl’s name), was sorely troubled in mind and spirit this summer’s eve. Her aunt, who sat in the shade beyond the rays of the fire, was quietly weeping, too, as she stretched down her hand and silently moved it to and fro. The fire cast a ruddy glow upon the already flushed and troubled features of the girl.
22 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
In the quiet of the evening her aunt had just told her she had been denounced in Church on Sunday morning. Her neighbour, Mistress Shaw, had mentioned it, and she thought Mistress Buckley was about to do so, too, but she turned in to avoid her.
Mrs. Shaw said many of the congregation, on leaving Church, spoke of “‘penance.” I The remark stabbed Ellen to the heart, but she made no answer.
“She said a great deal more, but thou hast enough to think about,
The girl hung her head; the world seemed cold and cruel. The world is severe from two causes. The untempted part will never yield the privilege of casting the first stone ;. the moral part will always claim the right to be shocked in its sense of rectitude and respectability. It is the Church alone which pities and rescues and ‘can give the status of a new beginning.
24 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
days, golden, careless days. Everything is now changed; alt is drab and cheerless.”
THE BAN. 25
from grace. They had expected the incumbent to call after so serious a business as Sunday’s denunciation, and, in truth, both were glad that he had come. In reply to his brief exhortation, Ellen meekly said, “I will not hide my shame nor refuse to do penance.”’ “T am glad you say that : is 1t said in true penitence ?” asked Mr. Parkinson. I
26 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
Ellen continued in a low voice, “I will come to Church late in the afternoon of Sunday next, after Evensong, and will wait by the porch to enter when the messenger asketh me.”’ “That is not
THE Ban. 27
size of the building and the unrestricted number of worshippers on this occasion accounted for every seat being taken, and yet many people left standing. The service had proceeded almost to the end, the parson had closed his sermon with a stirring peroration, and taken up his position behind the communion rail to await the arrival of the penitent. The congregation remained standing, looking serious and unsettled. Owing to the darkness of the gathering storm there were lighted candles on the reading desk and pulpit and others at the communion. A couple of candelabra, hanging from the grimy roof, served to enlighten the congregation. The place looked dim and sombre ; the timbers of the roof were scarcely perceptible.
Sometime about the middle of the service there stole forth a dark and frail form to the foot of Brownhill, over its crest, through the stiles and gates of Ryefields and on to the moorland Church. This summer’s day was close and sultry: to the south great rolling clouds were rearing, and a gathering haze made objects grey and shapeless. Still the sun was peeping through the gradually closing screen. In the early part of the day Ellen had been content and easy, but as the hours passed by she became cold and irritable. Frequently she trembled, as she believed from coldness, whereas probably a softening of the spirit produced both effects. Never- theless, her resolve never wavered. Leaving home at four o’clock to follow the river path fringed with hawthorns and alders, her brain in great excitement, she thought,
28 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
As she hurried on she became warmer and firmer.
THE BAN. 29
‘windows. She saw all these things with new and strange eyes. All was weird and spectral in the deepening gloom. “How long they are,” she said to herself. Yet she had waited but a few minutes. There were moments when she would have withdrawn ; things seemed so vague and unreal. But the super ego, the higher self, was strong within her. What guerdon do we owe to this higher self, the better self! Not the earthly, cunning self of daily sight
30 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
floor, she walked slowly, tremblingly, with naked feet over the kindly rushes, a candle in each hand, to the point where she must change her course. Here she turned down the aisle to approach the chancel. Every face was turned towards her as she reached the corner. She could feel their prying eyes burning into her flesh; she almost quailed before
THE Ban. 31
“With God’s help I will.” “Then the merciful Saviour pities and forgives thee. May the blessing of God be upon thee for evermore.” ‘‘Amen,” responded Ellen. She clasped her hands and raised her face to the altar for a moment, then slowly rose to her feet. A load seemed to have been taken from her. Turning round to meet the congregation her glance again swept the sea of faces. Her quick gaze saw many eyes bedewed with tears, and the faces, too, seemed to have grown more kindly. There came over her a sense of relief and exaltation beyond her powers of expression. She stepped down to the pavement and, with head slightly bowed and drooping eyes, walked with measured step down the narrow aisle through the standing and forgiving congregation. Feeling no fear, yet daring not to look up, she passed on to the porch. There, by the light of the lantern, she slipped on her shoes and walked out into the gloom, for the summer’s day had turned intonight. The congregation remained for the concluding prayer. “Poor girl, how brave and good,” cried a tender-hearted woman, who had left the Church a little before her. And others too, came to praise and console her. “Thou art the best and truest of us all,”’ said Grace Harropp, as she took her by the hand. “Come, dear, sit on the horsing- steps and I will put on thy hose and shoes.
32 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
So the two girls hastened away to avoid the departing con- gregation. They turned the bend of the Churchyard near the solitary tree. The gray and weatherbeaten tower could still be discerned against the sky, and the diamond panes of the windows cast a glimmer of light upon the graves. Ellen now entered the old lane in reality, not as a backslider, but as a woman
The Mad Parson.
AR up the hillsides of Saddleworth, in the ancient village of that name, there is a quaint and substantial old inn, well shelved into the steep bank in order to get.a good foothold. It is in the company of large round stones piled up into walled
34 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
The clough over which the house stands has been scoured out by the storms of ages. Nature has, indeed, rough-hewed all this hilly territory in one of her wildest tempers and left man to make the best of it. But on an early summer’s day when all is fresh and green ; or later, when the shorn fields display a variety of delicate tints, the scene is more than beautiful. Get well up above the Inn and the Churcn and look down on a perfect picture. Billows of green velvet sward in every shade, the Inn and its decrepit _brewhouse, the well-built Church, the prehistoric roads, the patches of garden and the clumps of trees that surround and brighten the old homesteads, make a panorama charming in its own peculiar setting. Then look beyond the valley at the great hills with cosy
THE Map PAKSON. 35
About a dozen or twenty years later, however, it again became prosperous and an addition was built to the front after. the new wagon road had been made and Gellfield Lane, leading, to the Church deepened, and they were busy with teamsters and quarrymen. Hereabouts resided the principal population of Saddleworth at that time. It was at the end of Mr. Podmore’s curacy in 1792, that the living of Saddleworth was given to a young man of strange habit and delicate health. Mr. Podmore followed the famous Mr. Hegginbottom. The former had been one of the curates ~ at Rochdale, as others had been, but this new and strange man, formerly curate at Orton on the Hill, in Warwickshire, had been for a time on bad terms with his vicar and the wardens, and so was in need of a new curacy. He had long been a source of expense and anxiety to his family, whose constant injunctions and even threats implied an unbalanced mind and questionable conduct. After many difficulties arising from his testimonials or from the want of them, the Reverend Charles Zouch was at last appointed by his relative and patron, the Rev. Dr. Drake, vicar of Rochdale, to the incumbency. Nothing whatever could be got from Orton oi elsewhere to establish his fitness for the position. In this emergency his own relatives were permitted to supply the necessary testimonies. The Rev. Doctor was in a difficult and unenviable position; for, the Zouch and Lowther families and their friends were very pressing and insistent on behalf of their needy and peculiar relative. Suasion from such quarters and of such a character is always well-nigh irresistible. Let us take the charitable view that the doctor could not have known all the circumstances and may have suspected nothing more than minor personal differences at Orton. _ Eventually the new curate rode over from Rochdale with his kinsman in July, 1792, and looked for the first time on his moorland parish, and the rugged hills which bounded it. They dismounted from their horses at the Church and pro- ceeded to make enquiry for the clerk. This important official
36 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
was found at “‘Clerk’s,” something of a beerhouse and farmhouse combined, and all three went on to the parsonage, where an examination was made of the house and glebeland.
The curate was younger than his predecessors had been, was tall and well featured, but with a delicate cast ot the eye which tended to an appearance of effeminacy. His connections were good. His grandfather, the Rev. Charles Zouch, was formerly vicar of Sandal Magna, Wakefield ; his father’s brother, the Rev. Thos. Zouch, refused the See of Carlisle, while his, other
THE MAD PARSON. 37
All the parish was agog with gossip about the new parson. He had been seen by some and imagined by others. He was stated to be gentlemanly, a bachelor, peculiar, a simpleton, shy and haughty, all at once, by his parishioners. The Sunday on which he preached his first sermon was the real test. Like all congregations, at all times, it was critical, but not unkindly. His appearance made a good impression. It was only to be expected he would make a few mistakes, even a few omissions, for he was very nervous, as almost became him on the first Sunday. When he came to speak his own words he would be more natural and collected, even in spite of his strange and absent ways, as some thought. As he went up into the pulpit eager faces were turned towards him from all directions—from the galleries, from the cockloft, from the gallery which filled the chancel and almost over- reached the pulpit itself. The new curate had proceeded well into his sermon, haltingly, sometimes running the: sentences together, or hurrying and repeating; but towards the con- clusion he for a time became more deliberate and impressive. He proceeded: ‘I cannot omit the present opportunity of pressing upon you the necessity there is for your regular attend- ance at this place of public worship, where every well-disposed person may have the satisfaction of joining with his fellow- creatures in the adoration of the Supreme God, the Giver of all good through the merits of a Gracious Redeemer. lt is my duty as a minister of the Gospel, and it shall be the study of my life to explain and show to you the great privileges we enjoy and the blessings we are to look for under the Christian dispensation —to preach up sound morality, as it is comprised in our Saviour’s Sermon on the Mount, illustrated and enforced by St. Paul, and in the other canonical writings ; to cry aloud and to spare not ; to warn men of their danger; to admonish with all patience and to rebuke with all boldness—in short, to lead mankind to that immortal happiness which is the true end of all our doctrine as it is the object of all our wishes. “Let me earnestly recommend
38 TALES Of A PENNINE PEOPLE.
sacred institution. Let us be studious to live peaceably one with another. Let us prosecute our respective callings with and integrity. Let us be kind to our neighbours, just to our- selves and loyal to our Prince—fearing God. Let us get a lively sense of Him imprinted on our own minds and let us imprint it on the minds of our friends, our children, and all that are about us—so we may all have a reasonable ground for hope that ‘Providence will pour down the choicest of its blessings upon ourselves, our possessions, our labours and our families, and so preaching and so practising we may have the consolation of hope that, after this life ended, that, after having faithfully served God here we may be admitted into the assembly of just men made perfect—into that high and heavenly building which is not made with hands—where that we may all of us in God’s appointed time, one day meet together, God of His infinite mercy grant.
THE MAD PARSON.
40 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
The living room of the “Cross
THE Map PARSON. 41
Then there arose black hills and amorphous moving figures about him’and he shuddered. His disordered fancy shifted and brought him to the great city again, with its wine shops and demi-monde. As he eagerly joined them they faded and changed to goblins, then dissolved into vapour and a wilderness. His ears rang with strange noises and rumblings, his head gyrated and twisted him off his feet. When he looked up the
42 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
“Ah, they have gone to Blackfriars, to my rooms, I must go, they must not “No, Mr. Zouch, sit still, you are not well,’’ She pushed him back into his chair.
