Lancashire Sketches Vol. 1 (IV.)

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The Town of Heywood and its Neighbourhood.

                                      Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy.


ONE Saturday afternoon, about midsummer, I was invited by a friend to spend a day at his house in the green outskirts of Heywood.  The town has a monotonous, cotton-spinning look; yet it is surrounded by a pleasant country, and has some scenery of a picturesque description in its immediate neighbourhood.  Several weeks previous to this invitation had been spent by me wholly amongst the bustle of our "cotton metropolis," and during that time I had often thought how sweetly summer was murmuring with its leafy lips beyond the town, almost unseen by me except when I took a ride to a certain suburb, and wandered an hour or two in a scene upon which the season seemed to smile almost in vain, and where the unsatisfactory verdure was broken up by daub-holes and rows of half built cottages, and the air mixed with the aroma of brick-kilns and melting lime.  Sometimes, too, I stole down into the Market Place, on a Saturday morning, to smell at the flowers, and buy a "posy" for my button-hole.  It reminded me of the time when I used to forage about my native hedges for bunches of the wild rose and branches of white-blossomed thorn.  But now, as the rosy time of the year grew towards its height, I began to hanker after the moors and glens where, even yet, Nature seems to have it all her own way.  I longed for the quiet valleys and their murmuring waters, the rustling trees, and the cloudless summer sky seen through fringed openings in the green-wood's leafy screen.  Somebody says that "we always find better men in action than in repose;" and though there are contemplative spirits who instinctively shun the din of towns, and, turning to the tranquil seclusion of Nature, read a lofty significance in its infinite forms and moods of beauty, yet, the grand battle of life lies where men are clustered.  Great men can live greatly anywhere; but ordinary people must be content to snatch at any means likely to improve their lot; and it will do any care-worn citizen good to "consider the lilies of the field" a little, now and then.  Country-folk come to town to relieve the monotony of their lives; and town-folk go to the country for refreshment and repose.  To each the change may be beneficial,—at least, I thought so; and as light as leaf on tree I hailed my journey; for none of Robin Hood's men ever went to the greenwood with more pleasure than I.

    It was nearly three when we passed the Old Church on our way to the station.  The college lads, in their, quaint blue suits and flat woollen caps, were frolicking about the quadrangle of that ancient edifice which helps to keep alive the venerable name of Humphrey Chetham.  But on we went, talking about anything which was uppermost; and in a few minutes we were seated in the train, and darting over the tops of that miserable jungle known by the name of Angel Meadow.  The railway runs close by a little hopeful oasis in this moral desert,—the Raggèd School, at the end of Ashley Lane; and from the carriage window we could see Charter Street,—that notable den of Manchester outcasts.  These two significant neighbours,—Charter Street and the Raggèd School,—comment eloquently upon one another.  Here all is mental and moral malaria, and the revelry of the place sounds like a forlorn cry for help.  There the same human elements are trained, by a little timely culture, towards honour and usefulness.  Any man, with an unsophisticated mind, looking upon the two, might be allowed to say, "Why not do enough of this to cure that?"  Up rose a grove of tall chimneys from the streets lining the banks of the slutchy stream that creeps through the hollow, slow and slab, towards its confluence with the Irwell, where it washes the base of the rocks upon which, five hundred years ago, stood the Baron's Hall, or manor house of the old lords of Manchester.  On the same spot, soon after the erection of the Collegiate Church, that quaint quadrangular edifice was built as a residence for the wardens and fellows, which afterwards became, in the turns of fortune, a mansion of the Earls of Derby, a garrison, a prison, an hospital, and a college.  By the time we had taken a few reluctant sniffs at the curiously-compounded air of that melancholy waste, we began to ascend the incline, and lost sight of the Irk, with its factories, dyehouses, brickfields, tanpits, and gasworks, and the unhappy mixture of stench, squalor, smoke, hard work, ignorance, and sin, on its borders; and after a short stoppage at Miles Platting our eyes were wandering over the summer fields.  Nature was dressed in her richest robes, and every green thing looked lush with beauty.  As we looked abroad on this wide array it was delightful to see the sprouting honeysuckle and the peace-breathing palm; and there, too, creeping about the hedges, was that old acquaintance of life's morning, the bramble, which will be putting forth "its small white rose" about the time that country-folk begin to house their hay, and when village lads in Lancashire are gathering gear to decorate their rush-carts with.  Clustering primroses were there; and the celandine, with burnished leaves of gold; and wild violets, prancked with gay colours; with troops of other wild flowers, some full in view, others dimly seen as we swept on,—a world of floral beauty thickly embroidering the green mantle of the landscape, though beyond the range of discriminating vision, but clear to the eye of imagination, which assured us that these stars of the earth were making their old haunts beautiful again.  The buttercup was in the fields, holding its pale gold chalice up to catch the evening dews.  Here and there grew a tuft of slender-stemmed lilies, graceful and chaste; and then a sweep of bluebells tinging the hedge-sides and the moist slopes under the trees with their azure hue,—as blue as a patch of sky,—and swinging the incense from their pendant petals into the sauntering summer wind.  Then came the tall foxglove, and bushes of the golden-blossomed furze, covered with gleaming spears, upon the banks of the line.  Oh, refulgent summer!  Time of blossoms and honeydews, and flowers of every colour!  Thy lush fields are rich with clover and herb-grass!  Thy daylights glow with glory; thy twilights are full of dreamy sights and sounds; and the sweetest odours of the year perfume the air, when,—

The butterfly flits from the flowering tree,
And the cowslip and bluebell are bent by the bee!

The throstle sang loud and clear in the trees and dells near the line, as we rolled along, and the blithe layrock made the air tremble between heaven and the green meadows with his thrilling lyric.  That tall white flower, which country-folk call "posset," spread out its curdy top among the elegant summer grasses, quietly swaying to and fro with the wind!  And then, the daisy was there!  There is no flower so well becomes the hand of a child as a daisy does,—that little "crimson-tipped" companion of the lark, immortalised in the poet's loving wail; tiny jewel of the fields of England; favourite of the child and of the bard!  Daisies lay like snow upon the green landscape, and the hedges were white with the scented blossom of the thorn.  To eyes a little tired of the city's hives of brick,—

                            Where stoop the sons of care,
O'er plans of mischief, till their souls turn grey,

it was refreshing to peer about over the beautiful summer expanse, toward the blue hills rising on the edge of the horizon, solemn and serene.

    My own impression of the natural charms of this part of Lancashire is, perhaps, a little warmer and more accepting than that of an unbiased stranger would be; for the wheels are beautiful which roll me towards the country where I first pulled the wild flowers and listened to the lark.  In this district there are none of those rich depths of soil which, with little labour and tilth, burst forth in full crops of grain; but the land is mostly clothed with pastural verdure; and the farming is almost entirely of the dairy kind.  It is a country of green hills and vales, and clusters of dusky mills surrounded by industrial life; and, except on the high moorlands, there is very little land now, even of the old mosses and morasses, which is not inclosed, and in progress of cultivation.  The scenery has features of beauty peculiar to itself.  It consists of a succession of ever-varying undulations, full of sequestered sloughs, and dingles, and shady corners, threaded by many a little meandering stream, which looks up at the skies from its green hollow, and which

                    Changes oft its varied lapse,
And ever as it winds, enchantment follows,
And new beauties rise.

Travellers from the midland and southern counties of England often notice the scarcity of trees in this quarter.  The native woods were chiefly oak, ash, birch, beech, and yew.  But when the time came that Lancashire had to strip some of its old customs and ornaments, for the fulfilment of its manufacturing destiny, every useful thing upon the soil was seized, and applied to the purposes of the new time.  The land itself began to be wanted for other ends than to grow trees upon.  And then, when old landlords happened to be pressed for money, the timber of their estates,—daily becoming more valuable for manufacturing necessities,—sometimes presented the readiest way of raising it.  Their lands often followed in the same track.  And now the landscape looks bald.  Trees are scanty and small, except at a few such places as Hopwood Hall and Chadderton Hall, and a few isolated clumps like that which crests the top of Tandle Hills.  In that part of the district which lies between Boggart-Hole Clough, near the village of Blackleg on the west, the town of Middleton on the east, and the Manchester and Leeds Railway line on the south, there is a wide platform of level land, called "Th' White Moss."  It stands above the surrounding country, and is quite removed from any of the great highways of the neighbourhood, which, nevertheless, wind near to the borders of this secluded moss, with their restless stream of business.  In former days this tract had been a densely-wooded wild; and even within these twenty years last past it was one great marsh, in whose peaty swamps the relics of ancient woods lay buried.  Since that time nearly two hundred acres of the moss have been brought into cultivation; and it is said that this part of it now produces as fine crops as any land in the neighbourhood.  In turning up the bog, enormous roots and branches of trees, principally oaks, are often met with.  Very fine oaks, beeches, firs, and sometimes yew-trees, of a size very seldom met with in this part of Lancashire in these days, have frequently been found embedded in this morass, at a depth of five or six feet.  Samuel Bamford, in his description of the White Moss, says:

    The stems and huge branches of trees were often laid bare by the diggers, in cultivating it.  Nearly all the trees have been found lying from west to east, or from west to south.  They consist of oaks, beeches, alders, and one or two fine yews.  The roots of many of them are matted and gnarled, presenting interesting subjects for reflection on the state of their region in unrecorded ages.  Some of these trees are in part charred when found.  One large oak, lying on the north-west side of the moss, has been traced to fifteen yards in length, and is twelve feet round.

This moss was one of those lonely places to which the people of these districts found it necessary to retreat, in order to hold their political meetings in safety, during that eventful period of Lancashire history which fell between the years 1815 and 1821.  It was a time of great suffering and danger in these parts.  The working people were often driven into riot and disorder by the desperation of extreme distress, which disorder was often increased by the discreditable espionage and ruthless severities employed to crush political discussion among the populace.  Of the gallant band of reformers which led the van of the popular struggle, many a humble and previously-unnoted pioneer of liberty has left an heroic mark upon the history of that time.  Some of these are still living; others have been many a year laid in their graves; but their memories will long be cherished among a people who know how to esteem men who sincerely love freedom, and are able to do and to suffer for it in a brave spirit.

    In this active arena of industrialism there are many places of interest: old halls and churches; quaint relics of ancient hamlets, hidden by the overgrowth of modern factory villages; immense mills, and costly mansions, often belonging to men who were poor lads a few years ago, wearing wooden clogs, and carrying woollen pieces home from the loom upon their shoulders.  As we cross the valley beyond the station the little old parish church of Middleton stands in sight, on the top of a green eminence, about a mile north from the line.  In the interior of this old fane still hang, against the southern wall, the standard and armour of Sir Richard Assheton, which he dedicated to St. Leonard of Middleton, on returning from Flodden Field, where he greatly distinguished himself, taking prisoner Sir John Foreman, serjeant porter to James the Sixth of Scotland, and Alexander Barrett, high sheriff of Aberdeen; and capturing the sword of the standard-bearer of the Scottish king.  He led to the battle a brave array of Lancashire archers, the flower of his tenantry.  At the western base of the hill, on which the church of St. Leonard is situated, two large cotton factories now stand, close to the spot which, even so late as the year 1845, was occupied by the picturesque old hall of the Asshetons, lords of Middleton.  The new gasworks of the town fill part of the space once covered with its gardens.  Middleton lies principally in the heart of a pleasant vale, with some relics of its ancient quaintness remaining, such as the antique wood-and-plaster inn called the Boar's Head, in the hollow, in front of the parish church.  The manor of Middleton anciently belonged to the honour of Clitheroe, and was held by the Lacys, Earls of Lincoln.  In the reign of Henry III. the heir of Robert de Middleton held a knight's fee in Middleton, of the fee of Edmund or Edward, Earl of Lincoln, who held it of the Earls of Ferrars, the king's tenant in capite.  And Baines, in his "History of Lancashire," further says:—

    In 3 Edward II. the Manor of Middleton is found in the inquisition post-mortem of Henry de Lacy, amongst the fees belonging to the manor of Tottington, held by service of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.  With Henry, Earl of Lincoln, this branch of the Lacys passed away; and their possessions in this country, with his daughter and heiress, devolved upon Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster.  The heirs of Robti (Robert) de Middleton possessed lands in Midelton, by military service, in the reign of Henry the Third (1216-1272).  At a later period the manor was possessed by Richard Barton, Esq.  The first of this family who is recorded in connection with Middleton was living in the reign of Henry the Fourth (1410).  He died without surviving issue, and the manor passed to the heirs of his brother, John Barton, Esq., whose daughter Margaret having married Ralph Assheton, Esq., a son of Sir John Assheton, Knt., of Ashton-under-Lyne, he became Lord of Middleton in her right, in the seventeenth of Henry the Sixth (1438), and was the same year appointed a page of honour to that king.  He was knight-marshal of England, lieutenant of the Tower of London, and sheriff of Yorkshire (1473-1474).  He attended the Duke of Gloucester at the Battle of Haldon, or Hutton Field, Scotland, in order to recover Berwick, and was created a knight banneret on the field for his gallant services (1483).  On the succession of Richard the Third to the crown he created Sir Ralph vice-constable of England, by letters patent (1483).

