PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800
THE DECLINE OF THE MANOR
AND THE RYRONS .
URING the 16th and 17th centuries the influence of the Manor
D Courts continued to decline, and the power of the Justices of
the Peace, and the Vestry, increased : for instance, in 1662 Justices
of the Peace were empowered to appoint Overseers for townships,
and it was the duty of the Overseers (originally appointed directly by the
Parish and for the Parish) to levy rates for the relief of the poor and to
supervise their labours . Moreover, as the Manorial fines were fixed,
while the value of money was decreasing, even the financial business
of the Court continually lessened in importance, for instance, concerning
payments in respect of land surrendered . However, Constables for town-
ships, and such officials as Moorlookers and Hedgelookers, Ale Tasters,
also the Hayward and the Pinner, continued to be appointed, and, in
fact, such Manorial officers exist today .
Meanwhile, and up to the early 19th century, the Byrons held the
Manor, but their interests were elsewhere .
William, the fourth Lord Byron of Rochdale, died in 1736, and his
heir by his third wife was William the fifth, profligate and " wicked "
Lord Byron who was found guilty of manslaughter after a duel with his
cousin, William Chaworth, but was afterwards acquitted . Before he
died, in 1798, he had started a tedious and expensive lawsuit against Simon
Dearden, gentleman, of Rochdale, and John Lomax, miner, of Tunna-
cliffe, to whom he had leased coal mines at Middle Hill, Hades Hill, Shore
PURITANS AND PACKMEN : 1603-1702 61
Lancashire to find " a fruitfull valley full of inclosures and cut hedges and
trees," and Rochdale " a pretty neate towne built all of stone here
is a good large Meeteing place well filled--these parts Religion doth better
flourish than in places where they have better advantages-here I observ'd
the grounds were all enclosed with quicksetts cut smoothe and as even on
fine green banks and as well kept as for a garden, and so most of my way
to Manchester I rode between such hedges ."
It is not clear which " Meeteing place " she meant, though it may
have been in a part of the Great House, or " Amen Corner," as it is still
traditionally called . The Rochdale " quicksetts " would he the usual
hawthorn hedges which, until the 19th century, were kept "cut smoothe "
in a very different fashion from their ragged survivals of today .
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 63
Moor and Tooter Hill, etc . His only grandson was killed in Corsica in
1794 ; his spectacular brother, Admiral Byron (known as " Foul-weather
Jack "), had died in 1786 leaving a rascally son, Captain John Byron, who
first eloped with the Marchioness of Carmarthen, by whom he had a
daughter, Augusta, and next married Catherine Gordon, who was said
to he of royal descent . The son of this second marriage was George
Gordon Byron, the poet, horn in 1788, and who, his father having died,
in 1794 unexpectedly became the heir . In 1801, having succeeded to the
title, this hopelessly lame boy, whose mother had kept lodgings in Aber-
deen, was sent to Harrow School for five years, where he proved to be a
good boxer and batsman, a poor scholar and a great reader .
THE RISINGS OF '15 AND '45 .
In 1712 the officers of a Jacobite club known as the Rochdale
" Mock Corporation " were elected " over a bowl of punch and a barrel
of oysters ." James Whitehead, son-in-law of Seth Clayton of Schofield
Hall, was one of its members : he was also the curate of W hitworth Chapel,
and later of St . Chad . However, this was a small society, and the 1715
Rising in favour of the Old Pretender, James Edward, came no nearer than
Preston, where the Jacobites were defeated a month or so before the
Pretender fled to France .
It is often illuminating to study the growth of legends, as opposed
to the recording of documentary evidence . Two versions of the ' 45
Rising will illustrate these processes . The first is a robust and entertaining
account, published in 1874, by an " old inhabitant " of Rochdale, Samuel
Brierley . According to him, in November, 1745, the Anti-Jacobite Vicar
(Samuel Dunster) and the Justices of the Peace (Mr . Entwisle of Foxholes
and Mr . Chadwick of Healey) and others met at the Union Inn (then at
the bottom of Yorkshire Street) . This impromptu " Home Guard "
ordered a beacon to be fired on Knowl Hill at the first sight of the south-
ward marching Scottish troops : farmers were warned to move their cattle
to safety and St . Chad's bells were to sound an alarm . The Rochdale
Jacobites, Holts and Cleggs amongst them, met at the old timber and
gabled Eagle and Child Inn, opposite the Union Inn (and on the site of
Messrs . Duckworth's present shop in the Walk) . The Scots, wrote
Brierley, came by Blackwater Street, down Newgate to the Blue Bell Inn
and cordoned off the Union Inn, where an impudent soldier had a spoon-
full of hot fat thrown at him by Betty, the cook and also had his kilt torn
by Rover, a Newfoundland dog which had been in a barrel-cage, rotating
a turn-spitted round of beef. A young man, Valentine Holt, joined the
Scottish troops and after the failure of this second rising, was hanged and
beheaded at Penrith Castle, to which town his mother walked to see him
and to dip her handkerchief in his blood .
The second account is a letter written on the 31st November, 1745,
by the well known Rochdale lawyer, Thomas Ferrand . It states that 23
Scots came through Rochdale on horseback on the day before-which was
the same day that the Chevalier went through Manchester and gained many
recruits there .'
64 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
In July, 1746, prominent Lancashire rebels were executed in London
and the heads of two of them were sent to Manchester to he exhibited on
spikes above the Exchange . Charles Edward, after many adventures,
escaped to France . Of Ferrand's " 23 Scots " four, including James
Hamilton and George Williamson, deserted and stayed in Rochdale . The
son of the first mentioned, another James, started the first Sunday School
in the town, in 1782 . This family of tinsmiths carried on a local business
until 1925 . The Williamson family until recently owned a long-estab-
lished jewellers' shop in Yorkshire Street .
