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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:43 am 
Spider Lady
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 22 July 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 1]

The records of this important old town transcend those of every other town in Lancashire in matters of variety and public interest. Than it few boroughs - if any - are more ancient, and certainly none are more famous in it historical records. A century ago it held its own in the number and quality of its aristocracy and gentry; and everywhere its legends, stories, and folk-lore were "familiar as household words." A century ago the town was approached by unenclosed roads. There were 110 burghage tenements that could give votes, and which were owned by about a dozen proprietors. Hereon hangs a tale. When Sir Ralph As?heton, of Whalley Abbey, one of the first members for Clitheroe, was applied to on the part of the prime minister in 1559, to buy some votes - burghage tenements - the only transferable property that would give a vote, he replied, in effect, that he lived at Whalley; but when he went over to Clitheroe he would ask some questions on the matter. In course of time another fierce letter came from Government, demanding to know why he had not bought some votes for the Government. Sir Ralph wrote back, stating that he had found out that there were no votes to sell in Clitheroe; therefore, the Government could not buy any. For two centuries there is not the least doubt there existed a suffrage to meet each person's wants - proprietary owners who were non-resident, resident owners and occupiers of houses, pot wallers and freemen. In the year 1788, a struggle of unexampled fierceness, lasting for fourteen days, terminated in the defeat of one of the Listers of Arnoldsbiggin. He petitioned against the return, on the ground that the election of members of parliament was not in the inhabitants; that they had nothing whatever to do with it, and that the power of returning members to Parliament was vested in the Corporation, through its ownership of property. There were seven members of the committee - Elwez the Miser being the chairman. The sitting spread over a period of 14 days. A learned counsel who had been engaged to argue the case of the sitting members fell ill, and a substitute had to be found. The Hon. John Scott, afterwards Lord Eldon, then a very young man, was appealed to, and with fear and trembling he went before the Parliamentary Committee. The taking of the evidence lasted ten days; the remaining four days were taken up in the delivery of Mr. Scott's speech, showing that the sitting members had been duly elected. Three members of the committee were in his favour and three against him, but the casting vote of Elwez the Miser was given against Mr. Scott. At once the borough became a proprietary borough. Those who held the property became nominators of the members of Parliament - the nominees of those who giverned by the "rule of thumb." From the period of 1558, when the hereditary representation - held from time immemorial by the Earls of Lunesdale and Lancaster - was taken away and parliamentary representation given in its stead, persistent efforts were made to convert Clitheroe into a Government borough by purchase; but the efforts of the Listers, the Parkers, the Shuttleworths, and others - chiefly Republicans or Cromwellians - utterly defeated Government efforts, although backed up by the sword of civil warfare wielded by "the powers that be;" but
What forcs and fraud could not subdue,
Through several warlike ages,
Was work'd out by a coward crew,.
Fore hireling traitor's wages.
Lord Eldon often publicly avowed his indebtedness to the Clitheroe Election Inquiry, in promoting his success at the bar, which led to his elevation to the House of Peers. In early life Lord Eldon was a spirited and enthusiastic Republican; the splendour of his talents was rarely ever equalled; and they had a world-wide appreciation. A glance at the characteristics of the different representatives for Clitheroe must occupy a separate chapter. They will shine as men who, for the most part, were essentially self-denying, and worthily discharged their trust. The rule was to pay them for their services; and one of them - Sir Thomas Stringer, a barrister - write to the free and independents to say that they had fallen into arrears to the sum of four shillings, and unless prompt payment was made he should not again repair to Parliament as their representative - in a hurrry. After the famous decision of Elwez, the miser, a snug family party ruled the roast at Clitheroe Town Hall. They had two bailiffs and one corporation. The recorder of the borough - always a barrister - was, by virtue of his office, out-bailiff; the head of the Corporation was in-bailiff; and when some mortal died other than a natural death, the cause was inquired into by the coroner, made up of two bodies - in-bailiff and out-bailiff - who sat cheek by chowl, close together as possible, and generally made up their minds that the sufferer had gone off accidentally. The union of the two bailiffs also made on justice of the peace. Members of the Corporation were elected from a burgess list, written on parchment - printers' ink was not in demand at all. The out-bailiffs were men of good position, invariably; and the in-bailiffs gave a yearly feast, paid for out of the funds. At the festive board a peck of hazel nuts was produced from the Corporate hill of cop-lane, which was the rent fee for occupying Fairy Banks. One of the in-bailiffs was caught sheep-stealing. There was a vulgar error that any member of the Corporation caught tripping, and fixed with a hanging offence, would cause the borough to be broken; so the punishment of the out-bailiff was commuted to "riding the stang." This was carried out by the offender sitting in the centre of a long pole, supported by two carriers at each end. The culprit was liable to be pelted with rotten vegetables or eggs; but he had to keep repeating
Here I am,
With my sheep and my can,
Like a thief as I am;
And for this my pocket's game.
I've incurred this worldly shame;
I promise if let off this time,
Never to do the like again.
In a quarter of a century afterwards this noted individual lived at the base of a hill, around which there was a footpath. Mischievous young men would go to the old man's door and bleat like a sheep and then dart off, followed by the enraged individual, who seldom caught the offenders. When he did so, he levied black-mail upon them, and no mistake. Another bailiff, named Wolverton, brought into town a great stock of bank notes, purporting to be issued by a Wolverhampton bank. These notes were forgeries. Some of them were paid to Messrs. Horsfall's. Wolverton was carted out of Clitheroe under a quantity of potato sacks. What became of him was never known. One Hargreaves, a grocer, at Sabden, was caught, red handed, and he was executed at Lancaster; but his body was begged from the High Sheriff, and it was brought through the Trough of Bolland, and taken over Pendle Hill to Sabden for interment. Another bailiff built a row of houses upon corporate land, first excavating the stone from the solid rock, and then gave himself a conveyance to the whole of the houses. These facts were clearly enough ascertained in 1848; but private interest sufficiently prevented the burgessess from enjoying their own again. In another instance a very large tract of building land was found to have been abstracted by a deceased bailiff, whose successors avowed their determination to hold their possessions, and retained the legal services of a patriotic mayor. The effort succeeded. In plenty of cases, peppercorn and other nominal rents for lands, showed what a lucky thing it must have been to be a favourite with the old Corporation. At a great trial in 1832, held at Lancaster, Mr. Williams, subsequently Judge Williams, denounced the Court of Common Pleas of Clitheroe, as having been turned into a quagmire of corruption by the rapacity of its legal practitioners, and the long tribe of harpies who hung to their coat skirts. This ancient court, whose proceedings will never be published to an astonished indignant world - still exists; it has its recorder; but it has long fallen into desuetude. Its dungeon, in which insolvent debtors were confined, was closed in 1834, by the order of a Government Commissioner, and it was arranged that debtors arrested under capiases should in future be sent to Lancaster Castle. The governer of that place still receives a guinea a year from Clitheroe Corporation. As for the Court itself, the force of public opinion has deterred ant lawyer from entering its portals for the last 30 years. The gaoler of the old Court of Common Pleas was John Harris, Esq., who died in 1843. An excellent man he was in his way, and when he was clad in his robes of office, most closely resembled on of the characters in Hogarth's pictures; indeed, in point of fact, the portrait in Hogartth may be said to be that of "Jacky Harris," as he was familiarly spoken of. It may be explained that the legal processes issued by the Court of Common Pleas - from the Town Clerk's office - included sums from 1s. upwards, and the cost of the first document was £2 2s. If the claim was disputed an appearance was entered, which cost £2 2s., then followed "declaration," "pleas," and the like. Service of first process could only be effected within the boundary of the municipal borough; but if any debtor went to fair or market he was liable to be pounced upon and served, unless, as very frequently happened, the debtor chanced to see the process server advancing, when, if he was a young man, he would run for his life sometimes entering the castle ditches, whichw ere extra parochial ground; but unless the debtor could remain there till night and get away under cover of darkness, his footsteps would be waylaid, and service would be effected. The landmarks of final refuge or escape were the bottom of the brow, beyond Eddisford Bridge, Pimlico, Bellman, Platstone, beyond four lane ends, and Primrose Bridge.
(To be Continued.)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:13 am 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 29 July 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 2]

