Monday 12 August 2019

Peterloo part 4

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 is from Captain James Newton of the Stockport Troop to Sir J F Leicester Bart, Colonel of the Cheshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. 

Reference DLT/D463/86 (i)

Reference DLT/D463/86 (ii)

Star Inn, Manchester, 2 o Clock PM
17th Augt 1819


I have this moment had the honour to receive your very handsome letter and will on our next Parade communicate the contents to the members of the Troop. I beg leave to inform you that the Wm Birch who signed the request is the same person who was shot, he has been lately removed from his Fathers House where he was conveyed after being shot to his own and will I (am) happy to say recover soon, the ball is not extracted and unfortunately the Surgeon cannot find out where it is deposited.

The Crowd were yesterday dispersed in a very effectual manner, and everything remained quiet until 5 o Clock this morning, when the Guard were called into the Quarters, the Mob taking advantage of this, pulled down a house in Oldham Street, many I am told are shot by the 88th Regt who were called out upon the alarm being given. Your Regiment paraded this Morning for the purpose of marching to our Homes, when an Orderly arrived from Col L’Estrange to march two Squadrons towards Hollin Wood and Oldham – an express having arrived that they were assembling in large numbers, we lost no time in marching and unfortunately found the report false. In my humble opinion the row is not quite over; it is determined by the Magistrates that two Squadrons remain on duty the other to march Home; at present it is not known which, but shall be informed this afternoon upon Parade at ½ after three o Clock. I apologise for troubling you with this information as the report from the Regiment will be more full and more satisfactory and beg leave by expressing my sincere regret for your present severe indisposition which I truly hope will be of short duration.

P. S. I send you a Manchester Paper
with the news up to 1 o Clock this day
                                                                                     I have the Honor
                                                                                            Sir John
                                                                   your most obt & faithful Servt
                                                                   Jas Newton jnr
                                                                    Capt S.Troop
To Col. Sir J.F Leicester

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