NEWCOMERS AT THE HALLS .
During the 18th century many of the old halls were to be taken
over by men who were not of the native stock . Of the nine selected halls
(excluding the Great House), Healer Hall alone withstood the " invasion "
and remained in the hands of the Chadwicks, but in 1774 it was again
Sarah Chadwick, of Chadwick, and Alexander Butterworth died
in 1722 and 1728, rexpectively, the last of their lines . St . Chad's Church
still possesses memorials of them : an alms-dish and two flagons, of silver,
the former bearing her name and the latter engraved with his arms, crest,
and the name of his son Alexander who died in 1724 . Chadwwick Hall
passed to the Reverend Roger Kay who gave it as an endowment to the
Bury Grammar School . Be/field Ha// was left to its former steward,
Richard Towneley, mercer, who in 1752 added a new front to the building .
Oakenrod Hall, also was much altered by its new owner, Edmund Butter-
worth, merchant, and was sold towards the end of the century to James
Royds of Falinge, whose clothier ancestors came from Yorkshire to Roch-
dale in the I6th century . He, and his brothers John, of Brotherod, and
Thomas, of Greenhill, each married a daughter of Charles Smith, merchant,
of Summercastle (near the present Baron Street Drill Hall) . In 1702
Pike House was much modernised, with a square-cut stone frontage and
sash windows : it passed, on the death of John Halliwell in 1771, to his
great-nephew Robert Reswicke, whose great-grand-daughter was in the
19th century to marry a Royds who assumed the name of Beswicke-Royds .
Schoheld Hall was sold by the Claytons in 1770 to Robert Entwisle of
Foxholes, member of a 12th century Lancashire family who had acquired
some of the Buckleys' lands at Foxholes in the 16th century, later inter-
marrying with the Chadwicks of Healey and the Holts of Stubley . Robert
Entwisle's blood relation and eventual heir, John Entwisle, born in the
'80's, was to marry the second daughter of Thomas Smith of Castleton .
C/egg Hall also came to the Entwisles : in 1768 died Theophilus How-
arth's unmarried grandson, Radcliffe : Theophilus' sister, Grace, however,
had married a Hulton, and it was this family which sold Clegg to the
Entwisles : the hall had been tenanted in the middle of the century by the
Turners, Radcliffe's mother, Elizabeth, having been a Turner . James
Holt of Stub/ej Hall and Castleton Hall left four daughters, one of whom,
Mary, married Samuel Chetham of Tarter, descendant of the wealthy
Manchester clothiers who bought Byron's old home, Clayton Hall, and
Clegg Hall, 1954 . Harold
founded the still magnificent Chetham's Library in Manchester . Another
of the Holt daughters, Frances, married James Winstanley, member of
a Leicestershire family, but it was Samuel Chetham who eventually bought
the whole of the Holt estates : in 1719 he rebuilt the south wing of Castleton
Hall into a large classic-style rectangle with a cornice and tall sash windows .
This house now became the most important in the Parish-in the oak-
panelled Great Hall to the north were windows ornamented with the
shields or arms of families connected with the Holts : Radcliffes, Talbots,
Stanleys, Towneleys, Leghs and Byrons, Hopwoods, Chethams, Ashtons
and Traffords . Later additions were the arms of Entwisle of Foxholes
and Smith of Castleton . The 18th century wing had finely decorated
plaster ceilings, panelled walls and a Renaissance staircase with open,
twisted banisters and massive, square, carved posts . Samuel Chetham
died in 1744 : after the death of his brother Humphrey Chetham, and two
cousins, the Holt property reverted to Frances Holt's descendants, the
Winstanleys . In 1772 it was sold, or mortgaged, and in 1783 it was bought
by a member of a family who came to Rochdale from Accrington, James
Walmsley, merchant, of the near-by Goose Lane . He was not long at the
Hall and it was soon sold to Thomas Smith, one of whose daughters
married John Entwisle of Foxholes .
Within the space of a century these typical local halls had become
dominated by six names : Chetham, Towneley, Entwisle, Royds, Walmsley
and Smith . Representatives of the first three families, Samuel Chetham,
fib ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
Richard Towneley and John Entwisle, became High Sheriffs for the
County of Lancaster in 1738, 1752 and 1798, respectively . Of the last
three families, the most spectacular rise was that of the Smiths, who, at
the beginning of the century, had been yeomen of Starring, near Dearnley .
John Smith, merchant, who died in 1762, had twelve children : four of his
sons, John, Charles, Isaac and Thomas, acquired warehouses and fulling
mills on the Glebe estate, where Thomas built himself a house which later
became the Wellington Hotel, while Charles built Summercastle on the
eastern edge of the Glebe .
EARLY YEARS 01' TRANSIT10N .
Two early 18th century wills may show conditions during the first
part of the century, in contrast to the great change which was to come
before its end .
In 1722 John Royds, farmer, of Little Wardle (and great-grand-
father of John, James and Thomas-Charles Smith's sons-in-law) had
left £811 which included wool fleece, milled cloth, oil soap and butter
(the latter was used for greasing the wool) : his looms and gear were worth
less than £16 : hay and corn, £30 ; three cows and a horse, £14 : two hives,
The 1721 inventory of one Robert Schofield, written on two large
sheets of parchment each the length of an arm, is in itself almost a survey
of contemporary Rochdale life . Probably the first bookseller in Rochdale,
his goods included Bibles, grammars and books ranging from Homer's
Iliad to Wingate's Arithmetic-half the entries are devoted to his stock
of books and stationery, with maps and horn-books (or instructional
texts mounted on wood and protected by thin horn), together with 1,300
score (or cut) quills valued at 4s . 4d ., as distinct from 1,000 feathers at
Is . 8d . His spectacles were sold with cases, he had looking glasses, ivory
combs, silk " ribbins," also lawns and hollands, with printed linen at 18d .
a yard . " handkershives," " mittins " and stomachers (or ornamental
bodices) .? He sold shoes and those " pattins " which had been worn since
mediaeval days as a kind of galosh or raised wooden sole used as an
However, until the early 18th century there had been little accelera-
tion in either spinning or weaving methods since the introduction of the
treadle spinning-wheel, but in 1733 John Kay of Bury patented his famous
but unpopular flying shuttle, whereby one weaver could work a broadcloth
and at the same time improve his speed . As some five spinning-wheels
had already been needed to supply each loom, high prices for thread were
inevitable and the weavers themselves found it hard to earn a living .
