The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919

Page 13

part of the nineteenth century, it was overruled by the consideration that the troops were indispensable in dealing with civil disturbances, and the chairman of the sessions immediately following the meeting of Blanketeers in March, 1817, took occasion to say that "the districts most liable to disturbance derived effective military aid from a corps formed in a neighbouring and for the most part tranquil county"; and again, that "the Bench would be most happy to further any proposals for forming such a corps in the manufacturing districts". It must not be forgotten that the "neighbouring and for the most part tranquil county" was an agricultural district; and that the farmers and country squires who rode in its yeomanry had a special interest in preserving intact the Corn Law, which the Reformers were out to repeal.


The Resolution just quoted is of great importance for a proper understanding of the occurrences at Peterloo. A careful examination of the evidence makes it clear that the catastrophe was (as far as can be seen now) largely due to the employment at the outset of a body "of volunteer cavalry known as the "Manchester and Salford Yeomanry". It is not easy to trace the history of these troops; no contemporary records seem to exist. We can, however, fix the date of their formation within a few months. ln his famous tract entitled "An exposure of the calumnies," etc., Mr. Francis Phillips, in quoting a letter of thanks from Lord Sidmouth to the commander of the Cheshire Yeomanry, dated the 12th of March, 1817, says (Appendix, p. v) "The Manchester Yeomanry had not then been embodied". Yet Aston, in his "Metrical Records of Manchester," states that the Corps was formed in 1817, and gives some details of its inception. We are therefore justified in supposing that it was embodied as the result of the Resolution quoted above; in other words, that (apparently in emulation of the Cheshire Yeomanry) the corps was instituted mainly for the purpose of assisting the civil authorities in maintaining order. With reference to the number employed at Peterloo Mr. Phillips speaks (p. 58) of "the 116 Manchester and Salford Yeomen who were on duty on the 16th of August". The actual names, addresses, and occupations of these men are given in the " Manchester Observer" for the 20th of April, l822, and this, again, is important


'The Story of Peterloo' by F.A. Bruton, Pub. 1919
Written for the Centenary, August 16th, 1919'.by F.A. Bruton, M.A.(of the Manchester Grammar School.
Download .pdf copy from the Internet Archive HERE

Transcribed here by Sheila Goodyear 2019

Peterloo project Menu Page
Peterloo project
Peterloo Project Menu
on our companion website,