    Thus began the first connection of the town of Middleton with that powerful Lancashire family the Asshetons of Ashton-under-Lyne, in the person of the famous "Black Lad," respecting whom Dr. Hibbert says, in his historical work upon Ashton-under-Lyne, as follows:—

    It appears that Ralph Assheton became, by his alliance with a rich heiress, the lord of a neighbouring manor named Middleton, and soon afterwards received the honour of knighthood, being at the same time entrusted with the office of vice-chancellor, and, it is added, of lieutenant of the Tower.  Invested with such authority, he committed violent excesses in this part of the kingdom.  In retaining also for life the privilege of gold riding, he, on a certain day in the spring, made his appearance in this manner, clad in black armour (whence his name of the Black Lad), mounted on a charger, and attended by a numerous train of his followers, in order to levy the penalty arising from neglect of clearing the land from carr gulds.  The interference of so powerful a knight, belonging to another lordship, could not but be regarded by the tenants of Assheton as a tyrannical intrusion of a stranger, and the name of the Black Lad is at present regarded with no other sentiment than that of horror.  Tradition has, indeed, still perpetuated the prayer that was fervently ejaculated for a deliverance from this tyranny:—

Sweet Jesu, for Thy mercy's sake,
        And for Thy bitter passion,
Save us from the axe of the Tower,
        And from Sir Ralph of Assheton.

Happily, with the death of this terrible gold-rider of Assheton, the custom was abolished, but the sum of five shillings is still reserved from the estate for the purpose of commemorating it by an annual ceremony.  Ralph Assheton, of Middleton, was an energetic adherent to the Parliamentary cause during the civil wars.  On the 24th September, 1642, about one hundred and fifty of his tenants, in complete arms, joined the forces of Manchester, in opposition to the Royalists.  He commanded the Parliamentary troops at the siege of Warrington.  He was engaged at the siege of Lathom House, and led the Middleton Clubmen at the siege of Bolton-le-Moors.  In 1648 he was a major-general, and commanded the Lancashire soldiery of the Commonwealth, on the marshalling of the Parliamentary forces to oppose the Duke of Hamilton.  In the same year he took Appleby from the Royalists.  His eldest son Richard, who died an infant, March 25th, 1631, was supposed to have been bewitched to death by one Utley, "who, for the crime, was tried at the Assizes at Lancaster, and executed there!"  His son Ralph espoused the cause of Charles the Second, and was created a baronet in 1663.

    As we glide out of sight of Middleton, a prominent feature of the landscape, on the opposite side of the railway, is the wood-crowned summit of Tandle Hills.  These hills overlook the sequestered dairy farms and shady dingles of an extensive district called Thornham, which, though surrounded at short distances by busy manufacturing villages and towns, is a tract full of quaint farm-folds, grassy uplands and dells, interlaced with green old English lanes and hedge-rows.  Before the train reaches Blue Pits it passes through the estates of the Hopwoods of Hopwood; and at some points the chimneys and gables of Hopwood Hall peep through surrounding woods, in a retired valley north of the line.  As the train begins to slacken on its approach to the station, the old road-side village of Trub Smithy, the scene of many humorous stories, lies nestling beyond two or three fields to the south, at the foot of a slope on the high-road from Manchester to Rochdale.  At Blue Pits Station, we obeyed the noisy summons to "Change for Heywood," and were put upon the branch line which leads thitherward.  The railway thence to Heywood winds through green fields all the way, and is divided from the woods of Hopwood by a long strip of canal.  As we rolled on, the moorland heights of Ashworth, Knowl, Rooley, and Lobden, rose in the background before us, seemingly at a short- distance, and before any glimpse was seen of Heywood, which lay down between us and the hills.  But, as we drew near, a canopy of smoky cloud hung over the valley in front and "we knew by the smoke,"—as the song says,—that Heywood was near, even if we had never known it before.  Heywood is one of the last places in the world where a man who judges of the surrounding country by the town itself would think of going to ruralise.  But even in this smoky manufacturing town, which is so meagre in historic interest, there are some peculiarities connected with its rise and progress, and the aspects of its present life, and some interesting traits in the characteristics of its inhabitants; and in its surrounding landscape there are many picturesque scenes, especially towards the hills, where the rising grounds are cleft here and there by romantic glens, which wander far up into the moors, like Simpson Clough; and sometimes vales, green and pleasant, by the quiet water-side, like Tyrone's Bed and Hooley Clough.

    As the train drew up at that little station, which always looks busy when there are a dozen people in the office, the straggling ends of Heywood streets began to dawn upon us, with the peeping chimney-tops of the cotton mills, which lay yet too low down to be wholly seen.  Some costly mansions were visible also, belonging to wealthy men of the neighbourhood,—mostly rich cotton-spinners,—perched on "coignes of vantage," about the green uplands and hollows in the valley, and generally at a respectful distance from the town.  Many of the cotton mills began to show themselves entirely,—here and there in clusters,—the older ones looking dreary and uninviting to the eye; the new ones as smart as new bricks and long lines of glittering windows could make their dull square forms appear.  A number of brick-built cottages bristled about the summit of a slope which rose in front of us from the station, and closed from view the bulk of the town, in the valley beyond.  We went up the slope, and took a quiet by-path which led through the fields, along the southern edge of Heywood, entering the town near the Market Place.  And now, let us take a glance at the history, and some of the present features of this place.

    So far as the history of Heywood is known, it has not been the arena of any of those great historical events which have shaken the less remote parts of the country.  The present appearance of Heywood would not, perhaps, be delightful to the eye of anybody who had no local interest in it, yet a brief review of the history may not be uninteresting.  Heywood is the capital of the township of Heap, and stands principally upon a gentle elevation, in a wide valley, about three miles from each of the towns of Rochdale, Bury, and Middleton.  The township of Heap is in the parish and manor of Bury, of which manor the Earl of Derby is lord.  This manor has been the property of the Derby family ever since the accession of Henry VII., after the battle of Bosworth Field, when it was granted by the king to his father-in-law, Thomas Stanley, first Earl of Derby, who figures in Shakspere's tragedy of "Richard the Third."  The previous possessors were the Pilkingtons of Pilkington.  Sir Thomas Pilkington was an active adherent of the York faction, in the Wars of the Roses; and in a manuscript of Stowe's his name appears, with a large number of other friends of Richard, who "sware Kynge Richard shuld were ye crowne."  There is a secluded hamlet of old-fashioned houses in this township, called Heap Fold, situated on a hill about half a mile west of Heywood.  This hamlet is generally admitted to be the oldest, and probably the only, settlement in the township of Heap in the time of the Saxons, who first cleared and cultivated the land of the district.  Previous to that time, it may be naturally supposed that, like many other parts of South Lancashire, this district was overrun with woods, and swamps, and thickets.  Edwin Butterworth published a little pamphlet history of Heywood, from which I quote the following notes:—

    The origin of the designation Heap is not at all obvious.  In the earliest known mention of the place it is termed Hep, which may imply a tract overgrown with hawthorn berries.  The name might arise from the unevenness of the surface—heep (Saxon) indicating a mass of irregularities.  The denomination Heywood manifestly denotes the site of a wood in a field, or a wood surrounded by fields.

Further on in the same pamphlet he says:—

    The local family of Hep, or Heap, has been extinct a considerable time. The deed of the gift of the whole forest of Holcombe to the monks of St. Mary Magdalen, of Bretton, in Yorkshire, by Roger de Montbegon, is witnessed, amongst others, by Robert de Hep, but without date, being of an age prior to the use of dates.  Roger de Montbegon, however, died l0th Henry III., so that this transaction occurred before 1226.

It may be true that what is here alluded to as the local family of Hep or Heap is extinct; but the name of Heap is now more prevalent among the inhabitants of Heywood and the immediately surrounding towns than anywhere else in England.  With respect to the two suppositions as to the origin of the name, almost every Lancashire lad will remember that he has, at one time or another, pricked his fingers with getting "heps," the common bright red berry which, in other parts, goes by the name of the "hip."  And then there is some show of likelihood in the supposition that the name has come from the Saxon word "heep," meaning "a mass of irregularities," as Butterworth says; for the whole district is a succession of hills, and holes, and undulations of ever-varying size and shape.  Again, he says,—

    Heap was doubtless inhabited by at least one Saxon family, whose descendants, it is probable, quietly conformed to Norman rule.  In that era, or perhaps earlier, the place was annexed to the lordship and church of Bury, of which Adam de Bury and Edward de Buri were possessors shortly after the Conquest. [p.217-1]  A family of the name of Hep, or Heap, held the hamlet from the paramount lords.  In 1311, third of Edward II., Henery de Bury held one half of the manor of Bury. [p.217-2]

Previous to the fifteenth century this township must have been part of a very wild and untempting region, having, for the most part, little or no settled population, or communion with the living world beyond; and the progress of population, and cultivation of the land, up to that time, appeared to have been very slow, and only in a few isolated spots; since although there were several heys of land at that time, near to a wood, thence called Heywood, upon the spot now (1855) occupied by a busy community of people, numbering twenty thousand at least, yet, there is no record of any dwelling upon that spot until shortly after the fifteenth century, when a few rural habitations were erected thereon.  From this period may be reckoned the dawn of the rural village which has since expanded into the manufacturing town of Heywood, now thriving at a greater rate than ever, under the impulse of modern industrialism.  About this time, too, began the residence there of a family bearing the local name.  "In 1492 occurs Robert de Heywood.  In the brilliant reign of Elizabeth, Edmund Heywood, Esq., was required, by an order dated 1574, to furnish a coat of plate, a long bowie, shéffe of arrows, steel cap, and bill, for the military musters." [p.218-1]  James Heywood, gentleman, was living before 1604.  Peter Heywood, Esq., a zealous magistrate, the representative of this family in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., was a native and resident of the present Heywood Hall, which was erected during the sixteenth century.  It is said that he apprehended Guido Faux, coming forth from the vault of the House of Parliament, on the eve of the gunpowder treason, November 5th, 1605.  He probably accompanied Sir Thomas Knevett in his search of the cellars under the Parliament House.  The principal interest connected with the earliest history of the town of Heywood seems to be bound up in the history of Heywood Hall and its inhabitants, which will be noticed further on.

    The old episcopal chapel near the Market Place, dedicated to St. Luke, is a plain little building, with nothing remarkable in its appearance or its situation. [p.218-2]  It seems to have been founded at the beginning of the seventeenth century.  It contains inscriptions commemorative of the Holts of Grizlehurst, and the Starkies of Heywood Hall.  A dial-plate on the eastern exterior bears the date of 1686, with the initials of Robert Heywood, Esq., of Heywood Hall, who was governor of the Isle of Man in 1678.  Besides the Heywoods of Heywood Hall, there were several powerful local families in the olden time seated at short distances round the spot where Heywood now stands: the Heaps of Heap, the Bamfords of Bamford, the Marlands of Marland, the Holts of Grizlehurst, and the Hopwoods of Hopwood.