Moreover, Kay's patent was often challenged--within four years, for
instance, a group of Rochdale weavers claimed that in about 1706 a
Joseph Crouder (or Crowder) of Spotland had invented a wheel-shuttle
and that a board for it to run on had been in use fifteen years afterwards . 4
Not until the '70's were both spinning and weaving to he greatly accelera-
ted and their progress evenly matched .
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 67
In the meantime, roads, too, were about to be improved . In 1713
the rate-paid Scavengers of Rochdale were to pave Yorkshire Street :5
personal road service had already been commuted into payments towards
the roads, but now turnpikes and tolls were to be introduced into Lanca-
shire and by a 1734 Act the road to Halifax " over a certain craggy moun-
tain called Blackstone Edge " was put in charge of 116 trustees and charges
were exacted from its users by tolls of I s . 6d . for a " hearse, berlin, chariot
chaise or chair" with four horses, IOd . for every score of oxen, 5d .,'for
every score of sheep, Id . for every horse, etc ., though certain local risers,„~
such as farmers or church-goers were exempted from payment . In ,1755
the Rochdale-Manchester and Rochdale-Burnley roads were also~'turrr-
piked, and soon carriages were to be improved by the introduction
of springs . In about 1724 the author of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel' Defoe,
had travelled over Blackstone Edge " through trackless drifts of` snow "
and had found the way " very frightful narrow and deep ." 6 He :described
Rochdale as " a good market town and of late much improved in the wooll-
en manufacture ." Some 30 years later a pioneer of Alpine" travel, Dr .
Richard Pococke, in 1751 found a large local manufacture of " blankets,
baies and shaloons " and pronounced the Vicarage (then, as now, built
of brick, with a stone-slate roof) to be " one of the most delightful parson-
age houses in England ."7 He had come via Bacup and commented on
the fact that both Rochdale and Bury were built of brick .
In 1745 the Orchard House (known to exist in 1713) was rebuilt
by Simon Dearden . At the same time its near neighbour the Great
House was inhabited by Ralph Taylor, the Parish Clerk : this provided
yet another religious association which may have been responsible for
its nickname, " Amen Corner ."
Bishop Gastrell observed in 1717 that there were no Papists in
Rochdale but that there were about 200 Dissenters . In the same year
the Presbyterian Chapel in Blackwater Street was built on a plot of ground
known as Colepitt Garden : it later became the Unitarian Chapel and was
rebuilt in 1856 . One of its best known ministers was the Reverend
Thomas Threlkeld, renowned for his encyclopaedic memory, but so
physically short-sighted that he dared not ride on horseback because he
could not see the ground .
Methodism was probably introduced in Rochdale in about 1746 :
John Wesley did not visit the town until 1749, following after the Scotch-
man, William Darney, John Bennet of Derbyshire and Charles Wesley .
The immaculate John Wesley, with his long silky hair, was first greeted
in the streets with " shouting, cursing, blaspheming and gnashing of teeth "
but, as he wrote himself, " the word of God prevailed . . . and there was
a very remarkable change in the behaviour of the people," and again, at
Todmorden in 1753 " the people stood row above row on the side of the
mountain . . . their . . . hearts melting as wax ." At a time when the then
genteel Church of England clergy seemed withdrawn from the masses of
68 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
the people, Wesley preached the practical application of New Testament
doctrines to Lancashire spinners and weavers who were distressed and
bewildered by the inventive spirit of their age . One of his most famous
sayings was " Do all the good you can, in every place you can, to all the
people you can ." Bunkhouse, Norden, on Hunger Hill, still keeps the
stairs and rail from which John Wesley preached to the flourishing society
there ; his high-backed oak chair from Hartley Hall was lately given to the
Champness Hall ; he preached at the first Methodist Chapel to he built,
at Toad Lane, in 1770, and his last visit to Rochdale was in 1790, when, at
the age of 87, he walked up the Church Steps and counted them (there arc
now 122) . A Chapel at Union Street in 1793 replaced the one at Toad
Lane and was itself supplanted in 1825 by the present building, which is
not now used as a chapel .
4rnoldT,,, hn .
Rochdale, r . 1780 . (from S .W . corner of South Parade) .
The Baptists first held services in Rochdale during 1772 ; in the
following year nine people were baptised in the Roch, near the Orchard,
by the former woollen apprentice and " card setter " John Hirst, who was
born in Blackwater Street . As there were irreverent rumours (hat Mr .
Hirst had received five shillings for each immersion, those who had been
baptised signed a testimonial afterwards, against this report . The first
meeting-place is said to have been in a room at the Bull Inn, at the bottom
of Yorkshire Street . In 1775 a chapel was built at Town Meadows, and
was replaced in 1833 by the West Street Baptist Chapel .
In 1708 the house of Robert Kershaw, in Butterworth, was register-
ed as a Quaker meeting-places the house of a John Lees was similarly
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 69
registered in 1765, and the Rochdale Quakers also met at Turf Lane, near
Royton until 1808, and afterwards at the George Street Meeting-house .