It is necessary to describe the boundary of the borough of Clitheroe; yet whether some of the ancient land marks have not been removed is a most grave question. But it must be distinctly understood that, when in 1138, the charter of incorporation was granted, there were only two sorts of roads - Roman road and pack horse road - the latter being very imperfectly developed. When David, King of Scotland, invaded Clitheroe, he is believed to have landed his army at Salesbury boat, and to have gone over Whalley Moor, and even the land where Primrose now stands, ascending the bill that was ever afterwards known as Scot Brow. When a poor mortal lost his work at Primrose, he was always known as the unlucky wight who had to "walk his chaps up Scot Brow." In the dreadful invasion referred to, the inhabitants were put to fire and sword, and those who were left alive were divested of every particle of clothing, and few survived through exposure to the weather and want of food. It is believed, that unless the weather had been warm, the whole country side would have been depopulated. Clitheroe, in its parts, illustrates five stages of civilisation:- Roman road, pack horse road, queen's highway, turnpike road, and railroad. The boundary stones are placed in a very extraordinary way - two of them are on the County of york, and one in the township of Pendleton. They are not co-extensive with the well-defined boundary of the township of Clitheroe. But once having fixed a boundary, the bailiffs and burgesses became deer proprietors, in which they were protected by the forest laws. They had a Bow Bearer, who resided on Coplaw, where it still exists, a fertile plot of land, nearly fenced round, shaped like the shoe of a horse. It is the property of Colonel Starkie. The different stages of deer stealing were punished by cutting of the hands, or cutting out the eyes of offenders, and finally the offender could be executed by paying a fine to the Coroner - this power they had within themselves in the junction of the Out bailiff and the In bailiff. Culprits were hanged at the end of Salthill, at a place where Tower Barn stands; and when the foundations of that building were dug some human bones were found. The surrounding forest of Bowland is a royal forest, and has been so from time immemorial. It had John O'Gaunt for its chief Bow Bearer. The forest laws belong entirely to the feudal period. They were enacted by
The great, the rich, the mighty men,
Kings and chief captains of the worked,
Who, fixed on high like stars of heaven,
Shoot baleful influence.
Colonel Towneley, chief bow bearer, can go on the 11th of August by himself and others, and take his fill of grouse shooting, although all other persons are fixed by statute of the 12th of august. Pheasant shooting is opened on the 1st of september by statute, but the chief bow bearer can open out over every man's game preserves within the forest in August. The like patent right applies to partridge shooting. But those who held forest rights could punish offenders by chopping off their limbs and the like, and by paying fine to the coroner. Dogs living within the forest had their claws cut, so as to prevent them chasing deer. Deer preserving is abandoned except within high walls, and the other corollary of life and death, and dog maiming has disappeared, whereby we see how much civilisation has done for man in the past, what it is doing for him in the present state, a lively guess at what it may attain for him in the future.
The late John Addison, Esq., when met one night under Pendle Hill, in August, 1850, stated that the township of Clitheroe formerly repaired the road to a point opposite the gates of Pendleton Hall farm yard propert - the residence for some generations of a fine old country family, named E?lell. Mr. Addison, said that his father, who was his predecessor in the office of recorder and out-bailiff, assured him than inquests had been held in the neighbourhood of Pendleton Hall - one in particular on an old native, who had been found on an open space of land adjoining the old highway from Halifax to Lancashire, and which originally passed behind Coulthurst, a very fine estate bequeathed to Sir John Holker, by his uncle, Squire Brocklehurst. From Pendleton Hall to Preston it is exactly fourteen miles as the crow flies. Another curious circumstance about Pendleton is the fact that just above Standen Hall the township corn mill used to stand. This mill was taken down, stone by stone, and removed to Henthorne. The ancient style of erection was fully observed in the rebuilding process. About this old mill, for a given distance, the highway was repaired by the township of Clitheroe, up to 1848, since which period the Corporation have repudiated their obligation, and the matter seems to have lapsed. The bridge is known as a County Bridge. Considerably higher up than the site of the old mill, Benjamin Latham, when out shooting with his master, was served by James Walker with a writ of summons from the Court of Common Pleas, and Mr. Addison held that the service was good. The prisoners sometimes escaped from the Moot Hall; others could have done so, but they had not left behind them a place of shelter - they were helpless, hopeless, friendless, and unknown, except to those eaves dropping lawyers who had profitted by the bill of costs that had been run up against some luckless plaintiff. Of one of this patriotic class of practitioners it was once properly said by a local rhymster -
The people's advocate art thou,
If ever they had any,
Since but a sovereign thou dost get,
For what cost thee a penny.
A well-known fighter, named James Ward, of Ribchester - never known to be beaten - was arrested for debt. One morning he told his poor but merry companions that he would go to Ribchester, to ease his aching stomach by going for his breakfast. They simply laughed at him, told him he wa s fast, but he soon broke the prison, and went off like a bounding buck. News was taken to Mr. Harris, in Harris-court, and he sent messages in all directions. Mr. Harris was under heavy sureties for the safety of all the prisoners, and he was forth with waited upon by a legal satellite, and informed that if the re-capture could be effected by half-past three o'clock, well and good - if not, a letter would be sent to London for a King's Bench writ of summons against John Harris to recover debt and costs for which Ward was incarcerated. At the time appointed no James Ward was forthcoming. A writ was sent for and served upon the jailers, who paid the debt and costs. Meanwhile, however, it was ascertained that Ward, like a hunted hare, had gone back to his home at Ribchester. He appeared sorry when assured that Jacky Harris would have to pay his detaining creditors' debt, so he started to Clitheroe with a few friends, but on getting to Eddisford Bridge he refused to cross it, saying that if he did so he would again be within the borough; but he was shown that two of the boundary stones had already been passed, whereupon he journeyed to the Moot Hall, and was lodged there, the broken door having been repaired. All in vain, however, for debt and costs - the uttermost farthing - had been paid by his custodian - a thing that has not manny parralells. James Ward was subsequently sat on a chair in a Ribchester public-house, when an enemy of his took a "run-punch" at him, hitting him on the forehead and killing him on the spot. The dungeon was under the debtor's prison, and was called "The Black Hole," than which no appellation could be more appropriate, for it resembled nothing more closely than the Black hole of calcutta. A member of the Fletcher family - of whom more anon - named Tom, stood six feet seven inches in his stocking feet, was arrested and pushed inside, where he was doubled up like an eel. The assistant of Dr. Wood was going past, and hearing groans from some one in anguish he went to the door, and recognising the voice he said, "What art thou doing there Tom?" Tom replied that he was doing nothing - he could neither "sit straight, stand straight, nor lie straight." Tom concluded by an appeal to be "put out of his misery;" for, added he, "It's Sally that has put me in, but she'd never get th' chance again." The young doctor begged to be allowed while dark, when he returned to the dungeon with some well known surgical instruments, whereby he picked the dungeon lock and set his prisoner free. Tom, enlisted for a soldier at Liverpool, and was an immense favourite. He got into the good graces of a colonel, who made him his body servant, in which capacity he was the observed of all observers. The gallant colonel was in debt, and as he was expecting a call from the sheriffs officer, told Tom to let no stranger enter his apartment. The "limb of the law" presented himself in due time and form, and tried to pass Tom. The latter spread out his limbs, and ingress became impossible. In the name of the high sheriff "limb of the law" demanded admission, gruffly exclaiming that he wanted to make a caption. A "kapshun," says Tom, "what sort of thing is that? Whatsomever it is, you cannot make it here - make it somewhere else." The sheriff's officer returned with two of his "limbs." "Now," said Tom, "before you shall come in, I'll leather you all like sacks." In battle line the three "harpies" surveyed Tom from head to foot as best they could, evidently they thought that to fight and run away would be disastrous, nay, worse still,
They who are in battle slain,
Will never life to fight again.
So they made a reluctant retreat. To foreign parts Tom adjourned with his gallant colonel, who set him to cut down a huge tree, which at length showed that it was heavier and taller than long Tom Fletcher, for after it had fallen it was discovered that his prostrate form was lifeless beneath it.
(To be continued)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:58 am 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 5 August 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 3]

There is little doubt that the more crafty inmates of the Town Hall could let themselves into and out of that building whenever they thought proper, and that the Moot Hall, of Clitheroe, resembled that of Bedford, where John Bunyan, the Bedford tinker, could leave his prison at nights and go home to sojourn with his family. Mr. Harris, who combined in his own person the different offices of tailor, sergeant, mace bearer, and collector of borough rates, visited a little old-fashioned public-house in the Market-place - having a hatched roof - in company with one of his numerous friends, when, while engaged in drinking a glass of rum and water, he heard a voice, which he at once recognised. He opened the room door, and at once recognised one of his debtors, named Thomas Nowell, otherwise Wood. With an air of great concern Harris exclaimed, "Tommy, lad, I thought thou had been in the hall. I knew no better." The debtor replied, "Well, the truth to tell, Mr. Harris, I have slept at home every night for the last twenty-three weeks; I have a key by which I can let myself in and out." "Just show me how thou hast dne it?" said Mr. Harris. Tommy repaired to the Moot Hall door, opened it and let himself in, to the great consternation of Mr. Harris and his friend who had accompanied him. A lantern was procured, and after threading his way past lapstones, looms, and such other implements of trade as were in use in the building, he called over the muster roll, and three others were absent. During the night, however, they returned, and were soundly rated the following morning by Mr. Harris. One of them frankly confessed that he had been engaged all the previous night in killing Squire Aspinall's game. Hereon hangs a tale. A keeper who tended Mr. Aspinall's game from first to last, about half a century, reported to his master, one very fine autumn morning, that on the previous night he had encountered a gang of poachers, whom he named, and amongst them was a well-known tailor named Lambert. Squire Aspinall, who was then suffering from an attack of gout, threw down his crutches to hurl a harsh string of denunciations at the devoted head of Benjamin Latham, adding, "I always suspected thee to be a great liar, Ben; but now I am convinced of it, for only the other day I went through the Moot Hall at Clitheroe, and saw Lambert there a prisoner for debt - as fast as a thief in a mill." The storm ended by Latham getting three months' notice to quit. Before the notice expired, the story of Ward's escape and the pranks of Thomas Nowell had reached Squire Aspinall's ears, whereupon he begged Latham's pardon, and asked him to remain in his service. Of the charters of Clitheroe Corporation much may be said. Also of the decisions of court leets and barons, frank pledges, and the like. They are published in a separate form, having been collated by the master mind of the celebrated John Harland, so long ago as 1850. They are couched in the ancient legal phraseology of the period, and show that the family of Lord Byron formerly held property in Clitheroe, which was subsequently bought by Mr. Dearden, coroner of Rochdale, to which town the Honor of Clitheroe somewhat closely approaches. The great charter, around which all the other charters ought to revolve, is lost, having been carefully spirited away by some designing individual, or, may be, an unlimited liability company. But, like Lord St. Leonard's will, persons have seen a copy of the same. It provided, as long since as 1137, that Clitheroe should be created a municipal borough, whose government should be vested in the "more wise ans discreet inhabitants elected by burgesses holding their sittings in a building to be called "The Moot Hall"; that in the bailiffs and the members of the Corporation should be vested the right, title, and interest of a boundary of land conveyed to them absolutely and for ever, with all the rights of free chase, free warren, the rents and profits of which were to be applied to the uses and benefit of the burgesses at large. The said Corporation in that capacity were to be free from borough processes, or vexatious proceedings. A further clause set forth that new votes should be cretaed according to the increased population; and although the representation was then hereditary, it was held to be a high crime and misdemeanour, punishable with perpetual banishment, for any "great man" to interfere in the conducting of the elections. Doubtless it was upon the spirit of this famous document that the Hon. John Scott based his magnificentt speech, in 1788, spreading over four consecutive days. In describing the struggle referred to, the Rev. T. Wilson, head master of the Grammar School, said its effect was to sunder family ties and party ties that never again became united - a consequence which he professed to deplore, in most pathetic terms - just as if those who had guilty consciences should not be pursued into that obscurity to which they had so ignominiously retreated. Another charter states that the burgesses of Clitheroe should enjoy the same rights, privileges, and immunities as the borough of Chester, one of which was a monopoly of the woollen trade. Some very ancient houses were of similar foundation in Clitheroe to those of Chester - diamond shaped pieces of wood in front, and thatched rofs, out of which there peeped leaden framed squares of glass about four inches square. After this style "Dule uppo dun" was constructed. It was burned down in 1828. An outline of two glorious legends connected with this famous house will be given subsequently. One of the findings of the Court Leet sets forth that the borough of Clitheroe was not liable for the repair of the "Up Brooks" road. This brook for some centuries was the only means of ingress or egress between Colne and Clitheroe. It passed over Worston Moor and under Pendle Hill to Colne, forming as rough a journey as ever fox was hunted over. From that circuit mourners had to bring their dead - sometimes in vain, for the brook, like all mountain streams, was not unfrequently impassable. It was certainly a cool and a drenching proposition that natives of Colne should tramp over moss and moor for fourteen miles to repair the main entrance to a leading borough of semi-national importance. Another Court Leet held that Clitheroe must repair Up Brooks that is, that at such times as the road menders could stand in the stream, they must level the bed of the brook in the best way they could. Again, in 1848, the township denied its liabilty, but consented to repair the brooks, and did so reluctantly. In 1865 the Corporation again repudiated their liabilty, when the late Mr. Starkie, of Huntroyde, indicted them, and after a true bill had been obtained, the Corporation repaired the road. The borough charters are not good to understand; they are contradictory; and in the absence of the great charter their meaning, in some instances, is rendered inexplicable. Their publication was a failure. The bill for them was £27 odd, and when progress was reported in 1852 it was stated that one bookseller had actually sold one copy for half-a-crown, but that he had accidentally omitted to ask his solitary purchaser for his card. It is remarkable that the gifted author had made many inquiries, but had never been able to find Saint Mary's Gate, a place mentioned in some of the old documents. But the boundary of that famous gate is defined by a well of prodigious liquid power dedicated by our Saxon forefathers to Saint Mary. Its surplus water joins the brook that runs through Hornby's wood-yard, and that terminates the "gate," a term which in Saxon will apply to road or watercourse. The writer reserves to himself the right to return to these old charters should occasion require. the late Mr. John Harris used to walk the boundary of the borough in the company of the scholars of the Free Grammar School. If the starting point is taken below Four Lane Ends - a little higher up than the old Roman road, which is denoted with sufficient clearness on the last map published by the Ordnance Survey - then it follows on in the High Moor direction; then it passes over Salt Hill, and right down a meadow, in the corner of which there was formerly a garden; then across New-road to near Sir William Hey; then it turns and passes Fairy Banks and Peggy Banks, crosses Pimlico-road, and through a meadow formerly occupied by Joseph Veevers, over Knunck Knolls, and Pig Hill, and straight as the crow flies to Roe Field; and crosses the Ribble to the foot of Eddisford Brow, Yorkshire; it next returns across the Ribble to the Wharf; then goes down the side of the water to Giddow's Pit, a wheel where it veers round, and steals up the side of Pendleton brook, but leaves that beautiful trout stream at Hell Hole Bridge, and goes some distance into a field in the township of Pendleton; it then re-crosses the stream and goes up its side until the Roman road is crossed, and so on to Four Lane Ends to the starting point indicated. Supposing the boundary in question to be correct there is within its folds a proprietary land ownership, which yields a rent roll of more than £2,000 annually. In time, some Joseph Hume may arise in Clitheroe Town Council who will move to show how the land once freely given to the burgesses has passed into the hands of the territorial gentry, what were the terms of purchase, and what money actually passed (if any) when conveyances were executed.
(To be continued)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:31 am 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 12 August 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 4]


