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Silk weaver, radical, poet
and participant in the "Peterloo Massacre"

"The people are born in masses, we may almost say; they live in masses; they work in masses; they drink in masses; they applaud in masses; they condemn in masses; they joy in masses; they sorrow in masses; and, as surely as that Etna will vomit fire, they will, unless they be wisely and timely dealt with, some day, act in masses.

    "I do not undertake to say that here is a power capable alone, of disarranging the present order of things; but I do say that I am of opinion, that here, in time will be found, mind sufficient to conceive, and will—aided by circumstances—to give the first impulse to a movement, the like of which has not been known in England.  These explosive elements—ever increasing—cannot be continually tampered with, without producing their result."

Samuel Bamford
From....Walks in South Lancashire

"Bamford is a brave, old, fighting soldier, who has borne the brunt of the battle for much of the political liberty and social reform which we at this day enjoy and accept as a matter of course, without reflecting that other men have laboured, and we have entered into the fruit of their labour."

Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury


SAMUEL BAMFORD—weaver, radical and poet—was born at Middleton, Lancashire, on 28 February 1788. He was the son of an operative muslin weaver, afterwards governor of the Salford workhouse, and was educated at the Middleton and the Manchester grammar schools.  He learned weaving, and was later employed as a warehouseman in Manchester; it was during this period that he made an accidental acquaintance with Homer's Iliad and with the poems of Milton, and his life was thenceforward marked with a passionate taste for poetry, which brought forth fruit in the shape of several crude productions of his own.

   Bamford appears to have led a somewhat unsettled life in his youth.  He was for a short time a sailor in the employ of a collier trading between Shields and London, he then resumed his place in the warehouse and at length settled down as a weaver.  It was about this time that his first poetry appeared in print and he became known in his district as one who had practical sympathy with the difficulties of his class.  Mrs. Gaskell, in her novel Mary Barton, quotes a poem of his, beginning ‘God help the Poor,’ to illustrate the popularity of his verses with the Lancashire labouring classes in their times of trial.

    Resistance to trade oppression was the order of the day, and Bamford went about with the endeavour to discover the true means of relief.  He had many of the peculiar talents necessary for the popular leader, while averse to violence in any shape.  He was brought into great public notoriety on the occasion of that meeting of local clubs the dispersal of which became known as the "Peterloo Massacre".  It was proved that Bamford's contingent to the meeting was peaceful and orderly, and that his speech was of the same tendency.  Yet he suffered an imprisonment of twelve months on account of this affair.  He subsequently, by his personal influence alone, hindered the operations of loom-breakers in South Lancashire.  About 1826 he became correspondent of a London morning newspaper, and having ceased to be a weaver by employment, he incurred some dislike or distrust on the part of his old fellow-workmen.  Yet he always pleaded their cause as opportunity served, even when, as a special constable during the Chartist agitation, he incurred the downright enmity of his own class.

    In 1851, or thereabouts, Bamford obtained a comfortable situation—almost a sinecure, which raised above the prospect of want—as a messenger for the Inland Revenue at Somerset House.  But he became dissatisfied with London life and people, and pined for his native county; and after a few years of government employment he returned to his old trade of weaving.


AWHILE I watched my busy shuttle fly
    Across the loom between the op'ning sheads;
And then I thought, e'en thus at my employ,
    I may a useful lesson learn.   Like threads
Our lives are woven in the web of time;
    Our moments are the picks which pass between
The sheads.   And if we make the woof sublime,
    The piece, perchance, may please when it is seen
By the Great Master's ever-watchful eye;
    And of His praise we each may get a share,
And His dear approbation yield in joy
    A rich reward for all our toil and care.
And we may find that when life's piece is made
We all shall be by Him far more than paid!

David Lawton

Hand-loom weaver.


    Samuel bamford died at Harpurhey, Lancashire, 13 April 1872, his last years having been provided for by the generosity of a few friends.  His public funeral was attended by thousands.

    Bamford's fame rests both on his involvement in the history of radical politics and as a chronicler of social and political life in 19th Century Lancashire.  He was a prolific writer of leaflets and letters, as well as being a poet and a newspaper correspondent.  His autobiography, published in two volumes—'Passages in the Life of a Radical' (1839-41) and 'Early Days' (1848-49)—gives an authoritative and very readable account that reveals much of the peasant way of life of the Lancashire artisan or craftsman in the years immediately preceding the industrial era.