According to the Bibliographical Dictiorrarr of the English Catholics,
published in 1885, the Reverend Rowland Broomhead was in 1791
licensed to perform services in certain towns which included Rochdale ;
from about 1815, Mass was celebrated in a warehouse in Clegg Street
(behind John Street) . In the same year as the passing of the Roman Cath-
olic Relief Bill, 1829, St . John's Church, Ann Street, was built ; Father
Turner, afterwards Bishop of Salford, was then the Rochdale priest . For
the first time since the Popish Plot of 1678, Roman Catholics were eligible
as Members of Parliament .
CHARITIES AND EDUCATION .
Following the first 17th century endowments came a flood of 18th
century charities ; some donors, and the districts and schools connected
with them, are now mentioned in chronological order :-1702 : Mary
Shepherd (Whi(worth) ; 1712 : Josiah Gartside (Rochdale and Castleton) ;
1713 : Richard Clegg (Todmorden School) ; 1714 : Alexander Butterworth
(Milnrow) ; 1717 : Dorothy Holt (Castleton) ; 1724 : John and James
Starkey (Whitworth Free School) ; 1725 : Richard Towneley (Milnrow
School) ; 1727 : John Hill (Hollingworth and Ogden Schools) ; 1731 :
Thomas Guest (Blackwater Street School) ; c . 1740 : Samuel Taylor, elder
of Hundersfield, and Robert Jacques, chapman of Spotland, (Toad Lane
School) ; 1759-61 : John and Jane Hardman (Vicar's Moss, or Free English
School) ; 1789 : John Kenyon (Rochdale) .
Most of these were specifically towards education, and it is strange
how often Blackwater Street is associated with early Nonconformity and
charities . The Starkey funds came from six cottages " near the spout "
in Blackwater Street, and the funds contributed by the bricksetter, Thomas
Guest, were from three cottages and a garden in the same street . Some
funds were later amalgamated ; some schools still stand, such as the old
Todmorden School, with its date-stone : " Endowed 1713 Rebuilt 1851,"
and the old Ogden School : " AD 1727 . . . rebuilt AD 1857," but most have
been pulled down or closed, such as Milnrow and the Moss Schools ;
the funds from the old Toad Lane School were diverted eventually to the
Technical College ; St . Mary's National School in Red Cross Street ab-
sorbed the Holt Charity ; the two wealthiest bequests proved to be those
of Josiah Gartside and of John Kenyon . The first sprang from £200,
four houses and a smithy in Blackwater Street and the conditions which
were laid down required an annual sermon to be preached in the Parish
Church on New Year's Day-this custom was transferred to the Todmor-
den Church . One hundred years after the inauguration of the Kenyon
Charity its funds for poor apprentices amounted to over £8,000 and grants
are still made from the income of this Charity .
This zest for providing education was a strong symptom of the
urge for self-help, reform and emancipation, in all three of which great
movements Rochdale was soon to take a prominent part .
70 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
Meanwhile, William Hodgson, the master at the Grammar School
towards the end of the century, was soon to complain that he would not
take more than 16 scholars (girls were then included) unless he could have
an usher and also make his own charges for subjects other than the original
requirements of " true piety and the knowledge of the Latin Tongue ."
THh VICARS AND ST . CHAD .
In 1722 died the 94-year-old Henry Pigot, who, having been a
somewhat High Church Vicar of Rochdale for nearly 60 years, during the
last years of his life was obliged to see a Nonconformist congregation
flocking to the Blackwater Street Chapel, although no new chapel had
been built for his own Parish . He was followed by the handsome and
bewigged Samuel Dunster who in 1725 built a " very good new house "
to replace the old thatched Vicarage . A translator of Horace, he was
noted for his lengthy sermons : Lady Cowper, then attached to the Court,
had written of Dr . Dunster preaching " an intolerable dull sermon, to the
degree of an opiate ." Both Dunster and Nathaniel Forster, who succeed-
ed him in 1754, were attacked by the famous Milnrow schoolmaster,
John Collier, or " Tim Bobbin " ; of the first he wrote " I give my fortyfive
minute sand-glass (on which is painted Old Time sleeping) unto that clergy-
man living within three miles of my house, who is most noted for preaching
long-winded tautologizing sermons : provided that he never turn it twice
at one heat ." Of Forster, the pluralist (he spent little time at Rochdale,
being a Canon at Bristol, where he was eventually buried) Tim Bobbin
wrote a mock epitaph " Full three feet deep beneath this stone Lies our
late Vicar Foster, Who clipp'd his sheep to th' very bone, But said no
Pater Noster ." The mild James Tunstall, 1757-62, was succeeded by the
peace-loving and charitable Thomas Wray, who in 1764 obtained an Act
empowering the Vicar to grant 99-years building leases of the glebe-lands .
Richard Hind, a one-time proctor at Oxford University and " haughty,
imperious and tyrannical " towards his curates at St . Anne's, Westmins-
ter, resigned his London living and in 1778 came to Rochdale, where he
improved with age and grew " less sour, less petulent and less offensive
to the people, in his latter years ." At least, he gained pleasure out of
gardening, and is said to have been the first person to introduce auriculas
to the town . Tall, commanding, able and severe, he wore " a powdered
wig, shovel hat, silk stockings and shoe buckles . . . took a great deal of
snuff " and owned a tortoise-shell silver-mounted snuff-box . Although he
was not widely hospitable, he kept the brick-built, stone-slate roofed
Vicarage in good repair ; two rooms were wainscoted, two papered, all
had deal floors, and a brew-house and ale-cellar were attached to the
west end of the house which was built a little further forward than its
original site and must have looked much the same in Vicar Hind's day as
it does now. Thomas Drake, whose portrait still hangs in the vestry of
the church, came in 1790 and was for 30 years a respected and aimiable
vicar and magistrate, although in 1795 he was obliged to read the Riot
Act during disturbances due to the shortage of food, It is amusingly
related that he called to the soldiers to shoot " O'er 'em," or over the
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 71
ar,,,dtTa lo, .