_ Persisting, he endeavoured to rise again, but she firmly pressed him back. The incumbent acquiesced. His eyes were wild, and had a distant look. Within him a brainstorm was raging, incoherently plunging him here and there, now in London, then at Orton. His refined features were drawn and twisted by mental agony. He did not attempt to rise again, but treated his surroundings with great suspicion. Mrs. Bottomley went on with her work, casting a troubled eye upon him from time to time. Her lodger could not sleep ; he had grown worse in health and habit as time went on.
THE Map Parson. 43
Then all was spinning round and hazy and a great pall of dark- ness spread above them. The figures changed to ghouls and goblins, grinning and snatching the flowers away and grimly pointing their slimy fingers at him. The black pall slowly fell and all was painful, hopeless gloom. Out of the shade there emerged, faintly, from afar, a man who
44 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
With the. agility of a tiger he sprang to his feet, lunged forward with the burning stick to attack the murderous Mr. Churchill, and thrust the flaming brand into his face.
AG TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
©* a March afternoon in the year 1812, when the industrial districts of England were surging with discontent and ruffianism, two separate pairs of men were to seen stealthily approaching by different ways a lonely wood or coppice. The place was known as Radcliffe’s plantation and it stood at the cross-roads a little above the Warren House Inn on Crossland Moor. At
that time here ran the main road from Huddersfield to Man- ~
chester. The four men, hailing from Huddersfield, were bent on a purpose both dark and nefarious.
Two of the men—one of the pairs—were exchanging con- fidences, daring now to express their doubts and fears. “I will not do this thing, Smith.”” It was Benjamin Walker who spoke. His companion replied that he did not like it, but they had better talk to Mellor. Continuing to talk over the subject they reached the Warren House Inn with increased misgiving. But asubtle and diabolical force behind brooked no turning back. Sullenly they went on to the meeting place, climbed the wall of the plantation, crouched low and waited. Shortly two other men from another direction, watching their opportunity, sprang over the wall, and, bending low to avoid the branches of the trees and to escape notice, walked to the first comers. Both were desperate looking men, but the elder, Mellor, had an evil eye and a determined jaw, -which left no doubt as to his character. Walker nervously told Mellor he thought they “‘had better give the job up.”” Smith also thought it was rather risky, and he did not like it. Mellor at once became furious and threatening, and declared he would shoot either the one or the other if he attempted to escape. ‘Go thee, Walker, wi’ Smith, twenty yards on there and get ready for firing, and thee, Thorpe, come wi’ me.
GENERAL LUDD. 47
48 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
Europe.”’ And thus history repeats itself. Napoleon stood for “French Liberalism !”’ Ever since the time when Kings snicked heads off for talking it would seem we have been wrong in our wars and quarrels. “The Beggars’ Complaint against Rack Rent Landlords, Corn Factors, Great Farmers, Monopolisers, Paper Money Makers, and War and many other Oppressors and Oppressions,’’ came from a pulpit. And did not our firm friends the Irish rebel and give a helping hand to a French force on landing there ; while in Dublin snipers shot at the builders of Sackville Street from the opposite windows? Which diversions remind us of present- day Hibernian mentality. Riots, uprisings, mobs on the march, endless bankruptcies (3,000 in a year, including 26 banks), outrages, the breaking of machinery, the firing of buildings and the murder of the Premier, Mr. Percival, by a madman, were the terrible signs of the times when King Ludd stalked the North. The economic position was not a little disturbed by certain labour saving machines having been put into use when thousands were already out of employment as a result of the War. For very many families there was little or no food. Wheat was one hundred and fifty-five shillings per quarter. Oatmeal _was the staple food ; no meat was to be obtained. In our own district roads—called meal roads—were made to find employ- ment, payment being made in that cereal. In Nottinghamshire lace and stocking knitting machinery had been introduced which threw many out of employment, and Edward Ludd, of Loughborough, in his anger and disgust with the intelligent machine, hit it with a large hammer and broke
50 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
William Cartwright, of Rawfold’s Mill, Cleckheaton, was the first to instal these cropping machines, and Enoch and James Taylor, machinists, of Marsden, were the first to make them.* Mr. Cartwright was a spirited and determined man, a good master, not disliked by his workpeople. He foresaw that the machines would be of great advantage to the trade, although liable to cause some dislocation of labour for a time. He put a number of these shears in his mill when the Nottingham Luddites were resisting the introduction of knitting machinery. The new machines soon had their effect on the old method of cropping. The old cropping shops, therefore, saw their profitable employment slipping away, and two of these in particular provided some of the most violent and desperate men the Luddite movement could claim. Jackson’s cropping shop, in Quilley Lane, Liversedge, not far from Cartwrights’, was a hot bed of mischief. At Rawfold’s the machines were worked by water-power. Some of the men did not like them and secretly injured them. He was not, however, the man to be baulked or threatened. As he needed them he ordered new machines. In Jackson’s shop he was hated; in every shop he was well understood. A most violent spirit was, therefore, engendered, which spread itself over a large area from this centre. But the chief home of criminal plotting and outrage was set up at the cropping shop of John Wood, at Longroyd, Huddersfield, near the river, where one of Jackson’s men had lately been taken on. Here was assembled a secret conclave of croppers and others of a revolutionary character, who followed eagerly the doings of the Luddites and nursed and magnified their grievances to the point of furiousness. A young man named Booth, the son of a clergyman, whose intellectua] nascence was smitten by the sophistries of Robert Owen, though having little in common with these men, was drawn into their meshes. I
52 TALES OF A PENNINE
GENERAL LUDD. 53
The passing of the “Black Act” by Parliament was a step towards condign punishment for innumerable raids and out- rages by armed men with blacked faces and other disguises.
Men in large numbers were to be seen drilling on the heaths armed with every kind of weapon.
Outrage and destruction reigned also in the woollen districts of Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford and Halifax, and events had so far advanced that a determined and secret attack was pro- jected against Cartwright’s mill. Mr. Cartwright, of Liversedge, and Mr. Horsfall, of Marsden, both officers in the local militia, were spirited business men who resented the interference of any individual or body of men in their business affairs. Frequently they met at the Huddersfield cloth market, where all the manufacturers anxiously discussed the state of trade, and the dangerous discontent of the workers. Mr. Cartwright was a reserved and dogged man; Mr. Horsfall was more outspoken, and perhaps a little defiant. Both were excellent and kindly men, on good terms with their work- people. At a time of stress and danger like this some men lie low or out of fear make no resistance. There were many of these:
54 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
Concertedly they sprang up and came together from a hundred directions to the Dumb Steeple and marched in the’ night over one hundred strong to Rawfold’s mill, arriving there about midnight. Strutting about and giving their orders like generals the leaders had brought them to their destination. First, the roll call by number ; they are short. But instalments are dribbling in. The force grows to one hundred and fifty, then to two hundred. Every man is armed. Some have faces blacked, or wear coats inside out, masks, old hats and caps— every artifice has been adopted to destroy identity. They are still in the road outside the gates in the darkness. With obvious vanity the leaders give their orders to martial the crowd. Companies with guns are formed, some with pistols, others with hatchets or any procurable implement of attack.
George Mellor, Booth, Wm. Thorpe, John Walker and Hartley, of Huddersfield, are very prominent. Mellor, in addressing them at the “Dumb Steeple,” called Cartwright a braggart. He was no braggart; he was no coward, either. One’s feelings may be harried by the disparity in strength between the two opposing forces. Two hundred desperate and infuriated men with arms and implements who have hitherto swept the country like a pesti- lence, about to attack ten men incarcerated in the building they intend to demolish. There will be no quarter given, none will be asked for. The positions seem unequal. Again, inside the mill there are Mr. Cartwright, who has lived there for some time. five soldiers and four others. Cartwright was the first to put in the shearing machines: he had energy, foresight, inventive skill—qualities operating against stagna- tion and ruin in one direction and defeat in this. He had the courage to stand up for what he believed to be right and dis- played resource and ability in fortifying his mill. It was a building of four storeys and the ten men dwelt in the first floor above the ground. This floor was flagged and he had iron rings inserted in several places for lifting them. The flags were only partially moved. Each man could stand at a hole equal to a foot square and rake the whole of the room
GENERAL LuDD. a5
below in tolerable safety. The stairs were filled
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the sentence would kill the man. This time the officer gave way and the order was given to desist. Crowds were looking on from the bank giving their sym- pathies to the poor man, whose back was bleeding. Yet, the authorities were confronted with an ugly situation, and they had resolved on stern measures. I The Luddites were, in consequence of their repulse, the loss of two of their number and the flogging of the soldier, if pos- sible, still more desperate. Anonymous letters had informed the military where three wounded men were secreted. In the dead of night they were apprehended and placed in the Huddersfield barracks. Im- mediately afterwards a part of the building was fired, but soon extinguished. Mr. Cartwright, on returning home after giving evidence, was waylaid by two of the desperadoes in the neighbourhood of Fixby and fired at. The shots just missed him, and his horse plunged forward and carried him home in safety. He still bravely carried on his business and attended the market as usual, where he was overwhelmed with congratulations and admiration. He knew he was a marked man and had to take precautions for some considerable time after. The secret meeting at St. Crispin’s Inn, Halifax, could not decide for a time whether Cartwright’s mill at Rawfolds or Horsfall’s mill at Bankbottom, Marsden, should be attacked first, but the spin of a coin had ordained that Cartwright’s should take the first place.
Abraham and John Horsfall, of Marsden, had for some time used the cropping machines (made by their neighbours,* Enoch and James Taylor), now come to be regarded as a heinous offence by the Luddites, In anticipation of trouble cavalry had made their headquarters at the Red Lion Inn, and a number of soldiers had accommoda- tion elsewhere, awaiting an attack on the mill. The workpeople had been armed and the place fortified. Mr. Cartwright’s ©
*The Taylor family maintained the works at Marsden as a boiler works until quite recent years.
GENERAL LUDD. 57
defeat of the mob had given confidence and encouragement to many of the masters and young William Horsfall (the son of Mr. Abraham), was determined to resist as effectually the law- less interference with trade as Mr. Cartwright had done. Naturally the two often discussed the perilous situation and their plans. On the slope at Bankbottom Mill Mr. Horsfall fixed a number of cannon, with a stone wall to mask them and port holes to shoot through, capable of sweeping the long side of the mill. There was a platform also, near the water wheel, in appearance like a bridge, which would tilt its living burden into the mill dam at the right moment. Inside the premises, no doubt, there were some of Mr. Cartwright’s devices. But they were not destined to come into operation. The horrible Luddite convention at Huddersfield, dominated by one or two abnormal and ferocious men, gave a different turn to events. The absence of any attack on the Marsden Mill seemed to imply that, at least for a time, they had received a check.