    The high point of Bamford's involvement and influence in radical politics was between 1816 and 1821.  The remainder of his long life—after his quarrels with fellow radicals—is perhaps anticlimatic.  His anti-Chartist attitudes and boundless egotism counted against him with many of his fellows. 

    Late in life he became increasingly cantankerous and jealous of his prestige as "the oldest living reformer" and as late as 1861 he believed government spies were keeping him under surveillance for his dangerous politics.  By this time he had become one of "the prize platform bores of Lancashire political life", noting bitterly in his diary that someone else had been invited to give a lecture on parliamentary reform in Oldham Town Hall:

I was certainly much hurt to see that a young man, a young Parliamentary reformer, should be preferred to give a lecture on that subject whilst an old veteran like myself, who must have large knowledge of the subject from experience, and was on the verge of distress from want of encouragement in the way of lecturing, should be passed by (May 13th 1861).

Despite this, Sam Bamford's early work is an important and accessible window on the 19th Century world.


Bamford's publications include: 



    "....Samuel Bamford, a man of Herculean mould, iron will, and indomitable energy, whose 'Passages from the Life of a Radical' reveal the sufferings he had endured, and the penalties he had incurred on behalf of his political faith.  He spoke his thoughts with fearless straightforwardness, and was too earnest in all he said or did to study refinement in manner or persuasiveness in speech.  Underneath all this, however, there lay a gentle appreciativeness of all that was chaste and elevated in song or nervous in composition; and his admiration of Prince's powers, though tempered by a severe critical judgment, was always genial and unrestrained."

    Bamford's visits to the 'Poets' Corner' were only occasional, for he lived at Middleton, six miles from Manchester; but when he, Prince, and Rogerson met, the interchange of thought and sentiment was both interesting and instructive.  The latter sad days of Bamford were alleviated by the kind consideration of a few friends, and he lies in the churchyard of Middleton, where a 'monumental bust' distinguishes his grave."

Lithgow—"The Life of John Critchley Prince", Chpt. III.


". . . . Directing my steps to the northward of my dwelling, I first paused on gaining the summit of the highway across the township of Thornham, near Middleton, and looking around, I felt that a few minutes would not be mis-spent in glancing over the bold and interesting scene which was spread out before me.  Going forth to note the brief joys and sorrows of my fellowman, could I feel less than admiration and thankfulness at the prospect of the goodly land which his beneficent Creator had spread out for his habitations.  To the west are the hills and moors of Crompton, the green pastures year by year, cutting further up into the hills; the ridge of Blackstone-edge, with Robin Hood's bed, darkened as usual by shadows; whilst the moors, sweeping round to the left, (the hills of Caldermoor, Whitworth, and Wuerdle) bend somewhat in the form of a shepherd's crook around a fair and sunny vale, through which the Roche flows past cottages, farms, and manufactories.  Such is the scene before us, fair and lovely at a distance, mute to the ear and tranquil to the eye—like a cradle below the hills, where the bright day reposes amid sweet airs and cooling streams.  So much for the landscape before us; now then, for the closer realities of our task. . . ."

The vista described by Bamford as he sets out on his 'Walks Among the Workers.'
Samuel Bamford...."Walks in South Lancashire."



OME over the hills out of York, parson Hay;
Thy living is goodly, thy mansion is gay;
Thy flock will be scattered if longer thou stay,
Our shepherd, our vicar—the good parson Hay.

Oh, fear not, for thou shalt have plenty indeed,
Far more than a shepherd so humble will need;
Thy wage shall be ample—two thousand or more,
Which rent and exaction will bring to thy store.

And if thou should'st wish for a little increase,
The lambs thou may'st sell, and the flock thou may'st
The market is good—the prices are high—
And butchers are ready with money to buy.

Thy dwelling-house pleasantly stands on the hill,
The town lies below it, all quiet and still;
With a church at thine elbow for preaching and pray'r,
And a rich congregation to ponder and stare.

And here, like a good loyal priest, thou shalt reign,
The cause of thy patron* with zeal to maintain; 
The poor and the hungry shall faint at thy word,
As thou threatens with hell in the name of the Lord.

Samuel Bamford

* The Archbishop of Canterbury.