Rochdale : the Ford, r . 1780 (looking towards Wellington Hotel from The Walk) .
heads of the crowd, to the great consternation of a man who happened
to be named " Oram " and who ran for his life, but, unfortunately, two
gossiping old men, disregarding the warnings to disperse, were actually
killed by gun shots .
Apart from the rebuilding of St . Chad's south porch in 1700 there
was little structural alteration to the Parish Church in the 18th century,
although in 1776 it was decided that a small loft for the " singing boys "
should be made near an organ which had probably replaced the 16th
century instrument at some time before 1703 . In 1719 a sixth bell, the
tenor, was added ; this was re-cast in 1812 and bears the motto " Success
to the town and trade of Rochdale ." Two more were added in 1787
and the peal now consists of eight bells, two of which were cast by John
Rudhall, and others in 1752 by Abel Rudhall-descendants of a family of
17th century bell-founders whose yard at Gloucester still exists . Those
who wish to climb the worn stone steps of St . Chad's tower may still read
the words of the bell-ringers' rhyme of 1795 with the warning" . . . No
bell o'erturn, for if you do, Sixpence you pay before you go : The
tower is today lit by electricity, but in 1760 a new candlestick, or rope-
slung chandelier, was bought for the church ; in 1763 the benches were
nearly all replaced by pews . A thief stole the church plate in 1773 and
hid it in a cave on Blackstone Edge, but it was recovered and he was
sentenced to transportation to the colonies, as was a Yorkshire robber of
1779, when, again, the plate was recovered together with the silver flagon
presented in 1773 by the then Vicar, Thomas Wray . In 1799 Richard
72 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
Holt, attorney-at-law, tried " sword in hand " to enclose the whole of the
" yeomanry " free seats in the chance[ These had probably been built
early in the century, or before, since one of the choir stalls still bears the
Byron arms with the Portland family cross which was incorporated after
the 1706 marriage of William, the fourth Lord Byron . However, Holt's
efforts were declared illegal and the seats remained free for their customary
use by " Freeholders, Yeomen and Leypayers " of the Parish . As the
population of the town was growing and St . Chad's itself needed major
repairs . St . Mary's Church (since rebuilt) in Cheetham street was built
by public subscription ; consecrated in 1744, it became known as the
• Baum Chapel," possibly because balm, or wild mint, grew near by,
though there is also a legend that the ghost of a white rabbit, known as the
• Baum Rabbit " used to haunt the district .
INDUSTRIALISM AND TRADE .
In 1772 the first and now scarce Manchester trades directory was
prepared by that fore-runner of Mrs . Beeton, the amazing Mrs . Elizabeth
Raffald, whose Fennel Street shop, between Chetham's College and
Manchester Cathedral, sold Derbyshire brawn, Yorkshire hams and
Newcastle salmon . The 1773 edition of her directory shows that though
the Heywood, Bury, Middleton, Saddleworth and Oldham fustian-makers
had warehouses in Manchester, no Rochdale manufacturers of these
cotton and linen mixtures were represented . Until the '80's Rochdale
remained almost entirely faithful to wool, having earned a greatly extended
foreign trade : the Smiths, for instance, travelled to Portugal to sell their
cloth ; in Soyland, just over the Blackstone Edge border, where a branch
of the Royds family still lived, shalloons (used for coat-linings and petti-
coats) were sold as far away as Persia, via Astrakhan, and to Russia,
with which country, towards the end of the century, the Newalls of
Littleborough also dealt .
Fishwick quotes two descriptions or Rochdale's I8th century trade :
in 1777 "This town is remarkable for many wealthy merchants ; it has a
large woollen market, the merchants from Halifax, etc ., repairing hither
weekly ; the neighbourhood abounds in clothiers," and again, in 1778
• Every considerable house is a manufactory, and is supplied with a
rivulet . . . . The water, tinged with the dregs of the dyeing fat, with the
oil, soap, tallow or other ingredients used by the clothiers, enriches the
land through which it passes beyond imagination . The women
and children are all employed here, not a beggar or idle person being to
he seen ."
A 1783 record of the plebe-lands shows that to the north of the
river, and west of the bridge, " The Orchard," Dyehouse Holme and Town
Mill Meadows were occupied, respectively, by Simon Dearden, John
Hamer and Charles Holland . West of the Glebe lay the property of
George and James Walmsley of Goose Lane, and of Simon Dearden, with
Castle Hill owned by the Byrons . South of Broadfield, near the Toll
" Yale " (or Gate) which served the Manchester and Milnrow roads, were
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 73
the two "pitfields" of Adam Whitworth of Sparth ; Samuel Hamer and the
Deardens had part of the eastern Glebe, and, north of the river, was
glebe-land held by Robert Entwisle of Foxholes, while Thomas Smith,
one of the partiarchal John Smith's wealthy sons, had land connected
by a recently built weir to his new fulling mills which lay behind the site
of the present Wellington Hotel (first built by Thomas Smith as his own
However, Rochdale traders could not long withstand the oppor-
tunities offered by the spectacular inventions now greatly benefiting the
Lancashire cotton trade . In 1769 a Bolton barber, Richard Arkwright,
financed by his friend John Smalley, perfected a spinning machine with
rollers which produced a strong warp thread . James Hargreaves, a
Blackburn weaver and carpenter, eventually patented his " jenny " (named
after his wife) in 1770, using several upright spindles which were soon
increased to spin 80 and more threads as against the single thread of the
hand weaver . Samuel Crompton, son of a Bolton farmer, in 1779
produced extraordinarily fine yarn from a machine which wedded Ark-
wright's rollers and Hargreaves'jenny, and was therefore named a " mule ."