Late in April, about a fortnight after the attack on Cart- wright’s mill, John Wood’s cropping shop at Longroyd, Huddersfield (the principal nest of arch-conspirators) was especi- ally busy and animated during the dinner hour. Their leader, George Mellor (probably one of the pair who attempted to shoot Mr. Cartwright), was particularly bitter. The attack on Rawfolds Mill had failed; the attempt on the life of its owner had failed. The authorities were growing more watchful and repressive. Horsfall, like Cartwright, was de- termined and opposed to mob tyranny. Mellor had persuaded Smith to agree to more summary measures against their foes. In another room Benjamin Walker, William Walker, William Hall, William Thorpe and Varley—some of them from a neigh- bouring shop—were talking together. Mellor and Smith joined them when the former told them that breaking machines was no use, that talking was no use, that they had to make up their minds to shoot Horsfall, and asked Thorpe and Walker to help them to do it.
as TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
Thorpe said, make
GENERAL LuDD. 59
and were lost in the foliage of the Radcliffe Plantation. Having reached the meeting place they crouched behind the wall and waited for the other party. In ten minutes two other men’ threw themselves over the wall and, bending low, approached the first comers.
At that time, to reach Marsden from Huddersfield, it was necessary to strike out for Crossland Hill and Black Moor Foot by the Manchester road, which kept the high ground for a long distance before it descended into the valley at Marsden.
Mr. Horsfall left his friends at the market at the close of the day, riot without warning to take care of himself. Luckily, Mr. Cartwright had escaped, but no less it showed the desperation of the men who led the revolt. He knew all this; he knew also that if changes were to come this irresponsible and vicious tyranny must be lived down. He sprang upon his horse at the George Hotel at 5-30, and proceeded on his way home. A Mr. Eastwood intended to accompany him but left earlier. On his arrival at the Warren House Inn he fell in with two of his old workpeople, who were now packmen selling cloth, and whom he treated to a drink, he himself taking a glass of rum. Always frank and open, making no false professions, he was equally candid in his opposition to Luddism. After a few minutes’ conversation he rode on towards the plantation which _ then skirted the highway. As he drew near the wood the two desperadoes, Mellor and Thorpe, were watching at the near corner. Holes had been arranged in the wall through which the pistols were pointed at their unsuspecting victim. The clatter of the horses’ hoofs could be heard trotting slowly up the road and a handsome horseman, the man they sought, could be seen approaching. Mellor blew out a low whistle. ‘‘Make sure of him, Thorpe,”’ said he to his companion.
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On overtaking them Mellor violently cursed the absconding pair for not firing. Thorpe hurriedly pushed his pistol into
GENERAL LUDD. 61
faintly asked, ‘“‘Will you let Horsfalls’, of Marsden, know I am shot ?” “Are you Mr. Horsfall ?”’
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The four criminal conspirators met the following day at Wood’s cropping shop, where Mellor put his confederates under an oath to secrecy, again using the Bible. For a time the murderers remained undiscovered.
One of the West Riding magistrates at Huddersfield, whose duty it was to investigate and adjudicate upon the numerous and peculiar crimes of this period, was Mr. Joseph Radcliffe, of Milnsbridge. He owned the plantation which had been the harbour of the desperadoes. Mr. Radcliffe was originally Mr. Pickford, of Royton Hall, the nephew of a previous Mr. Rad- cliffe. On the death of the latter, Mr. Pickford * succeeded to his uncle’s estate and assumed his mother’s name. To-day the Radcliffe family owns territory in Royton, although the Hall has been disposed of and is in private hands. Of ancient foundation, the earliest portion of the present building is Elizabethan, with a considerable addition in the Georgian style. The more thoughtful and educated portion of the community desires to preserve it from decay and destruction on account of its family associations, for the Hall has been also in the pos- session of the Byrons, the poet’s family. For his courage and services during this alarming period, Mr. Radcliffe was made a baronet. Those who remember the famous Tichbourne trials will recall the name of Lady Radcliffe, who was, as a young girl, engaged to Sir Roger Tichbourne before he left this country and was shipwrecked. She was at that time Miss Kate Doughty: both were Roman Catholics. She gave evidence of identity against the claimant, Orton, who in his evidence grossly insulted her. She was then (in the seventies) the wife of Sir Percival Radcliffe, of Milnsbridge, the son of the magistrate referred to above. They are the same stock as the Ordsall, Oldham and Saddleworth Radcliffes and bear the same arms.
When Walker arrived home late in the evening of the tragedy he contided the secret to his mother, and protested his inno- cence. He did not fire at Mr. Horsfall, he said. Rewards were
* The Pickfords hail from Alt where the name is ingcribed on a door-head.
GENERAL LUDD. 63
offered and great activity was displayed by the authorities and the public, indeed, everybody showed a determination to unearth the criminal gang. Mellor feared treachery and consequently he put all who knew of the affair under oath again. When Sowden hesitated to be sworn Thorpe presented a pistol at him, which pointed argument had the desired effect. The secret was well kept, in spite of a reward of £2,000, until Walker turned informer, then the game was up. All four men were appre- hended and sent to York
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in these deplorable circumstances was manifested. Besides voting him their thanks business people and the general public presented him with £3,000, and fifty guineas were shared between the loyal soldiers and Mr. Cartwright’s workmen who defended the mill.
The New Jerusalem.
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She published about sixty books and pamphlets of prophecies, replies to her opponents and expositions of the Bible, all of them incoherent and worthless. Exposition of the
THE NEW JERUSALEM. I 67
murderous deed an angel appeared before him and changed his
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him for quiet prayer ; then, his declarations of having seen “that glorious place.”
Shortly afterwards he prayed that he might be directed in the. choice of a sect. In response he saw at the foot of his bed a blackboard with the words,
THE NEW JERUSALEM. 69
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Wroe, in very solemn manner, commanded them in the name of the Lord, to come down. One of them, named Hudson, formerly his apprentice before his bankruptcy, cursed him. Immediately the bank yielded and the tree fell into the water with its burden. None was drowned, but they all walked home several miles in their wet clothes and Hudson died in a few days.
After the completion of the baptismal ceremony Wroe came out of the water, hailed by the strains of instrumental music and sweet voices. Then the spectators turned into a mob and he and his devotees were stoned and pelted from the place. Notwithstanding the temper and scepticism of the general crowd, there were many others who were greatly influenced by these events, who saw in Wroe a latter-day incarnation of the old prophets sent with a message to an errant generation. Now he was ripe to join the sect of Johanna Southcott. When Turner, the prophet, visited Bradford, Wroe sought an interview with him. Hereupon, Wroe informed him that he ‘Wroe was sent specially to the public and that Turner was sent exclusively to the Elect.’ Turner was somewhat alarmed about this inter- loper, but the two parted with some implied agreement. Thus Wroe had effected a sort of partnership at a bound; this he intended to convert into a papacy. Then came another vision and his subsequent attendance at one of the Society’s meetings at Bradford to tell them that although they were expecting Shiloh there would be no Shiloh, and that many, even whole societies, would fall away. He believed Turner “‘was of
THE NEW JERUSALEM. 71
thee.’’ Wroe fell upon his knees and declared loudly that the swords should cleave him in pieces if his mission were not Divine. He then moved towards the second arch, the men receding backward with their swords still at his breast. At this point he preached to the amazed and stupefied congregation. At the close he directed those who believed in his mission to pass under the swords, which the great majority of them did. The rest seceded from the Society. He induced the committee to write an account to the Societies at Ashton, Stockport, Sheffield and Colne, desiring representa- tives to be sent to Bradford to ascertain the truth of Wroe’s claims and to satisfy themselves of his mission. Stockport and Sheffield would have nothing to do with him ; yet in the course of a year they had fallen into line. Money was now plentifully provided by his numerous followers and he saw looming a deep treasury and a sort of pontifex maximus.
The mission to the Jews, it seems, had only been awaiting events. Wroe and Robert Harling, of Thornhill, left Liverpool in April, 1823, for Gibraltar. The day after arriving there, for some
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companion on this occasion. Having failed here they went on to Strasbourg and visited the Synagogue. His address was not understood and he was referred to the Rabbi. The latter.was not at home and his daughter, not being able to make much of Wroe’s English, requested him to leave his message in writing. So far everything went off agreeably and they were treated well. The message in writing was sent to the Rabbi, who had it translated. When Lees was sent for the reply the Rabbi was very angry and told him he could have them imprisoned for two years, but he thought they were > not right in their minds and he pitied them. From Strasbourg they went to Vienna and Trieste and from thence to Italy, calling at Venice, Verona, Vicenza and Milan. Wroe raised the brows of about forty gentlemen by addressing them at table d’hote and giving them prophetic
THE NEW JERUSALEM.
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Failsworth, however, would not have Wroe and they continued their allegiance to the London Committee.
In 1823 he visited Ashton again. Dramatic, original, never lacking in courage, he must stamp his claims upon the imagina- tion of his followers. First, he visited the vicar and curate and tried to convert them. Declaring to the vicar that ‘God had appeared to Moses (himself) in the
THE NEW JERUSALEM. 77
would not give the name of the culprit. Mr. Milne, the coroner, had the father, Grimshaw, locked up, and Mr. Lees was brought before the jury which, at its first meeting, disagreed. On meeting again Mr. Lees was committed to the next Lancaster Assizes on a charge of manslaughter (March, 1825). He escaped, however, because the doctors disagreed—the doctors engaged for his defence as surely thought he had not caused the child’s death as those for the prosecution unsurely thought he had. This was in the nature of things and the scale bumped down in favour of Mr. Lees. There was, however, mortification, and a modern scientific enquiry might have ended differently. Thus he returned victorious and continued his holy labours on
the faithful for many years after.
This triumph over their persecutors seems to have fired a greater sacrificial enthusiasm than ever. John Stanley, a well- to-do machinist, at a cost
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Sanctuary was lighted by two glass domes in the roof. The Prophet prophesied great worldly success for Stanley, who in after life became rich.