    Heywood, or "Monkey Town," as sarcastic people in other parts of Lancashire sometimes call it, is now (1855) a manufacturing place of at least twenty thousand people.  It owes its rise almost entirely to the cotton manufacture and the history of the latter incorporates the history of the former in a much greater degree than that of any other considerable town in the district.  This gives it a kind of interest which certainly does not belong to any beauty the appearance of the town at present possesses.  A few years before those mechanical inventions became known which ultimately made Lancashire what it is now, Heywood was a little quiet country fold; but a few years after these inventions came into action it began to grow into what the people of those days thought "something rich and strange," with a celerity akin to the growth of great towns in the United States of America.  About two hundred years ago a few rural cottages first arose upon this secluded spot; and at the time when the manufacture of cotton began in South Lancashire it was still a small agricultural village, prettily situated in a picturesque scene, about the centre of the ridge of land which is now nearly covered by the present town.  This little nucleus clustered about the old chapel, in the Market Place.  Previous to the invention of the fly-shuttle by Kay, in the neighbouring town of Bury, and the ingenious combinations of the inventions of his contemporaries by Arkwright, the Preston barber, almost every farmhouse and cottage in this part had the old-fashioned spinning-wheel and the hand-loom in them, wherewith to employ any time the inhabitants could spare from their rural occupations.  At the time of Arkwright's first patent, the people of these parts little knew what a change the time's inventions were bringing upon their quiet haunts,—still less of the vast influences which were to arise therefrom, combining to the accomplishment of incalculable ends; and they were, at first, slow to wean from their old independent way of living, partly by farming and partly by manufacturing labour which they could do in their own houses, and at their own leisure.  "Manchester manufacturers are glad," says Arthur Young, in 1770 (the year of Arkwright's first patent), "when bread is dear, for then the people are forced to work."  But though the supply of yarn in those days was less than the demand, and the people were not yet draughted away from their old manner of life, they were caught in the web of that inevitable destiny which will have its way, in spite of the will of man.  The world's master had new commissioners abroad for the achievement of new purposes.  These wonder-working seeds of Providence patiently developing themselves in secret, were soon to burst forth in a wide harvest of change upon the field of life.  Certain men of mechanical genius arose, and their creative dreams wrought together in a mysterious way to the production of extraordinary results.  John Kay, of Bury, invented the picking-peg, or fly-shuttle, in 1738; and his son, Robert Kay, invented the drop-box, used in the manufacture of fabrics of various colours, and that wonderful cotton and woollen carding machine, which stretches the wire out of the ring, cuts it into lengths, staples and crooks it into teeth, pricks holes in the leather, and puts in the teeth, row after row, with extraordinary speed and precision, till the cards are finished.  Thomas Hayes, the humble and ingenious reed-maker at Leigh, in 1763 originated that first remarkable improvement in spinning machinery which he called after his favourite daughter, Jenny, and he also introduced the throstle, or water-frame, in 1767.  This man lingered out his old age in affliction and dependence.  James Hargreaves, the carpenter, of Blackburn, improved upon the original idea of the spinning-jenny, and invented the crank and comb, "an engine of singular merit for facilitating the process of carding cotton."  The ignorant jealousy of the Lancashire operatives in those days drove this ingenious man to seek shelter in Nottinghamshire, where he was but ill-received, and where he ended his days in poverty.  He died in a workhouse.  Arkwright, the Preston barber, was more endowed by nature with the qualities requisite for worldly success than these ingenious, abstracted, and simple-minded mechanical dreamers.  He was a man of great perseverance and worldly sagacity.  With characteristic cunning he appears to have wormed their secrets out of some of these humble inventors; and then, with no less industry and enterprise than ingenuity, he combined these with other kindred inventions, and wrought them into a practical operation, which, by its results, quickly awakened the world to a knowledge of their power.  He became a rich man, and "Sir Richard."  In 1780 the spinning-mule was first introduced by its inventor, Samuel Crompton, a thoughtful and ingenious man, then dwelling in an old Lancashire hall called "Th' Hall i'th Wood," in Turton, near Bolton.  This machine united the powers of the spinning-jenny and the water-frame.  The spinning-mule is now in general use in the cotton manufacture.  Crompton gave his valuable invention to the public, without securing a patent.  His remuneration, in the shape of money, was therefore left to the cold chances of charity.  He was, however, at first, rewarded by a subscription of one hundred guineas, and, twenty years afterwards, by an additional subscription of four hundred guineas; and in 1812 Parliament awarded the sum of five thousand pounds to the dreamy old weaver, in his latter days, which came too late to be of much service to him.  In 1785 the first patent for the power-loom was obtained by the Rev. Edmund Cartwright, of Kent, who invented it; and, after considerable improvements, it has at last contributed another great impulse to the manufacturing power of these districts.  Whilst these mechanical agencies were developing themselves, James Watt was busy with his steam power; and Brindley, in conjunction with the Duke of Bridgewater, was constructing his waterways.  They were all necessary parts of one great scheme of social alteration, the end of which is not yet.  These men were the immediate sources of the manufacturing power and wealth of Lancashire.  Up rose Arkwright's model mill at Cromford; and the people of South Lancashire, who were spinning and weaving in the old way, in their scattered cottages and folds, began to find themselves drawn by irresistible spells into new combinations and new modes of living and working.  Their remote haunts began to resound with the tones of clustering labour; their quiet rivers, lately murmuring clear through silent vales and cloughs, began to be dotted with mills; and their little villages shot up into large manufacturing towns.  From 1770 to 1788 the use of wool and linen in the spinning of yarns had almost disappeared, and cotton had become the almost universal material for employment.  Hand-wheels were superseded by common jennies, hand-carding by carding engines, and handpicking [p.223-1] by the fly-shuttle.  From 1778 to 1803 was the golden age of this great trade; the introduction of mule yarns, assimilated with other yarns producing every description of goods, gave a preponderating wealth through the loom.  The mule twist being rapidly produced, and the demand for goods very large, put all hands in request; and weavers' shops became yearly more numerous.  The remuneration for labour was high, and the population was in a comfortable condition.  The dissolution of Arkwright's patent in 1785, and the general adoption of mule spinning in 1790, concurred to give the most extraordinary impetus to the cotton manufacture.  Numerous mills were erected, and filled with water-frames; and jennies and mules were made and set to work with incredible rapidity. [p.223-2]  Heywood had already risen up by the previous methods of manufacture to a place of about two thousand inhabitants, in the year 1780,—that changeful crisis of its history when the manufacture of cotton by steam power first began in the township of Heap, with the erection of Makin Mill, hard by the north side of Heywood.  This mill was built by the firm of Peel, Yates, and Co., of Bury,—the principal of which firm was Robert Peel, Esq. (afterwards Sir Robert), and father of the memorable Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister of England, whose name is honourably connected with the Abolition of the Corn Laws; a man who won the gratitude of a nation by daring to turn "traitor" to a great wrong that he might help a great right.  This mill is now (1855) the property of Edmund Peel, brother of the late Sir Robert.  It stands about half a mile from Heywood, in a shady clough and upon the banks of the river Roch, which rises in the hills on the north-east extremity of the county, and flows down through the town of Rochdale, passing through the glen called Tyrone's Bed, and through Hooley Clough.  The river then winds on westward by the town of Bury, three miles off.  The course of this water is now well lined with manufacturing power.  A stranger may always find the mills of Lancashire by following the course of its waters.

    Before the factory system arose, when the people of this quarter did their manufacturing work at their homes,—when they were not yet brought completely to depend upon manufacture for livelihood, and when their manner of life was at least more natural and hardy than it became afterwards,—their condition was, morally and physically, very good, compared with the condition which the unrestricted factory system led to, in the first rush after wealth which it awoke, especially in the employment of young children in mills.  The amount of demoralisation and physical deterioration then entailed upon the population, particularly in isolated nooks of the country, where public opinion had little controlling influence upon such mill owners as happened to possess more avarice than humane care for their operative dependents, must have been great.  It was a wild steeplechase for wealthy stakes, in which whip and spur were used with little mercy, and few were willing to peril their chances of the plate by any considerations for the sufferings of the animal that carried them.  But the condition of the factory operatives, since the introduction of the Ten Hours Bill,—and, perhaps, partly through the earnest public discussions which led to that enactment,—has visibly begun to improve.  Benevolent and just men, who owned mills, have, of their own accord, in many honourable instances, paid a more liberal attention to the welfare of their workpeople even than the provisions of the law demanded; and those mill owners whose only care for their operatives was bounded by a desire to wring as much work as possible out of them for as little pay as possible, were compelled to fulfil certain humane regulations, which their own sympathies would have been slow to concede.  The hours of factory labour are now systematically shortened; and the operatives are not even so drunken, riotous, and ignorant, as when they were wrought from bedtime to bedtime.  Books, and schools, and salutary recreation, and social comfort, are more fashionable among them than they used to be,—partly because they are more practicable things to them than before.  The mills themselves are now healthier than formerly; factory labour is restricted to children of a reasonable age; and elementary education is now, by a wisdom worthy of extension, administered through the impulse of the law to all children of a certain age in factories.

    Heywood is altogether of too modern an origin to contain any buildings interesting to the admirer of ancient architecture.  The only places in Heywood around which an antiquarian would be likely to linger, with anything like satisfaction, would be the little Episcopal Chapel in the Market Place, founded in the seventeenth century, and Heywood Hall, which stands about half a mile from the town, and of which more anon.  With these exceptions, there is probably not one building in the place two hundred years old.

    The appearance of Heywood, whether seen in detail or as a whole, presents as complete, unrelieved, and condensed an epitome of the active spirit of manufacture in the region where it originated as can be found anywhere in Lancashire; and in all its irregular main street, consisting of more than a mile of brick-built shops and cottages,—together with the little streets and alleys diverging therefrom,—there does not appear even one modern building remarkable for taste, or for any other distinguishing excellence sufficient to induce an ordinary man to halt and admire it.  There is not even an edifice characterised by any singularity whatever, calculated to awaken wonder or curiosity in an ordinary beholder, except its great square, brick cotton mills, machine shops, and the like; and when the outside of one of these has been seen, the outside of the remainder is no novelty.  The heights and depths principally cultivated in Heywood appear to be those of factory chimneys and coal pits.  Of course, the interiors of the mills teem with mechanical wonders and ingenuities; and the social life and characteristics of the population are full of interest; but the general exterior of the town exhibits a dull and dusky succession of manufacturing sameness.  Its inns, with one or two exceptions, look like ferry-shops; and its places of worship like warehouses.  A living writer has said of the place that it looks like a great funeral on its way from Bury to Rochdale,—between which towns it is situated midway.  When seen from any neighbouring elevation, on a dull day, this strong figure hardly exaggerates the truth.  The whole life of Heywood seems to be governed by the ring of factory bells, at least, much more than by any other bells.  The very dwelling-houses look as if they, too, worked in the factories.  To persons accustomed to the quaint prettiness of well-regulated English rural villages, and the more natural hue and general appearance of the people in such places, the inhabitants of Heywood would, at first sight, have somewhat of a sallow appearance, and their houses would appear to be slightly smeared with a mixture of soot, sperm oil, and cotton fluz.  And if such observers knew nothing of the real character and habits of the population, they would be slow to believe them a people remarkably fond of cleanliness and homely comfort, as far as compatible with the nature of their employment.  A close examination of these Heywood cottages would show, however, that their insides are more clean and comfortable than the first glance at their outsides might suggest, and would also reveal many other things not discreditable to the native disposition of the people who dwell in them.  But the architecture and general characteristics of Heywood as a town, evince no taste, no refinement, nor even public spirit of liberality, commensurate with its wealth and energy.  The whole population seems yet too wrapped in its manufacturing dream to care much about the adornment of the place, or even about any effective diffusion of those influences which tend to the improvement of the health and culture of the nobler faculties of the people.  But Heywood may yet emerge from its apprenticeship to blind toil, and, wiping the dust from its eyes, look forth towards things quite as essential as this fight for bread for the day.  At present, wherever one wanders among the streets on week-days, the same manufacturing indications present themselves.  It is plain that its people are nearly all employed in one way, directly or indirectly.  This is suggested not only by the number and magnitude of the mills, and the habitations of the people, but by every movement on the streets.  Every vehicle that passes, every woman and child about the cottages, every lounger in the Market Place, tells the same story.  One striking feature of week-day life in Heywood, more completely even than in many other kindred towns, is the clock-work punctuality with which the operative crowds rush from the mills, and hurry along the streets to their dinners, sauntering back in twos and threes, or speeding along in solitary haste, to get within the mill doors in time for that re-awakening boom of machinery which is seldom on the laggard side of its appointment.  And it is not only in the dress and manners of this body of factory operatives,—nor in their language and deportment, and the prevailing hue of their countenances,—that the character of their employment is indicated, but also in a modified variety of the same features in the remainder of the population, who are either immediately connected with these operatives or indirectly affected by the same influences.  I have noticed, however, that factory operatives in country manufacturing towns have a more wholesome appearance, both in dress and person, than the same class in Manchester.  Whether this arises from any difference in the atmosphere, or from more healthy habits of operatives in the country than those induced amongst the same class by the temptations of a large town, I cannot say.