Having indicated the boundary of Clitheroe, and shown that the inheritance of the burgesses at large is broken and misused, the writer proposes to notice the incidents of the border line, once truly delineated by stones that at the present time are to be found in gutters, streams, and brooks, as monuments of departed greatness. After disposing of the border lines and all their surroundings, the writer proposes to sketch the Honor of Clitheroe, for which the Hundred of Blackburn is simply a second name - a sort of territorial alias. The different members of Parliament who have represented Clitheroe for more than 300 years will be given, together with their political proclivities, and, as far as dim distance will permit, their different surroundings. These M.P.'s will include the Stanleys (Earl of Derby), the Asshetons, the Shuttleworths, the Benticks, the Newdegates, and the Grosvenors, most of whom were subject to payment for their services, and had short Parliaments, asserting the claims of political freedom when not a farthing rushlight was seen in the land, and when not even Old Moore, with his terrible hieroglyphics, professed to dispel popular darkness. It will be shown that while the cost of contested elections in the time of Queen Elizabeth was defrayed with £4, the sum of £4,000 did not suffice for the greediness of modern times. The passing of the Bill of 1832 and the dreadful havoc made by the military, as well as the elections of 1835, 1837, 1841, 1847, 1852, 1853 (two), 1857, 1859, 1865, 1868, and 1874 will be adverted to, and also their attendant scenes of bribery, treating, corruption, and intimidation, the hotheadedness of the promoters of the Public Health Act and the political duplicity of its opponents, together with humorous sketches of the prime movers. Old townsmen and local celebrities will not be overlooked. The Grammar School will not be overlooked, but not with such a moping pen as to make it resemble a Blue Book encased in a leaden frame. The story of Battersby's minder will be told in a familiar strain, as also the minder of Spanking Roger at Hurst Green, and a sketch of Richard Procter, the last person who was sentenced to death for cow stealing, will be given. Every inch of ground within the borough of Clitheroe is historical ground, made important by some local incident or historical circumstance. To begin with Pendleton Hall, often visited by the first Sir Robert Peel when he owned the printworks at Sawley; indeed, he is said at one time to have been one of its tenants. Certainly he was a frequent visitor at the Rev. Thomas wilson's, and the second Sir Robert Peel, so often Prime Minister of England, often attended the Grammar School lectures, when they were delivered in the old wooden school that stood in Clitheroe church-yard. The hall at Pendleton was surrounded by a moat, and approached by a draw-bridge. Its former owners were the Ellell family, the last member of which House was engaged to be married to Miss Dodgson - a great local beauty. Out of natural love and affection he willed all his property to her. The marriage was fixed, but Mr. Ellell died before the day arrived. Subsequently Miss Dodgson married Mr. Henry Kenyon, solicitor (Kenyon and Wilkinson). She died childless, and Mr. Kenyon adopted a child to whom he intended to give all his property. The adopted child sickened and died, and Mr. Kenyon's property passed to the next of kin. A aquabble arose as to its application; Chancery was appealed to; and the estate to the present day is in litigation. "To what base uses may we come at last."
"Imperial Caesar turn's to clay,
May stop a hole to keep the wind away."
The name of Ellell has been seen on the burgess roll - which was a local Domesday Book - for six centuries. Coming to Standen Hall revives a great number of recollections. This famous mansion, which possesses a county reputation, was erected early in the 14th entury, by Lord and Lady Standen, and subsequently re-built and beautified, and occupied by a lond line of aristocratic families. Early in the eighteenth century Lord and Lady Southwell were seated at Standen Hall. They were noted for the excellence of their household, the number of their stately visitors, and their unostentaious acts of charity on behalf of the poor. They were Roman Catholics, but that circumstance never interfered with the high social distinction they enjoyed. That great wit, punster, and poet, the Rev. Thomas Wilson, was a frequent visitor at Standen Hall. Why not? The easy-going divine visited the Littledales, at Liverpool returned to Preston races and witnessed the efforts of Dr. Syntax, and next adjourned to Stonyhurst College, where he spent some days in the company of certain good-natured priests. There is a legend connected with Standen Hall that never loses any of its beauty by being re-told or re-written. It is that in connection with Hell Hole Bridge. In a deep hollow, surrounded by lofty oaks, there runs a crystal stream composed of the purest water. Time was when no bridge spanned it, and when it was crossed sometimes by a flat stone, and sometimes by a plank - perhaps a tree in all its native roundness. Late one night, the Rev. Thomas Wilson, left Standen Hall, and took a short cut over the stream. While his "Riverince" had partaken of Lord Southwell's hospitality, some heavy rains had fallen, and the volume and velocity of the mountain torrent had assumed threatening proportions. The author of the Archaelogical Dictionary fell into the flood, but arrested his downward progress by embracing a tree. Shouting at the top of his voice brought a person to his assitance, who carried a lantern, when it was discovered that the man of divinity was clasping an oaken tree like grim death. The grammar school boys noticed the following morning that their sombre visaged master had been testing the extent of his wardrobe. Amongst such a cynical people as those of Clitheroe, the story of the mishap happening to get wind, caused much gossip, but Wilson was too great a giant to be encountered, especially as there was an over-weening impression abroad that the sousing of the worthy divine was distinctly traceable to the action of the devil, who was always down in the dell when heavy floods prevailed, "going about like a roaring lion seeking who he could devour." To a cold-blooded and clear-headed ecclesiastical from the college at Stonyhurst, on a visit to Standen Hall, Lady Southwell, in pathetic terms, related the misadventure of Parson Wilson, and added that the presiding genius of Satan himself must be at the bottom of it all. In this lovely valley, said the Catholic divine I'll make the folks sing a new song-
Who kill'd the devil?
I, says the Pope,
With my crozier and cope,
I'll give him some scope,
I'll kill the devil.
The titled lady begged that the speaker would not run any risk nor get into that stream which carried everything before it when sent down in such mad fury from the lofty hill of Pendle - probably by no other personages than the Pendle Forest witches. That very night Pendleton Brook was visited by another floodite. The Holy Father kept watch and ward until the witching hour of night; "Auld Cloutie" made his appearance at "Hell Hole," the name of the so-called crossing. "What is thy business with me," sternly asked Sir Brimstone. "Well, said Blackcloth, "I do not want you to make a fortune of souls out of those lonely crossings - let these wayfaring simpletons go their way in peace; if thou wouldest reap a richer harvest go and show thy bloody hand in Holland and Flanders, where the wars are raging." "Thou shalt not dictate terms to me," said Satan, at the same time showing his three-pronged pitchfork, and the serpentine gyrations of his tail. But I'll tell thee what I will do, just to let thee see how lightly I value this precious crossing that with deserting his family. Mr. Todd proved the case. - thou contestest about - if I must have the first life that passes over I will consent that this headstrong stream shall be crossed by a bridge." "It's a bargain," replied the Holy man; the bridge shall be raised; thou shalt visit it when the keystone is covered in, and receive thy praise in the forfeiture of the first life that passes over it." Stones and morter were quickly used, and the bridge quickly erected. It so happened that one of the descendants of "Ned of the Fell" had been caught snaring hares by Squire Weld's keeper in Birdy Brow, and for this offence he was sent to prison; his faithful lurcher was left desolate, and had to catch its living queerly. So the priest even had covenanted with Satan, in a bond duly signed and sealed, caught the poacher's dog, and led it to the place which had then acquired the name of "Hell Hole Bridge." A helpmate at the Clitheroe end of the bridge held up a piece of rancid meat, which was at once perceived by the starving brute. It was slipped from its leash, when it bounded across the bridge and gained its prize. Beelzebub shouted that he had had a scurvy trick played upon him. He, however, knocked out the dog's neck with his fork, and took a sudden departure. The moral attached to this beautiful legend is that there is no difficulty, however great, that cannot be bridged over, and there is no moortal under the sun so far under the power and influence of the Evil One that he cannot throw hiim off by the exercise of fortitude and prayer resolution. There are gates at each end of the bridge at the present time which, when opened, swing to and fro, and every time they pass the fastener they snap and cause a curious echo, imparting the idea to the pedestrian that some person is opening the gate and pursuing him. In the dead stillness of the night a terrifying sensation is produced, which starts the passenger into a run and induces him often to try and imitate Deerfoot. Although Romanists, Lord and Lady Southwell were interred in Clitheroe Church. When that building was taken down and re-built about 1828 the spectacle was seen of Lord and Lady Southwell lying bare in their coffins. For many generations the Aspinalls have held Standen Hall. Serjeant Aspinall was a great Inminary at the Bar, and his reputation was as spotless as his talents were brilliant. Aspinall Turner, M.P., Manchester, belonged to the family, so did Mr. Drinkwater, a celebrated barrister in settlement cases. Dr. Walshman once lived there. It is now held by Ralph J. Aspinall, Esq. whose father represented Clitheroe from May to August, 1853.
(To be Continued.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:39 pm 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 19 August 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 5]