Full three feet deep beneath this stone
    Lies our late Vicar Forster,
Who clipp'd his sheep to'th' very bone,
    But said no Pater Noster.
By ev'ry squeezing way, 'tis said,
    Eight hundred he rais'd yearly:
Yet not a six-pence of this paid
    To th' Curate――this looks queerly!
His tenants all now praise the Lord
    With hands lift up, and clapping,
And thank grim death, with one accord,
    That he has ta'en him napping.
To Lambeth's Lord now let us pray,
    No Pluralist he'll send us;
But should he do't, what must we say
    Why――Lord above defend us!

Tim Bobbin



". . . . Here must be left behind the open fields, the sunny hill sides, the garden plots with their stray flowers; the clear springs, rilling by hedges and down rush-crofts, and shorn pastures, are no longer to be noticed; but, instead of them, we see a multitude of human dwellings crowded round huge factories, whose high taper funnels vomit clouds of darkening smoke. . . . Poverty was increasing on all hands, and the people were getting into a worse condition every week.  A collector of rents said people were crowding by two and three families into one house; they could not pay rents for entire houses, and nearly all the workers, who could raise money enough, were leaving the country. . . . Pawnbrokers were crowded up with articles pledged by the poor; such quantities had never been taken in before in the same space of time.  Much of their best clothes and bedding had been deposited long ago, and now they were in the habit of bringing their meaner parts of dress for a little present aid.  Handkerchiefs, caps, pinafores, and aprons, they would now pledge for a sixpence or a shilling. . . ."

Bamford describing conditions in Oldham, ca. 1841.
Samuel Bamford...."Walks in South Lancashire."



BORN 28TH FEBRUARY, 1788.   DIED 13TH APRIL, 1872.


TH' owd veteran brid's toppled deawn fro' his pearch,
    He'll charm us no more wi' his singing';
His voice has been hushed i'th' melodious grove,
    Wheer feebler voices are ringin'!
He sang in his youth, in his green owd age;
    An' he sang when i' monly prime;
Then, loike other warblers, he meaunted aloft,
    To a fairer an' sunnier clime.

He sang fifty year sin', ere some o' us brids
    Had managed to creep eawt o'th' shell;
An' sweetly an' grandly he poiped i' thoose days,
    As th' owd Middletonians can tell!
Unloike other warblers an' songsters o'th' grove,
    He ne'er changed his fithers, nor meawted;
For th' lunger he lived, an' th' harder he sung,
    An' faster these ornaments spreawted.

He wur dragg'd fro' his nest once, at th' dead-time o'th' neet,
    An' him an' his mate had to sever,
But it ne'er made no difference to him—not a bit,
    For he sang just as sweetly as ever.
He warbled his notes in his own native shire,
    When his pearch wur surreaunded wi' dangers;
An' he ne'er changed his tune when he'rn hurried awa
    An' imprisoned 'mongst traitors an' strangers.

Owd Sam seldom flattered wi' owt 'at he wrote,
    But for truthfulness allus wur famed;
When he feawnd ther' wur owt needed smitin', he smote,
    An' cared nowt whoa praised or whoa blamed.
An' they wur songs, wur his,—not that maudlin' stuff;
    Would-be poets spin eawt into rhyme;—
Ther's a genuine ring i' what great men sing,
    Summat sweet, summat grand, an' sublime!


He warbled when Waugh wur a fledglin' i'th' nest,
    An' had ne'er had a thowt abeawt meauntin';
An' young 'Lijah Rydin's had hardly begun
    To give us his "Streams fro' th' owd Fountain."
Th' owd loom heawse i' Middleton rang wi' his notes,
    An' his shuttle kept toime to his songs,
Ere he led up his neighbours to famed Peterloo,
    To deneaunce what they felt to be wrongs.

He sang when his mate drooped away at his side,
    Not a song o' rejoicin' or gladness,
But a low, plaintive dirge, softened deawn an' subdue
    Wellin' eawt ov a heart full o' sadness.
He sang, too, when th' spoiler bore off his lone lamb,
    Tho' his heart wi' deep sorrow wur riven;
Still he didn't despair, for he'd faith to believe
    'At his dear ones had gone up to heaven.