    In the course of the year there are two ancient festivals kept up, each with its own quaint peculiarities, by the Heywood people.  One of these is the "Rushbearing," held in the month of August,—an old feast, which seems to have died out almost everywhere else in England except in Lancashire.  Here, in Heywood, however, as in many other towns of the county, this ancient festival is still observed, with two or three days' holiday and hilarity.  The original signification of this annual "Rushbearing," and some of the old features connected with the ceremony, such as the bearing of the rushes, with great rejoicing, to the church, and the strewing of them upon the earthen floor of the sacred fane, having long since died out.  The following passage is taken from a poem called "The Village Festival," written by Elijah Ridings, and is descriptive of the present characteristics of a Lancashire "Rushbearing," as he had seen it in his native village of Newton, between Manchester and Oldham:—

When wood and barn owls loudly shout,
As if were near some rabble rout;
When beech-trees drop the yellow leaf,
A type of human hope and grief;
When little wild flowers leave the sun,
Their pretty love-tasks being done,
And nature, with exhaustless charms,
Lets summer die in autumn's arms,—
There is a merry, happy time,
With which I'll grace my simple rhyme.
The Wakes,—the Wakes,—the jocund Wakes!
My wand'ring memory forsakes
The present busy scene of things,
And soars away on fancy's wings,
For olden times, with garlands crowned,
And rush-carts green on many a mound,
In hamlet bearing a great name, [p.230-1]
The first in astronomic fame,
With buoyant youth and modest maid,
Skipping along the greensward glade,
With laughing eyes and ravished sight,
To share once more the old delight!
Oh! now there comes,—and let's partake,
Brown nuts, spice bread, and Eccles cake; [p.230-2]
There's flying-boxes, whirligigs,
And sundry rustic pranks and rigs;
With old "Chum" [p.230-3] cracking nuts and jokes
To entertain the country folks,
But more to earn a honest penny
And get a decent living,—any,
Ay, any, an humble, striving way,
Than do what shuns the light of day.
Behold the rush-cart, and the throng
Of lads and lasses pass along!
Now watch the nimble morris-dancers,
Those blithe, fantastic antic-prancers,
Bedecked with gaudiest profusion,
Of ribbons, in gay profusion
Of brilliant colours, richest dyes,
Like wings of moths and butterflies;
Waving white kerchiefs here and there,
And up and down, and everywhere;
Springing, bounding, gaily skipping,
Deftly, briskly, no one tripping;
All young fellows, blithe and hearty,
Thirty couples in the party;
And on the footpaths may be seen
Their sweethearts from each lane, and green,
And cottage home, all fain to see
This festival of rural glee,—
The love-betrothed, the fond heart plighted,
And, with the witching scene delighted,
In modest guise, and simple graces,
With roses blushing on their faces.
Ah! what denotes, or what bespeaks
Love more than such sweet apple-cheeks?
Behold the strong-limbed horses stand,
The pride and boast of English land,
Fitted to move in shafts or chains,
With plaited, glossy tails and manes;
Their proud heads each a garland wears
Of quaint devices,—suns and stars,
And roses, ribbon-wrought, abound
The silver plate, [p.231] one hundred pound
With green oak boughs the cart is crowned;
The strong gaunt horses shake the ground.
Now, see the welcome host appears,
And thirsty mouths the ale-draught cheers;
Draught after draught is quickly gone,—
"Come,—here's a health to everyone!"
Away with care and doleful thinking;
The cup goes round; what hearty drinking!
While many a youth the lips is smacking,
And the two drivers' whips are cracking;
Now, strike up music, the old tune;
And louder, quicker, old bassoon;
Come, bustle, lads, for one dance more,
And then cross-morris three times o'er,
Another jug,—see how it foams,—
And next the brown October comes:
Full five years old, the host declares,
And if you doubt it, loudly swears
That it's the best in any town,—
Tenpenny ale, the real nut-brown.
And who was he, that jovial fellow,
With his strong ale so old and mellow?
A huge, unwieldy man was he,
Like Falstaff, fat and full of glee;
With belly like a thirty-six [p.232-1]
(Now, reader, your attention fix),
In loose habiliments he stands,
Broad-shouldered, and with brawny hands,
Good humour beaming in his eye,
And the old, rude simplicity;
Ever alive for rough or smooth,
That rare old fellow, Bill o' Booth! [p.232-2]

    The other is a famous old festival here, as well as in the neighbouring town of Bury.  It is a peculiarly local one, also; for I believe it is not celebrated anywhere else in England except in these towns.  It begins on Mid-Lent Sunday, or "Simblin-Sunday" as the people of the district call it, from the name of a spiced cake which is prepared for this feast in great profusion, and in the making of which there is considerable expense and rivalry shown.  On Simblin-Sunday the two towns of Bury and Heywood swarm with visitors from the surrounding country, and "simblins" of extraordinary size and value are exhibited in the shop windows.  The festival is kept up during two or three days of the ensuing week.  In the Rev. W. Gaskell's lectures on the "Lancashire Dialect," the following passage occurs relative to this "Simblin-Cake":—

    As you are aware, there is a kind of cake for which the town of Bury is famous, and which gives its name in these parts to Mid-Lent Sunday,—I mean "symnel."  Many curious and fanciful derivations have been found for this; but I feel no doubt that we must look for its true origin to the Anglo-Saxon "simble" or "simle," which means a feast, or "symblian," to banquet.  "Simnel " was evidently some kind of the finest bread.  From the chronicle of Battle Abbey, we learn that, in proof of his regard for the monks, the Conqueror granted for their daily uses thirty-six ounces of "bread fit for the table of a king," which is called simenel; and Roger de Hoveden mentions, among the provisions allowed to the Scotch King, at the Court of England, "twelve simenels."  "Banquet bread," therefore, would seem to come very near the meaning of this word.  I may just observe, in passing, that the baker's boy who, in the reign of Henry VII., personated the Earl of Warwick, was most likely called "Lambert Simnel" as a sort of nickname derived from his trade. [p.233]

    The amusements, or what may be called the leisure-habits, of the factory population in Lancashire manufacturing towns are much alike.  Some are sufficiently jaded when their day's work is done, or are too apathetic by nature to engage heartily in anything requiring further exertion of body or mind.  There are many, however, who, when they leave the factory in the evening, go with a kind of renovating glee to the reading of such books as opportunity brings within their reach, or to the systematic prosecution of some chosen study, such as music, botany, mechanics, or mathematics, which are favourite sciences among the working people of Lancashire.  And even among the humblest there are often shrewd and well-read, if not extensively-read, politicians, chiefly of the Cobbett school.  But the greatest number occupy their leisure with rude physical sports, or those coarser indulgencies which, in a place like Heywood, are more easily got at than books and schools.  The taproom is the most convenient meeting-place for these; and the taprooms are numerous and well attended.  There, factory lads congregate nightly, clubbing their pence for cheap ale, and whiling the night hours away in dominoes, or in vigorous contention in the art of single step-dancing, upon the alehouse hearthstone.  This single step-dancing is a favourite exercise with them; and their wooden clogs are often very neatly made for the purpose, lacing closely up to above the ankle, and ornamented with bright brass lace-holes.  The quick, well-timed clatter upon the taproom flags generally tells the whereabouts of such dancing haunts to a stranger as he goes along the streets; and, if he peeps into one of them, he may sometimes see a knot of factory lads encouraging some favourite caperer with such exclamations as, "Deawn wi' thi fuut, Robin!  Crack thi rags, owd dog!"  The chief outdoor sports of the working-class are foot-racing and jumping matches, and sometimes foot-ball and cricket.  Wrestling, dog-fighting, and cock-fighting are not uncommon; but they are more peculiar to the hardier population outside the towns.  Now and then a rough "up-and-down" fight takes place at an alehouse door, or is brought off more systematically in a nook of the fields.  This rude and ancient manner of personal combat is graphically described by Samuel Bamford in his well-known "Passages in the Life of a Radical."  The moors north of Heywood afford great sport in the grouse season.  Some of the local gentry keep harriers; and now and then a "foomart hunt" takes place with the long-eared dogs, whose mingled music, when heard from the hill-sides, sounds like a chime of bells in the distant valley.  The entire population, though engaged in manufacture, evinces a hearty love of the fields and field sports, and a strong tincture of the rough simplicity and idiomatic quaintness of their fore-fathers, or "fore-elders," as they often call them.  In an old fold near Heywood their lived a man, a few years since, who was well known thereabouts as a fighter.  The lads of the hamlet were proud of hire a local champion.  Sometimes he used to call at a neighbouring alehouse to get a gill, and have a "bout" with anybody worth the trouble, for our hero had a sort of chivalric dislike to spending his time on "wastrils" unworthy of his prowess.  When he chanced to be seen advancing from the distance, the folk in the house used to say, "Hello!  So-and-so's comin'!  Teen th' dur!"  Whereupon the landlord would reply, "Nawe, nawe!  Lev it oppen, or else he'll punce it in!  But yo'n no 'casion to be fleyed, for he's as harmless as a chylt to aught at's wayker nor his-sel!"  He is said to have been a man of few words, except when roused to anger, when he uttered terrible oaths, with great vehemence.  The people of his neighbourhood say that he once swore so heavily, when in a passion, that a plane-tree growing at the front of his cottage withered away from that hour.  Most Lancashire villages contain men of this stamp,—men of rude, strong frame and temper, whose habits, manners, and even language, smack a little of the days of Robin Hood,—yet it is not uncommon to find them students of botany and music, and fond of little children.  Jane Clough, a curious local character, died at a great age, near Heywood, about a year and a half ago.  Jane was a notable country botanist, and she had many other characteristics which made her remarkable.  She was born upon Bagslate Heath, a moorland tract up the hills to the north-east of Heywood.  I well remember that primitive country amazon, who, when I was a lad, was such an old-world figure upon the streets of Rochdale and Heywood.  Everybody knew Jane Clough.  She was very tall, and of most masculine face and build of body, with a clear, healthy complexion.  She was generally dressed in a strong, old-fashioned blue woollen bedgown, and thick petticoats of the same stuff.  She wore a plain but very clean linen cap upon her head, loosely covered with a silk kerchief; and her foot-gear was heavy clouted shoon, or wooden clogs, suitable to her rough country walks, her great strength, and masculine habits.  Botany was always a ruling passion with old moorland Jane.  She was the queen of all flower-growers in humble life upon her native ground; especially in the cultivation of the polyanthus, auricula, tulip, and "ley," or carnation.  Jane was well known at all the flower shows of the neighbourhood, where she was often a successful exhibitor; and though she was known as a woman of somewhat scrupulous moral character,—and there are many anecdotes illustrative of this,—yet she was almost equally well known at foot-races and dog-battles, or any other kind of battles, for which she not unfrequently held the stakes.

    There used to be many a "hush-shop," or house for the sale of unlicensed drink, about Heywood; and if the district was thrown into a riddle, they would turn up, now and then, yet, especially in the outskirts of the town, and up towards the hills.  These are generally sly spots, where fuddlers, who like ale for its own sake, can steal in when things are quiet, and get their fill at something less than the licensed price, or carry off a bottleful into the fields, after the gloaming has come on.  Of course hush-shop tipplers could not often indulge in that noisy freedom of speech, nor in those wild bursts of bacchanalian activity vulgarly known by the name of "Hell's Delight," of which licensed alehouses are sometimes the scene, and where the dangerous Lancashire alehouse game called "Th' Bull upo th' Bank" has sometimes finished a night of drunken comedy with a touch of real tragedy.  The most suitable customers for the hush-shop were quiet soakers, who cared for no other company than a full pitcher, and whose psalm of life consisted of scraps of drinking-songs, like the following, trolled out in a low tone:—

O good ale, thou art my darling;
I love thee night, I love thee morning,
I love thee new, I love thee old;
I love thee warm, I love thee cold!
                                             Oh! good ale!

    Having glanced in this brief way at the progress of Heywood, from the time when it first began as a tiny hamlet, about the end of the fifteenth century, up to its present condition, as a cotton-spinning town of twenty thousand inhabitants, surrounded by a district alive with manufacturing activities, I will return to the narrative of my visit to the place, as it fell on one fine afternoon about the end of June.