Before parting with Standen Hall, it must be explained that when Mr. J.T. Aspinall died, in 1863, a claimant came in and made a great disturbance by stating that he was the real heir to the estate, in consequence of Mr. John Aspinall, sen., having put out his heir to nurse. It was said the foster mother could see very plainly, as she thought, that the Aspinall infant was going to die, and that having a fine infant of her own, she put it into the cradle. This "bantling" afterwards - so went the tale - grew up, whilst the reputed "real Simon Pure" grew from a puling infant to manhood, and there he stood to claim the estate. The trustees firmly and peremptorily ejected the claimant from the premises. From the old highway the front view of Standen Hall is charming. such mansions can only be found in England. On the eastern side if a crystally clear trout stream, and time was when over it might be heard the notes of that King of songster birds, the nightingale. Very many of the different varieties of feather birds may be found in the woods surrounding the house.
Indeed, 'tis a lovely and peaceful spot,
Which seen but once can ne'er be forgot;
A natural theatre circled by trees,
Which whisper like harps to the fairy breeze.
Now drop we down the border line - Little Moor Brook - past Little Moor House, a genteel residence, built by Mr. Bateson, of the Swan Inn, who bequeathed it to his son, Mr. John N. Bateson, who married one of the Miss Hayes', of Horrockford, and sold by him to Mr. Thomson, thirty years ago. It is now occupied by Mr. Robert Dewhurst, J.P. On crossing the turnpike road a porter's gate indicates the entrance to Primrose, where Mr. Thomson earned the reputation of being the prince of calico printers, and carried on business at Primrose Print Works for a period of thirty-five years at least. Originally the land upon which Primrose stands, and the stream attached to it, belonged to the free and independent burgesses of Clitheroe, but while John Parker was bailiff, the process of purchase was indulged in, and the thick flat slice became his, as also another plot at Low Moor, more valuable still. Mr. Parker was a cotton spinner at Low Moor and at Primrose. By profession he was an attorney. He was a man of colossal proportions, weighing eighteen scores. On crossing a boarded floor or bedroom he shook all the furniture in the house. An oil painting of Mr. Parker, and of "Molly," his wife, may yet be seen in Clitheroe. Mr. Parker unfortunately failed as a cotton manufacturer, and his princely bargains fell into other hands. The factory at Low Moor has been owned by Garnetts and Horsfalls for 77 years. After John Parker there followed Mr. King - at Primrose - brother of Mr. King, incumbent of Clitheroe, afterwards chaplain to the House of Commons, and uncle to Captain King, who immortalised as the colleague of Captain Cook in his voyage around the world. After the removal of Mr. King, the place was turned into print works. The first proprietor was Mr. James Thomson, whose father was a liquor merchant, in Blackburn, and married one of the sisters of the first Sir Robert Peel. Mr. Thomson was sent to the University of Glasgow, through which he matriculated wih high honours. One of his unwavering companions was Mr. Thomas Campbell, poet, author of "Exile of Erin," a poem that applied to Arthur O'Connor, the uncle of Feargus O'Connor. Mr. Campbell heard the trial of Gerald, the Scotch Reformer, when he was doomed to transportation for life for the use of language which, in the opinion of English lawyers, did not amount to sedition. This trial made a lasting impression upon Campbell's mind. He sometimes visited Mr. Thomson at Primrose, and also delighted to wander through the narrow lanes of the district, and sit down in its sylvan retreats and shady corners. It was in Clitheroe that he composed his famous poem, beginning with-
What are monuments of bravery
Where no public virtues bloom?
What avails in lands of slavery,
Trophied temple, arch, and dome?
The Peels had extensive print works at Church Parish, and Mr. Thomson was taken into their concern, partly as cashier, but principally as chemist. He served in that capacity until going to Primrose. The young Sir Robert was his cousin; but in politics they were "wide as the poles asunder." The first Sir Robert Peel was a champion of the Ten HOurs Bill, and found lots of money to forward the movement. The young Sir Robert also gave money, but retired from the movement. When young Sir Robert passed his Currency Bill - causing so many banks to collapse - no one spoke more strongly of the result than Mr. Thomson. Mr. Thomson married Miss Starkie, of Blackburn, daughter of the Vicar, who lived a blameless and unostentatious life. The Starkies - a fine old county family - lived at Twiston. They were related to the Starkies of Huntroyde. One of the Starkies was a lawyer at Gisburn. The brother of Mrs. Thomson was Mr. Thomas Starkie, Q.C., author of "The Law of Evidence." He married the daughter of Dr. Whitaker, the historian. Mr. Starkie had a very successful career at the bar. It was the constant study of Mr. Thomson to make calico printing one of the branches of the fine arts. In this respect he succeeded for he earned for himself a great reputation in all the English and foreign markets. Colours were then laid on that resembled paint in point of thickness; Turkey reds, with yellow flowers, were sold from 3s. 6d. to 4s. 6d. per yard 24 inches wide. The gowns of that period were made with three breadths in the skirt. They were made
Up to th' neck, down to th' hand,
A diamond back and a belt to;
A walking sidth and a striking width,
A good brad hem and a flounce to.
Excisemen had then great power in print works - guaging the number of windows, stamping prints, stamping soap, and exercising their brisk superintendence whenever they listed - more demonstrative in the exercise of their duty than the master himself. For more than 40 years these restrictions have gone to the "tomb of all the Capulets." Mr. Thomson often expressed himself in strong terms against these fiscal impositions, quoting the famous words of Harry Brougham - "Taxes upon the light from heaven, taxes upon the air we breathe, taxes at birth, and taxes at death. When the child is born he takes his first medicine out of a taxed spoon from a doctor who pays a tax to exercise his profession. Then the child has to whip a taxed top, with a taxed whip upon a taxed road. Through life taxed - waking and sleeping. He makes his will on taxed paper, behind taxed curtains; when gathered to his fathers he is taxed in every stage of interment, and finally his estate is taxed for legacy duties, or what is worse, thrown into chancery, and devoured by the limbs of the law." Mr. Thomson was a very able speaker, extremely facetious and pungent, and the diction of his orations was thoroughly chaste and classical. His denunciatory powers were very considerable, and many political opponents have been made to writhe under his caustic eloquence. His opponents used to read his speeches with the deepest interest. The paper he patronised was the Blackburn Gazette, an organ that had an existence of more than 50 years. It was published with a little red stamp at the corner, and sold at fourpence halfpenny per copy. The supply of news was sometimes limited, and if a good reprint of anything was sent from Clitheroe, it was published in the paper three weeks consecutively. Mr. Thomson wrote his own speeches, and at times employed others to write for him. Sometimes he lampooned his political opponents so mercilessly that they brought actions for libel. The paper in question enjoyed about two law suits in a year, intermixed sometimes with that dreadful visitation - a criminal information. In all these matters of defence there was always a money-finder - Mr. Thomson. A neighbouring squire was spoken of as a person who walked about with a donkey's head upon his shoulders - living in the largest house in the township, and having the fewest brains. A verdict passed for the plaintiff, the consequences of which were smoothed down by Mr. Thomson's purse. Getting money verdicts of this sort did not altogether satisfy; they produced too great a re-action. Mr. Fort, M.P., quarrelled with his butler, and for some reason tumbled him out of doors. Mr. Plush at once sought redress for the indignities that had been heaped upon him - high souled and magnanimous as he was; so Mr. Fort, M.P., was summoned before the magistrate at Whalley, to whom the case was bread and cheese and glory. The sessions in carts, fastened round the middle with a chain - generally a cow chain; and arms and hands were left at liberty. A constable, who had safely lodged his live stock, went to meet another constable. It was then necessary to produce the warrant on the arraignment of the prisoner. If the warrant was wanting, the prisoner could not be detained in custody. By the side of the cart the bull frog constable pulled out his warrant, and began to expariate upon the enormity of the offence of the chained man; suddenly the latter reached over the side of the cart and snatched away the warrant, which he put into his mouth. The constable stopped the cart and mounted it by the wheel, seized the poor mortal by the jaws to stop their action; but too late - the chained had swallowed the legal process. Exasperated beyond measure, the constable applied his "bunch of fives" to the captive's frontispiece and bruised it fearfully. The captive, when about to make a refusal by pitching his assailant over the side of the cart upon the pavement, was prevented by the interference of the spectators. Soon afterwards the constable marched his prisoner before that prince of jolly fellows, Colonel Clayton, who was generally well up in law points. In tremulous key, and with bated breath, the constable told how the rascally wastrel had snatched the warrant out of his hand, and had eaten it, although he had seized his jaws and tried to stop him. Colonel Clayton was seized with a fit of merriment, which lasted some minutes, at the end of which he told the prisoner he was discharged. "Can I not have a fresh warrant?" groaned the constable. "Yes," said Colonel Clayton, "at the proper time and place; but," pointing to the prisoner writhing with pain and mortification, "who has given him that bruised face?" "Well," said the constable, "I hit him for aggravation." "Well," said Colonel Clayton, "I would advise your friend to apply for a warrant for assault and battery." Roars of laughter followed this statement. The browbeaten constable never heard the last of his misfortune. But when Mr. Fort, M.P., was summoned by his butler, the presiding justices were the Rev. Mr. Noble and Mr. John Taylor. They made an order for all wages due, and for a lot of wages in lieu of notice. In commenting upon this decision, as one influenced by political spleen, Mr. Burrell pointed out that it was utterly illegal, and contended that Colonel Clayton would never have permitted it. Mr. Burrell was arrested under criminal information, and held to bail preparatory to trial at Lancaster Assizes. At the trial he was defended by Mr. Brandt, who always appeared in court without wig. The gist of his speech was that the decision given by Parson Noble was illegal - it was meet to be commented upon - and that Earl Howe, who had presented the living of Whalley to Parson Noble, was at the bottom of that prosecution. Baron Alderson, the greatest punster that ever occupied a judge's bench addressed a personal remark. "Parson Noble: You got your living the Lord knows Howe." the bar and court laughed prodigiously at the expense of the vicar of Whalley. Mr. Burrell was acquitted, and came home a free man instead of being left on the criminal side of Lancaster Castle - a fate that was intended for him by his political persecutors. No one rejoiced more deeply at the result that Mr. Thomson. Mr. Thomson dealt in the higher branches of chemistry with no niggard hand. If he heard of a great designer at Rome, or any other place, however distant, he would fetch him to Clitheroe, whatever the stipulation might be. The same with chemists, some of whom were brought from Switzerland, France, anywhere, if they could only be had. The father of Mr. Lonsdale, the county court judge, Mr. Guinness, brother to the great porter brewers, Dublin, Dr. Lyon Playfair, now M.P., who has delivered lectures in Clitheroe, indeed, the number of scientific men of the very highest class employed at Primrose may be said to have been legion. In all the minor departments of the works the best skilled artizans were employed - the aristocracy of labour. The block printers, as a class, were a very well-dressed and respectable body, earning, when fully employed, five or six pounds per week. The business prospered immensely. Mr. Thomson had Mr. Burton for a partner, who retired from the firm with a princely fortune. Another partner named Chippendale was equally fortunate. Mr. Thomson, for many years before his death, had the whole concern to himself. He was struck with some dreadful illness in his legs, which deprived him of that immense personal activity which had been his former characteristic. This, to Mr. Thomson, was like Samson being shorn of his hair. He had to rely upon information being brought to him by others, and in sadly too many instances it was too inaccurate.
(To be Continued.)

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:07 am 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 26 August 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 6]