The early part of their services consisted of much singing and the playing of wind instruments by some thirty performers: Later, in substitution of these, a fine polygonal organ, costing six hundred guineas, was put in, its twelve sides representing the twelve tribes of Israel, each angle being surmounted by a carved crown. The organ was elaborately encased in carved and polished mahogany. And so they flourished, spread their peculiar notions and peacefully worshipped i in their white robes until the year 1831, when there came a crisis which rent asunder their very founda- tions. The Prophet’s conduct in Yorkshire had caused riots in Bradford, where his reappearance had resulted in a reluctant ride on a donkey and a succession of dives into a duck pond, which would have ended him but for the intervention of a number of women. He was, in the end, permitted a further lease of life with three broken ribs and a mangled body. The believers at large, however, regarded the tales they heard as the inventions of their persecutors, and Wroe’s denials outweighed them. In 1830 he had a command from heaven to take seven virgins to cherish and comfort him. There was much competition for this honour. Three of the Ashton Society gave up their daughters, including William Lees, and, with these seven and a number of married women, he rambled over Kent, Devonshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire on his various
THE NEW JERUSALEM. 79
which acquitted Wroe. However, there was a fight at what is now the ‘‘Odd Whim,” where the court sat, because those who were not prepared to be satisfied with the only evidence’ sub-
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The long pent-up feelings of the justly disgusted and the instincts of the rowdy element were let loose. Wroe, well protected by his followers, was smuggled through a trap door into a room from which, somehow, he escaped—some say miraculously. People were struck to the floor, others fought and shouted at each other. The pews were torn up and smashed, books were hurled at people’s heads and pieces of timber freely used as weapons. Some tried to speak; others bawled and yelled. Doors and glass and furnishings were broken wholesale, and pandemonium reigned. The damage done was considerable, the place presenting a wrecked appearance. Masterman escaped and stood on a chair outside, opposite the Sanctuary, there reading the charges as the ‘‘congregation’”’ came into the street. Later a band of roughs scoured the town in search of Wroe. They were ultimately told he was at the house of William Skin, now the “Odd Whim,’ near the barracks. However, they failed to find him and Silas Lee, in trying to get into the house, received a nasty blow on the head with a poker, which brought a copious flow of blood. Then ensued a violent riot and much damage was done there and elsewhere at the houses of the Israelites. Whereupon followed a mighty sharpening of razors and scissors in Ashton, and there were many new faces to be seen in the streets after- wards. One enterprising barber displayed the following invitation in his window :—
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The Society had built for him a beautiful Doric residence overlooking the river, lavishly appointed in mahogany and silver fittings: There were, in fact, four ‘mansions for.
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rest the honour of producing the Promised Shiloh, but he turned him from his door when a little girl appeared.
The Prophet had spent much of his time and many of his prophecies were delivered at the house of one of his principal supporters at Park Bridge.
Occasionally, as befitted a prophet if the spirit called, he had to go on a
Tue NEw JERUSALEM. 83
But the real cradle* prepared for the true Shiloh at Johanna’s death—a beautiful little ark of blue silk and gold which cost two hundred guineas—is to be seen in Peel Park Museum, Salford, wherein lie lost and dead, the golden hope and imagery of a Second Coming and a Thousand Years of Peace.
Ashton having become too warm for him, the Prophet spent his time in Yorkshire and other places congenial to him. Yet, in spite of all, he had a following in Ashton which never deserted him. His missionary zeal never flagged. Four times, between 1840 and 1859, he visited America. In 1850 he sought new pastures in Australia, where he was seen again in 1854, 1859 and 1862, during which last absence he died. His wife, who died in 1853, had been treated rather badly by him. He travelled under various aliases, which may or may not _ be foreign equivalents of John, such as Johanan Asrael, Yokkow and Yockaman.
84. TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
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About this time he gave it out that every member should wear a gold ring worth one pound three shillings and sixpence, to be obtained from him, as a sign and seal of the elect. Some six thousand of these were disposed of before one of the elect was curious enough to have his tested, when it was discovered to be made of brass and worth about two shillings. Whereupon the Prophet had the effrontery to charge the ‘‘goldsmith”’ (behind his back) with cheating him. Further sales were stopped after this little confidence trick had realised six thousand pounds. I When the treasury was not replenished as quickly as he emptied it and the elect talked about accounts and expenditures he did not hesitate to excommunicate the recalcitrant ones. Clusters here and there dared to defy and expose him by the publication of ceremonial practices which cannot be stated here. It is difficult to believe that sane people would subject them- selves to such obscene indignities as the Rosendale people vouch for.
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Previous to his death the pillars of the Church mustered sufficient courage and strength to beard the Prophet to induce him to will Melbourne House and estate to a trusteeship. Accordingly John Gill, Wiliam Farrand, Joseph Corry and James Farrand, of Ashton, were appointed trustees. This was quite satisfactory and honourable of the Prophet. He then went right away to a lawyer in Wakefield and made another will, leaving everything to his children. He died the same year, having given the opinion (not a prophecy) to Judge Milton, that “somebody would be murdered over that
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Policemen! Oppressive Magistrates!—Dabblers in the Affairs of the Christian Israelite Church and Melbourne House Estate. Judge Milton, of Melbourne House, Wrenthorpe, near Wake- field has had eighteen years’ contention in America and England with the above-named characters during which time he has been deprived of the company of his wife and has been im- prisoned twelve times, crossed the Atlantic ocean fifteen times and travelled at his own expense in the defence of the Church more than sixty thousand miles. .” He was repeatedly fined for disobeying the orders of the court. Again:
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quiet and unobtrusive Prophet. With equal modesty the faithful continue to visit the Mansion from all parts, including Ashton. The Ashton representatives are quite well known to the people about. James Wroe died quite recently, as did also one of the old ladies, probably his aunt.
THE NEW JERUSALEM. 89
one to be worn. Their bonnets were plain scuttles and occasion- ally veils were used, having a device of Hebrew characters across the face just below the eyes. On the great Feast Days all went to worship in vestments of white linen. Men’s coats had seams only at the sides, were without collars, had no buttons behind, but had a line of silver ones in front. The vests buttoned well. up to the throat over a linen shirt and ruffle. Hats were broad- brimmed of beaver or brown felt, sometimes having green underneath the rims. They possessed no pictures or images or statues in obedience to the command against graven images. Some of their shops were styled “Israelite shops,” or “‘Johannas
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the Gas Company. It consists of an inn at one end, also offices, showrooms, and, in the uppermost storey, a concert room which, in its earlier days, was a principal place of entertainment. On leaving the Sanctuary in Church Street the Johannaites engaged this rather pleasant room for their services. Here they recited the Prophecies and Expositions of their Prophetess and longed for her resurrection. In this room, a lofty and dignified chamber, many famous people have sung and performed ere it met the competition of the Town Hall. There stand the tall pulpit and large harmonium as if awaiting the round of Sabbath days. But they never come. Crowded now into a little ante-room some ten or twelve feet square, whose ceiling may be easily reached by the hand, this last remnant holds its simple services. The room is so small that the little harmonium is crushed out into the passage. Yet everything is so orderly and clean, and between the services the chairs and pulpit are always covered with white sheets.
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A Moorland Mystery.
HE year of the great Reform Bill, when men met in thousands and clamoured for the franchise, for the abolition of primogeniture, the game laws, libel for truth-speaking and taxes, was a memorable one for Saddleworth. Besides being the year of threatening assemblies and political upheavals, it was the year of two of the bloodiest murders in the calendar of crime. The great hills and rocks of Greenfield close in upon a small and lonely Inn about a mile above that village in the direction of Holmfirth, whose walls even, bore silent testimony to the desperation and brutality of the encounter. While the hills remain and people inhabit this romantic district Bill’s o’ Jack’s will always recall a crime of horror and mystery.
The great era of road-making was then, in 1832, coming to anend. During the reigns of the later Georges and William IV. every country district had been alive with
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Laddie, a faithful and grief-stricken dog, flew at her and drove her off. She ran down in a state of confusion and alarm to James Whitehead’s at Binn Green for help for a man who was bleeding to death on the floor at her grandfather’s. Whitehead, with his wife and a neighbour, immediately went up to the Inn, when the dog came up to them barking as if to announce some misfortune.
They turned over and examined the body, but did not, for half an hour, recognise it as that of Tom o’ Bills, so battered and mauled was it and smeared with blood. Eventually they heard a moan upstairs and went up to find the old man in bed in a scarcely better plight than his son below, similarly battered and cut and covered with blood, with which, also, the bedclothes were soaked. He was still alive.
Naturally the unfortunate man was earnestly questioned as to the perpetrators of the outrage. He was so far spent, how- ever, as to be unable to give an intelligible reply. Some of those about him thought he said, ‘Pats, Pats,’ or similar sounds. Asked if Tom was at home when he was attacked, he was supposed to say,
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afterwards, an obsequious bearing of two bodies to their last resting place with curious, morbid multitudes looking on.
There were all sorts of rumours and theories. “Pats” or ‘‘Pat’’ became
A MoorLAND MYSTERY. 97
New Inn and informed them of Tom o’ Bill’s visit to Greenfield, which, of course, predicates their intention to prevent his ap- pearance at Pontefract the following day. It was pointed out that they could not possibly have heard of the murders at home
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came on foot and in vehicles to view the scene of the crime. From every direction they hailed until the roads and houses
A MOORLAND MYSTERY. 99
good and evil yoked together on the same journey, pulling and plunging at the cross-roads for the mastery. Oft-times we take the wrong turning.
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beauty of the hills and valleys with the great emerald carpet beneath, which are lost to us if we grovel on the ground below. Observe, too, the yawning gaps and sheer precipices! It is well so to look inwardly sometimes. Ascend higher and higher—one hundred, one thousand feet— by ethereal steps and look out beyond Wimberry Stones, right down the meridian, over ranges of blue peaks and bastions with nestling villages here and there, until your gaze rests upon the quiet community of Chapel-en-le-Frith. For there you will faintly see a man starting out towards you in the early cool hours of this April morning. Look further and deeper with other eyes and divine a purpose, fierce and barbarous; and a motive, not unredeemed, called up from the hissing igneous rocks of man’s nature, whose chilled fragments have made up the strata of all moral codes. He is advancing with strong and measured step. Tall and well built, he is a man of middle age having the manner and dress of a superior workman. In his hand he carries a plain varnished walking stick, which he occasionally grasps in the middle. His face and eyes are cast down upon the road which is to lead him a long journey. Alternately he fixes his mind first on the messenger; now on his destination and the intervening territory, then on a picture of years ago which has grown painful of late. See how he avoids the main roads where he can, how he takes to the byways and footpaths, even the open moors. We see him slowly come nearer and nearer through Chinley and Hayfield, over the hills to Glossop and to Hadfield in the vale of Long- dendale. Here he hesitates ; will he take a direct line over the moors and the peat beds? He turns up the valley and reaches Crowden with its mountain ‘stream and little mills and houses in the bottom. In a quiet spot on the hill-side he rests awhile. Starting again he makes for the high ground and the rough and dangerous track that leads to the incipient Chew, whose
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This is their first parting. And it must needs be that she should pass out into a world so little known. How his wife’s and his own heart ached as her shapely form passed down the road and out of sight.
“Good bye, dad,” after kissing her mother, comes again inte hisears. Growing more restless in manner, his visage darkening, he still ponders. Before him stands Alderman, overhanging Side Bank, the home of Tom o’ Bill’s family. To the right great rocks jut out and hide the lonely Inn. Turning, he looks dowa into the deep gorge. Yet he sees nothing—nothing there—only a little boy brought into his home without the wholesome joy and gladness known to honourable living.
A MOORLAND MYSTERY. 105
“Aye,” replies the innkeeper, moving off to serve him,.
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promptly closes and bars when inside. This operation always occasions a certain amount of clatter.
