The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819


'NOTES & OBSERVATIONS, Critical & Explanatory, on the Papers Relative to
the Internal State of the Country, Recently Presented to Parliament
to which is appended,
a REPLY to Mr. Francis Philips's
'Exposure of the Calumnies circulated by the Enemies of Social Order ...
PAGE LIST (below) with LINKS

&c. &c.

Pages 25 to 32

Lancashire to wit }
The information of S.N., S. E., D. N., and D. R., all of Bury in the said County, takenbefore me, one of His Majesty's Justices of the peace for the said County, the 7th day of August, 1819.

Who all upon their oath say, that in various parts of the neighbourhood of Bury aforesaid, there are nightly assemblies of great numbers of men, who meet together, to learn and practise Military Training, which these informants verily believe to be intended to qualify them for hostile purposes against the government of the country, and against the peace of our Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity and to the disturbance of them these informants, who hereby assert their fears for their own personal safety; and therefore they, these informants, pray that these men so training in large bodies, to the terror of his Majesty's subjects, may be apprehended and committed to find sureties for the peace.
Sworn before me,
Ra. Fletcher.


Lancashire to wit }
The information of James Haslam, of Great Bolton, in the said County, Book-keeper, taken upon oath before us, two of his Majesty's Justices of the peace, in and for the said County, the 9th day of August, 1819.

Who saith, That on Saturday evening last, about half past seven o'clock, informant, with Mr. Williarn Webster, were in the valley between Mr. Whitehead's and Cockey Moor, and informant saw many persons drilling on the Moor in a military manner - there might be about 150 or 200 persons: informant watched them from about a quarter of an hour to half an hour: that amongst the persons drilling was John Hargreaves, one of the persons now in custody. Hargreaves was one who gave the word of command. They were in open column when informant first saw them, and then wheeled into line. Hargreaves was in front, and appeared to give the word of command to one division: that about midnight, or a little afterwards, informant and several others apprehended Hargreaves. Informant challenged him with having been drilling persons on Cockey Moor: Hargreaves at first denied it, but on informant telling him that he (Hargreaves) had wheeled them into line, Hargreaves acknowledged that he had done so; and he then said, if they would but be merciful to him, he would do so no more.
Sworn before Ra. Fletcher,
James Watkins.


The information of Arthur Taylor, of Great Bolton, Warper, taken on the same day.

Who saith, That he Went, by direction of the Magistrates, to Cockey Moor, on Saturday evening, to observe the persons that were suspected to be drilling, or training and exercising there: that it was about a quarter past eight in the evening, when informant got to the Moor; there were about one hundred persons drilling. The prisoner, George Greenhalgh, was giving the word of command to about thirty-six men; they were in open column, told off in three or four divisions, when informant got to them. They had been marching in files when informant first saw them. George Greenhalgh ordered them to form the line; they then advanced in line, and they did many other manoeuvres, George Greenhalgh giving the word of command. Informant was close to them. There were two other divisions on the moor, exercising under the command of other persons: these two other divisions had each about the same number of men as that under George Greenhalgh: that informant, with several others, apprehended George Greenhalgh that night: that informant, on Greenhalgh being apprehended, asked him if he had been in the army? he:said "Yes, a little; he had been in the Bury Volunteers. Informant asked him what they were drilling for? and he replied, onty to go to the meeting at Manchester, on Monday so that they might march to the band.
Sworn before Ra. Fletcher,
Jas. Watkins.


The information of Samuel Fletcher, of Little Lever, Collier, taken the same day.

Who saith, That on Saturday last, informant was on Cockey Moor, about seven o'clock in the evening, and informant. observed many persons on the Moor; there might be about two hundred; they were drilling in a military way, in different squads, and obeying the words of command given by different drill-masters: that informant saw them drilling for about two hours; that about one or two o'clock in the mornihg, George Greenhalgh, one of the persons now in custody, was in tlle room at Starling, with several other persons also taken into custody. There were many persons in the room, and in the course of conversation, George Greenhalgh said, that the meaning of their drilling was, that they might come to that perfection, so that they might join their friends and neighbours in Bury, and the neighbourhood, and form themselves into a body at Bury, and march in order with music to the Manchester meeting. He also said, that the meeting would have been on Monday next, (this day) but it was considered to be illegal, and of course it was postponed until the Monday following, and now a requisition to' the Boroughreeve and Constables of Manchester, was signed by more than two thousand inhabitants. Informant asked him, "What; the meaning of such a meeting could be?" George Greenhalgh said, the meaning of such a meeting was, that the country should be property represented. Informant said, he thought the country was represented; and George Greenhalgh replied, "No, there was Manchester, Bolton, Bury, and many other towns, that were not represented at all, and it was meant that they should be."
Sworn before Ra. Fletcher.
Jas. Watkins.


The Examination of George Greenhalgh, of Walshaw Lane, inTottington, Weaver, taken the same day;

Saith, I was drilling men on Cockey Moor, on Saturday evening last; there was nobody that I know of, besides myself drilling them; there were two squads in the lane. I did not see Edward Rothwiell drilling in particular, but I believe he was there, and might be drilling; there were about twenty-five in a squad I was drilling; I have heard they have drilled at Woolfold. Charles Hill, I believe, was not on the Moor on Saturday, but he was with me there on Monday evening last. It was wished that all the parish of Bury, who had imbibed the spirit of reform, should muster, to go all together to Manchester meeting. The reason that set me upon drilling, was the rumours of the country, and from reading the Observer Paper. I exhorted my neighbours on Cockey Moor to a peaceable conduct, and hoped none of them were for revolution and plunder; if they were, I hoped they would be mistaken. The first night we met, was on Monday last; there were upwards of one hundred; it was accidental how many men there were in a section. On Monday night Charles Hill and John Holt were drill-masters; I was in the ranks. We have met three times, on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday last.
Taken before Ra. Fletcher.
Jas. Watkins.


