Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peterloo Massacre of 1819 my Ancestor John Rhodes

Tw's a fine Sunday day on the 16th of August 1819, the Parliamentary reformers had been planning a rally at St Peters Field for several weeks, Samuel Bamford a native of Middleton had emerged as a natural leader. The event called for the best so Henry Hunt was engaged to be main speaker. B y mid morning it was apparent this would be a record turn out--every one had been instructed to bring no weapons -peace at any price-the common man had had it with the unfair method of electing Parliament, the suffrage ladies were pressing hard for reform, the high cost of the battle of Waterloo was only four years past, and as always the wealthy were getting richer and the poor getting further behind.
the 16,000 Sq foot St Peters Field was bulging with some 60,000 to 70,000 commoners mostly women very well dressed in their Sunday best.
Now St Peters Field has three main arteries and four very narrow lanes., with buildings and walls along it's outer edges.
 William Hulton chairman of the magistrates is watching from the house on the edge of St Peters Field, saw the enthusiastic reception that Bamford and Hunt received on there arrival at the assembly, encouraged him to action he issued an arrest warrant for Henry Hunt,and all the rest of the leaders-Chief Constable Andrews asked for military assistance. two notes were handed to two horsemen who were standing by. The
Manchester and Salford Yeomanry were stationed just a short distance away in Portland Street  they immediately drew there swords and galloped full tilt toward the Field , one trooper in a frantic attempt to catch up knocked down a lady causing the death of her child two year old William Fields first casualty of the day.
Sixty Cavalrymen of Manchester arrived, the route was narrow and the inexperienced horses were thrust further and further into the crowd they reared and plunged as people tried to get out of there way. As they neared the speakers stand they became stuck in the crowd and in panic started to hack about them with their sabers--the crowd had no weapons their only thought was to get away. The magistrates answer was to form the 15th Hussars into a line stretching across the eastern end of St Peters Field and charge with fixed bayonets into the crowd, at same moment the Cheshire Yeomanary charged from the southern edge. the crowd had some difficulty in dispersing the 88th regiment of foot, standing with fixed bayonets closed the south edge
At the cost of 11 dead and over 600 injured the crowd had melted away, leaving the park scattered with the dead and wounded.
A true count of the dead will never be known our ancestor John Rhodes a woolen merchant was their he received two saber wounds to the head but he lived three days and the office of the magistrate ordered his body examined and determined he died of natural causes.

In the end both Samuel Bamford and Henry Hunt were arrested and jailed for disturbing the peace ????
guess I missed something,  The caricature shown appeared at the time the text reads" Down with 'em'! chop em down my brave boys; give them no quarter they want to take our beef & Pudding from us!--remember the more you kill the less poor rates you'll have to pay so go at it Lads show your courage & your loyality"


婷妏 said...

People throw stones only at trees with fruit on them.......................................................

桂竹桂竹 said...


Paul Newman said...