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him, but an upward thrust of the spade into his face sends
A MOORLAND MYSTERY. 109
flings it from him into the heather. Then he begins to cry and sob hysterically and, in the stillness, fancies the sound comes from the slaughtered men lying in blood and gore in the “Moorcock.”’ Their mangled faces rise up before him ; he can hear their muffled cries and groans.
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A Pennine Disaster.
A PENNINE DISASTER. 1ll
stream, where the uncultured natives give it its right name— Holne, with the accent on the “1,” for was it not so recorded by Duke William’s legati in 1086? ‘‘ Besides these there are two carucates for geld in Holne and another Holne (Yateholme), and Alstaneslei and Thoac (Quick). One plough may till this land. It is waste ; wood in places. Some declare this to be thaneland ; others, soke in Wachf’ (Wakefield).” Yateholme is still there, and ‘‘Gateham”’ trough is a very mild liberty to have taxen during eight centuries. are you from ?” was asked of a hardy son of the hills one of the Whitsuntide bandsmen.
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A PENNINE DISASTER.
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stones of the overflow were missing, but even then, the overflow was higher than the bank, which had settled.
Of the two shuttles to run the water off only one was in working order. At length the contractors cleared from the site and left a leaky and settling reservoir. The commissioners’ money was gone; money was owing. Everything was most unfortunate and unsatisfactory. Faults of reservoir construc- tion were not the only troubles of the commissioners ; there were also faults in the construction and provisions of the Act. Care had not been taken to base the economics of the venture on a business-like basis. Neither was there agreement amongst those benefiting by the water as to payment. The water was turned down the stream in the early morning and turned off in the evening by Charles Batty, whose duty it was to regulate the supplies, and to see that the waterline did not rise highér than thirty-six feet. The Hirst family and Mr. Roebuck, who lived in the narrow valley below, were most watchful and insistent on the thirty-six feet line.
Day by day the water was turned on and off and the mill- owners’ had the benefit of as much water as the reservoir would
A PENNINE DISASTER. 115
hold. Nobody, however, would pay the water charges ; every- body held an upinion as to the basis of rating contrary to anybody else.
The commissioners commenced litigation, after great dis- putation, which held up things much longer. They had naively set out to construct eight reservoirs with thirty thousand pounds and succeeded in making three at a cost of seventy thou- sand pounds—the full extent of the authorised capital, of which forty thousand pounds was a mortgage debt. No revenue was forthcoming to pay even the mortgage interest. The Act was sufficiently indefinite to cause confusion and doubt as to the interpretation of its provisions, with a paralysing result. The solicitors to the commissioners resigned because things seemed so hopeless. The reservoir banks became worse with time but there was no money to spend upon them.
In their disputes as to the method of rating one group of millowners claimed as a basis “the feet of fall,’’ some others claimed a basis of horsepower. Whatever was meant, these claims are identical. Prima facte, there is an appearance of equity and
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There is an equitable mean between these considerations but the commissioners failed to find it. On the contrary they drifted into lawsuits, having already on an expensive chancery action, which still lingered in that court: when the disaster came in 1852.
The method of rating was put to arbitration after great contention. * Mr. J. F. Bateman, engineer, of Manchester (who was then making the reservoirs at Crowden), and Mr. F. R.
A PENNINE DISASTER. I 117
was sheer fatuity, and a declaration that a declining or injured property ought not tv be redeemed.
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The rain continued to fall torrentially and the alarm had spread over the immediate neighbourhood, for about fifty persons were now gathered on the embankment. The flood- water rolled into the two limbs of the reservoir faster than ever and the waterline rose alarmingly. The ghostly forms of men moved aimlessly about in the dark.
John Roebuck, as representing the commissioners, was sent for. He declared to the besodden onlookers that if the water rose higher the bank would give way. At nine
A PENNINE DISASTER. 119
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petuous rush of the flood. Little household property had been removed and Mrs. Hirst.and her
A PENNINE DISASTER. 12]
the waters had subsided the gruesome sight of a child in its coffin, placed on a pew seat, and the remains of a man left high up on the gallery stairs met the gaze of those who came to inspect the aftermath.
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caught in the mighty current now rushing through windows. Pathetic and daring as was such heroism, it was, unfortunately, of little account, for immediately the whole building shook and fell over and all—rescuers and rescued were plunged into the flood.
Strange, the young man felt no part of the building strike him. He was washed down to Harpin’s Mill Dam (Bottoms Mill), where he came to the surface and began to grab at the wreckage. He succeeded in getting hold of a large piece of wood and floated upon it while he recovered his breathing. Then the surging of the waters threw him over and he went down
A PENNINE DISASTER.
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There were partially destroyed :—seventeen mills, five dye- houses, etc., three stoves, one hundred and thirty-nine cottages, seven tradesmen’s houses, forty-four large shops, eleven public houses, five bridges, one county bridge, and about two hundred acres of land washed away and damaged.
Four thousand nine hundred and eighty-six adult people and two thousand one hundred and forty-two children were thrown out of work, making a total of seven thousand one hundred and twenty-eight, earning about three thousand seven hundred and forty-eight pounds per week.
The damage was variously estimated up to a quarter of a million pounds.
Thousands of people, from every part of the country, visited the scene, and, for those ruined and in immediate need, sub- scription lists were generously supported. Then followed the
great exodus which affected every town and village for many miles around.
A PENNINE DISASTER. 125
Such was the trail of death and devastation due to the in- effectual yoking of the forces of nature. To-day, the beautiful valley of the Holme smiles again with happy homes and busy mills—better homes and larger mills, yielding greater prosperity. There is little evidence now of the catastrophe; but the water mark is retained at Holmfirth on the little obelisk commemor- ating the short Peace of Amiens in 1801, and on the corner of a building at the bridge. Here the water was about ten feet deep in the roadway and twenty feet deep in the rapidly falling river. At Holmbridge, too, where Digley Brook joins the Holme, there is no sign of flood or devastation. The Church is again enclosed by a good wall and the grave- yard is restored to its former level and appearance. With the Digley Valley, however, it is different. It was scoured out and has hardly recovered its pristine importance. Probably it was due to the proximity to the reservoir that no lives were lost in this narrow vale, for the melancholy toll was taken below this part. At the foot of this valley is Holmbridge Mills, and a little colony, little affected by the flood; but what remains of Bank End Mill, worked by John Roebuck, and afterwards restored and worked by George Tinker & Sons, is fast disappearing. A beautiful and thick wood fills this valley, and amongst the vegetation can be traced the reservoir and mill races which once fed a powerful waterwheel. Further up the valley is the site where Digley Mill and its houses once stood. Except for its chimney, or rather two chimneys, still standing, the passer-by would not divine the erstwhile existence here of a thrifty industrial concern, so complete was its effacement. Trees and vegetation and summer flowers grow thickly over everything, with the raspberry cane and luscious, ripe raspberries gracefully towering above the rest. It is a very green and peaceful little spot, betokening nothing of misfortune; where children play and birds sing overhead and the brook babbles harmlessly by. Beneath, may lie five hundred sovereigns amidst the tons of masonry and machinery now overgrown and carpeted during
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a lapse of seventy years. Here juts out the end of a large wooden roller with a very strong iron axle, and there lies another, recently pulled out after burial for the span of a human life—not so much decayed as might be expected. Large stone beds, hidden in growth, with long iron bolts standing up in several places, indicate the former positions of machines carried away by the waters.
The mill race, easily defined, skirts the right bank and led to the small water wheel whose bearings may still be seen. At other points, walls, culverts, flues and the two chimneys stir up the imagination.
A PENNINE DISASTER. 127
alongside. The group is placed well into the bank, endways to the flood, and on that account escaped the fate of the rest. It is curious to observe the series of stone posts on the top of the bank on which the cloth pieces were once hung. Upper Digley Mill, a little higher up the stream, survived both the flood and the bankruptcy process, and now holds the rebuilt Bilberry Mill (since burnt out and restored) as a tenancy. The reservoir bank is now a firm, grassy slope from which gushes out a stream red with oxide of iron—our old friend. the bore hole, now freed and treated with due respect.
John and Hannah Hirst came from Pole Chapel to Holm- bridge in the early years of the last century. It was from Digley Mill that John Hirst, their son (brother-in-law of widow Hirst), issued, fourteen months before the flood, to seek his fortune in Saddleworth. He held strong views on many things, but none more strongly than that Bilberry Reservoir would one day take toll of those who dwelt in the path of its onrush. Was his removal from Digley to Saddleworth some earnest of that conviction ?
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It was not planned to span and block up the valley like the latter, but, rather, set warily, endways to the waters of Fozzard Mill dam, should it ever play Bilberry. He contracted with the builder to go down to the rock with the foundations. After going down to very firm ground the builder proposed to begin building, but Johr. Hirst held out and told him he would have to go down to the rock if he went to hell. There is no need to go down to such a torrid and undesirable depth for a foundation in Saddleworth, but he had to go deep enough to go to ruin.
The late James Whitehead, of Uppermill, then took the work in hand, and he carried it considerably heavenward and to a finish. John Hirst had a numerous family, occupying the principal residences in the district and having considerable possessions in Saddleworth and Mottram. John Hirst, Junr., built Ladcastle. It is curious, however, that seventy years have seen the vigour of one man build up a trade and family fortune; the gradual waning of both, and the entire disappearance of the family after an honourable association with the activities and society of Saddleworth during the long Victorian period. Memorials of some members of the family are to be seen in the Church and cemetery, and the latter possesses a remarkable one to the memory of John Hirst, Junr. The boy who stood on the reservoir bank and was told to go home to release the cattle and get his mother away, is still living. George Hirst was then nineteen years old, now he is eighty- nine, hale and hearty and capable of achievements beyond the powers of many young men. When on his way to release the cattle, having arrived at Upper Digley Mill, which had then, as now, a wooden overhead conduit on stone pillars, he heard the roar and rush of the waters and the bursting of the conduit. In the greatest alarm he rushed forward with the flood at his heels and just saved a very long life. The family fortune having been washed away he went out to Australia to make his fortune with his cousin, Ben Hirst, where he remained eighteen years, paying one visit home after a residence of five years there.
Mr. Hirst resides at Brownhill, Holmbridge, in full view of Digley Valley, which he thinks is one of the prettiest spots in
A PENNINE DISASTER. 129
the country. ' During the railway strike in 1919 he walked over to Uppermill and called upon a friend who happened to be absent. After a rather late tea he started his journey home over the darkening hills, not without giving some anxiety as to his strength and ultimate safety. Some weeks afterwards, during a walk over interesting ground in Holmfirth, he was asked,
130 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
Th’ Mon at th’ Bottom. (And how he got to the top).