    We had come round from the railway station, along the southern edge of the town, and through the fields, by a footpath which led us into Heywood near the Market Place.  The mills were stopped.  Country people were coming into town to do their errands, and a great party of the working population appeared to be sauntering along the main street, stopping at the shops as they went along, or casting about for their Saturday night's diversion, and gazing from side to side, to see what could be seen.  Clusters of factory girls were gathered about the drapers' windows.  These girls were generally clean and tidy; and not unfrequently there were very intelligent and pretty countenances amongst them.  The older part of the factory operatives, both men and women, had often a staid and jaded look.  The shops were busy with customers buying clothing, or food, or cheap publications; and the alehouses were getting lively.  A little company of young "factory chaps" were collected about a bookseller's shop, near the old Queen's Arms, looking out for news or pictures, or reading the periodicals exposed in the windows.  Now and then a select straggler wended his way across the road to change his "library-book" at the Mechanics' Institution.  There was considerable stir down the street, where a noisy band of music was marching along, followed by an admiring multitude.  And amongst the whole a number of those active mischief-loving lads so well known in every manufacturing town by the name of "doffers" were clattering about, and darting after one another among the crowd, as blithe as if they had never known what work was.  We crossed through the middle of the town, and went down the north road into an open tract of meadow land, towards the residence of mine host.

    The house was pleasantly situated in a garden, about two stone-throws from the edge of Heywood, in the wide level of grass land called "Yeywood Ho' Greight Meadow."  The road goes close by the end of the garden.  We entered this garden by a little side-gate, and on we went, under richly-blossomed apple trees, and across the grass-plat, into the house.  The old housekeeper began to prepare tea for us; and in the meantime we made ourselves at home in the parlour, which looked out upon the garden and meadows at the front.  Mine host sat down to the piano, and played, some of that fine old psalmody which the country-folk of Lancashire take such delight in.  His family consisted of himself, a staid-looking old housekeeper, and his two motherless children.  One of these was a timid, bright-eyed little girl, with long flaxen hair, who, as we came through the garden, was playing with her hoop upon the grass-plat, under the blooming apple-tree, but who, on seeing a stranger, immediately sank into a shy stillness.  The other was a contemplative lad, about thirteen.  I found him sitting in the parlour, absorbed in "Roderick Random."  As soon as tea was over, we went out in the cool of the evening, to see the daylight die upon the meadows around.  We could hear the stir of Saturday night life in the town.  Through the parlour window we had caught glimpses of the weird flittings of a large bat; and as we stood bare-headed in the garden it still darted to and fro about the eaves, in dusky, vivid motions.  As the cool night stole on we went in, and the shutters closed us from the scene.  We lingered over supper, talking of what newspaper writers call "the topics of the day," and of books, and local characters and customs; and about half an hour before midnight we crept off to bed.

    When I rose from bed, and looked through the window of my chamber, the rich haze of a cloudless midsummer morning suffused the air.  The sunshine lay glittering all over the dewy fields; for the fiery steed of Phœbus had not yet drunk up those springs "on chaliced flowers that lie."  The birds had been up many an hour, and were carolling and chirping gleefully about the eaves of the house and in the gardens.  The splendour of the day had touched even the dull town on the opposite ridge with its beautifying magic; and Heywood seemed to rest from its labours, and rejoice in the gladness which clothed the heavens and the earth.  The long chimneys, which had been bathing their smokeless tops all night in the cool air, now looked up serenely through the sunshine at the blue sky, as if they, too, were glad to get rid of the week-day fume, and gaze quietly again upon the loveliness of nature; and all the whirling spinning machinery of the town was lying still and silent as the over-arching heavens.  Another Sabbath had dawned upon the world; and that day of God, and god of days, was breathing its balm among the sons of toil once more.

Man has another day to swell the past,
And lead him near to little, but his last;
But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth;
The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam,
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
And cry, exultingly, "They are mine!"
Gaze on, while yet thy gladden'd eye may see,—
A morrow comes when they are not for thee.

It was a feast to the senses and to the soul to look around upon such a scene, with faculties fresh from repose, and conscious of reprieve from that relentless round of necessities that follow hot-foot, through the rest of the week.  As I dressed myself I heard mine host's little daughter begin to play "Rousseau's Dream," in the parlour below, and I went downstairs humming a sort of accompaniment to the tune; for it is a sweet and simple melody, which chimed well with the tone of the hour.  The shy musician stayed her fingers, and rose timidly from her seat as I entered the room; but a little coaxing induced her to return to it, and she played the tune over and over again for us whilst the morning meal was preparing.  Breakfast was soon over, and the youngsters dressed themselves for chapel, and left us to ourselves; for the one small bell of Heywood Chapel was going "Toll,—toll,—toll;" and straggling companies of children were wending up the slope from the fields towards their Sunday schools.  Through the parlour window I watched these little companies of country children,—so fresh, so glad, and sweet-looking,—and as they went their way, I thought of the time when I, too, used to start from home on a Sunday morning, dressed in my holiday suit, clean as a new pin, from top to toe, and followed to the door with a world of gentle admonitions.  I thought of some things I learned when standing at my mother's knee; of the little prayer and the blessing at bedtime; of the old solemn tunes which she used to sing when all the house was still, whilst I sat and listened, drinking in those plaintive strains of devotional melody, never to forget them more.

    We were now alone in the silent house, and there was a Sabbatical stillness all around.  The sunshine gleamed in at the windows and open doors; and, where we sat, we could smell the odours of the garden, and hear the birds outside.  We walked forth into the garden, among beds of flowers and blooming apple-trees.  We could hear the chirrup of children's voices still going up the road towards the town.  From the woods round Heywood Hall there came over the meadows a thrilling flood of music from feathered singers sporting in those leafy shades.  All nature was at morning service; and it was good to listen to this general canticle of praise to Him "whose service is perfect freedom."  A kind of hushed joy seemed to pervade the landscape which did not belong to any other day, however fine,—as if the hills and vales knew that it was Sunday.

    The backyard of the house in which we were sauntering was divided from the woods of Heywood Hall by a wide level of rich meadows; and the thick foliage which lapped the mansion from view looked an inviting shelter from the heat of a cloudless midsummer forenoon,—a place where we could wander about swardy plots and lawns, among embowered nooks and mossy paths,—bathing in the coolness of green shades, in which a multitude of birds were waking sweet echoes with a tumult of blending melodies.  Being disposed for a walk, we instinctively took the way thitherward.  The high-road from the town goes close by the front gates of the hall.  This road was formerly lined by a thick grove of trees called "Th' Lung Nursery," reaching nearly from the edge of the village to the gates.  The grove so shut out the view, and overhung each side of the way, that the walk between looked lonely after dark; and country-folk who had been loitering late over their ale in Heywood began to toot from side to side, with timid glances, and stare with fear at every rustle of the trees, when they came to the Long Nursery.  Even if two were in company, they hutched closer together as they approached this spot, and began to be troubled with vivid remembrances of manifold past transgressions, and to make internal resolutions to "Fear God, an' keep th' co'sey," [p.243] thenceforth, if they could only manage to "hit th' gate" this once, and get safely through the Nursery, and by the water-stead in Hooley Clough, where "Yewood-Ho' Boggart comes a-suppin' i'th deeod time o'th neet."  This road was then flanked on each side by a sprawling thorn-edge, overgrown with wild mint, thyme, and nettles, and with thistles, brambles, stunted hazels, and wild rose bushes, with wandering honeysuckles weaving about through the whole.  It was full of irregular dinges and "hare-gates," and holes, from which clods had been riven, and perforated by winding tunnels and runs, where the mole, the weasel, the field-mouse, and the hedgehog wandered at will.  Among the thorns at the top there was many an erratic scratchy breach, the result of the incursions of country herbalists, hunters, bird-nesters, and other roamers of the woods and fields.  It was one of those old-fashioned hedges which country lads delight in; where they could creep to and fro in a perfect revel of freedom and fun, among brushwood and prickles, with no other impediment than a wholesome scratching; and where they could fight and tumble about gloriously, among nettles, mint, mugwort, docks, thistles, sorrel, "Robin-run-i'th-hedge," and a multitude of other wild herbs and flowers, whose names and virtues it would puzzle even a Culpepper to tell,—rough and free as so many snod-backed moodiwarps, ripping, and tearing and soiling their "good clooas," as country mothers used to call them, by tumbling among the dry soil of the hedge-side, and then rolling slap into the wet ditch at the bottom, among "cuckoo-spit," and "frog-rud," and all sorts of green pool-slush, to the dismay of sundry limber-tailed "Bull Jones," and other necromantic fry that inhabit such stagnant moistures.  Some looked for nests, and some for nuts, while others went rustling up the trees, trying the strength of many a bough; and all were blithe and free as the birds among the leaves, until the twilight shades began to fall.  While the sun was still in the sky they thought little about those boggarts, and "fairees," and "feeorin," which, according to local tradition, roamed the woods, and waters, and lonely places, sometimes with the malevolent intent of alluring into their toils any careless intruder upon their secluded domain,—some lurking in the streams and pools, like "Green Teeth," and "Jenny Long Arms," waiting, with skinny claws, for an opportunity to clutch the wanderer upon the bank into the water,—others, like "Th' White Lady," "Th' Skrikin' Woman," "Baum Rappit," "Grizlehurst Boggart," and "Clegg-Ho' Boggart," haunting lonely nooks of the green country, and old houses, where they have made many a generation of simple folk pay a toll of superstitious fear for some deed of darkness done in the dim past,—others, like "Nut Nan," prowling about shady recesses of the woods, "wi' a poke-tull o' red-whot yetters, to brun nut-steylers their een eawt."  But when dusky evening began to steal over the scene, and the songs of birds and all the sounds of day began to die upon the ear,—when the droning beetle and the bat began to flit about, and busy midges danced above the road in mazy eddies and spiral columns, between the eye and the sky,—then the superstitious teachings of their infancy began to play about the mind, and, mustering their traps, the lads turned their feet homeward, tired, hungry, scratched, dirty, and pleased, bearing away with them,—in addition to sundry griping feeds of unripe dogberry, which they had eaten from the hedge-side,—great store of hazel-nuts and earth-nuts, hips and haws, little whistles made of the bark of the wicker tree, slips of the wild rose stuck in their caps and buttonholes, yellow "skedlocks" and whip-lashes made of plaited rushes, and sometimes, also, stung-up eyes and swollen cheeks, the painful trophies of encounters with the warlike inhabitants of "wasps-nests," unexpectedly dropped on in the course of their frolics.

Oh, sweet youth! how soon it fades!
Sweet joys of youth, how fleeting!

The road home was beguiled with clod-battles, "frog-leap," and "bob-stone," finishing with "trinel," and "high cockolorum," as they drew near their quarters.  The old hedge and the nursery have been cleared away, and now the fertile meadows lie open to the view upon each side of the way.

    On arriving at the entrance which leads to Heywood Hall, we turned in between the grey gate pillars.  They had a lone and disconsolate appearance.  The crest of the Starkies is gone from the top, and the dismantled shafts look conscious of their shattered fortunes.  The wooden gate,—now ricketty and rotten,—swung to and fro with a grating sound upon its rusty hinges, as we walked up the avenue of tall trees towards the hall.  The old wood was a glorious sight, with the sunshine stealing through its fretted roof of many-patterned foliage, in freakish threads and bars, which played beautifully among the leaves, weaving a constant interchange of green and gold within that pleasant shade, as the plumage of the wood moved with the wind.  The scene reminded me of a passage in Spenser's "Faëry Queene":—

And all within were paths and alleies wide,
With footing worne and leading inward farre:
Faire harbour that them seems: so in they entred ar.