He sang when th' breet sunshine illumined his path,
    An' th' fleawers wur o bloomin' areawnd;
An' he sang, too, when th' storm-cleawds coom sweepin'
    An' threatened to crush him to th' greawnd.
He sang when his een had grown tearful an' dim,
    An' his toppin' had turned thin an' grey;
An' th' muse never left this owd veteran bard,
    Till Death coom an' took him away.

Thus he sung till he deed, an' his soul-stirrin' strains,
    Never failed to encourage an' bless;
For he loved to rejoice wi' thoose hearts 'at rejoiced,
    An' sorrow wi' thoose i' distress.
God bless him, an' iv ther's a spot up aboon,
    Wheer dwell th' noble-minded an' pure,
Wheer th' songsters are gathered to strike up a tune,
    Th' owd brid's perched amongst 'em we're sure!

Samuel Laycock


Samuel Laycock

Ben Brierley

John Critchley Prince



The Poet here alluded to, is my friend Mr. Samuel Bamford, of Middleton, a gentleman possessing high poetical powers, which, had
they been more extensively cultivated, would have made him one of the most eminent, if not the most eminent of our Lancashire Bards.

A BARD stood drooping o'er the grave
    Where his lost daughter slept,
Where nothing broke the stillness, save
    The breeze that round him crept;
And as he plucked the weeds away
That grew above her slumbering clay,
    He neither spoke nor wept:
But then he could not all disguise
The sadness looking from his eyes.

Indeed, it was a fitting tomb
    For one so young and fair,
Where flowers, as emblems of her bloom,
    Scented the summer air.
The primrose told her simple youth,
The violet her modest truth;—
    Thus had a father's care
Brought the sweet children of the wild,
To deck the head-stone of his child.

Around that spot of hallowed rest
    Grew many a solemn tree,
Where many a wild bird built its nest,
    And sung with constant glee;
And hills upreared their mighty forms
Through Summer's light and Winter's storms;
    And streams ran fresh and free,
Through many a green and silent vale,
Kept pure by heaven's untainted gale.

I looked upon the furrowed face
    Of that heart-breaking sire,
Where I, methought, could plainly trace
    The spirit's fading fire;
For he had stemmed the tide of years
In care, captivity, and tears;
    And yet he touched the lyre
With cunning and unfailing hand,
For freedom in his native land.

But now the darling child he had,
    The last and only one,
Which always made his spirit glad,
    From earth to heaven had gone,
And left him in his hoary age
To finish life's sad pilgrimage;
    And, as he travelled on,
To soothe the sorrows of his mate,
And brood upon his lonely fate.

How oft together did they climb
    The steep of Tandle hill,
And pause to pass the pleasant time
    Beside the mountain rill;
Then he would read some cherished book
Within some leafy forest nook,
    All cool, and green, and still:
Or homeward as they went along,
Sing of his own some artless song.

Such were the well-remembered themes
    That told him of the past,
And well- might these recurring dreams
    Some shade of sadness cast:
Those hearts whose strong affections cling
Too closely round some blessed thing,
    Too often bleed at last,
When Death comes near the stricken heart,
To tear its dearest ties apart.

True Poet! touch thy harp again,
    As Was thy wont of yore;
Its voice will charm the sting of pain,
    As it hath done before:
Husband, subdue a mother's sorrow,—
Father, expect a brighter morrow,
    And nurse thy grief no more;
Man, bow thee to the chastening rod,
And put thy holiest trust in God!

John Critchley Prince



BORN FEBRUARY 28TH, 1788.   DIED APRIL 13TH, 1872.

HIS day a warrior bowed his plume, and died;
This day a noble spirit, purified,
Hath pierced the shadows of terrestial night,
And sought enshrinement in the "halls of light."

His was no stagnant life who gives this day
Back to his God a spirit weaned of clay.
For L
IBERTY he donned his mail and casque;
The G
ODDESS blessing with a smile his task.

He saw that smile irradiate the world
Ere yet he closed his eyes. Boldly unfurled
He the proud banner when the maid was young
For whom he battled, and whose praise he sung.

Nor fought a braver champion in the field
Where men for freedom bled and died. His shield—
Y HOMEMY RIGHTMANKIND"—the motto bore,
Which to the last, with sheen undimmed, he wore.

Thick were the blows which rang upon his mail;
Deadly the thrusts that pierced it; but the trail
Of vanquished pennon, and the droop of crest,
His valour brooked not. His a nobler rest.