TH’ Mon AT TH’ 131
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John fixed his eye on the seemingly penitent culprit and asked, ““What has ta to say for thisel’
TH’ Mon AT TH’ BoTTom. 133
“Ah dunno think Ah wur made to be a Rakabite,” said Billy,
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Almost unknown to himself, during the conversation and his later ruminations upon his past conduct, he had gradually stiffened. In spite of his physical weakness he felt a growing strength, to him something undefined, an unaccountable force, alike inspiring and elevating. Unconsciously, a new and grave master had taken possession of the temple for the first time.
“‘Ah’ve bin a foo’; aewer Mary has had summat to put up wi’. Ah never knew gradely what sowin’ th’ wynd wur ’til naew. It’s queer that shud com’ into mi yed; but I yerd it mony a time when Ah wura lad. Things saewnd different when yo’ run op agen ’um, and they meean moor,
Tu’ Mon AT TH’ BOTTOM. 135
laughter and the clatter of clogs as the young urchins gathered around a helpless figure which had just fallen upon the road.
said an elderly
“Run away, yo’ childer, and let him abe, woman. Billy lay there with the children about him. He was only drunk. A tidy and homely little woman came to the door of a cottage near by to see what was the cause of the noise. “Mary, there’s yer Billy here,’”’ said the old woman. She eagerly advanced to the prostrate form and with the quiet patience she had learned through many years of trial and disappointment, bent over him
136 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
He put his hand on her head and stroked her smooth brown hair as she knelt beside him. A spell of great happiness overbore her grief and for an instant she saw through her tears a rosy, fairhaired boy again, and far-off shady lanes and flowers and purple summer days. All the days were sunny, then. And Billy came on the sunniest days—he seemed to bring the sun- shine with him. Then her mind shifted with lightning speed to dark and hopeless years, and an aching heart, to be swung back again to the picture of the bright shy lad she would wed again in spite of all. Then she wiped away her tears with her apron and went hurriedly to the door to look for the doctor.
Tu’ Mow at TH Bottom. 137
“Thae’d ’a’ done a lot better if thae’d wed Harry Schofielt ; he’d a given his left arm for thi, an’ his fayther wur weel awf an’
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“Thae’d had noan? Yigh, mon! An’ Betty Radcliffe towd me ’at it wur th’ Hare and Hounds at wur to blame for lettin’ thi have it, for hoo seed thi comin’ aewt.”’
TH’ Mon aT TH’ Bottom. 139
Mary dropped her head on his breast to hide her filling eyes. Then she looked up at him steadfastly, me what Ah said, Billy ?” “Ah nobbut remember abaewt six words an’ they’ve bin’ ringin’ in mi ears ever sin’. Dost kno’ owt abaewt it, Mary ?”’
“No, Billy, Ah must ’a’ bin’ dreeamin’. What did Ah say
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another way. Ah wanted to get whoam to thee because Ah knew thae’d be fain. Ah dunno’ kno’ haew Ah geet to th’ Uvvermill, but Ah kno’ when Ah seed th’ Commercial it took a 40 horse paewer will to keep on th’ t’other side o’th’ road. If it had been hauve th’ distance it met ’a’ poo’d me in. When Ah geet to th’ Hare an’ Hounds Ah felt reet done, an’ Ah thowt a noggin o’ brandy ’ud see me whoam. When Ah geet into th’ dur Ah yerd thoose words agen, an’ Ah thowt o’ thee, Mary, an’ Ah said it shud be a feyt to a finish. Ah coom aewt into th’ road agen an’ for a bit Ah did middlin’ an’ Ah passed Bridge Inn an’ th’ bridge, but mi legs wur wake an’ mi yed wur spinnin’ raewnd an’ Ah could goa no Mary had turned her face toward Billy and fixed her eyes upon him during this recital. He had regained much of his natural appearance since his illness. He was not now bloated and bleared. His eyes were lustrous with health and animation, and Mary could see much of her boy weetheart in her changed husband. She quietly put her arms about him and kissed him.
ILLY looks bad;
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THE DUEL. 143
After a hearty laugh, Jonas said, Ah interrupted yon,
they wur stirrin’ times, thoose. But when he geet owder he had a bad leg, an’ he had a little chap co’ed James for
144 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
“Aye, an’ shoo’s gettin’ owder and ’ole, lawk me. But it can’t be helped. Nayah mak’ yorsel’ comfortable, an’ coome
up to th’ fawre.”’
“Well, an’ w’at did he do wi’ ’um ?” asked Jonas, when they
were comfortably seated.
“They wur stirrin’ times! They 0’ coom at a swingin’ march
THE DUEL. 145
queer, Ah reckon, but he had a hunchback wi’ a desk strapped on to his showthers, just th’ reet heyt for Jesse, he wur. When o’ th’ fowk had getten raewnd him he poo’d some pappers aewt ov his pocket an’ clap’t ’um on to th’ desk. Then he straightened hissel’ op an’ looked raewnd an’ safi:
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‘Why, its cold,’ he said, ‘you are attempting to rob me; go about your business’ ” “They didn’t cole ’im Mad Jesse for nowt, noather,” remarked Mrs. Sykes.
THE DUEL. 147
‘‘Then Jesse said, ‘Why don’t you settle your differences like honourable gentlemen with a due regard to dignity and the amenities of civilized life?’ They stared at Jesse while he wur sayin’ this, but he hadna’ finish’t. “This feud must be disposed of elsewhere and in decent fashion. On the Ides of June we again visit the hills and vales of Saddleworth, and I will then find a way of giving satisfactoin to both.’
“‘Ah think Jesse had a bit o’ bother to get ’um to com’, but he manag’t it. It wur a grand day in th’ pride o’th’ year at we march’t op Moorside and on to Denshaw.
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THE DUEL. 149
his hands in his pockets, but t’other said he’d rayther feyt him eradely. He walked op to a felly an’ axed him to tell his mother noan to cry for him, but he wur noan goin’ to let Tommy say what he liked abaeut
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SQUIRE 0’TH’ DEN’s Pic. 151
There followed in immediately after Mr. Wright, Sam o’ Saxon’s and Bob o’ Clark’s, and the room was nearly filled. Next to the fireplace was Long Tom, from Greenfield, uncouth and dishevelled, whose face bore the bar sinister of a guilty conscience. He held the poker in his hand and constantly turned a log of wood burning in the fireplace while the rest put in their commas and semicolons with draughts of ale.
Bob o’ Denman’s had just remarked, ‘“Thae’ll noan mak’ it do, lad, Ah conno’ see it.” “It’s a case of
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Billy Rally here remarked that “Neely Wright thowt he’d o’th’ wit i’th’ world sin’ he went to Diggle, but there’s more.nor one yed 1’ Saddleworth, mind thee.”’
‘‘Ah’d forgotten thee, Billy ; thae’rt abaewt as good a sample o’ gettin’ summat aewt o’ nowt as we an left. Ah never knew thee to work at owt yet, an’ thae’s as big a face as onny on said Neely with a laugh, which the whole company joined in in appreciation of the sally.
During the lull which followed everybody took a good swig at his pot of ale. Some smacked their lips in high satisfaction, others rolled their eyes and drew their jacket sleeves across their mouths. Long Tom, after performing the latter operation, turned the log again and brought some of the pungent napthalic smell of the wood into the room. Then he turned round and looked up at Neely, ““What did ta meon when thae said thae’d nobbut known summat getten aewt o’ nowt wonst ?”
“Ah reckon its Sam Hervey ; thae’s yerd
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bucket o’ swill, which it polished awf in hauve a jiffy. Then it set its face at Squire an’ twinkled at him wi’ its little blue een as fawse as a weazle and gave a mighty grunt big enoof for a twenty stone pig. “Thae’ll mak’ a fine pig some day if thae goas on like that,”’ said Squire, as he picked it up bi th’ ears an’ put it into th’ bucket, an’ noticed ‘at it wur an inch an’ a hauve from’ th’ top.” There was a loud laugh and a stirring of the log and some shuffling of the benches. Tom pretended not to be interested and walked out for more refreshment. Sam Hervey Wood said he thought he would go, but the rest persuaded him to remain and hear the story out. Neely, during the short inter- lude, puffed unconcernedly at his pipe with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. All ears were again open to his story except those of the two gentlemen named. ‘‘Squire said to hissel’,’’ he proceeded,
SQUIRE O’TH’ DEN’s Pic. 155
quieten it. An’ it weren’t to be put auf wi’ scrattin’ and strokin’, noather. He fed it, an’ crammed it, an’ coaxed it, an’ he geet it bi th’ ears an’ popped it into th’ bucket welly every morning. Sometimes he thowt it had grown a bit, but he wur no’ sure.”
Neely pulled at his pipe contemplatively, and the smoke curled upward to the ceiling. The men had their red smiling faces towards him, waiting. Tom took a drink and stirred the log again. I
156 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
‘Aye, its a grand little pig Ah can tell thee,’ said Squire, ‘it’ll mak’ a fine pig some day ; but aewer Sarah’s wur nor mad wi’ : Ine, hoo’s noan fond o’ pigs, hoo hates ’um; an’ Ah con tell thee Ah’m havin’ a cat an’ dog’s life wi’ just keepin’ this. Ahst be greeaved to part wi’ ‘it, its that intelligent ; whah mon! it can fairly ax for summat t’ate; an’ let me tell thee, it con ate au’ reet.’”’
SQUIRE O’TH’ DEN’s Pic. 157
Tom had been frequently in and out assisting the landlord to serve him. His interruptions had become noisy and ill- tempered.
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of ‘‘wur it Tom ?”’ but the pipe held his mouth, and he gave no reply. He kept, however, his roguish eye on Tom. He shortly proceeded—‘‘Squire’s throttlin’ friend said, ‘Ah towd him like thae towd me, ’at it ‘ud mak’ a fine pig someday, an’ he anser’t ’at if it geet mitch finer it ’ud be amung th’ fine caewnts an’ ready for goin’ through th’ eye of a needle, if th’.camel could no’ do it.’ ” I
SQUIRE O’TH’ DEN’s Pic. 159
160° TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
CHIMNEY J—. 161
three sheets in the wind they can walk round a chimney cap with a yawning fiery hole on one side and seventy yards of atmosphere to grab at if they slip, on the other, with as little excitement as in taking their breakfast. Courageous builders have been known to go up as if to the thing born. Then the time comes when they
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he could also be imperative and impolite as one would expect in the commander-in-chief of an army of chimney-jacks. On occasion he would throw the big words about wholesale, spiced with sarcasms and fire and brimstome, when the small battalions stood aghast with respect and fear of their general. As touching their work he knew what they could do and what they ought to do. He could do it himself. He could hang on the ceiling as well as they. For another and substantial reason he was not to be despised. If an awkward customer inclined to shift the debate from the verbal to the manual he first took stock of a well-set man of five feet eight inches, over thriteen stones in weight, and as strong as an ox. The dispute, therefore, always remained verbal where, of course, the contest was quite as unequal. I I There are people who profess they can discover a man’s trade or profession by his style. This impression may have gained acceptance from our ready recognition of actors and actresses, and occasionally barristers. We might alsoadd chimney sweeps. Our chimney-jack, however, was not of that category.