The Examination of John Hargreaves, of Tottington, Weaver, taken the same day;

Saith, That I was not on Cockey Moor, on Saturday evening last, nor was ever at any meeting but one, and that was on Monday last, and then I gave the word of command to a small party. I was in the military service thirty-six years ago; I was at the siege of Gibraltar. On Monday last, when I took the command of a small party, there were other parties on the Moor, but I do not know any one that commanded besides me; they were in divisions, and the divisions were at some distance from each other. I have heard that the parties that were drilling, were to meet at Bury this day to go to the meeting at Manchester.
The X Mark of
Taken before Ra. Fletcher.
Jas. Watkins.


The Examination of Charles Hill, of Woolfold, in Tottington, Weaver, taken the same day;

Saith, I was on Cockey Moor, on Monday night last, with other persons; they wanted me to drill them. I had been in the second regiment of Lancashire Militia, and was discharged at the first peace with Bonaparte. I did drill the persons on the Moor for a short time on Monday night last; I was coaxed to do it. I cannot tell how many persons there were on the Moor that night; there might be a hundred; they were in different squads; the squads I drilled might consist of twenty or thirty. - George Greenhalgh, John Hargreaves, and John Holt, were drilling other squads that evening. I was not there on Thursday nor Saturday. Adam Ridings, a neighbour of mine, who has been a soldier, went with me to the Moor; I do not know who it was that coaxed me to drill them; there were several who desired me to step out; it was near dark, and I do not know their names. I did hear that we were to go to Bury this morning, and join others, and proceed to Manchester to the meeting for parliamentary reform. I heard there was a requisition for choosing a representative, or something in that manner; we were all to have gone this morning to Manchester; we were ordered to go, and many would have gone; but on Friday I heard that the meeting was done away with. I did not go to any drilling after I saw the paper from the Magistrates forbidding the meeting at Manchester.
Sworn before Ra. Fletcher.
Jas. Watkins.


The Examination of John Holt, of Elton, Weaver, taken the same day;

Saith, I was with other persons drilling on Cockey Moor, on Monday night last; there were different squads on the Moor, and I joined them; I was desired to get into the front, and give them the step. I have been in the Militia. I cannot tell who I saw there; I did not see Edward Rothwell; there might be about three hundred in the whole; from two to three hundred; lads and all, about three hundred. I gave no word of command, the fugleman gives no word; Jouly gave the step. There were more than twenty or thirty; there might be forty in the squad to which I gave the step. I did not give the word, but I gave them the time. I was not there on Thursday, nor on Saturday. I think I saw George Greenhalgh on the Monday evening on the Moor, drilling; Charles Hill was there; the man that drilled them I know by sight, but do not recollect his name; he lives in Tottington, or Woolfold, on that side of the country.
The X Mark of
Taken before Ra. Fletcher.
Jas. Watkins.


Rochdale, 10th August, 1819.

My Lord,
With the concurrence of my Brother Magistrates, I beg leave to hand to your Lordship, copies of informations, taken relative to meetings of Reformers which have been held in this neighbourhood for several weeks past. These informations speak as to the proceedings of such assemblies, consequently I need not repeat them here. They certainly appear to us unlawful meetings, calculated to increase the number and power of the disaffected, and therefore ought to be suppressed.

I have the honour to subscribe myself,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most
obedient humble Servant,

To Viscount Sidmouth


Lancshire to wit }
The Examination of A. B. a special Constable taken upon oath at Rochdale, in the
County of Lancaster, the 10th of August, 1819, before me, John Crossley, Esq. one
of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace, in and for the said County ;
Who says, That about one o'clock in the morning of Sunday last, a large assembly of persons, to the number of two hundred or upwards, met at the Guide Post, which is near to the Parish Church of Rochdale; that they had a fifer with them, who played upon that instrument; that the persons so assembled remained about an hour, and then marched away towards Milkstone, which is the direction of Tandle Hill in Thornham; there was a person who commanded and ordered the persons to fall in four deep, and so to march; that none of the parties were known to the Examinant.
A. B.
Sworn before me, John Crossley.


Transcribed PAGES from 'Notes & Observations ...'




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'NOTES & OBSERVATIONS, Critical & Explanatory, on the Papers Relative to the Internal State of the Country, Recently Presented to Parliament; to which is appended, a REPLY to Mr. Francis Philips's 'Exposure of the Calumnies circulated by the Enemies of Social Order ...'
by a 'Member of the Manchester Committee for Relieving the Sufferers of the 16th August 1819 (Ascribed to John Edward Taylor)
Pub. Dec1919

Transcribed by Sheila Goodyear 2019

LINK to full .pdf document of 'Notes & Observations ...' on the Internet Archive website to read or download.
LINK to .pdf file of 'Exposure of the Calumnies...' on the Internet Archive website to read or download.

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