The payment of large sums to drawers, designers, chemists, and others varying fron nine guineas to twenty guineas per week, suggested to Mr. Thomson a copyright of design, and he advocated that project in the London daily press. Subsequently the measure was brought before Parliament, and he attended and gave evidence before a Parliamentary Committee, and the evidence may yet be seen in a Parliamentary Blue Book. At the time it engaged the admiration of the scientific world, and Mr. Thomson was justly regarded as the father of the measure. Mr.Thomson was an excessively proad man — not in a personal sense, for his attire was never more than plain and good — but he was proud in his house to have all its appointments uniformly costly and good:— The best paintings, the best furniture, the best cooks, and the best lady servants. Some of these personages were such " swells" that they were frequently confounded with Mr. Thomson himself — by the uninniated and by strangers. His horses and carriages were the best that money could buy, and his coachmen were always "crack" whips. His dinner parties and convivial gatherings eclipsed anything of the sort at any gentleman's mansion in the district. He abhorred everything that was "cheap and nasty," and he never refused to be bantered down by that class of merchants who were seeking the "pound of flesh nearest the heart." In his engagements the place and the hour were everything to him. Those who acted differently soon lost his confidence. Whatever had happened he liked to be told the worst; always detesting those who, while they hesitated to tell a downright lie, would suggest something that was positively untrue. His pay days sometimes - according to the custom of the trade — would extend over four weeks, and sometimes as far as six; but the day having been fixed, the money was there at the appointed hour — four of the clock on the Saturday afternoon. On one occasion Mr. Thomson had to go to Manchester on the pay day, and some delay or accident upset his arrangements as to time, but he managed to reach Bury by the Yorkshire mail. Suddenly he entered Mrs. Wilding's, and asked to be supplied with four horses — as swift as birds, if she could supply them, and two postilions that never stopped by the road side drinking. Mrs. Wilding gave the necessary orders, enjoining the postilions to be very careful and punctual, for their fare was a man not to be joked with, and she continued, "For God's sake get there in time." In a voice stern as thunder, Mr. Thomson said to the postilions, "It is my pay at Primrose at four o'clock. If you put me down in time I will reward you; if not, matters will be very awkward." Off the postilions set, and the horses pulled hard and well, until the highest town in Lancashire was reached, when for the first time the reins were drawn, and some meal and water given to the jaded steeds, but the postilions durst not dismount. One of them ordered a glass of beer; but on looking back he received a frown from Mr. Thomson, and the beer idea vanished. A fresh start was made, and as fourteen miles had to be traversed in less than an hour, there was some smart and continuous trotting or galloping; but the chaise rattled down the square and the postilions drew rein opposite the counting-house door, whereupon the clock began to strike four. Mr. Thomson alighted, complimented the men for their bravery, insisted upon them remaining at his house all night, returning home the following morning; and at the same time presenting each of them with a sovereign. Half a dozen men were set in motion to take the horses out, rub them down, and see that they took no harm, and Mrs, Wilding must be paid whatever sha charged. This is an illustration of Mr. Thomson's energetic character. Whatever he resolved upon he aimed to carry — even if "the corn shook on the field." He would brook no denial, nor suffer defeat, without some terrific outburst of feeling that overawed all who heard it. About the year 1829 the block printing trade began to decline. The downward movement has never been arrested. True, the trade still exists, but it is only a ghost of its former self; Mr. Thompson gave notice of reduction of wages for block printing. The men turned out. Their places were taken by "knobsticks" who were waylaid and beaten most mercilessly by the turn-outs, under the leadership of "Captain Flash," an old soldier who had served in a Highland regiment. Old Jonathan Farrer, the constable — five feet three inches in his stocking feet — was powerless, although a thoroughly plucky man. There were pitched battles between "turnouts" and "knobsticks;" the latter always being beaten. The riot act was read, and a company of the 6th Dragoons brought into the town. In the main order was restored; but bits of specimens of guerilla warfare continued to be exhibited. This year (1830) was remarkable for mushrooms, which were called printers' beef. The men at last accepted the master's terms. At this period the reform agitation had set in throughout the country. All the men employed at Primrose were politicians of some sort — Huntites, or some other class of advanced Liberals. The lesson taught by the great strike at Primrose was, that men, like masters, are fallible — that public taste and the rage for cheapness bear everything down in their onward movement. The head of a household could have six dresses of machine print for the price of one of block print. True, the new style would not last 20 years as block print would, but the new style would last until some fresh fashion camea up, and that would gratify the capricious fancy. Fashion is undoubtedly one of the greatest tyrants in the universe. On this subject Mr. Thomson wrote a pamphlet to show that too many proprietors of print works pandered to a vitiated taste. He said that at Barrow Bridge the masters seemed to print calicoe by the mile. Mr Fort, afterwards M.P., gave way too much to the rage for cheapness, but not to the same extent as at Barrow. At Sabden, under Pendle Hill, very good work was turned out. The print works there were carried on by Sherriff, Foster, and Co,; Mr. Cobden being a junior partner. It was here that the celebrated political economist wrote his famous pamphlet on Russia, in which he ventured to predict that Russia "would be crumpled up like a sheet of paper," — a prediction that was never verified — the Russian war to wit. Sabden was subsequently added to Clitheroe, and Mr. Cobden took a warm interest in its elections. For half a century the borough was to all intens and purposes one of a proprietary aud nomination character. All the burghage tenements were owned by ?en gentlemen, and for neither good nor gold would they sell a vote, neither to their own nor any other party. Several of their sons afterwards became members of parliament. One of them, as magistrate, took a very active part in the Peterloo affair of 1819. The pent-up feeling of the block-printers - great readers and politicians — burst forth on every public occasion. The Corporation had become as close as the East India Company. The lordly families of the Custs, the Curzons, the Howes, and the Brownlows, ruled the roast. Whenever any worn-out member of the Tory party required a renting place for his foot, he found it in the Clitheroe warming-pan, yclept, that large and unpurchaseable electorate.
Within that land was many a malcontent,
Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent,
That fertile soil full many a despot saw,
Who work'd his wantoness in form of law.
The proposer of the candidates was a very fine gentleman — Col. Clayton. He was the son of Major Clayton, who once contested Clitheroe and was beaten. He was of the Claytons of Little Harwood. The Claytons of Clayton have long since become extinct. For fifty years Mr. Clayton sat as a justice, and although the writer has made numerous inquiries he could never ascertain that any of his decisions were appealed against. Col. Clayton once gave a feast at Harwood Hall, and in the course of an after-dinner speech he inveighed terribly against Charles James Fox, for his improper intimacy with the Prince Regent. Indeed, his unconstitutional course wan indulged in as part and parcel of the rotten policy of the Whigs. A military officer — one of the party — reported, his speech, to head-quarters, and Col. Clayton was hastily fetched to London by the Usher of the Black Rod, and hauled before the Privy Council (Foxite), but the giving of a slight apology enabled him to return to Little Harwood. In proposing the candidates, Col.Clayton had one unvarying form of introduction. "Brother electors, — I have the honour to propose to you for your election two gentlemen of the noblest birth, the highest honour, and the strictest integrity." These words were pronounced with the Colonel's best oratorical flourish. Then from the depths of his hat he would draw out a written speech, which he would read with great gusto to the noble minded, free and independent, wherein he would descant upon the progress of the American War — the latest discovery of Captain Cook, and the enforced journey of Prince Tahits to Timbucto. The Rev. Thomas Wilson took his scholars to every election, and they noticed that the speech was put in the hat and then placed at the feet of the gallant Colonel, so one scholar knocked the hat over with his foot, and two or three other scholars covered the advance of one who very adroitly stole the speech. Col. Clayton gave out his usual exordium, and then looked down for his speech, but no speech was found where the written speech should be. The hat was capsized, and with a face brim full of choler, he exclaimed "Drat those school boys — they've stolen my speech." The school boys were savagely interrogated, but no culprit could be found who could furnish any tidings of the speech. The Colonel then went on to say that he had a speech already written, at the contents of which he slightly hinted, and then begged that brother electors would take the will for the deed. Hands were held up, and the election was closed by a mock return of thanks. Colonel Clayton had a steward, named Jonathan Dickinson, a member of the Society of Friends, who held a vote in Clitheroe. A contest was threatened, so Col. Clayton said, "If thou will stop away to-morrow, — I will, we will pair off." "It's a bargain," replied Jonathan. The following morning Jonathan, thought the Colonal was going to play a practical joke upon him, so he stole gently up to the lane end on a voyage of discovery as to the Colonel. And the Colonel was very dubious as to Jonathan. On coming round a corner he saw Broadbrim peering about, and levelled at his head all the terms he could think of against the Puritans ond the "Old Nollites." Jonathan put in as nice a rejoinder as he could, but it looked very tame in contrast with the long string of adjectives — of an unparliamentary character — adding, "Its eight miles to Clitheroe, and I'll go." Jonathan replied, "I can go eight miles as well as thee." Both one and the other - were as good as their word. After the elections there was a procession from the Town Hall to Brownlow Arms. Two women carried the members' hats, having 10s. 6d. each for the job. The last carriers were Nelly Pollard and Jenny Howcroft. A barrel of beer stood at the market cross to regale the general crowd. There was a great riot in 1829. A man fetched a heavy stone, with which he drove in the end of the beer barrel, then he dipped in his hat and filled it, and when the chaired members passed him, he dashed the hat-full of beer full in their faces. This movement was followed by men fetching tins and jugs, and following the members, whose hats had been seized and crushed as flat as pancakes. A man advanced from Back-lane with a long speaking trumpet made from pasteboard, through which, while one end was held to the older member's ears, he shouted — "Where's the slection?" The members deemed it unwise to enter the inn, so they held on towards Whalley, where they were followed as far as Primrose Bridge, and beer and water from jugs were brought up to the rear of the mob from behind, and cast with great force upon their lordships — as far as Primrose Bridge. One of them was more than 80 years of age, and, the other was only 21. They ever afterwards entertained a shocking opinion of the vox populi of Clitbcroe. This was their last visit, for the Reform Bill of 1832 took away one member. The stirring events of that period must be reserved for next article.
(To be Continued.)

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:14 pm 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 2 September 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 7]