Five times unhorsed, and dashed upon the field;
Yet called he not for quarter, nor would yield
To foes outnumb'ring. Quick to saddle sprang
He yet again,—again his armour rang.

As falls the storm against the stubborn oak,
So fell upon his breast the battle stroke;
As stands the rock that heeds not flashing sky,
So stood his soul, man's thunder to defy.

And thus contending in that 'sanguined fray,
A victor now, next moment driv'n to bay,
His arm relinquished not its manly thrust
Till lay the foe in ignominious dust.

Then home came he with chaplets on his brow,
To doff his mail and casque. The knightly vow,
To free his country from a galling yoke,
Fulfilled with honour, he his weapon broke.

And in the evening of his life he lay
Watching the closing of a glorious day;
And as the summer's sun sinks in the west,
So sank our hero to his quiet rest.

Peace to thy honoured dust! No lay of mine,
Old soldier! e'er can reach a worth like thine!
Sing thine own requiem in that noble song
Thy life hath writ. Such themes to thee belong.

en Brierley.

April 13th, 1872.



The Times.
(22 April, 1872)

THE LATE SAMUEL BAMFORD.—The funeral of Samuel Bamford, the Lancashire Radical, and author of the book entitled Passages in the Life of a Radical, and other works, was performed on Saturday.  Mr. Bamford died at the age of 84 years, on Saturday 13th inst, at Moston, near Middleton, having been born in February, 1788.  He lived to be a patriarch among Reformers.  His connexion with political life dates from 1816, when he became secretary of a Hampden Club at Middleton, but at all times was opposed to physical force movements and violence. Writing his Passages in the Life of a Radical 30 years ago during the Chartist movement, he warned his fellow working men against errors committed a quarter of a century before, when a good many had suffered through the vanity of leaders, as well as the wickedness of enemies, and counselled them to seek their objects through honesty and simplicity in a peaceful agitation.  Bamford had good reasons for giving his advice.  A stalwart Lancashire weaver, he had commenced political life determined to follow this course himself, yet, through attending the meeting at Peterloo, Manchester, which was intended to be a peaceful meeting to petition for Parliamentary reform and a repeal of the Corn laws, but ended up in a massacre, he was apprehended for a breach of the law, convicted, and sentenced to 12 month's imprisonment.  Since the period at which he wrote his book, Mr. Bamford had lived a quiet and retired life, and through the liberality and benevolence of a number of private individuals, he was supplied with the means of passing the last 20 years of his life in comfort, though by no means luxury.  Towards the close of his life he had been made an honorary member of the Manchester Literary Club, and it was through the instrumentality of this club club that a committee was formed to honour him with a public funeral.  The Bishop at Manchester was invited to conduct the funeral service, but was prevented by previous and unavoidable pre-engagements.  Writing to Mr. Haworth, the secretary of the committee, his lordship says:—"Manchester, April 18,1872.—Sir,—I am engaged to hold a confirmation of Saturday, the 20th, at 3 o'clock p.m., at Stand; so that I cannot take part in the ceremonial to which you invite me.  I am afraid, too, that it may wear too much the form of a political demonstration for me befittingly to have borne a share in it, even if I had been disengaged. Not that I consider 'politics' in the highest sense of the word—an interest in what tends to promote the commonweal—to be an interest alien from, or contrary to, the proper functions of a minister of Christ; and I could have cordially united in honouring the man who wrote Passages in the Life of a Radical, and who, in that  remarkable book, avowed 'that nation to be the only