He always wore a tightly-fitting smooth black cloth suit—the trousers very tight and short, large coffin-lid boots, two-and- a-half inch stand-up all-round collar and white front without necktie and a black bowler hat. He was dark complexioned, clean shaven, erect and active. Had his get-up been varied a little he would have been universally taken for an actor. And nothing in the world would have pleased him better.
He had occasion to visit Hadfield House on a business appointment where he met the Marquis. They stood in front of the mansion discussing various matters. To elucidate some doubtful point he scrambled up the downspout to the top of the building, a performance more or less natural to him but alarming to Lord Salisbury, who exhibited much concern for his safety. He always spoke in kindly terms of the old Marquis, who was then Premier; of the beautiful farm-houses he had built ; of the orderly, well cultivated farms, rented at a rate which did not pay a reasonable return even on the cost of the farm houses alone. No doubt his lordship was interested in so
164 TALES OF A PENNINE PEOPLE.
up to the “Golden
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These interviews always began with a temperature very little above zero. Icy conditions quickly gave way to the radio- activity of his personality. Some of his choicest long words gyrated and stood on end, and yet expressed his sentiments so comically and perfectly that they would have been stone images if they had not responded to his geniality.
Between his sallies he explained the cost of materials, the very high rate of the men’s wages, the high rate of insurance, the cost of travelling. He reasoned in his best style, con- vincingly, amusingly, wittily, and they laughed at his coined expressions. They laughed and he smiled and threw in his aphorisms and paradoxes, and ultimately walked away with the cheque in his pocket. Money rolled in upon him so plenti- fully that, if his ambitions had been confined to the arts and altitudes of chimney-jacking, he would have died a rich man.
He once brought back from France a drawing of a chimney longer than a grandfather’s clock. The Yorkshire firm of I Isaac Holden and Co. had premises there where a new chimney had been erected. It is the practice of the French government to debar industrial concerns from building their own chimneys. The government, therefore, built a chimney for this firm under the direction of its own architect. It was a large and handsome shaft one hundred and twenty yards high. The French method is to figure the diameters every three or four metres in height and to work strictly to these. The English method is to fix the base diameter and the height and to work the slope with a battering plumb rule without regard to diameters at inter- mediate points. The diameter at a given height may vary a little from the theoretical diameter, but the batter will be regular and the chimney straight. I This great chimney was not straight ; there had been too much interference with the regular taper of the chimney in trying to work to specific diameters at given points. The mighty shaft rose in a great arc and apparently the French could not make it straight. Our chimney-jack was sent for and asked to do so. He dispatched a small battalion of his Oldham artists over to France, who cut two slices out of the shaft and let it heel over
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to a vertical position. There is not the least difficulty in doing this with a cucumber ; with a chimney about twice the usual height things are different. It is necessary first to scale the chimney to fix the means of suspending a number of men in buffets both outside and inside. The next business is to fix platforms a little below the parts to be cut out. Then, on the convex side more than half the circumference is cut away, and as the brickwork is taken out fox-wedges are inserted to support the superstructure. A plumb line is fixed in the chimney from the point where the second slice is to be cut out above, which indicates how much the two positions are out of truth. When all is ready the men are ordered to the wedges and a sort of lieutenant-colonel directs operations. Each is ordered to tap and ease the wedges in greater or less degree, according to his position on the circle. This is a delicate operation in which carelessness or bad judgment might precipitate the whole column, and of course, the men too, to the ground. As the wedges are eased the man directing inside watches the plumbline, which infallibly demonstrates what is going on. When it has been brought to coincide with the centre at their own position the brickwork is filled in between the wedges and grouted up with cement. The wedges are then removed one by one and brickwork substituted. The operation is repeated at the second position higher up the shaft. The great mass quietly heeled over by kindly treatment as it did at the lower point, and the French government paid up and congratulated itself on its skill and resourcefulness. He straightened a chimney in Hollinwood in a similar manner. These achievements are accomplished by obscure men who, in spite of their heroism and usefulness, never gain the popularity of a paid three-quarter back or a comic singer. A wondering and inconsistent world has many a crude anomaly to put right.
But (and there ts often a but to mar or unmake), our chimney- _ jack had a weakness, a deep-seated, life-long weakness. As a boy-sweep his earthly paradise had been those tinselled halls
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of song and dance, and his angels the painted and questionable ladies who there swung about their swivelled limbs almost to the point of detachment. To his receptive mind the place and its denizens were the acme of high life and pleasuredom. These sentiments prevailed throughout his life ; perhaps not to the very close of it.
However, chimney- jacking was but a means to an end, after all. He was already living in a castle with its clock- towers and _ embattle- ments and coat-of-arms, but without portcullis or barbican.
In respect to these latter features he was very much in the posi- tion of the Johannas and Prophet Wroe, in Ashton, who planned a walled city. They built some of the gateways but circumstances held up any further advance.
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Not easily discouraged he turned a large portion of his business premises into a public hall. Here for many years dancing and eating parties, not drawn from the elite of Oldham, spun and frolicked their time away, our adventurous friend looking on with paternal pride and enjoyment. Occasionally, he made a racy speech as only he could. The place has had many vicissitudes. During the strange evolution through which we are passing in these latter days, it would have been odd if it had not become a picture hall. Even that had failed it, and it had become derelict at the end of the war. Its latest phase is to revert again to a dancing hall, other parts having been converted into the garage of a transport company. If he were not to be allowed to build a theatre (and there has been such an invasion of liberty in Oldham), at any rate he would lease one. He, therefore, became lessee of the Gaiety Theatre in Union Street, thus adding one more check to its chequered career. Again, he spent much money here in altera- tions and improvements. He did not believe in running it as a second-rate place, even if it had hitherto only held a second- rate reputation with a third-rate capacity. He engaged the greatest artistes of the day—one old enough to have charmed him as a lad, Jenny Hill—Marie Loftus, Maggie Duggan, Vesta Tilley, and the whole gamut of refined enter- tainers at salaries equal to that of a Prime Minister with Foreign Affairs on his shoulders. He now viewed the world once so far off from within. He made the acquaintance of the angels minus their paint and wings and discovered they were very human. Most of the glamour had been in his own eyes. The Gaiety, however, was kept alive while he had it ; but he did not renew the lease. All this interfered somewhat with his legitimate business. In any case, he had seen enough of both sides of the drop-curtain to satisfy him, so his fancy began to take another turn. The Gaiety was a plaything. The new fancy was not a fancy in the sense of phantoms and daydreams, for the thing had been done before; it existed elsewhere and had made a large fortune. He launched out in a way that proved ‘how well fitted a man may be for one thing and yet not for another.
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One day in 1896, when nobody expected or thought of such things, there arrived at one of the Oldham stations a number of young lions and leopards, wild cats, and even crocodiles. The connection of Oldham with red lions and royal tigers is well known, but it had never reached to crocodiles before. The porters and shunters were quite amused and interested in the new consignments, and everybody was willing to give a helping hand to forward the new visitors to their balmy quarters and the steaming waters of the park lake at Chadderton Hall. It is the spice of life to have little incidents like this; they are something to talk about, to joke and laugh about. The small adventure passed through Oldham’s five stations, and later, filtered into the town. The public, however, was duly advised of these occurrences in a proper manner.
CHADDERTON HALL, OLDHAM. 25th July, 1896. Will the Manchester Ship Canal ever come to Oldham? Ii so, the fresh arrivals every week of WILD ANIMALS FOR CHADDERTON
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country squire, but to put it to a use these ancient worthies could never have imagined. He had plans drawn for a fine hotel to be built in juxta-position to the fine old Georgian hall. Application was made to the County magistrates for a license which, in conformity with a reactionary public opinion the bench courteously refused to grant. Some of the lessors and their friends were on the bench. There must be some mistake. Not daunted, he waited for the next licensing court and repeated the application, which was just as courteously refused a second time. Surely there was some misunderstanding. The same gentlemen were on the bench, looking very judicial and dignified. A nod may be as good as a wink and a wink as good as a nod—of course he was wrong in imagining such a thing—but neither is as good as black and white, as he painfully learned. The idea of a license was, therefore, dropped. Money was spent, not on buildings to secure the chief rent, but on ramshackle buildings for the housing of wild animals. Some of the crocodiles, after basking and lolling in the genial waters of the lake, got bronchitis and died. Their numbers were promptly filled up with new visitors from the Ganges to enjoy the tonic of our Northern zone.
On August 8th was announced
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language. It is not intended to asperse a worthy class so par- ticularly free from this vice: it is a matter of nerves. They. sat in their room looking down their noses when “Chang” again
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the BENGAL TIGER, the Boxinc KANGAROO,” Ostriches, wild cats and prize cattle made a lively succession.
The long-suffering porters were getting down on the per- petual arrival of cases and mysterious looking horse boxes. They had long tired of their adventures in the jungle of brakes and waggon wheels. Now there has come some other ferocious beast waiting to be discharged.
A man with a black face, pearly teeth, and frizzy hair came round. The pots did not rattle this time, and, besides, the negro’s presence was a little reassuring.
“What is it
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Doors at the rear were opened, and the negro cautioned the men with the poles. He opened the front door again, and used. a coaxing language of his own—a sort of Esperanto between the elephant and himself. The animal took in the situation and, acting like a philosopher (also probably realising that the next meal was due), he made no more fuss, but put out his. trunk and inspected the sloping platform with a scientific eye. What sort of a mouse trap was this they had laid for him ? He put one foot out very cautiously and pressed it gently on the stage, then a little harder. When assured the other foot was brought warily out also. He waited to calculate the resist- ance. It was all night; the intelligent creature walked out like a gentleman and went on his way to the equatorial shades of Chadderton Park.
The animal kingdom at Chadderton Hall could not be said to be a happy family. Alligators could not bask long in the climate of Chadderton Park lake without the aid of a huge furnace underneath. The nature of the buildings and the nature of the climate together caused a heavy mortality among the
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strong and well, but he had not the confident swing and the lurking smile as of old. By endeavouring to take hold of his concerns with his former bold spirit, he hoped and claimed that he would build up his fortunes again. He was not old and had apparently many years of active life before him. Most men would have been glad to see his recovery.
But it was not to be. Though strong in body and spirit he was seized by that fell disease, the despair of doctors and medical science, and passed away in his prime. Would he have retrieved his fortunes had he lived ? It is probable he would ; it is not unlikely he would have profited by his experiences and
Floating a Factory.
HAT amazing fact, the industrial development of modern Oldham, seems to have grown on unorthodox lines. Commercially speaking, it had no right to become so bulky
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per pound, which “margin,” no doubt, has done much for the reputation and prosperity of Oldham and its spiritual welfare.
But, after all, have not Saddleworth and King Coal had more
to do than rivers or trickling streams with the slackening of Oldham’s belt
FLOATING A FACTORY. 179
To get nearer the point, somehow and somewhy, Oldham had become chock full of cotton mills when the blonde beast ran amok and put a period to further building. With the result, as a matter of rough and primitive justice, that the lads went out and painfully put a period to him.