The strength of parties was fairly put to the test in 1832. It was a different state of affairs in 1852, when the Tories acted the part of crows in the borrowed plumes of the peacock, and made ardent and enthusiastic professions of love of local self-government — something they neither cared for nor understood, so that they carried out their pre-concerted scheme of magic lantern phantasmagoria and organised hypocrasy and deceit. In 1832, Mr. John Fort, of Read Hall, was the Liberal candidate. He was a plain, unsophisticated gentleman - very rich, and never afraid of parting with his money for electioneering purposes. Mr. Thomson was always on the same platform with Mr. Fort. He was the great orator; like Burke, he advanced every political proposition, to which Mr. Fort always said "Ditto," quite as much as he could advance with any effect after the exhaustive orations of Mr. Thomson. The stock theme of Mr, Thomson's speeches was the rottennesf of the Corporation, the closeness of the reprsentation, which for 50 years had been the Corporate lands - which were intended originally to keep the poor from want — given away, or fraudulently wasted — the Wapentake Court used by one or two local practitioners, whose exorbitant charges in too many instances, broke up the cottagers' household. The church Was no longer the church of the people — although a churchman himself - for it was comparatively deserted, and dissenting tabernacles were filled to overflowing. Moreover, the Grammar School, granted by Philip and Mary, and richly endowed with revenues derived from land, had fallen into decay. Its lower room was closed, and the upper room was tenanted by seven or eight scholars - taught by a clerical favourite. A period of 20 years elapsed before the grievance was redressed. The governors said they had been unfortunate in exchanging some land between Almondbury and Skipton, and had incurred much loss, for which they were exceedingley sorry, but they could bot be expected to make good the loss — disinterested and patriotic men as they were. But independently of Mr. Thomson, assisted as he was by Dr. Kay, of Salford, and Captain Harrison, of Marsden there was in existence in Clitheroe a branch of the Birmingham Political Union — an association that for closeness of power and organization has never had its equal for the last half century. At the head of this union were Mr. Attwood, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Titus Salt (now of Saltaire), Mr. Muntz, and others. Within the union there were great numbers of military men who contrived to sow the seeds of disaffection in the army. At one meeting there were as many as thirty military officers. Altogether, the country was on the brink of revolution. Nottingham Castle had been fired. The mansion of Jack Musters, Esq., had been burned down, and his lady had been frightened to death; and the streets of Bristol had been made to swim with blood. The block printers had a trades Union — thoroughly political — which was headed by a small unstamped paper — "The Voice of the People."
The working men took independent action, which could not have been restrained by ten thousand Mr. Thomsons. The working men had a magnificent banner, on which was inscribed a slave bound down and in fetters. For a great number of years this flag was in the keeping of Thomas Hacking, who for many years was night watchman to Messrs. Dewhurst. Clitheroe was denuded of one member, and the Tories brought forward a great merchant named Mr. Irvine, who had sat in what was called the Borough Mongers' Parliament for the small village Of Brandon. It was announced that Mr.Irvine should make a public entry into Clitharoe in June, 1832, in order to set forth his political views. He entered the town, by Primrose Bridge in a splendid carriage drawn by four brown horses, with black points, and tails reaching to the ground. The Radical party had roused the whole country, and twenty thousand persons responded to the call. On Mr. Irvine's carriage stopping opposite the Rose and Crown,it is alleged that the mob seized it, and attempted to capsize it, besides beating the horses. Mr. Irvine hastily alighted and entered the Rose and Crown, but he was induced to get into the carraige again, and drive on towards Bellman. Arrived at the ancient hostelry of "Hark to Bellman" the Riot Act was read, and Mr. Wm. Arkwright, of the Rose and Crown, who for many years had been a public man in Clitheroe — a local preacher for the Wesleyans —rode off to Burnley Barracks, and brought back a company of horse soldiers via Twiston or Gisburne. On the road the soldiers had rum given to them - it is averred — as much as a pint of rum each. Mr. Arkwright rode into Clitheroe at the head of the soldiery, and exclaimed, while in York-street, to the crowd, "Now my lads we are ready for you." Numbers of strangers had left the town, but those who remained in the town, could not understand the arrival of horse soldiers at full gallop, never having heard the Riot Act read. The soldiers used their swords in a merciless manner; they cut and slashed in all directions; in three instances the soldiers used the flat sides of their weapons. Even in coming through Chatburn, an old man named Driver had his hat cloven and a scalp Wound inflicted. Dr. Garstang, the then in-bailiff, went as far as the Bellman, after hearing what step had, been taken by Mr. Arkwright, with the view of keeping the soldiers at the Bellman, where the Riot Act had been read by Mr. Whittaker, of Simonstone, a very old magistrate, and whose family, for two centuries had owned a burghage tenement in Clitheroe; but the counsels of Mr. Garstang, in the prevention of what he feared would be a terrible carnage, were unavailing. The slaughter was not terrible, but it was so serious that many persons were shockingly maimed and cut, and they filled untimely graves in consequence. The reaction against Mr. Irvine was fearful. The Rev. Mr. Vernon, of Grindleton, Church minister, swore an affidavit that, when the military entered, the crowd were still and peaceful — that he had been in the town all the morning — that while he witnessed much excitement he never saw any signs of a breach of the peace; that the importation of the military was a stretch of authority utterly uncalled for, or unlooked for; and that when the soldiers began to hack and hew there were no signs manifested of physical resistance. To see men running about with the blood trickling from their wounds was a sight that the Rev. Mr. Vernon did not at all relish. The leading affidavit of Mr. Vernon was supported by Dr. Dean, several influential strangers of good position, who happened to be at Clitheroe, and by Thomas Whittaker, who stood his ground in the steet near to the Swan Inn throughout the whole onslaught. Mr, Whittaker was best known as "Tom-o-Long Harrys." He was a man of collosal proportions. If he had been struck by any of the soldiers he would have done some serious lumber to about half a dozen of them. He was quite six feet six inches in height, and had bone and sinew in proportion. He went, along with two others, one night, to see a giant in West's Yard; but all the three were bigger than the giant. On the showman observing his customers, he politely informed them that the giant could not be seen that night, as he was taking "gin and bitters"; but early the following morning the giant drew out of West's Yard, and journeyed to parts unknown, evidently thinking that it was little use to carry coals to Newcastle, Mr. Whittaker spent about half a century in Clitheroe, and, like Long Tom Dixon and George Dixon, he was an ardent Huntite. In the year 1818, he led the Radicals of Clitheroe, Sabden, Padiham, and all that district to a meeting that was intended to be holden on the plot of ground that is now the site of th eBurnley Barracks. The veteran John Knight was to be the principal speaker. Mr. Whittaker's party were headed by a band of music, and all the members were stalwart men. Their drummer was James Clitheroe, a native of Leyland. He was more than six feet, and portly and very good looking. Clitheroe was a crafty man, and great at sleight of hand and all sorts of conjuring tricks. Having parted with his musicians, he wandered into the Tim Bobbin public-house to wet his whistle. Three Ightenhill men were in, one of whom said, "Here's the Radical drummer; We'll wallop him." "Well," replied Clitheroe, "before you wallop me, you will surely let me sup?" "Yes, that they would," and handed him a small glass which he swallowed along with its contents. Subsequently they tried him with a gill pot, then a pint pot, and afterwards with a quart jug — all of them disapearing in rapid succession — all of them being stowed away in the sleeves of his coat, probably, for his garments were always large and seedy. He was a good ventriloquist, and began to talk to a man in the chimney that was just coming out to his rescue. But the swallowing of the quart jug was more than the Ightenillers could stand, and they suddenly departed, exclaiming that Clitheroe wasn't a gradely chap at all, but none other than the devil. Clitheroe called after them, "Stop, lads, I'm going to swallow the drum." The "lads," however, had seen more swallowing than they could "swallow." Clitheroe went out and told Whittaker how he had been behaved to, as he called it, and Tom visited Tim Bobbin, where he failed to find the three countrymen. Had he done so, matters would have been very awkward. The meeting assembled; the Riot Act was said to have been read by Colonel Hargreaves, J.P., who rode amongst the crowd, and flogged every one whom he could reach with his horsewhip; amongst others he hit Tom, who at once took a horse pistol out of his breast pocket, and discharged it at the head of Col. Hargreaves, but the contents providently missed him. The slugs were gathered up, and, as no meeting could be held, all the folks having run away at the raising of a false alarm that the soldiers were coming, Tom ran away to Oswaldtwistle, where he was concealed among the ling on Oswaldtwistle Moor whither his meat was taken to him. His whereabouts was well known to hundreds, but as the Government was very unpopular, no one would give the authorities any information. Oliver and Edward, two notorious spies, were supposed to be at the Tinker and Budget, Oswaldtwistle. They were resisted by some men, who fractured their limbs, whereupon the spies left the neighbourhood as noiselessly as possible. Tom left his hiding place and went to Liverpool, where he undertook the erection of several large docks, being by trade a stonemason, and contrived to live "incog" for several years. In the year 1827, the Duke of Wellington visited Liverpool. He was then intensely unpopular owing to his opposition to Catholic Emancipation. The Iron Duke was anxious to see the principal buildings in Liverpool, but if the buoughreene or the corporation showed him round the town a riot, would be the result, could not some single person act as cicerone and thus avert sUspicion. Tom heard this proposition mooted, and he at once volunteered to see the Duke safely through Liverpool, and they started from the docks. Now and then the Duke was recognised, but not pursued. He had faced death in the cannons' roar and on the battle field, but did not want to die by the hand of the assasin. But both Tom and the Duke were insensible to fear, and with the exception of a few shouts of "Ould Ireland for ever," in Irish quarters, there was no interruption. On parting with Tom, the Duke of Wellington offered him a monetary reward. "No," said Tom. "I am above that. I consider I have been highly honoured." "Well," said the Duke, "however that may be, I feel deeply obliged by the services of such a colossal champion. Can I assist you in your business in any way?" "Yes," replied Tom, "I have a favour to ask you. Some years since I was at a meeting; Col. Hargreaves was whipping some folks as he sat on his horse, so I fired a horse pistol at him, but the shot missed the Colonel. For some years I have been 'laiking' at kid peep (hide and seek). It was generally thought I should have to swing for it." "I am sorry to hear that," said the Duke; "but have you been a loyal man ever since, Thomas Whittaker?" "Oh, yes," Tom replied. "Never in no trouble since. I have always minded my work, and kept quiet." "Well, I will write to Col. Hargreaves, and tell him of the great service rendered to me — perhaps saved my life - and I trust I shall be able to get the warrant against you withdrawn, and then you will be a free man; but in your future life let your escape be a warning to you." "Thank God for that," shouted Tom, and grasped the Duke by the hand, which, he shook very heartily. Tom went back to his work, and in the course of a week the Iron Duke wrote to Tom again thanking him for his services as Cicerone, and assuring him that Col. Hargreaves had forgiven him. The barrier being removed, Whittaker returned to Clitheroe, where he started the business of mason and contractor, and built the massive bridge at Brungerley across tho River Ribble, and just below the Hipping Stones, crossed by Henry VI, when he was betrayed by the Talbots, of Bashal, and where the King was caught, placed on horseback, and his feet tied under the horse's belly, and thus conveyed captive to London. Subsequently the river at this place was spanned by a rude wooden bridge over which cattle and horses could pass singly. There was a ford for carts and carriages. While erecting this bridge, Whittaker had a dispute with Jemmy Driver, a middle-aged man, who had been a great fighter, and who had bean twice in York Castle for riots during two barley periods, about the years 1806 and 1813. Driver walked with his legs apart and strapped, and Whittaker remarked that his gait was awkward and crooked, and that he could run faster than him and carry a jackass on his back. Jemmy accepted the challenge, and the race was fixed. Two of Whittaker's friends interfered and worked the oracle for him. The road was higher than the adjoining land on each side, so two men concealed themselves below each side of the road, having hold of the rope at each end. The start was effected, Whittaker carrying a live donkey. Jemmy Driver ran much faster than was expected, but when he reached the rope it was suddenly raised, and Driver fell forward on his face several yards, and his frontispiece much damaged. The rope was sharply snatched away. As soon as Jemmy could gather himself up, he went to look at the obstacle that had tripped him up, but nothing was visible; meanwhile, Whittaker had reached the winning post with thw jackass on his back, whereupon he was very glad to put down his load. He was highly complimented on his unprecedented feat of strength. Subsequently, Mr. Whittaker began business as a spirit merchan, where Mrs. Howard's shop now stands, in Castle-street. He also purchased a stud of race horses. He owned "Osbaldeston," once the property of Mr. Osbaldeston, of Birmingham, and formerly of Osbaldeston, near Preston. He had a famous mare, named "Lady Blessington," that was once about to
win the Gold Cup, at Lancaster, but the jockey held it back. When Whittakar got hold of the jockey, he literally punched him like a football, all his life hung in the balance a long time, but nature triumphed at last. Mr. Thomson and "Tom-o-long Harrys" were great cronies. One day, Mr, Thomson wanted a horse to take John Walker, the gardener, to Preston, with some important dispatch, to catch the train from London. "Oh," saya Tom, "I have a horse that will go in a "toathery" minutes. So he brought out "Lady Blessington," a fine, tall, stately mare. To see John on a thoroughbred — safe and easy going mare, caused Mr. Thomson to laugh until he became two double. John got into the turnpike, and started "Lady Blessington," at a trot — at least he tried, but nothing so common would suit her ladyship, so she started at a long canter, never looking for a toll bar and obeying nothing but following the bias of the bridle. On reaching "Five Barred Gate," John shouted to the gatekeeper, "Heigh, heigh, stop this horse." The gatekeeper came out, change in hand, but he went not near the cantering racehorse. She never began to walk before she reached Brockholes broW, and afterwards resumed the canter till she got to Preston Station. John alightied as best he could, being galvanised in every limb. The return Journey was not so urgent but still John dare not tarry, and he took the faithful brute to the door, when Mr. Thompson again looked at it and at John's plight, for he was unable to stand straight, and then said, "Well, John, thou art the soul of trustworthyness. Go into the kitchen, Mrs. Eglin has some beautiful cold beef and some pure Burton ale." "No," said John. "I have vowed that so long as I live in this world, I will not again taste bee." "Very well," replied Mr. Thompson, "If thou wilt not taste beer in this world, I am persuaded thou wilt not get any in the next." Mr. Whittaker owned another thoroughbred that was used by Miss Thomson as a hackney. It was just the colour of a new copper kettle. It won a great match over Clitheroe race course, when it was 25 years of age. A young horse of Mr. Whittaker's, of immense promise, was staying all night at Lancaster, full of engagements, and with a certainty of winning, when some villains fired the stable purposely, and burned it to death. Mr. Trappes, afterwards town clerk, went to Lancaster on behalf of Mr. Whittaker, but the result of Mr. Trappes inquiries did not furnish one jot of satisfaction. Mr. Whittaker descended to the grave in 1842.
There let his follies with his virtues rest,
No drag frailties from their dread abode.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:21 am 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 9 September 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 8]