We went on under the trees, along the old carriage road, now tinged with creeping green, and past the old garden, with its low, bemossed wall; and after sauntering to and fro among a labyrinth of footpaths we came at last to the front of the hall.  It stands tenantless and silent in the midst of its ancestral woods, upon the brow of a green eminence overlooking a little valley watered by the Roch.  The landscape was shut out from us by the surrounding trees; and the place was as still as a hermitage in the heart of an old forest.  The tread of our feet upon the flagged terrace in front of the mansion resounded upon the ear.  We peeped through the windows, where the rooms were all empty but the state of the wall's and floors, and the remaining mirrors, showed that some care was still bestowed upon this deserted hall.  Ivy hung thickly upon some parts of the straggling edifice, which has evidently been built at different periods, though, as far as I could judge, the principal part of it appeared to be about two hundred years old.  When manufacture began greatly to change the appearance of the neighbouring village and its surrounding scenery, the Starkies left the place; and a wooded mound, in front of the hall, was thrown up and planted, by order of the widow of the last Starkie who resided here, in order to shut from sight the tall chimneys which were beginning in the distance.  A large household must have been kept here in the days of the Starkies.  The following passage, relative to the ancient inhabitants of Heywood Hall, is quoted from Edwin Butterworth's "History of the Town of Heywood and its Vicinity ":—

    A family bearing this name flourished here for many generations; but they were never of much note in county genealogy, though more than one were active in public affairs.  In 1492 occurs Robert de Heywode.  In the brilliant reign of Elizabeth, Edmund Heywood, Esq., was required, by an order dated 1574, to furnish "a Coate of plate, a long bowe, sheffe of arrows, steel cap, and bill, for the military musters. [p.248]  James Heywood, gent, was living before 1604.  Peter Heywood, Esq., a zealous magistrate, the representative of this family in the reigns of James the First and Charles the First, was a native and resident of Heywood Hall, which was erected during the sixteenth century.  It is said that he apprehended Guido Faux coming forth from the vault of the House of Parliament on the eve of the gunpowder treason, Nov. 5, 1605.  He probably accompanied Sir Thomas Kneuett, in his search of the cellars under the Parliament House.  In 1641 "an order was issued that the justices of the peace of Westminster should carefully examine what strangers were lodged within their jurisdiction; and that they should administer the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to all suspected of recusancy, and proceed according to those statutes.  An afternoon being appointed for that service in Westminster Hall, and many persons warned to appear there, amongst the rest one,—James, a Papist, appeared, and being pressed by Mr. Hayward (Heywood), a justice of the peace, to take the oaths, suddenly drew out his knife and stabbed him, with some reproachful words, 'for persecuting poor Catholics.'  This strange, unheard-of outrage upon the person of a minister of justice, executing his office by an order of Parliament, startled all men; the old man sinking with the hurt, though he died not of it.  And though, for aught I could ever hear, it proceeded only from the rage of a sullen varlet (formerly suspected to be crazed in his understanding), without the least confederacy or combination with any other, yet it was a great countenance to those who were before thought over apprehensive and inquisitive into dangers, and made many believe it rather a design of all the Papists of England than a desperate act of one man, who could never have been induced to it if he had not been promised assistance by the rest."  [p.249-1]  Such is Lord Clarendon's account of an event that has rendered Peter Heywood a person of historical note.  How long he survived the attempt to assassinate him is not stated.

    It is highly probable that Mr. Heywood had imbibed an undue portion of that anti-Catholic zeal which characterised the times in which he lived, and that he was the victim of those rancorous animosities which persecution never fails to engender.

    Peter Heywood of Heywood, Esq., was one of the gentlemen of the county who compounded for the recovery of their estates, which had been sequestered (1643-5) for supporting the royal cause.  He seems to have been a son of the Mr. Heywood that was stabbed.  He re-obtained his property for the sum of £351. [p.249-2]

    The next of this family on record is Peter Heiwood, Esq., who was one of the "counsellors of Jamaica" during the Commonwealth.  One of his sons, Peter Heiwood, Esq., was commemorated by an inscription on a flat stone in the chancel of the church of St. Anne's-in-the-Willows, Aldersgate Ward, London, as follows: "Peter Heiwood, that deceased Nov. 2, 1701, younger son of Peter Heiwood, one of the counsellours of Jamaica, by Grace, daughter of Sir John Muddeford, Knight and Baronet, great-grandson to Peter Heywood, in the county palatine of Lancaster, who apprehended Guy Faux with his dark lanthorn; and for his zealous prosecution of Papists, as justice of peace, was stabbed in Westminster Hall by John James, Dominican friar, anno domini 1640.

"Reader, if not a Papist bred,
 Upon such ashes gently tread." [p.249-3]

    Robert Heywood of Heywood Esq., married Mary Haslam, of Rochdale, Dec. 20, 1660; and was probably elder brother of Peter Heiwood, of London.

    In the visitation of 1664 are traced two lines of the Heywoods, those of Heywood and Walton.  From the latter was descended Samuel Heywood, Esq., a Welsh judge, [p.250] uncle of Sir Benjamin Heywood, Baronet, of Claremont, near Manchester.  The armorial bearing of the Heywoods of Heywood was argent, three torteauxes between two bendlets gules.

    The property of this ancient family, principally consisting of Heywood Hall and adjoining lands, is said to have been purchased by Mr. John Starkey, of the Orchard, in Rochdale, in the latter part of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century.  Mr. Starkey was living in 1719; his descendent, John Starkey, Esq., married Mary, daughter of Joseph Gregge, Esq., of Chamber Hall, Oldham.  John Starkey, Esq., who died March 13th, 1780, was father of James Starkey, Esq., of Fell Foot, near Cartmel, Lancashire, the present possessor of Heywood Hall, born September 8, 1762; married, September 2, 1785, Elizabeth, second daughter of Edward Gregg Hopwood, Esq.  In 1791 Mr. Starkey served the office of high sheriff of the county.  From this family branched the Starkeys of Redivals, near Bury.

    From a curious old poem, called "Iter Lancastrense," written by the Rev. Dr. James, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in the year 1636, which records the writer's visit to Robert Heywood, of Heywood Hall, I cull the following passage.  After describing, with evident delight, the various excursions he had made, under the guidance of his host, to places of note in the neighbourhood, he says,—

Such things I sawe and thought, in Lancashire,
At Heywood Hall to trading Rachdale neere,
My safe bould harbour Heywood, much I owe
Of praise and thanks to thee where ere I goe.
I love the men, the country, and the fare,
And wish heere my poor fortunes setled were,
Far from the Courte's ambition, cittie's strife,
Repos'd in silence of a country life,
Amongst the Dingles and the Apennines,
Whose safety gave occasion to ould lines,
Thus riming, "When all England is alofte,
Then happie they whose dwelling's in Christ's croft."
And where thincke you this crofte of Christ showlde be,
But midst Ribchester's Ribble and Mercy!

    Heywood looks anything but picturesque, at present but, judging from the features of the country about the hall, especially on the north side of it, this house must have been a very pleasant and retired country seat about a century and a half ago.

    Descending from the eminence, upon the northern edge of which Heywood Hall is situated, we walked westward, along the edge of the Roch, towards the manufacturing hamlet of Hooley Bridge.  This valley, by the water-side, has a sylvan and cultivated appearance.  The river winds round the pastures of the hall, which slope down to the water from the shady brow upon which it stands.  The opposite heights are clad with woods and plantations; and Crimble Hall looks forth from the lawns and gardens upon the summit.  About a mile up this valley, towards Rochdale town, in a quiet glen, lies the spot pointed out in Roby's "Tradition of Tyrone's Bed" as the place where the famous Irish rebel, Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, lived in concealment some time, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Even at this day, country-folk, who know little or nothing of the tradition, know the place by the name of "Yel's o' Thorone,"—an evident corruption of the Earl of Tyrone.  This was the Irish chieftain who burnt the poet Spenser out of his residence, Rathcormac Castle.  It was dinner-time when we reached the stone bridge at Hooley Clough, so we turned up the road towards home.

    The youngsters were waiting for us when we got back to the house.  The little girl was rather more communicative than before; and after the meal was over we had more music.  But while this was going on the lad stole away to a nook, with a book in his hand.  And soon after the master of the house and I found ourselves alone, smoking and talking together.  I had enjoyed this summer day so far, and was inclined to make the most of it; so I went out at the back, and down by a thorn-edge which divides the meadows.  I was soon followed by mine host, and we sauntered on together till we came to a shelving hollow, in which a still pool lay gleaming like a sun among the meadows.  It looked cool, and brought the skies to our feet.  Sitting down upon its bank, we watched the reflection of the straggling clouds of gauzy white sailing over its surface eastward.  Little fishes, leaping up now and then, were the only things which stirred the burnished mirror, for a second or two, into tiny tremulations of liquid gold; and water-flies darted to and fro upon the pool, like nimble fancies in a fertile mind.  And thus we lazily enjoyed the glory of a summer day in the fields, while

The lark was singing in the blinding sky,
And hedges were white with may.

After a while we drifted dreamily asunder, and I crept under the shade of a fence hard by, to avoid the heat, and there lay on my back, looking towards the sky through my fingers, to keep sight of a fluttering spot from which a skylark poured down its rain of melody upon the fields around.  My face was half buried in grass and meadow herbs, and I fell asleep with them peeping about my eyelids.  After half an hour's dreamy dose in the sun,—during which my mind seemed to have acted over a whole lifetime in masquerade,— I woke up, and, shaking the buzz of field-flies out of my ears, we gathered up our books, and went into the house.

    When it drew towards evening we left the house again,—for it was so fine outside that it seemed a pity to remain under cover longer than necessary,—and we walked through the village into Hooley Clough, and on northward, up hill and down dell, until we came to a wild upland called Birtle, which stretches along the base of Ashworth Moor.  The sun was touching the top of the hills when we reached that elevated tract, and the western heavens were glowing with the grandeur of his decline as we walked across the fields towards an old hamlet called Grizlehurst.  Here we stayed awhile, conversing with an ancient cottager and his dame about the history of their native corner, its legendary associations, and other matters interesting to them and to us.  We left Grizlehurst in the twilight, by a route which led through the deeps of Simpson Clough, and on homewards, just as the first lamps of evening were lighting up,—rejoicing in the approach of a cloudless summer night, as we had rejoiced in the glorious day which had gone down.

    The next morning I returned to Manchester; and since that time it has often been a pleasure to me in the crowded city to recollect that summer day spent in the country north of the town of Heywood.  Emerson says: "Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomps of emperors ridiculous.  The dawn is my Assyria; the sunset and moonrise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faërie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams."  If men had their eyes open to the beauties and uses of those elements which are open to all alike, how much would it reconcile them to their differences of position, and moderate their repinings at the superiority of this man's housing and that man's dress and diet.

    Looking back at the character and history of this town of Heywood, there is some suggestive interest in both the one and the other.  The period of its existence,—from the time when it first arose as a habitation of man till now,—is contained in such a brief space, that to any man who cares to consider the nature of its origin, and the character of the influences which have combined to make it such as it now is, the materials for guiding him to a comprehension of these things lie almost as much within his reach as if the place were a plant which he had put into the soil for himself, and the growth of which he had watched with interest.  In this respect, although Heywood wears much the same general appearance of other cotton-spinning towns it has something of a character of its own, different from those towns of Lancashire whose histories go back many centuries, till they grow dim among the early records of the kingdom in general.  Unlike those, however, Heywood is almost entirely the creation of the cotton trade, which itself arose out of the combination of a few ingenious thoughts put into practice by a people who seem to have been eminently fitted by Nature to perceive their value, and to act enterprisingly upon what they perceived.  If it had been possible for an intelligent man to have lifted himself into mid-air above Heywood, about two hundred years ago, when its first cottages began to cluster into a little village, and to settle himself comfortably upon a cloud, so as to be able to watch the growth of the place below, with all the changing phases of its life from then till now, it might present to him a different aspect, and lead him to different conclusions to those engendered by people living and moving among the swarms of human action.  In the mind of such a serene overlooker,—distinctly observing the detail and the whole of the manner of life beneath him, and fully comprehending the nature of the rise and progress of this Lancashire town,—many thoughts might arise which would not occur to those who creep about the crowded earth full of little perturbations; but to almost any thoughtful man the history of this manufacturing town would illustrate the power which practical knowledge gives to a practical people over the physical elements of Nature.  It might suggest, too, how much society is indebted for whatever force or excellence there is in it to the scattered seeds of silent thought which have quietly done their work among the noise of action,—for ever leading it on to still better action; and it might suggest how much the character of the next generation depends upon the education of the present one.  Looking at this question of education merely from that point of view in which it affects production, the following passage, by an eminent advocate of education, shall speak for itself:—

    Prior to education, the productive power of the six millions of workers in the United Kingdom would be the physical force which they were capable of exerting.  In the present day, the power really exerted is equal to the force of a hundred millions of men at least.  But the power of the uneducated unit is still the physical force of one man, the balance being exerted by men who understand the principles of mechanics and of chemistry, and who superintend the machine power evolved thereby.  Thus the power originated by the few, and superintended by a fraction of society, is seventeen times greater than the strength of all our workers, and is hourly increasing.

If a man were a pair of steam looms, how carefully would he be oiled, and tended, and mended, and made to do all that a pair of looms could do.  What a loom, full of miraculous faculties, is he compared to these,—the masterpiece of Nature for creative power, and for wonderful variety of capabilities!—yet, with what a profuse neglect is he cast away, like the cheapest rubbish on earth!


Firelit Shed.