party he would serve' (ii., p.235); tried to teach the rich and poor, employers and employed, that they had 'been all in error as respects their relevant obligations' (i., 281); sought to bring all classes together on the basis of mutual sympathy and co-operation; believed that instead of wishing to create sudden changes and to overthrow institutions, it were better that ignorance alone were pulled down' (i., 279); and maintained that self-control and self-amendment of the individual were the only solid 'basis of all public reform' (ibid). If I had attended Samuel Bamford's funeral I should have liked to have heard the last chapter of the first volume of his memoirs read over his grave.  It contains counsels that England seems to me emphatically to need just now.—I remain, Sir, your faithful servant, J. MANCHESTER.—Mr. John H. Haworth."  The funeral procession entered Middleton about 4 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, where many thousands of visitors had collected from the surrounding districts to pay due honour to the occasion.  About 300 or 400 persons preceded the hearse walking five abreast, after whom came mourning coaches and nearly 40 other carriages of various descriptions.  The church was crowded in every part, the service being conducted by the Rev. Waldegrave Brewster, the rector, who, in consequence of the coldness of the weather, read most of the service within the building.  The rector was good enough to follow the suggestion of Bishop Fraser, by reading various extracts from Bamford's Life of a Radical.  The chapter referred to by his Lordship is one appealing to working men and Chartists to show no violence.  "Come to thine own bosom and home and there commence a reform, and let it be immediate and effectual."  "It is true that the middle and upper ranks have scarcely been just towards you; they have not cultivated that friendship of which you are susceptible, and more worthy than they.  Had they done so you would not have been in the hands you now are.  But you can look above this misdirected pride and pity it.  The rich have been as unfortunate in their ignorance of your worth as you have in the absence of their friendship.  All ranks have been in error as respects their relative obligations and prejudice has kept them strangers and apart."  The interesting proceedings inside the church were followed by only a brief ceremony in depositing the coffin in its last resting place.  The church and burial ground being seated on an eminence immediately overlooking the town, the thousands of people collected there formed an exceedingly picturesque spectacle as witnessed from the streets.  The weather, though cold, was exceedingly fine, and the proceedings passed off with the decorum benefiting such a melancholy occasion.


Tim Bobbin ― two illustrations appearing in
The Manchester Times
, 16th October, 1891.

Painting, oil on board, identified by the Rochdale Museum and by auctioneers Bonhams
as a self-portrait of Tim Bobbin.
(By courtesy of David Coomber & Carole Bent, "Celtic Connection.")


Manchester City News
19th July, 1924.

Romance of a Man of Action.

By James Middleton.

    The literary reputation of Sam Bamford rests securely upon two autobiographical works that he wrote—one "Early Days," the other "Passages in the Life of a Radical."  The first of these dealt with his experiences as boy and youth; the second is a record of his career as a political reformer.  These two books made a notable contribution, not only to Lancashire authorship, but also to English literature.  Of the two "Early Days" is preferable for style, whilst the "Passages" must be assigned pre-eminence for varied and sustained interest.  The two books are beautifully written in the purest English and the choicest prose.

Early Adventures.

    But whilst he was distinguished as a man of letters, and dallied with verse, some of it good enough to be called poetry, he was also a man of action.  He was born into a brisk time.  His period might properly be described as Peterloo: Before and After.  He was born at Middleton, near Manchester, in February 1788, and, as he remarked, he and the world came into trouble together.  That so quiet and remote a place should have found trouble only shows how much trouble there must have been about.  Bobbie Burns and the French Revolution had put into circulation ideas which disturbed the ordinary rim of things.  The working classes were stirred to a quick interest in their own unhappy condition.  Hampden Clubs were formed: one at Middleton, to which Bamford was appointed secretary.  Into this welter Bamford was born.  It must have been a strange birth, for he says of it, "I was born a Radical."  By that token a stormy career awaited him.

    As a boy he was adventurous.  There was warm blood in his veins, which he did not inherit from his mother, for she was a saint.  His father, in early manhood, was as merry a soul as Old King Cole.  He was given to drinking, and in his cups was ever ready to fight.  But the Wesleyans laid hold of him, and he became a changed man and remained so.

    As to the boy, his real adventures began with the music of a fife and drum and a handful of ribbons.  So fascinated was he that he took the shilling and as much ale as he wanted, and was technically of the Army.  Curiously, he was never called up, and so missed military service.  As the Army failed to claim him he turned his thoughts to the sea, and signed a contract to serve with a coasting vessel which traded between South Shields and London.  It was a change which enabled him to see London, with its historical memorials.  After half-a-dozen voyages each way he tired of the life, deserted his ship, and made for home and Middleton.  He walked it.  Had it not been for playing the "old sailor" and dodging the marines and the press-gang people, might have landed in prison even earlier than he did.

The Young Radical.