In addition to being a Hercules in size, Jim Clithoroe was a very crafy man. While living at Leyland, he contracted a debt with a travelling diaper for a pair of stockings. No payment could be made in due time, although many periods had been fixed. At length Jim saw that there was no earthly chance of raising the money; further excuses were also out of the question. The house was his mother's. He took off his clothes, and then fastened a drum strap round his waist; to the middle of the strap he fastened & cow chain, the end of which he fastened round the handle of the oven door. Then Clitheroe laid down on the floor as if he was basking in the heat of the fire. The North Briton first knocked at the door, then entered, and took a survey of the creature, on the floor. Jim, quick as thought, rose from the floor, and dashed at his creditor, looking ub fierce as grim death, doubling his hands and giving draper to understand that he would scratch his eyes out, and accompanying this_ intimation by some supernatural howl which he set up. The visitor ran to the door, and, in his hasty attempt to descend the steps, fell from top to bottom. The draper ever afterwards gave the stocking house a wide range. It was Jim's boast that he could eat a pound of bacon in five minutes, and, if a wager were made with him, he always won. He broiled the bacon and caught the fat. The first he ate, and the latter he drank off at a single draught. Jim at length became a converted man, and took an active part in the Warrenite agitation. He helped to depopulate the Wesleyan chapel at the time the Warrenite chapel was opened. He had a voice like thunder. If he went to preach where the pulpit was small, he would "orate" from the singing pew so as to thump and shout with ease and freedom. On one occasion he hit the Bible desk, in ratification of something he had advanced, when he knocked it down upon a devout listener, whose head happened to be the thickest and strongest part of his body, or breakage would have ensued. To return to the election of 1832, it may be stated that the result was looked forward to as one of a national character. The Grahams, of Netherby, had brought cattle to Clitheroe market for centuries. Sir James Graham was then a Liberal, being styled "The Cock of the North." The Awthornes, of Hest Bank, and the "crack" electioneerers were on both sides of the question. Squire Holt, of Stubby Lee, was very active, and he once gave a public dinner, which cost him over £100. The unfortunate soldiery affair had a terrible handle made of it, to which it was replied on behalf of the Tory, or Conservative, party — the latter name had just been imported and made gospel by Sir Robert Peel — that Mr. Garnett ought not to say anything about soldiers, for it was to the military that he was indebted for the preservation of Low Moor Factory in 1826, when a mob, made up of some thousands of persons, went there with the intention of gutting the place, but were prevented by the Craven Legion and a company of horse soldiers, who guarded the mill and all the approaches to it; that Mr. Thomson ought to sing low, because in 1830 he was indebted to a company of the Sixth Dragoons for maintaining his works at Primrose, and that the special constables and soldiery while quartered at Primrose were armed with guns, cutlasses, and swords — in fact, that the bread and cheese of the day was out with the swords of the soldiery,; that the riot on the entrance of Mr. Irvine was part and parcel of an organised conspiracy, and that the calling together of 20,000 persons into the borough of Clitheroe could not have any other result than a breach of the peace; that lawlessness at elections was worse than that of steam-loom breaking, or senseless strikes, upheld by threats of destruction of property; and that the prime movers in Mr. Irvine's affair would yet have to answer for it before a jury of their countrymen. To this Mr. Thomson replied that the Government of the day was sadly behind the spirit of the age, in all that concerned the press, the interests of commerce, the supply of food, and the public policy of the country. The tremendous demonstrations that had taken place were spontaneous. He was not their prompter, nor must his opponents suppose that his workmen were his vassals, over whom he had the power of life and death. He was but an atom in the midst of the popular indignation that existed in opposition to the feudalism that had long enveloped the borough. There was a vast difference between calling in soldiers to protect property, and employing them to cut down the people when impelled by righteous indignation to assemble and meet together. He would advise Mr. Irvine's friends, in view of the changes that were overspreading the land, to wait for the death of some fossilised specimen of the party, to embalm him like some Egyptian mummy, and then, after placing him in a glass Case, put him in the Town Hall, in order to give posterity an opportunity of judging what sort of a being a Clitheroe Tory need to be. This rhetorical flourish was the invention of Mr. Thomson, although hundreds of ambitious speakers have since given it out as their own and got credit for it, which they never deserved. Mr. Irvine was a fair speaker, and could give a rational account of the faith that was in him; but the great speaking power was on the side of Mr. Fort. The stock theme against Mr. Irvine was that he was a slave owner, and it was suggested to Mr. Thomson that the plan of Charles Wilkins, at Newark, should be adopted. Lord Thurlow had employed Mr. Charles Wilkins as the manager of his election. The manager had figured in a variety of capacities. He had been lecturer for the Birmingham Political Union, editor of a Leicester paper, itinerant Methodist preacher, and champion singer of comic songs. Michael Thomas Sadler was standing for the Duke of Newcastle's pet borough — Newark. Than Mr. Sadler no man could hare been more pure and patriotic. He gave up to mankind what would have been of great service to a party, but Mr. Sadler was not identified except with those who studied the pulsations of the great heart of humanity. In a fit of indiscretion, the Duke of Newcastle said that Newark borough was his, and that he "could do what he liked with his own." This sentence became a political watchword everywhere. Now, the door was opened, and Wilkins dressed up a numbor of rowdies just like plantation slaves, their faces were besmeared with lamp black, and they wore a dejected and downcast appearance; indeed, there was an artificial representation in their faces which conveyed the impression that it had been the channel for a flood of tears. They were chained together in slave gang fashion. Down the footpath there marched the overlooker (Wilkins), who carried, waggoner fashion, a prodigious whip, which he cracked in bumptious style over the heads of his victims, who affected to writhe under the terrible crack of the lash of their overseer. Newark responded to the call. The fiat had gone forth that Sadlar was a slaveholder, and Lord Winslow was elected in his stead. It has often been stated that this ruse on the part of Wilkins secured the elevation of Mr. Wilkins to the bar through the money and the influence of Lord Winslow. A deputation of working men asked Mr. Thomson what obstacle there was to a procession of chained slaves in Clitheroe — "plenty of chaps" were ready to be blacked and chained, and Tom o'Long Harrys would act as slave driver. "Oh," said Mr. Thomson, "there is every objection in the world. The borough just now is like a pan fall of boiling fat; it has once boiled over, and the seething cauldron once more disturbed, might cause a general conflagration. Let them use their tongues; in the present feverish excitement that little weapon will be found to he all sufficient." Much disappointmont was expressed, which Mr. Thomson allayed by stating that he had another plan in his head which he would carry out to the attainment of the little object. The dreadful nomination day came round, and the town of Clitheroe was brimful of anxious politicians. The Hurst Green Band was hired by the Tory party, and in their front a handsome scarlet banner was carried. An advocate of women's rights — Margaret Seed, of Low Moor — hit the flag carrier on the side of the head, took the colour pole out of his hands, broke it across one of her knees, then threw down the banner into the kennels and trod upon it with her feet until it was covered with sludge. Mr. Fort and Mr. Irvine took their stations on the hustings. The mover and seconder of Mr. Fort were Mr. Thomson and Mr. Aspinall. Mr. Starkie proposed Mr. Irvine, and he was duly seconded, A curious incident now ensued: a man in the crowd raised a pole, on the top of which there was an oil painting of a slave manacled and bleeding. The picture was a gem in its way, and was doubtless the work of some of the Primrose designers, set in motion by Mr. Thomson. The picture was held full in the face of Mr. Irvine, and, to his credit, he burst into tears; for cold must have been the heart that through its mental eye could look upon that picture unmoved. From the immense mass of onlookers there came a rude shouting of "See, he's guilty. He cannot stand the sight of his own work. A guilty conscience is soon accused, and he's an old slave driver." Lots of crimination and recrimination ensued in the course of the speeches, but the show of hands in favour of Mr. Fort was overwhelming. The poll of the following day closed with 39 against Mr. Irvine. This was his first and last connection with the borough of Clitheroe. No rational being supposed that it was a pure election. The Whig party went about with their humble fifteens and sixteens, while the Conservatives laid on with fifties and sixties. On their side were some of the best tacticians in England. There was no petition. The acceptance of bribes was limited to about sixty — some of them managed to get bribes from both sides, and got exposed accordingly. The whole of the voters in one township were bought as completely as a pound of butter. No Andrew Marvel, of Hull, was left in that delightful region that could be found scraping his mutton bone for the sixth time in resistance to Parliamentary corruption. One old sinner remained at home, having taken rather a less sum to avoid journeying to the polling booth, lest something should happen to him. He got the credit of "standing neutral," but it was known that money prevented his mare from going anywhere. A band of canvassers — in defatigable — brought in reports from the country. The parliamentary borough is tha largest in England in breadth. It is entered near Great Harwood, and to come right through it, and call at the nearest roadside voter's, would require a traversal of 12 miles. While the Reform Bill was progressing, Henry Hunt, in the House of Commons, called attention to the great breadth of the proposed boundary, as giving a sop to the landed gentry, to which Lord John Russell replied that "the landed gentry would always be able to return a majority of members to that house." But the first and second elections were exceptions to the rule. Tho canvassers, in reporting progress, would often assure Mr. Thomson that they had discovered something that would unseat Mr. Irvine on petition if he happened to get in. "Well," said Mr. Thomson, "he shan't get in — he shan't get in, — petitioning indeed — no; petitioning it is too costly; beat them at home, beat them at home." On the other side were men not one whit inferior to Mr. Thomson or any one elso — electioneerers whose like will never be seen again. Once they got hold of a list of voters, and the dissection was complete before they had done with it. What voter was standing out had his surroundings balanced up. Had he a creditor of the right colour? Had he a mortgagee, and to what side did he belong? Was he a Churchman, and would the clergyman visit him to assure him that the Church was in danger? Of what politics were his wife's sort, and had he a cousin who could give them a lift? All these things were worked out in the most pains-taking manner. Canvassers would give in their reports — Tom-'o-bobs will have a new porch to his barn before he promises anybody," — "Bill Benson won't stir 'bout a new lease for his lime kill (kiln)," — "A shippon wants building for Bill Scraggs, and we can't get him 'bout" — "Jim Thornhill wants leave to kill a toathery rabbits, and as much brass as will buy a calving cow," — "Fred Sykes wants a seven years' lease or he'll do no road nobbut against us," — "Price of votes this 'lection is £15 a piece in the township of Twitchenem, — "Old Fratchington for sake of his daughter marrying Church curate is lying neutral," - "Tom of Isaacs has tried slender backed Billy, and no good is to be done — stupid as a pet mule," &c. To all these remarks the chairman — a model in his way — would say, "Win the election, win the election." Some one would say, "Now, Squire Broadacre, I will write to you and let you know how I get on;" to which Broadacre would reply "Nonsense, gammon, fiddle sticks, you must not write, — into whose hands may it fall — (firmly and in loud voice) — You must not write to me - I will not write to you." It must be explained that Broadacre could compile as scholarly a letter as any gentleman in England. Misfortunes never come singly, so at the autumn assizes at Lancaster, in 1832, a true bill was returned against Henry Thomson, William Greenhalgh, Thomas Garnett, James Lawton, and others. They were arrested and held to bail to meet the charge of conspiracy and riot at the ensuing spring assizes. The writer has been properly reminded that the precise words used by Arkwright in heading up the soldiers on 31st July, 1832, were — "Who are masters now - who are masters now? (turning to the soldiers) Cut them down, cut them down."
(To be continued.)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:44 pm 
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The Preston Guardian

Saturday 16 September 1876

Recollections of Clitheroe
(By an old East Lancashire Man)
[Article 9]