Mills then had grown like mushrooms in a night.
Finance ? No difficulty whatever. The same lads and their fathers rolled their money in and all was well. A site? Yes, that was sometimes an obstacle; but the discovery of a small trickling the size of a lead pencil would dissolve it. No, the difficulty, the real difficulty—-one embracing the high politics of millcraft—-was in the wise selection of a name. Capital was held up like a blockade for the want of names before the war. When a new name was discovered there was always a new mill; the blockade was raised. I If Mr. A. met Mr. B. and confidentially whispered in his ear that he had at last got a new name there was, by and by, excitement on But there is great delicacy and a certain propriety relating to this important matter. Should he whisper to his friend the name
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Fortunately there is no such difficulty in obtaining gentlemen who, as the saying goes, wish to place their feet under the “mahogany.” More frequently it is oak, but let that pass.
Every trade and profession is liberally represented—grocers, joiners, builders, architects, stockbrokers, engineers, lawyers, doctors—they are all qualified spinners, for the bacillus yarnicus twistiensis is in the air (like the moisture) which produces this special type. The dividends they make are their justification ; they well deserve all the admiration and appreciation they receive. No body of men can claim a closer insight into the subtleties of stocktaking so truly reflected in the balance sheets issued from time to time. -
Merely for the sake of appearance and to meet the old- fashioned notions of loanholders a technical man is appointed to see that the spindles turn the right way. In return and to show their confidence, the wealthy democracy, including the bourgeois, the proletariat, a few industrial workers of the world and syndicalists, leaves its loans at four per cent. to be safe, while the wily Chancellor tries his wiles to obtain the same money at five per cent. For in spite of formidable Government attacks by letter, tank and war weapons to wheedle or terrify money out of Oldham the mills went spinning along at four per cent.
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In Milldom there was no depreciation of the mark; every- thing proceeded according to plan.
Finance! No, good sir ; I repeat, the difficulty was not there. The money came in so fast, sometimes, that one mill would play the good Samaritan towards a sister mill. And yet a Limited Company is said to have no soul.
The names, unfortunately, are not in the air. What is more, they had run out. In fact, under dire necessity they had even been imported from abroad.
But the most consoling and reassuring feature about it is they were never made
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“What sort of a brid ?” enquired a gentleman. The proposal dropped flat and this gave a director of ‘The Lion” his opportunity. He explained that the
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‘but the name I propose is ‘The Cod’—-‘The Cod Spinning Co., Ltd.’
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This was commented on with regret, being another reminder that the old landmarks are continually slipping away. What of Horsedge Hall and Bent Hall, was asked with lamentation— the and now this.
Of course, it is the remarkable enterprise of the Corporation which puts the “King’s in hourly jeopardy. This most worthy body is in direct competition with the Beautiful Oldham Society which has raised the gaze of the people to the hill tops and done something to establish a garden suburb.
Likewise, with wonderful intuition, the Corporation has placed three huge Theban towers at Greenhill (notwithstanding the ignorant protests of the residents), which never fail to
impress strangers with the dignity and importance of the town as they pass through.
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Three great shoulders stand up unashamed, as on the arid Ethiopian plain. But their enterprise does not end here.
The town hall became too small, when everybody jostled some- body else. This furnished a problem, and at the same time an opportunity to add to the aesthetic features of this building.
The original, or front portion, is in the Ionic style; an extended block is of the Corinthian classic order. Now, that was only two styles and there are many tastes in Oldham. With fine judgment and courage they have planted a second extension in a free Renaissance style on to the latter.
And what could they do more? Their opportunities for variety have been limited. Yet there is hope, for only half the site is filled. There are still other styles from Doric to Moorish and Indian, which may be employed in the Clegg Street Facade to provide interest to future students of architecture and
But the front up to the square, opposite the statue of Henry Platt’s son, the site occupied by the dear “King’s Arms’’—the
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spiritual home of the famous St. Peter’s choir—should be treated fearlessly in the “Gothic
FLOATING A FACTORY. I 187
a name had occurred to him during the discussion which perhaps I they would be good enough to consider.
The names they had proposed were very interesting and he thanked them for them. The name he
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OU go by wayof Stalybridge and the deep cutting.
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call upon mine host or sweep round to the left and proceed on your thirsty way.
Whichever way you go—by winding paths and fields with sleepy, ruminating cattle, by the little Greek temple which speaks of the man who made a leafy oasis out of a moorland desert ; or by the King’s highway with its dust and clatter, your tendency is always downward, and you ultimately arrive at the “Gun Inn.” It is an old wayside hostelry at the very front door of Hollingworth. Here.the road forks out—to the right to Hadfield and Glossop, to the left on through the village to Tintwistle and the wilds.
Geographically the vale of Longdendale is a saucy intrusion. Cheshire has perkily thrust, in spite of its two big neighbours, a wedge right up to the everlasting rocks and springs. Ever since Earl Hugh had it, it has maintained its title. And here the deans of Yorkshire and the dales
GAM BATTY. 19]
artillery or the bulls’ eyes, I never failed to see that extra- ordinary name and to ruminate upon it until I reached my déstination. For years it was a vexing problem. All obstacles, however, break down to a sustained assault, whether it be a salient at Ypres or a puzzling patronymic, and this was no exception.
One bright morning, after having slept in the knife basket or taken one or other of the powerful brain foods now so fashion- able, an inspiration came to me as I passed by the shady groves and browsing cattle. Many times I had smiled half amusedly, half contemptuously at a queer association of the two names which had recently floated quite spontaneously through my mind. As a relic of cock-fighting days a man, in these parts, is said to: be “‘gam’’ when he keeps his end up, whether it be at cricket or in his fight against adversity. And the French verb, battre, to strike, is not unlike Batty: it also gives us the word bat. Thus the two names have a fortuitous affinity which for a time amused me. The idea lay deep down amongst my profoundest secrets. I never had the notion of advancing it before a learned society. But in due time the real solution came quite easily, for, this fine sunny morning the air was fresh and clear and the mind alert. It came in the twinkling of an eye, “Gambetta!” “Of course it was Gambetta, what could be and my stride advanced from
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Hambleton. Such a discovery, apart from sheer mental exercise, is a gratifying achievement.
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J, therefore, one day during the early part of the great war, having been cheered by the depreciation of the German mark, made it my duty to call upon Mr. Hambleton and explain a situation, delicate though it was, which might result in a new and gilded commission for the sign writer.
I confidently entered the Inn, which was very neat and clean, and, in order to keep my head cool, ordered a lemonade. The landlord came in very briskly.
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“Mi uncle Gam was mi mother’s brother, an’ she called me after him.” “Was Gam his right name ?” I meekly enquired. “Certainly, you can see his gravestone yonder, an’ on it is ‘Gam Batty.’ ”’ I “That settles I replied, “you are without doubt Gam Batty He was a decent, homely Englishman that even a red tie or long hair could not make vicious-looking or revolutionary. So I was not the only one who had nursed that original idea about Gambetta. This was another blow. Rather crestfallen, I left Mr. Hambleton to go on my way.
Is anything certain in this world? Is anything what it appears to be? I turned the corner of the Inn into Wednes- hough and fancied the bulls’ eyes had grinning faces in them, and that the guns were pointing at me. I was glad to get into the soothing fields and woods that border the moors by Mottram Hall.
How I had stormed at my
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bee filled the air as I passed the little Greek temple guarded on every side by the leafy sentinels it bears witness to. All was beautiful, golden and peaceful. Yet I was sad. It could not have been due to the outer world ; it was something within, some subtle distemper we all have felt but are unwilling to analyse. Such is human curiosity, however, the name continued to haunt me and I have found another derivation for Gam, in spite of everything. But it will remain fast where it is; wild horses could not drag it from me.
Some time ago my peregrinations took me to the beautiful valley of the Holme and Holmfirth. What may appear, though erroneously, to be the outer man, is interested on such occasions with distant views, old houses, scraps of local history and what- not. This is all very well and pleasing, even elevating to a pondering man; but a time surely comes when an urgent demand is made by what is called the inner man, when interest begins to centre on restaurants and inns and similar places where men congregate.
The war was barely over and those plutonic words ‘‘control”’ and “‘ration’’ over-shadowed the land. I applied at three places for the barest fare to keep the inner and outer man on good terms, but was courteously refused. Recommendations to try this inn and that shop only brought failures.
At length, crestfallen, I came to the “Wagon and Horses,”’ my last hope and anchor. What did I see on the sign in front of me? The fascinating name, “Gam Battye!’’ How many more of him could there be! Gam Battye! Nobody could be called simply Gambetta. What horse power of mental effort wouldn’t it have saved me had I seen this name first!
There was an occasion in Holmfirth that beautiful afternoon. After the tension and gloom of the war people turned out in hun- dreds to the revival of the athletic sports in a tree-fringed field once swept by the flood. Gam Battye’s house was crammed with thirsty and vociferous humanity, and Mrs. Gam Battye was bravely struggling with pint pots and money changing.
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This was my last chance. I lay between a strike of the inner man and a hunger lock-out! I felt very serious. Approaching the lady I asked if I could have a little of something to eat. She was very sorry but she could not let me have anything. She really meant anything but beer. I am not quick-witted or even fairly ingenious, but the occasion makes the man and hunger must have quickened my wits.
As she wriggled amongst pint pots and elbows, I said, “Gam Battye? Are you related to Gam Batty Hambleton?” This was the “Open Sesame,” the magic word, probably the mystic word used by Freemasons and other occult societies.
she replied, “he is a slight relation; do you know him ?” I “Of course, I was proud to admit I had made his acquaintance and knew his place very well. I felt guilty of a mental re- servation, because it is only the outside I know so well.
“Oh, we were at a show with him last week. (Yes, three pints
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At length Mrs. Gam Battye brought ‘‘something,” and smiled at me like an old acquaintance. I am making no confessions. It was not the hackneyed steak and chips she brought, and, under the exigencies of trade and clamour we could not expect sparrows on toast. I don’t say there was even a tablecloth, but there was mustard amongst other condiments. We were hungry and we were prepared to prove it. It was rough; we were ready. We talked and Jaughed—this entertaining fellow and
and Ox Hey where, at last, she was taken. Here one of the » chestnuts burst and spattered the fireplace. Tommy gave one to each of the company which for a time caused a lull in the conversation. After taking a drink out of the pmt pot Farrand said, ‘“That wur a rum business t’other
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“He liked nowt better nur a pint o’
When the party had recovered themselves Mr. Shutt advised Tommy he had better be going betore Mrs, Shutt returned from next door. ‘Ah think its toime we all went,” said Jamie, an’ Ah’ve to get to Marsden yet.” They all got up, drank off their ale, filled and lighted their pipes and slowly sauntered to the door, talking and laughing. “Well, good neet, owd said Jamie.