    Being "born a Radical," he began to associate with people of that order.  The Hampden Society hired a chapel where regular meetings were held.  The members were concerned with such ordinary things as an extension of the franchise and a change in the system of parliamentary representation.  The authorities, with the impulsive timidity of autocratic governments, became alarmed, suspended the Habeas Corpus Act, and forbade the holding of public meetings.  This was a challenge which the mildest reformer was bound to take up.  Secret meetings were held, sometimes in the dells of Tandle Hill late at night or very early in the morning.  There were drillings and marchings, and pikes were to be seen.  Bamford went in and out amongst these preparations, exercising a restraining influence upon the people.  There were secret societies and spies, and plots.  One day a young man, a stranger, came to see Bamford to tell him that a plot was on foot to make a Moscow of Manchester that night by burning it to the ground.  A light would shine in the heavens as the signal to all the surrounding districts to march straight to

the city and take their due allocation.  The young man was sent away, and Bamford and old "Dr." Healey went to sleep at a neighbour's house in preparation for an alibi.  There was no light in the heavens except a harmless round-faced moon.  These were adventures in which Bamford would not join.

In Prison.

    But all his precautions did not save him from the attentions of the authorities.  Nadin, the head of the police, came in the night, arrested him in his own house, and carried him off in irons to "The Tribulatory," which was Bamford's name for the Salford gaol.  He was taken to London; brought up at Bow-street, remanded to Lord Sidmouth, Lord Castlereagh, and the Privy Council.  A second appearance before the Council followed.  Bamford acknowledged that he was a parliamentary reformer, and always should be so until that measure was obtained; that no circumstance or situation whatever would induce him to disavow his opinions, and that he considered it the glory of his life to have merited the name of a reformer, but had never advocated its obtainment by violence.  After five examinations Bamford was discharged on his own recognisances.

Peterloo and Afterwards.

    Then Peterloo occurred, with its cuts and bruises inflicted by the swords of the yeomanry.  Bamford was present as leader of the Middleton contingent.  That was enough for Nadin.  The police banged on Bamford's door, which was opened when they said who they were and what they wanted.  They entered the dark room, police and soldiers.  The drawers were rummaged, his box was explored, and all his books and papers were tumbled into a shawl, to be carried away.  Handcuffs were ordered and put on.  This is how Bamford describes the scene:—

The order was given to move; my wife burst into tears.  I tried to console her: said I should soon be with her again.  I ascended into the street, and shouted "Hunt and liberty."  "Hunt and liberty" responded my brave little helpmate, whose spirit was now roused.  One of the policemen, with a Pistol in his hand, swearing a deep oath, said he would blow out her brains if she shouted again."  Blow away was the reply.  "Hunt and liberty."  "Hunt for ever."

    The woman's brains remained in their proper place, the procession moved off, and Bamford the Reformist was on his way to gaol again.

    This time he found himself a prisoner in Lincoln Castle, where he became came seriously ill.  His wife was allowed to visit him, and a room was set apart for their joint accommodation.  At the end of the agreed period she returned to Middleton, but as Bamford's health grew worse she returned to Lincoln Castle to nurse him back to health.  Under her wifely treatment he soon recovered his wonted strength.  When the term of his twelve months' imprisonment ended he was released, and once more recognisances of rood behaviour were entered into.  Then it was the open street of a cathedral city, and after that the open country.  They were a long way from home, means of travel were not plentiful; but Bamford and his wife were young and of a cheerful spirit.  They started to walk home.

    It was in the merry month of May, and the weather appears to have been bright and sunny.  They passed through some of the most beautiful parts of our lovely country.  As they crossed, the wold near the Yorkshire border they saw "the wind of heaven—the spirit of life"  They were only thirty three years of age, and all the toil and suffering they had passed through all there was of endeavour and achievement, had been accomplished within about fifteen years.  Bamford had still his autobiography to write and of it he made a wonderful story of love and adventure.




I stoode beside Tim Bobbin' grave 
    'At looks o'er Ratchda' teawn;
An' th' owd lad 'woke within his yerth, 
    An' sed, "Wheer arto' beawn?"

"Awm gooin' into th' Packer-street, 
    As far as th' Gowden Bell;
To taste o' Daniel's Kesmus ale." 
    TIM.—"I cud like o saup mysel'." 

"An' by this hont o' my reet arm, 
    If fro' that hole theaw'll reawk, 
Theaw'st have o saup o'th' best breawn ale 
    'At ever lips did seawk."

The greawnd it sturr'd beneath my feet, 
    An' then I yerd o groan;
He shook the dust fro' off his skull, 
    An' rowlt away the stone.