Irvine's friends charged Mr. Thomson with making a violent speech out of a chamber window in the Market-place, -nay, that he had used some adjectives which were alleged to be unparliamentary. His son Tom had sat across the ridging of the Swan Hotel and thrown stones at the soldiers; Henry had urged the crowd to resist the soldiers; and another of the Mr. Thomsons had given his sanction to "exclusive dealing." These were charges made on the hustings, and Mr. Thomson dared his opponents to the proof. Mr. Hopwood and Mr. John Midgeley, of Knowle Top, went to the counting-house at Primrose to prove the charge. Midgeley said he was driving his cart past Long-row, when he was surrounded by a crowd of women, who vowed that, in indignation at his voting Tory, they had resolved to buy no more milk from him. Just at that moment, a gentleman passed on horseback. The horse was well groomed and adorned with a good saddle and bridle, and the gentleman vowed that in future the friends of Mr. Fort must not deal with those of Mr. Irvine. Mr. Tom and Mr. Henry John Charles were fetched into the counting-house one after the other, but Midgeley's sense of identity failed. All the while Mr. Thomson was stood with his back to the fire-place, with eyes fixed on Midgeley like those of a towering eagle. But when failure was announced, Mr. Thomson exclaimed, "O, ye antedeluvians who vegetate on the side of Pendle Hill; ye Whalley bears; ye mile-stones upon the highway of time — showing how far the spirit of the age has surpassed you — what would ye do? what will ye do yet? ye nondescripts and political fossils. Ye put me on the shop top, my son Tom ye put on the house top, now ye have put another son on the house top. Where is your proof; echo answers, where? It is gone like the baseless fabric of a vision." The deputation returned thanks and departed, but their ears burned many a day. Another curious incident happened. Edward Alty, night watchman, was suspected of being an Irvineite. He was made drunk, and while laid down on one of the floors he was prodded in the ribs, when he exclaimed "Irvine for ever." He lost his place through it, and other employment was guaranteed from the other side. Clegg, Henderson, and Co., took him on, at Enfield, where they gave him 10s. per week, which did not pay him his board wages. Although Mr. Garnett and Mr. Thomson — both large employers — acted in perfect accord, they were far from being of one way of thinking. Mr. Thomson frequently had for his guests the aristocracy of brain, the aristocracy of the chemical world, the aristocracy of the literary world, the aristocracy of the political world, and sometimes the aristocracy of land; Mr. Garnett's guests were limited to the nobility of commerce. Perhaps, as a commercial man, Mr. Garnett never had a superior. Mr. James Heywood, M.P., and Mr. Bretherton, M.P., often came. Lord John Russell once called on his way from Gisburne Park, where he had been on a courting visit to Lady Ribblesdale, whom he afterwards married. Mr. Garnett was opposed to labour laws, currency laws, and poor laws; while Mr. Thomson was in favour of "all round" regulation. Many years before Sir James Graham proposed compulsory education for half-timers, Mr. Thomson had adopted a ten hours' scale over "tear" children. These children were indispensable in print works; they had to spread the colour over a woollen topped sieve. When they had been engaged ten hours, inclusive of mealtimes, they were sent home, and their places taken by youths who were apprenticed to block printing. John Riley was the blue dyer, and had earned the sobriquet of "Blue Joan." John spoiled a lot of goods, and was "bagged." The following week Mr. Thomson, while riding in his carriage, passed old John near to Pendleton toll bar. Mr. Thomson said, "John, where art thou going?" John was pensive and sad, and had a bundle under his arm, intending to stop away till he got work. Joan, without looking aside, said "Gullock," to which Mr.Tomson rejoined, "Go back to thy work." To these words Joan was only to glad to suit his actions, wheeling round with the suddenness of a kite, and retracing his steps to the old happy hunting ground. In 1835 Lord John Russell had been defeated by a majority of one, and Mr. Thomson was standing near to the printing-shop, when suddenly there came off the corner a man, carrying a lot of colour pots (measures) some of which he let fall, and they broke on the pavement just in front of Mr. Thomson. The man at once said — "I'm like Lord John Russell: I can't carry my measures; I'm outweighted by numbers." Mr. Thomson thought the explanation so witty that he laughed heartily, and forgave the man. When Mr. Delaine was editor of the Times, and had made himself very unpopular, a witty cockney wrote a letter, in which he stated that his wife had got a dress from Clitheroe, in Lancashire, that would cure the kicking editor, it being called "Muzzling Delaine" (mouzlin de laine), and of which he would make the discontented man a present, and so silence him. The paragraph being very witty was copied by the press all round. When the trade of block printing was drooping some specimens of mouzlin delaine were printed and presented to the Queen, in the hope that she would appear at court in a robe made of that material. She accepted the gift, but the result was not that which the block printers had hoped for. In taking leave of the stirring events of 1832 it may be explained that a true bill was applied for to the grand jury at Preston, of which Mr. Thomas Dixon, best known by the sobriquet of "Long Tom," was foreman, and he induced the jury to "out it." The news reached Clitheroe by carrier pigeon, and large and eager crowds went to Petro's Arms to meet Mr. Thomas Garnett, Mr. Henry Thomson, and Mr. Greenhalgh, and from this point to Clitheroe a procession was formed — the air being made to ring with shouts of rejoicing. As already intimated a true bill was found at Lancaster, and at the spring assizes of 1833 the prisoners Garnett, Thomson, Greenhalgh, and Lawton were tried for conspiracy and riot. Mr. Williams, subsequently Judge Williams, was the leading counsel for the defence. One of the witnesses, Henry Hall, an attorney, described the nature of the riot, and complained bitterly of having been assaulted therein. Mr. Williams subjected Hall to a powerful cross examination, to show that witness had issued Wapentake processes extending over a district as wide as a German kingdom for the recovery of a few shillings, which had carried costs, in some cases, to the extent of £17 or £18, and that in the case of the Borough Court of Common Pleas, the costs for the recovery of one shilling, might reach an infinitely higher percentage. Mr. Williams contended that Mr. Hall's lamentable misfortune was no proof of riot, but was proof of personal assault arising out of the exorbitant charges in Wapentake and Borough Courts, in which Mr. Hall was a local practitioner. The assault upon him had been one of a personal character — doubtless from the hands of some old defdndant. Burrell, Thomson and Garnett, were never in danger, but there was a terrible struggle with respect to Newton and Greenhalgh. They had a narrow escape. They had two friends on the Jury, viz., Mr. Joseph Cooper, coach builder, and Mr. James Gregson, cotton spinner, Bolton. All the defendants were acquitted. The Judge disallowed the costs, and the prime movers in the prosecution were left with a balance on the wrong side, which they bored at for years, in the way of collecting, but they never realised the whole of the "one thing needful." Mr. Thomas Carr, of Clitheroe Castle, strongly disapproved of the law proceedings, as also some other leading Conservatives. An attempt to set aside the verdict returned at Lancaster, on the ground that it was contrary to the evidence, also failed. The Liberal party celebrated its victories in various ways, but before the election of 1835 came round, Mr. Fort, M.P., had lost much popularity in consequence of his support of the new Poor Law, the different provisions of which were very obnoxions, and, of which it may be said that they have all disappeared. The new Poor Law has been signalised by great inhumanity, and it has been — from the point it was designed — an expensive failure. Mr.Warburton, M.P., was a famous man in his way, and Mr. Fort, M.P., and he were almost inseparable; but Mr. Warburton "put his foot into it." by moving that the bodies of paupers should be handed over to the medical faculty for purposes of dissection. This broke down, and Mr. Fort, M.P., for some reason, was attacked by "Publicola," a. great political writer in the Weekly Despatch, who was always said to be Mr. Fox, formerly a captain in the navy. The paper in question formerly sold at sixpence when a week old. Mr. Fort was designated "the silent member." He was in the doleful dumps about it, and said when he came to Clitheroe, he wished he was a speaker like Mr. Thomson, for then he would have "cottoned them gradely." In 1853 the Conservatives brought out Mr. William Whalley, of Whalley, who belonged to the Whalleys of Clerk Hill. The Whalleys were related to the Oswalds, Haberghams, Audleys, and Masters, few of whose branches now remain. Mr. Whalley was a quiet, unostentatious gentleman, and possessed very little public spirit, nor had he distinguished himself except by leading the sequestered life of a country gentleman. The contest was very severe, and ended in Mr. Whalley's defeat by a majority of five. Mr. Fort was returned. Mr. John Aspinall of Standen Hall, was a Whig of the first water; but he afterwards turned Protectionist. There was a wonderful moment of ill will between him and the Conservative party, and at the election of 1835 James Dickinson was sent to Standen Hall to fetch away some favourite pheasants that had grown almost as tame as barn door fowl. Jim did not fail in his errand for he returned laden with his pray. Subsequently he was executed in America for murder. Mr. Aspinall was so incensed at the outrage upon his pheasants, that he offered a reward, and would, doubtless, have transported the offenders if he could have reached them. To show to what length, these things were carried, it may be mentioned, that at a former election W. Arkwright shot an owl, and sent it to Squire Aspinall per coachman, with a desire that he would duly hand it to his master with W. Arkwright's compliments. The object was to represent to Mr. Aspinall that, like the bird, he had nothing but evil propensities, in fact, that he was, humanly speaking, a bird of prey. Squire Aspinall was exasperated beyond measure, and, in order to be revenged, he bought up some property on which Mr. Arkwright had his eye, and baulked him in his designs. Some of the property consisted of some old thatched houses, long since pulled down. One of these houses was occupied by a family who were noted soothsayers and fortune tellers. They wore red cloaks, and laboured under the evil suspicion of being witches. For telling fortunes they were sometimes sent to Preston or Wakefield. When the roof was taken off a "crystal" was found concealed in the thatch, similar to that now said to be used by the spiritualists. Squire Aspinall was very fortunate in his purchases of land. He bought the Grindleton estates from Dr. Saint Clare, at one time a famous physician in Preston; also the fine old family seat of the Beaumonts — Mytton Hall. Three members of the family have now seats in Parliament. Once he was Mayor of Clitheroe, and he used frequently to take an airing in the cross country lanes of the district, scanning the land of which he was owner, in a carriage that was as heavy as a stage waggon, drawn by two horses eighteen hands high, at the rate of five miles per hour. The King (William IV) died, and another election was forced on. Mr. William Assheton, of Downham, was candidate for the Conservatives, and Mr. Fort again offered himself. He went round canvassing, but found so many holding out for bids, and moreover Mr.Assheton was the owner of seven townships, that he resolved to retire from the representation. Mr. Henry Stanley Whalley, an undoubted relative of the Derby family, was then the only printer in Clitheroe. At dusk one night, in 1837, the rotund form of Mr. Fort walked into Mr. Whalley's shop with his retiring address, with instructions that if there was anything wrong in it, it was to be put right. Mr. Whalley was aggravated beyond measure, and in a mad "hig" he threw aside the M.S. Mr. Assheton knocked about for a week longer. He met with so many insults, slights, and rebuffs, that he thought he might be defeated, in fact, altogether, he thought the game was not worth the candle, so he wrote out his retiring address, and as Mr. Whalley was the only printer he took it to him. That morning Mr. Whalley had received an angry letter from Mr. Fort, asking for proof of the retiring address being printed. Mr. Whalley waited upon Mr. Fort, at Read Hall, and told him that he had printed his address. Mr.Assheton had also sent in his address, taking leave of the electors. Mr. Fort, in a violent fit of passion, denounced Mr. Whalley for having printed hise (Mr. F's) address. Mr. Whalley then explained that he had put Mr. Fort's address in the fire, and had printed Mr. Assheton's. "Thank God for that; I will reward yon Henry, I will, indeed. Oh Henry, you have been a kind friend to me; I have not before been returned fairly, but I shall be this time." Mr. Fort was returned unopposed, and that election furnishes the only instance on record of an M.P. being indebted to a printer for his unopposed return.
(To be continued.)

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Mel

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