The wintry night was keenly cold,
    And all was hushed and still,
Save when the bitter north wind sang
    Its requiem wild and shrill:
The stainless snow lay thick upon
    The quaint old village eaves;
And wreaths of fairy frost-work hung
    Where grew last summer's leaves.


THE autumn weather had been unusually fine but as the end of the year drew nigh the cold increased, from day to day, to a degree of severity which had not been known in the north of England for many years.  To the young and strong, whose lines of life had "fallen in pleasant places,"—to the wealthy and prosperous, who "sunk in beds of down, feel not a want, but what themselves create," and whose settled incomes and assured positions enabled them to tide over the bitter time without personal inconvenience, or deprivation, this was more a matter of delight than of dread; but to the weak, and the agèd, and the ailing, whose infirmities were embittered by the keen pains and gloomy anxieties of penury,—to the workman out of work, with no resource but charity left between him and starvation, and who, with nature's clamorous call unsatisfied,—

    Stretched on his straw doth lay him down to sleep,
While through the raggèd roof and chinky walls,
    Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap,—

to such as these, and to the famished mothers and children dependent upon them, the unusual inclemency of the season was full of suffering in the present, and melancholy forecast for the future.  The sufferings of the poor, too, were greatly enhanced by the unhappy aspect of the times; for a deeper and more wide-spread depression was felt all over the land than had been experienced for half a century.  The air was full of darkness, distrust, and despondency.  Abroad, wide-spread famines had swept destructively over vast regions of the earth; and "wars, and rumours of wars," with a general convulsion of apprehension and uncertainty amongst the nations had utterly destroyed that healthy confidence which is the very soul of peaceful commerce between one people and another.  At home, taxation increasing, and trade declining,—tremendous commercial disasters, treading thick upon the heels of one another, day by day, crash after crash,—strikes, and trade conflicts between employers and employed, on all sides,—bankruptcies, liquidations, and huge swindles, of the most startling kind,—all combined to increase the load of misery that pressed upon the poor during the bitter weather.  Beggary, and starvation, too, were now beginning to force themselves into public view, more and more from day today, even amongst those who are accustomed to conceal their sufferings under such circumstances, and with whom beggary, and even the receipt of charity, is usually held in abhorrence.  Workless, famishing people were beginning to wander listlessly about the land, in gloomy despair; and benevolent schemes were hastily set on foot here and there in order to keep bare life in the perishing poor who struggle and suffer in corners unseen; and to save this Christian land from the melancholy retrospect of manifold death from starvation.

              .                           .                           .                           .                           .

    It was Christmas Eve.  In spite of the hard weather, and the general gloom of the times, the streets in the centre of the city were as lively as ever with glittering lights, and gay festoons of Christmas greenery.  The shops and the markets teemed with fish, flesh, fowl, and the fruits of the earth from distant lands; and the stalls and windows were all richly decorated with the characteristic ornaments of the season.  The air was glad with cheerful talk, and friendly salutations; for the road was lined with carriages, and crowds of well-dressed people were surging to and fro, and in and out of the shops, making purchases for this, to them, the blithest festival of all the year.  These were they who had not yet felt the nip of the times,—these were they who were able to hold on through the storm, and live in hope, from day to day, for a change for the better.  Looking round upon the gay scene, it seemed hardly credible that famine was beginning to stalk about the land.  But the sad and secret under-current of miserable suffering,—the foodless, and the fireless, and the ill-clad, who were writhing in the iron teeth of penury in cold and lonely corners, were not there.

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your looped and windowed raggedness defend you
From seasons such as these?

              .                           .                           .                           .                           .

    It was Christmas Eve.  The snow lay thick upon the ground; but the roads were as hard as iron; for the frost had been unusually keen for many days.  Soon after the fall of night a dense fog settled upon the wintry scene, both in town and country, for miles around. . . . Upon a lonely road about three miles from the centre of the city, a watchman's wooden hut stood, in front of a great fire, which had been kept burning, night after night, through the dark hours, to protect travellers from a deep trench in the highway, which had been broken up for the laying of water-pipes.  As night crept on the fog grew thicker and thicker, until at last, the warning fire in front of the shed was scarcely visible twenty yards off; and it was the only spot of light to be seen in all the surrounding gloom.  The watchman for the night was old "Jone o' Nat's," a decent labouring man, or "worker-out," who had been partially disabled in a stone-quarry a few years before; and who lived in a little village about half a mile from the scene of his wintry vigil.  The shed was planted firmly with its back to the wind, and full in front of the fire; and old Jone had made it as comfortable as he could for the night by hanging pieces of old oilcloth over the chinks in the wood, and covering the floor with a thick layer of straw for his feet.  His bright old brass tobacco-box was well-filled; and under the seat in the shed, a quart bottle of home-brewed ale was stowed away by the side of a little basketful of bread and cheese, and cold boiled beef, which had been brought by his careful dame soon after nightfall.  She tied a woollen muffler round his neck and looked round the little shed to see that all was snug; and as she took leave of him, she promised to send their grandson, a little orphan lad of nine years old, about eight o'clock, with "a drop o' some'at warm."

    "Now, then," said the kind old dame, looking back into the shed before going away, "I think thou'll happen do!  Keep that thing lapped round thi throat; and don't let this fire get low,—for it's gooin' to be a bitter neet!  I'll send Johnny with some'at warm, at eight o'clock.  It's hardly fit for the lad to come out; but he's very strong; an' he begged an' prayed that I would let him come.  It's not so far; an' he'll tak no harm.  I'll lap him up weel; an' thou can keep him a bit for company, if thou's a mind.  Good neet!  Thou'll be at whoam soon after twelve, I guess?"

    "Ay.  Owd Bill comes on at twelve.  I'll come straight whoam.  Good neet to tho!"

    The old man listened to her retiring footsteps as she disappeared in the thickening wintry fog.  The footsteps died away into silence.  He mended up the fire; and then, drawing a rough horse-rug close about his shoulders, he took his seat in the shed.  Then lighting his pipe, he sat as still as a statue, smoking, and listening dreamily to the faint sounds in the distance.

    The night was early; and though all was dark, and wildly wintry around the fire-lit shed, the distant town was still all alive with gay crowds, and holiday revelry.  For it was Christmas Eve!  And yet the old watchman in his solitary shed heard nothing of this save when the great clocks of the city struck the hour, and the sounds came with a solemn muffled boom, faintly through the wintry fog,—or some blithe company of country folk came wandering by, chatting cheerfully together as they wended their way homeward from the bustling city.  Now and then a smart gig came rattling merrily along in the dark; or a country cart went jolting slowly down the road, into the all-embracing gloom.  Sometimes it was a solitary straggler who went by the watchman's hut, heard but not seen in the increasing fog.  The city clocks had just struck seven; and the old watchman was mending his fire again, when a drunken Scot came reeling up the road, singing aloud, with tipsy jollity:—

Ye've a' heard tell of auld Tam Frew,
    Wha dwells down by the sheep-fauld locks;
His only way o' leevin' noo,
    Is gaun about, an cleanin' clocks;
He's unco queer in all his ways,
    An' aye as dry's he'd lickit saut;
But the oddest o' his funny ways,—
    He brings his smiddy in his hat!

    When the jolly Scot came in sight of the watchman's fire, he rolled up to the shed, and looked in.

    "Hollo; are ye there, auld frien'?  Faith, mon, but ye're snug i' the corner, there! . . . It's a small hoose this, auld frien'!  But 'better a wee bush than no bield' this cauld nicht! . . . Here, mon; tak a poo at that! (Hands him a bottle of whisky.)  Tak a poo at that, mon!  It's rale Glenlivet!  That'll warm the cockles o' yer auld heart!  Tak anither tug, noo!  It's the rale mountain dew! . . . Od! mon, but ye remind me o' mi faither!  Gi's a licht! . . . Well!  Gi' me yer hond!  I'll hand awa hame!  Guid nicht, auld frien'! an' a merry Christmas to ye! an' God bless ye!"

    And away went Sandy, reeling and rolling, into the wintry fog, and singing aloud:—

Noo auld Tam's hat's nae ordnar hat,
    Though noo it's stained, an' unco bare;
When it was new laird Riddle wore't,—

    Sandy had got thus far, when he came down upon the road.

    "Woa, laddie!" said he.  "My certie; but I was nigh coupit, that time!  Faith, the road's like glass!  Noo, laddie!" continued he, creeping up to his feet again, "noo, laddie; tak tent; an' keep a firm baud o' the floor!  There ye are, laddie!  Noo she's awa!"

    Once more Sandy was the right end up, and reeling onward through the fog, singing as blithely as ever:—

Oh, Willy brewed a peck o' maut,
    An' Rab an' Allan cam to prie;
Three blither lads, that lee-lang night,
    Ye wadna find in Christendie!
We arena fou, we're no that fou,
    But just a drappie in our e'e;
The cock may craw, the day may daw,
But, aye we'll taste o' the barley bree.

    Sandy's song died away in the distance, and, once more, the old watchman was left alone in his little shed, listening to the weird voices of the night, and to the feet that went by in the dark, which became fewer and farther between as the hours crept on.  He had not sat long before he was startled by the appearance of the gaunt, death-smitten face of a poor, lost dog which had crept up to the fire, hungry, and scared, and all white over with hoar frost.  The old watchman pulled out his little basket of victuals, and tried to coax the starved dog into shelter; but the poor creature had been so abused in its houseless, friendless, foodless wanderings, that it had no longer any faith in the kindness of man; and, at the sight of the old man's face, it started away into the wintry night again.  "Poor thing!" said the old watchman, as he heard it howling plaintively in the gloomy distance.  "Poor thing; this'll be a hard neet for thee!" and the kind old fellow heaved a quiet sigh as he lit his pipe, and sat down in the shed again, smoking and looking dreamily into the fire, and thinking of the bitter weather, and the hard, cold world.  A few minutes passed thus, in grim silence; and he was beginning to long for the stroke of eight o'clock, which was to bring little Johnny with something warm for his supper, when he caught the sound of a furious rattle of wheels coming up rapidly from the direction of the town.  It was a runaway gig.  The fiery horse had overpowered its driver, and was dashing madly on through the dark night.  The old man sprang to his feet, in great alarm, and rushing out of the shed, and as they approached the broken part of the road, he cried out, "Tak care!  Tak care!  Keep o' that side!"  But he might as well have spoken to the wind.  He was only just in time to catch a glimpse of the driver's white face as he swept by through the fog, without hat, staring with fear, and shouting wildly.  The old man started a few yards down the road, and then stopped and listened to the lessening sound of the rushing wheels.  "Yon poor fellow's i' danger!" said he.  "He'll never get far i' this fog!"  The words had scarcely left his mouth before the faint sound of a sudden crash came up from the dark distance down the road.  "Theer," said he, "it's all o'er!"  His first impulse was to hurry down the road, lame as he was, but, remembering that his instructions were not to leave his watch-box on any account until relieved by his successor at midnight, he stopped, before he had gone many yards, and listened again.  For a minute or two all was silent; then the sound of hurried and anxious voices came nearer and nearer up the dark slope.  "Poor fellow," said the watchman, "they're bringin' him this way!"  The ominous sounds came nearer and nearer.  "Jack," said one of the voices, "howd thi lantron up; I connot see mi road!  Carry him gently, lads!  Poor fellow; he's bleeding like a cauve!"  "Aye, aye," said the old watchman, as he stood listening in the fog, "I thought he'd come to grief, poor fellow.  I doubt this is a bad case."  In a minute or two more the sad cortege emerged from the gloom.  First came two men carrying the unfortunate driver of the gig, senseless, and bleeding from a frightful wound in the head.  By the side of these walked a man with a lantern showing the way.  These were followed by a fourth, who had the runaway horse, which was all lathered with foam, and trembling with fright.  The watchman recognised the bearer of the lantern as an acquaintance, belonging to the neighbouring village.  "Is he badly hurt, thinksto, William?"  "Hello, is that thee, John?" replied the man.  "Aye, marry, he's badly hurt enough, poor fellow!  Th' gig came to grief again th' bridge at th' bottom o' th' road, yon; an' he was thrown with his head again th' curbstone!  I doubt it'll goo hard with him, poor fellow; for he's terribly cut!  Carry him gently, ]ads!  Hasto a drop o' wayter i' yon box, John, to weet his lips wi'?"  "I haven't a drop, Wiliam," replied the watchman; "I've nought but a bottle of ale! . . . Tak him into th' first house yo can get to! . . . Tak him into yon house i'th garden, at tother side, yon . . . Here; I'll gi' yo a lift with him!"  "Never mind, John; never mind; we can manage nicely!  Yo'd better be gettin' back to yo'r box, there's some'at upo' th' road again; an' yon's a dangerous bit to pass i' this fog!  This way, lads!  Carry him gently!  Mind that pile o' stone!  Here!  I'll oppen th' gate!  Now then; this way!"  The old man watched them anxiously, until they had borne the wounded man into the house; and then, hearing the sound of approaching wheels, he hurried back to his post in the firelit shed.  The clock had struck eight, and he found little Johnny waiting with his supper.