In the 1780's carding machines and slubbing billies (for twisting
wood slivers before spinning) were put to use in Rochdale woollen mills
and for some fifty years represented the main power-driven machinery
in this industry ; meanwhile " King Cotton " made an onslaught into the
town . The first cotton mill in the district may well have been the 1782
" New Mill " at Gauxholme, Hundersfield, for " Carding, Roving and
Spinning Cotton Twist," with twelve spinning frames, machinery and a
water wheel . James Pilling's mill, turned by a horse, at Town Meadows,
was the first known cotton mill within the town, in 1791, or earlier . In
1792 the Universal British Directory gives Rochdale manufacturers of
woollen and cotton goods and of hats, listing seven cotton manufacturers :
James Hay, James Holt, John Kenyon, James Lancashire, John Lodge,
James Pilling and Ralph Standring Shaw ; other names included in Scholes'
1794 Manchester and Salford Directory are those of James Milne (near
Rochdale), and John Lyon Taylor, dealer in cotton goods . By 1799 the
Caldershaw Mill had two new spinning frames each having 252 spindles .
The Rochdale cotton trade was now fairly established . Other occupations
selected from the Universal British Directory included the old trades of
cooper and cutler, with one rope-maker and one clog-maker ; some with
a very modern sound were those of plumber, glazier and brick-layer.
The world of fashion was well represented by hair-dressers and makers
of perukes, mantuas and stays, with china-shops-of which at least one
was stocked with Staffordshire pottery (probably Wedgwood) . There
were also tea-dealers, cabinet-makers and at least one drawing-master .
Mark Nield, Rochdale's first known printer, is mentioned ; in 1796 he
printed the rules of the Milnrow Sick and Burial Society ; in the same year
and also listed in the directory, James Hartley printed the rules of the
Rochdale Benevolent Society . Messrs . Holland and Holt are named as
agents to " the Phoenix Fire-Office "-at this time, the only reservoir in
74 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
the town was a privately owned one at Leyland's Brow on the Church
Slopes . Only three local clock-makers are given : John Barnish, Jeremiah
Law and James Standring . Major Scholfield, probably Rochdale's first
long-case clock-maker, had died in 1783, and there were at least eleven
18th century local makers of clocks with rather large dials of 12 inches or
more . It was John Barnish, not the older William Barnish, who in 1789
made for the Parish Church a new clock, with chimes .
Three " engine-makers " are listed in this 1792 directory : John
Hogden " (Ogden), James Howard and B . Stott, but the first reliable
record of rotary steam-engine is of a 1797 Boulton and Watt 8 h .p . engine
with a wooden beam and connecting-rod . This was made in Birmingham
for James and John Taylor of Hanging Road Mill and within a few years
a similar engine was made for the Greenhank cotton mill .9 Benjamin
Meanley is named as an " Ironmonger" and owned what was probably
the first foundry, between Packer Street and " The Wood ." Steam power,
being independent of the seasonal water-supply, was soon to regularise
the hours worked by employees at the new cotton mills . Meanwhile,
taking advantage of Crompton's mule, individual woollen weavers thrived
and built many of the three-storied stone or brick cottages with six or
more lights to the upper floors : these are a characteristic throughout the
Rochdale district today . The population of the town was rapidly increas-
ing : in the 1792 registers of the Parish Church alone, some 640 burials
were recorded, whereas fifty years earlier the number was more likely to be
under 200 . John Aikin's " Description of the country . . . round Man-
chester," published in 1795, gives an average of £3 los . rent for an acre
Arnold Taylor .
Rochdale in 1780 (from Regal Cinema, looking south to Wellington Hotel) .
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 75
of Rochdale meadow land, where oats were the chief crop, " but near the
town, little or none is let under £7 and some as high as £9 ." Aikin
estimated that only about 5% of the grain used by the inhabitants was
grown by the local farmers ; the rest was bought from other counties .
With the introduction of cotton manufacturing and of steam power
an impetus was provided for the great stride forward into the 19th cen-
tury, nor did transport lag behind . In 1788 Rochdale was connected by
canal to Sowerby Bridge ; in '94 and '97 the roads to Edenfield and Bury
were turnpiked by trusts which annually auctioned the toll-gates to the
highest bidder : £22 had been paid for the lease of the Toad Lane bar in
1759 ; in 1791 it was let for £320,10 and the Blackstone Edge road, by
comparison, must have brought in at least six times as much . A journey
made by chaise from London to Rochdale in 1770 took sixteen days,
costing over £11, at about Is . per mile, with turnpike tolls varying from
2 d . to Is ." Since 1772 there had been coaches or carriers running on
three days a week between Manchester and Rochdale ; Robin Grey's
"High Flyer" is said to have been the first mail-coach, in 1790, but in
1792 the London mail set out every afternoon, except Friday, at 5 p .m .
There were also daily mail-coaches to Manchester and Halifax, together
with weekly waggons to Manchester, Burnley and Newcastle . With the
advent of regular waggons, one of whose ports of call was the Reed Inn
(Yorkshire Street) the old pack-horse trains declined . Other changes had
left their mark : but Rochdale was no longer a pretty neat town of stone,
but, as the Honourable Mrs . Murray described in in her 1799 Companion
to the Lakes : " the town (most part of it) is very dirty and the streets are
very narrow . . . the Rochdale women are in general handsome . Avoid
passing through Rochdale on Mondays ; it is market day, and you may
Le detained in the streets . . . for an hour or two ."
/8th CENTURY LIFE AND CUSTOMS .
