Thursday 8 August 2019

Peterloo part 3

In 1819 less than 2% of the population had the vote and there had been some agitation by the Radical Reform movement for democratic change. Magistrates feared civil disturbances and were reliant on the volunteer cavalry- the Yeomanry, to help keep the peace.On the 16th August 1819, 60,000 people gathered at St Peter’s field, Manchester to listen to radical orator Henry Hunt speak on electoral reform. At half past one, the Yeomanry were sent in to charge and disperse the crowds. An estimated 18 people were killed and over 700 injured. The massacre became known as Peterloo.

The Cheshire Yeomanry were in attendance at Manchester. Sir John Fleming Leicester was the first commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry and in our collection of the papers of the Leicester Warren family of Tabley there are many first-hand accounts of events of the day and in the build-up and aftermath. To mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo we will be sharing transcripts of these letters on our blog.

This letter was sent on behalf of Lieutenant-Colonel Townsend of the Prince Regent's Cheshire Yeomanry to Sir J F Leicester Bart, Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. 

Reference DLT/D463/6/85 (i)
Reference DLT/D463/6/85 (ii)


                                                                             12 o clock A.M.


Dear Sir John,

                   I am quite convinced that our services were necessary & have been of service (deleted) use. The Town was very riotous at dusk last night, our regiment there patrolled the streets ‘till 11 o clock, two of the Stockport were hurt, but the rest all well, we paraded at nine o clock this morning & were marching off when we were recalled, what for I cannot discover, but all the troops are under arms, then Captn  Hollins & Newton’s Squadrons are gone somewhere  - time will show where, the men are very steady and have mustered capitally. I do hope we shall get off this evening but doubt it – 26 are in the infirmary, I can not make out how many are killed, we have orders to fire when attacked.

                                      For E V Townshend


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