I brought him op o deep breawn jug, 
    'At o gallon did contain;
An' he took it at one blessed draught, 
    An' laid him deawn again!

Sam Bamford.



Manchester City News.

22nd August 1925.

The Home at Charlestown.

MR. JOSHUA HOLDEN writes:—I believe I am correct in stating that Bamford wrote both "Passages in the Life of a Radical" and "Early Days" while residing in a little cottage in Charlestown, Blackley.  Part of this hamlet still remains, but the cottage in which Bamford lived has long ago disappeared.  A steep hill, much steeper than the present Charlestown Road, led from the turnpike road up to Charlestown.

    Bamford's cottage was the last on the right, and immediately behind was a deep dell in which was a fern-festooned well, which never failed in its supply.  This dell now forms part of Boggart Hole Clough.  It was from this cottage, seventy-three years age, that Bamford, at the age of sixty-four, went to London to take up an appointment in Somerset House.  He soon tired of his appointment and pined for his old environments.

    It was probably while sitting on one of the forms in a London park that he wrote or conceived the idea, for his "Farewell to My Cottage."  In the London park, he sees strange children, and compares them with those who loved him and Mima, and who did so many little acts of kindness for them.  Proctor, in "Memorials of Bygone Manchester," refers to this poem, and says that it was probably the last which Bamford wrote.  He also states that Bamford once expressed a desire that the verses should be appended to a picture of his dwelling near "Boggart-Ho-Kloof."  This has never been done.

I enclose a copy, of the poem, and also a photograph of Charlestown showing Bamford's cottage.  I am looking forward, and doubtless many others, to reading the "Looms of Destiny," for it would be difficult to find a more varied life than that of Samuel Bamford for the groundwork of a good story.



AREWELL to my cottage, that stands on the hill, 
To valleys and fields where I wander'd at will, 
And met early spring with her buskin of dew, 
As o'er the wild heather a joyance she threw; 
'Mid fitful sun beamings, with bosom snow-fair, 
And showers in the gleamings, and wind-beaten hair,
She smil'd on my cottage, and buddings of green 
On elder and hawthorn and woodbine were seen
The crocus came forth with its lilac and gold,
And fair maiden snowdrop stood pale in the cold
The primrose peep'd coyly from under the thorn, 
And blithe look'd my cottage on that happy morn. 
But spring pass'd away, and the pleasure was o'er, 
And I left my cottage to claim it no more. 
Farewell to my cottageafar must I roam,
No longer a cottage, no longer a home.

For broad must be earned, though my Cob I resign; 
Since what I enjoy shall with honour be mine;
So up to the great city I must depart,
With boding of mind and a pang at my heart. 
Here all seemeth strange, as if foreign the land, 
A place and a people I don't understand;
And as from the latter I turn me away,
I think of old neighbours now lost, well-a-day, 
I think of my cottage full many a time,
A nest among flowers at midsummer prime;
With sweet pink, and white rock, and bonny rose
And honeybine garland o'er window and door; 
As prim as a bride ere the revels begin,
And white as a lily without and within. 
Could I but have tarried, contented I'd been, 
Nor envied the palace of lady the queen.
And oft at my gate happy children would play, 
Or sent on an errand well pleased were they;
A pitcher of water to fetch from the spring,
Or wind-broken wood from my garden to bring; 
On any commission they'd hasten with glee, 
Delighted when serving clear Ima or me
For I was their "uncle," and "gronny" was she. 
And then as a recompense sure if not soon, 
They'd get a sweet posy on Sunday forenoon,
Or handful of fruit would their willing hearts cheer; 
I miss the dear childrennone like them are here, 
Though offspring as lovely as mother e'er bore
At eve in the park I can count by the score.
But these are not oursof a stranger they're shy, 
So I can but bless them as passing them by; 
When ceasing their play my emotion to scan,
I dare say they wonder "what moves the old man." 

Of ours, some have gone in their white coffin shroud, 
And some have been lost in the world and its crowd; 
One only remains, the last bird in the nest,
Our own little grandchild, the dearest and best. 
But vain to regret, though we cannot subdue 
The feelings to nature and sympathy true, 
Endurance with patience must bear the strong part
Sustain when they cannot give peace to the heart; 
Till life with its yearnings and struggles is o'er,
And I shall remember my cottage no more.

Sam Bamford.


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