The 1751 will of Dr . Dunster, the Vicar, refers to his green damask-
lined chairs and red " settey," old China dishes, a copper tea kettle and
£901 of new stock in South Sea annuities . The last two items are par-
ticularly interesting-tea was now becoming a fashionable drink and
copper kettles were to be popular prizes for a gooseberry-growing craze
which spread to the United States in the next century, and is still carried
on in England's northern counties ; much more significantly, money could
now he invested in Joint Stock companies and there was a growing need
for provincial banks-the first bank in Rochdale is thought to have been
started in about 1785 by Messrs . Taylor, Heap and Company, a firm of
wholesale grocers and provision merchants .12 Rochdale has interesting
links with very early " public " libraries : it may be remembered that the
founder of the first still-existing public library in this country, Chetham's
Library in Manchester, was an ancestor of the Chethams of Castleton
Hall . Just before this, John Prestwich (whose family had held land in
Butterworth Township in 1319) in 1653 started the first, but short-lived,
public library in Manchester, at the Cathedral . At Rochdale in 1750
76 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
there had been a reading-room for certain gentlemen ; in 1770 the Rochdale
Circulating Library was formed at Stationer's Entry (off the Butts) ; some
of its catalogues are now in the Public Library, to which much of the hook-
stock was eventually transferred, being unfortunately destroyed during
the fire at the Town Hall . In 1775 the subscription was £I 6s . and in
1777 a catalogue was issued for what was one of the early libraries of its
kind in England .li It was later known as Hartley's Library, because the
entrance to it was reached through Messrs . Hartley and Howorth's book-
shop, once at No . 20, Yorkshire Street . Chorlton's theatre in Anchor
Yard, which was near the present Town Hall, existed before the Wesleyan
Chapel in Toad Lane was sold and converted into a theatre which was to
entertain the Rochdale public with the leading actors of the day, including
the Kembles .
Meanwhile, football continued to be played in the streets, as
contests between the various hamlets, as late as 1775 ; the Grammar
School cock-fights continued through the century, as did the bull-baits
down by the Rochdale Bridge . In 1717 Bishop Gastrell had complained
of the disorderly custom of Rush-bearing in the Rochdale district . Var-
ious accounts of these early Wakes Week celebrations differ in detail-one
of the most colourful is in Kay-Shuttleworth's novel, Scarsdale-but it
seems safe to say that 12-ft-high ricks (or four-sided cones) of rushes,
panelled fore and aft with embroidered cloth and topped with branches of
holly or laurel, tdgether with one or two male riders astride the ridge,
were drawn on carts from eight or nine hamlets, by white-shirted and be-
ribboned young men with others at the side of the rush-cart, cracking
long whips . They were accompanied by morris-dancers, one of whom was
the Fool : " Dirty Betty " or " Dirty Moll," in skirts and with a blackened
face . The girls who walked with the rush-carts left decorated garlands
in the Church from the Saturday (before the third Sunday in August) until
the following Monday . A prize of 5s . was given to the first car( to reach
the Church, where the bells, no doubt, would " ringinge on the Rushbering
Day " as they did in 1649, according to the churchwardens' accounts .
If two carts happened to meet in the streets, a free fight resulted . After
1780, the day was changed to Monday, as the autocratic Vicar, Dr . Hind,
forbade the rushes to be brought into the Church on Saturday-not
unreasonably, for in 1747 the Union Flag Inn had had 100 panes of glass
broken by Whig roisterers, and during the riots of 1795 a featherer (the
principal rush-cutter and arranger) was fatally shot ; moreover, the Church
floor was no longer made of clay-since 1635 it had been paved and would
scarcely need an annual carpet of rushes . Rochdale, at one time, pro-
bably had more rush-carts in its streets than any other town in the
country . 14 Robertson's Rochdale, past and present, 1876, mentions the
" gorgeous " banner, or flag, carried on poles by two men in front of the
cart . In 1868 the custom seems to have been dying out and James Dear-
den made what proved to be only a temporarily successful effort to revive
it by offering money prizes for the best cart .
After 1770, horse-races were held at Hunger Hill, and at Whitaker
Moss, south of the Edenfield Road, Norden . This course was later
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 77
transferred to Bagslate Moor . During the century, Alexander Butter-
worth, Richard Towneley of Belfield and Charles Smith of Summercastle
were masters of the Rochdale Hunt, which, besides its harriers, at one
time had a pack of otter-hounds . Joseph Haigh, Curate of Milnrow
between 1759-95, once hastily left his pulpit on a Sunday to join an otter-
hunt which passed near the Chapel .
At a two-storied house which still stands in a picturesque Whit-
worth square, near the Church and the Red Lion Inn, lived John Taylor,
the most remarkable member of a family of doctors and bone-setters
that became famous throughout the Kingdom . In about 1785 he was
called to London to attend to George III's daughter, Princess Elizabeth,
and, by giving her snuff made from his own garden herbs, he relieved her
of an obstruction in her nose . Apparently Queen Charlotte did not
object to him calling her a " farrantly " (comely) woman, as, before he
COIL , ("Tim Bobbi ( nun,an P
returned to Whitworth, he obtained the royal permission to keep a pack
of hounds free of licence . Most of his neighbours took in ailing lodgers ;
wealthy invalids came from far and wide in carriages to see him, and at
least two bishops were among his patients : a 1791 cartoon shows him
deserting the Bishop of Durham in order to attend to a spavined horse .
His relations joined him in his practice ; his son James received as a patient
a future Archbishop of Canterbury, Archibald Tait, and not until 1876,
with the death of John's great-grandson, James Eastwood Taylor, came
the end of the many Whitworth doctors .15
78 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
The spirit of 18th century Rochdale still lives in the writings of
John Taylor's friend, John Collier, the " Lancashire Hogarth," alias the
well known "Tim Bobbin ." Born at Urmston in 1708, as a child he
knew what it was to live in poverty on a diet of porridge and buttermilk .
After Richard Towneley built Milnrow School, Collier, then a wandering
schoolmaster, was appointed first as an usher in 1729 and then, ten years
later, as the schoolmaster . Apart from a brief clerkship at Kebroyd,
near Halifax (this interlude, in particular, is vividly depicted in Manholr'
by the Yorkshire novelist Phyllis Bentley), Collier remained at Milnrow
until he died, partly paralysed, in 1786 .
William Hobarth. (In The Lancashire Dialect . 18112) .
John Collier. (" Tim Bobbin ") .
Collier was buried in St . Chad's graveyard under a stone (now railed
round) which was later engraved with a poem said to be written by one of
his nine children, Thomas : " Here lies John and with him Mary, Cheek by
Joul, and never vary, No wonder that they so agree, John wants no Punch
and Moll no Tea "-a sardonic epitaph, for Tim Bobbin, artist, musician,
poet and humorist, was no Puritan . His famous View of the Lancashire
Dialect (which includes a glossary) was first published in 1746 and ran
into scores of editions, many of which, including the first and very scarce
edition, are now in the Rochdale Library . An 1802 edition contains
Tim's portrait, by Hogarth himself : an 1828 edition is illustrated by Cruik-
shank . His violently grotesque portraits, which include some caricatures
said to be of John Taylor, drawing teeth, sold like hot cakes in the local
inns and were even, according to Aikin, sold by Liverpool merchants to
PRELUDE TO INDUSTRIALISM : 1702-1800 79
America and the West Indies . In 1773 over 300 subscribers paid 15s . each
towards the first edition of Human Passions Delineated, a collection of his
drawings . No book on Rochdale would be complete without a sample
of his dialiect ; the very sub-title of his best-known work is typical of the
old patronymics of the 14th century Manor Courts rolls, since his
" Lancashire Dialect " is expressed " by way of Dialogue between Tummas
o' Williams's, o' Margit o' Roaphs's, and Meary o' Dick's o' Tummy o'
Peggy's ." One tale must serve ; it is taken from the 6th edition, the first
to be illustrated, which shows a long-nosed " Tummas " in a broad-
brimmed hat and an unbuttoned coat : when this Rochdale clown, Tummas,
heard his dog, Nip, called a " bandyhewit " (no such breed exists) he
relates to his confidant, Meaty, " I'd o mind t' cheeot (God forgi' meh)
on sell meh Sheep-Cur for o Bandyhewit : tho' I no moor knew, in th'
Mon ith'Moon, whot a Bandyhewit wur ." His fellow Rochdalians
welcomed the chance to make game of him ; they encouraged Tummas to
try and sell his cur at a profit and he was sent trudging from pillar to
post in the manner still practised in Lancashire factories, where a raw
apprentice will be sent to find a glass hammer, or a leather oil-can .
Finally, worn out with his adventures, he was met with " o threave (or
couple of dozen) o Rabblement " who had come to join in the fun, and
now Tummas at last understood that he had been baited and made as big
a " Neatril " (a natural, or fool) as ewer wur mede sin Kene kilt Ebil "
-after which, abashed, he scampered " up th' Broo " and into the
Churchyard to hide, and in doing so, lost the cause of all his troubles, his
dog, Nip .
The 18th century (but refronted) Tim Bobbin Hotel at Milnrow
no longer has his self-portrait painted above the door, but there are
portraits of him at the Rochdale Art Gallery . His old school was pulled
down a few years ago ; the Literary and Scientific Societies of Rochdale
and Milnrow recently put up a plaque, near the post-box by the Milnrow
Bridge, to mark its site . Across the river is a row of cottages built on to
the still remaining west wall of the Chapel, whose congregation had found
the noise of the old Beal weir disturbing : this ancient Chapel of St . James,
having become ruinous, was advertised for sale in 1802 in the hope that
it would be " converted into a factory to be worked by the steam engine ."
YEARS OF OPPRESSION .
The closing years of the century were darkened by the French
Revolution ; war broke out in 1793 and by 1795 England was at war with
France, Holland and Spain ; trade was at a standstill, the country was
oppressed by heavy taxation and in Lancashire there was a shortage of
wheat . In 1794 there had been an appeal for militia volunteers who
were to be supplied with hats, black stocks, scarlet and blue coats with
gold lace buttonholes, breeches, gaiters and arms, but the volunteers were
" not to be removed more than five miles from home " unless the country
was invaded . And so was founded the Corps of the Rochdale Volun-
teers, headed by Colonel John Entwisle and Captains Walmsley, Hamer
80 ROCHDALE RETROSPECT
and Royds . A Rochdale bookseller, Josiah Lancashire, who had a shop
near the Butts, wrote that he saw the new Volunteers dismissed at the
Cross-it would appear that the stump of the Cross might have been a
more correct description since, some years before, drunken youths had
carried away the Cross itself from its site near the Union Hotel, Yorkshire
Street (now Lloyds Bank) and buried it near the Pinfold, opposite the
Castle Hill, Goose Lane .
An early record of Freemasonry in Rochdale is contained in a
1799 documentary list of members of the Lodge of Wisdom at the now
vanished Swan Inn .t6 This list was submitted to the Quarter Sessions in
order to comply with Pitt's requirements, for the Prime Minister, alarmed
by the number of clubs which were springing up in sympathy with the
French Revolution, in this year promoted an Act (which is still in force)
for the Suppression of Seditious Societies .
In the same year, an Act was passed forbidding workpeople to
combine in order to obtain higher wages or shorter hours : the minimum
penalty for such "combinations" was three months imprisonment, and
with no right of trial by jury . This was a prelude to the bitter fight for
trade unionism which was to take place in the next quarter of a century .