    "Hello, Johnny, my lad; art thou here?"

    "Ay; I've brought yo'r supper.  My gronny says that yo mun drink this coffee while it's hot.  An' hoo's sent some stew.  Hoo said it would do yo good; an' t'o're to warm it up i' this little pon."

    "Eh, bless mi life, lad; hoo didn't need to send nought but a drop o' coffee!  I've a good stock o' stuff laid under this bench that I don't know what to do wi'.  Hasto had thi supper, my lad?"

    "Ay; long sin."

    "Well, I think thou'd better be gettin' back, Johnny; for it's a terrible cowd neet, an' thou'd be better i' bed."

    "My gronmother said I wur to stop wi' yo a bit, for company."

    "But thou'll be starve't to deeoth, lad."

    "Eh, I'm not a bit cowd," said the lad smiling.  "I'd raither stop, gronfaither, if yo'd let me.  I've bin asleep once, an' mi gronmother said I could stop wi' yo till twelve o'clock, if yo'd a mind; an' then we could go whoam together."

    "Well, well," said the old man, "if thee an' thi gronmother han made it up between yo, so let it be! . . . But I's ha to lap tho up weel, Johnny, or else thou'll be perish't wi' cowd. . . . Cower tho down i'th nook, an' let's put this thing round tho! . . . Now, then, my lad; thou looks as snug as a bug in a rug, as th' sayin' is!  Arto warm, my lad?"

    "I'm as warm as toast!" said the lad, smiling.

    "Then I'll get a drop o' this coffee, . . . Hello; it's quite cowd!  Come; I'll warm it up i' this pan.  Sit thee still, Johnny; an' keep that rug round tho, while I mend th' fire up a bit."

    When the old man had warmed his coffee, he flung a few lumps of coal upon the watch-fire, and then crept back into the shed to get his supper.  When he had finished, he stowed away the remains of his meal in the basket under his seat, and lighting his pipe, he smoked and chatted with his little grandson, by fits, till the stroke of ten came booming through the air from the great clocks in the distant city; and soon after this little Johnny fell fast asleep; and, once more, the old watchman was alone with the wintry night.  Lapping the lad carefully up in the horse-rug, he folded his arm about him; and thus they sat nearly an hour,—the watcher and the sleeper,—in close embrace; whilst the silence of the wintry gloom deepened around them; for, as night crept on, the road grew stiller; and, though now and then, a solitary foot went by unseen, in the fog, nothing happened that seriously disturbed the old man's reverie, as he sat smoking, and gazing into the fire, and listening to everything that stirred.

    It was not quite eleven when the watchman heard by the cracking of the frozen snow upon the road that footsteps were approaching his shed.

    It was a pale-faced, pinched-looking young fellow, dressed in well-patched, greasy fustian, and with an old cloth cap on his head.  He came right up to the watchman's fire, and spread his hands before it for warmth.  Then peeping into the old man's shed, he said, "Now then, maister; yo looken very snug i'th inside, theer!  I guess yo'n no objection to a body warmin' his-sel a bit this cowd neet?

    "Me?  Not I, marry!  Warm thisel', lad; an' welcome.  Hasto far to goo?"

    "Nawe; I've no further to goo than Ancoats, to-neet.  I've a brother that wortches in a factory there.  But I believe I've come to a worse shop than I've left beheend me,—an' that's sayin' a great deeol,—for there's a lot o'folk'll be clemmed to deeoth i' Blackburn if things don't mend."

    "Hasto come'd fro Blackburn, then?"

    "Ay; I laft there this forenoon, an' I've walked every foot o'th road."

    "Thou looks hungry, too, lad."

    "Well, yo'n just guessed, maister.  If I look hungry mi looks don't belie me, for I haven't bitten sin' I set off this mornin',—an' that wur nobbut a bite an' a promise, for I left off nearly as hungry as I began."

    Here the old man quietly pulled out the basket which contained the remains of his bread and cheese and cold meat.

    "Doesto think thou could manage a bit o' this?" said he.  "It looks rough, but it's good,—what there is on it.  I haven't maul't it much; but I've yerd folk say that hungry dogs 'll eat dirty puddin'."

    "Eh, maister," said the young fellow, laying hold of the basket, and crouching down in the hut, "I hardly know how to thank yo!  I didn't expect leetin' o' this, I con tell yo!  But, if there's onybody to come after me wi' this bit o' stuff, yo'd better let me know i' good time, afore I begin, or else they'n ston a bad chance!"

    "Thou may eat it up, an' welcome," said the old man.

    "Well, then; yo may bid farewell to what there is here; for yo'n never see it again.  An' it's quite a God-send to me, I can tell yo; for it's a hundred to one if our Joe 'll have a bite o' meight or a bit o' fire i'th house when I get theer.  He's like me; he's bin out o' wark nearly three months.  But he's worse off than me, for he's a wife an' six childer; an' I've nought but mysel' to look after.  An', now I come to think on't, maister, I'll not eat it o'; but I'll tak a bit on't away wil' me, if yo'n no objections."

    "Thou may just do what's thou's a mind with it, my lad," replied the old man, "an' if an odd sixpence 'll be ony use to tho', thou'rt as welcome as th' flowers of May."

    The young fellow's heart was too full for speech.  With tears in his eyes, and in silence, he took the old man's sixpence. . . . When he had finished eating, he folded up the fragments in an old newspaper, and put them away in his pocket.

    "Now then," said the watchman, "turn that bucket th' wrong end up; an' sit down and warm thisel'.  Wilto have a bit o' 'bacco?"

    The young man thanked him, and pulling out a little black pipe he filled it; and then sitting down upon the upturned bucket he began:

    "Ay," said he, "it's a hard time, this; an' I'm fleyed that we ha'not sin' th' worst on't yet.  An', fro what I've yerd as I coom upo' th' road, they're as badly off here as they are onywhere.  I'm noan gooin' to stop hangin' on our Joe,—not I, marry.  He's quite enough to do to keep soul an' body together for his-sel' an' his family.  I'll just stop and rest me to-neet,—an' have a look at 'em,—an' then I'll be off again i'th morning,—I'll be off somewhere,—it doesn't matter where,—if I con get a bit o' wark o' some sort.  An' if I connot get wark I'll go for a sodiur, for I'd rather be shot than beg; an' I may as well be shot as clemmed to death. . . . Ay," continued he, "it's hard weather, an' they're hard times.  We've never had nought like this sin' th' time o'th cotton famine,—that wur i' 1861 and 1862.  I wur nobbut a lad then, but I geet to know for th' first time i' my life, what starvation meant, for I wur very neer clemmed to death,—an' so wur o' our family.  My mother deed through it; an' mi faither never looked up after it. . . . We live't in a row o' six houses; an' there weren't a chair, nor a table, nor a bed left in one o' thoose six houses,—nor a bit o' fire i' one o'th grates, afore that famine wur ended.  An' it wur a hard winter, too, like this. . . . Ay; when I think o' that time, now, it's like lookin' back into another world,—for I never see'd nought like it afore; an' I did hope that I should never see nought like it again; but one can never tell.  I doubt we're gooin' to have a touch o'th same sort again. . . . Ay; that wur a hard time.  A deeol o' folk geet it into their yeds that th' day o' judgment wur comin' on,—an' they might weel, for it wur a black look out.  I know it sent mony a hundred folk to their graves that would ha' been livin' now but for what they went through at that time.  An' when I remember th' change that coom o'er everything, I don't wonder that folk should think th' world wur comin' to an end.  There weren't a cart nor a lurry to be seen on th' streets; an' mill after mill stopped, till, at last, there weren't a wheel runnin', nor a chimney smookin'; an' th' inside o'th factories that use't to be full o' buzz, an' bustle, an' lasses singin' at their wark, wur as still as tombstones.  I use't to peep in at our factory window, now an' then, durin' that time, an' I could see every wheel, an' drum, an' strap, stonnin' still; an' th' bits o' cotton fluz lyin' about th' floor, where so mony feet use't to be runnin' to an' fro; an' I've looked, an' looked, till I began o' bein' quite freeten't, an' I durstn't look ony longer, for th' place seemed full o' ghosts. . . . Ay; there weren't much smooke stirrin' i' Lancashire, just then.  Th' air wur clear enough, God knows,—an' a deal o' folk had very little else to live on as long as that famine lasted.  Lancashire us't to be famous for bell-ringin', too; but there were no bells stirrin' just then but passin'-bells; an' there wur a deal o' daicent folk deed at that time that had to be buried bi th' parish,—ay, folk that never dreamt o' comin' to want or scant as long as they live't.  Ay; an' th' streets that use't to be so throng that folk had to tak care how they crossed fro' one side to tother began to be as still as a moor-top.  There wur hardly a wheel rollin', of ony sort, for there wur nought to carry; an' folk that use't to ride had begun a-walkin'.  There wur very little stirrin' upo' th' streets, except some poor soul creepin' off through th' cowd to th' soup-kitchen, with a pitcher in her hond; or a lot o' hungry factory-chaps wi' pale faces, an' nipt noses, loungin' again a house-side to keep one another warm,—an' starin' into th' wild world, as if they wur watchin' a funeral. . . . Ay; that wur a bitter time!  I never thought o' seein' aught like it, as long as I live't; but its comin' on again.  It seems a strange thing to me that things connot be ordered better than they are, but I guess it's a thing that mun be. . . . Husht!"

    It was the city clocks striking twelve in the distance.  The last stroke had no sooner boomed upon the midnight air than the church bells began to ring forth the glad tidings of the day on all sides.  And, here and there, amongst the gardened houses in the skirts of the city, the cheerful sound of the old Christmas hymn written by Dr. Byrom, of Kersal Cell, rose from bands of wandering minstrels:—

Christians, awake; salute the happy morn,
Whereon the Saviour of this world was born!

    The young wanderer sprang from his seat.  "Christmas morning!" cried he.  "Gi' me yo'r hand, owd maister!  I wish yo' a merry Christmas, an' a happy new year!  An' God bless yo!  An' now I'll be off to our Joe's!  Good morning!"

    "Good mornin', my lad!  An' a merry Christmas to thee,—an' to everybody belongin' to tho!"

    "Now then, Johnny, my lad," said the old man, shaking his drowsy grandson up from sleep; "come, wakken up!  Owd Bill should be here in a minute or two; an' then we'n be off whoam, an' get to bed."

    "Owd Bill's here just now!" said a tall man, with grizzly beard, peeping into the shed.  He's here now!  A merry Christmas to tho, John!"

    "A merry Christmas to thee, Bill!  I'm fain thou's come'd, for I'm just about done up; an' this lad's asleep aboon an hour. . . . Thou'll find it very cowd, Bill.  I think I'd better leave tho this owd rug."

    "Well,—if thou con spare it."

    "I can spare it very weel. . . .Good mornin'!"

    "Good mornin', John!"

    The fog was clearing off; and the stars began to show themselves in the morning sky.  The old man and his grandson had scarcely got half way home when they stopped to listen to the following new carol which came from some invisible singer in a grove of trees near the road:—

Long time ago, in Palestine,
    Upon a wintry morn,
All in a lowly cattle shed,
    The Prince of Peace was born.

The clouds fled from the gloomy sky;
    The winds in silence lay;
And the stars shone bright, with strange delight,
    To welcome in that day.

His parents they were simple folk,
    And simple lives they led;
And in the ways of righteousness
    This little child was bred.

In gentle thought and gentle deed,
    His early days went by;
And a light his youthful steps did lead
    That came from heaven on high.

He was the friend of all the poor
    That wander here below.
It was his greatest joy on earth
    To ease them of their woe.

In pain he trod his holy path,
    By sorrow sorely tried;
It was for all mankind he lived,
    And for mankind he died.

Like him, let us be just and pure,
    Like him be true alway;
That we may find the peace of mind
    That never fades away.





This date is according to the Old Style, which was then in use.


This was the Rev. Ralph Harrison, whose daughter was the mother of William Harrison Ainsworth, the novelist.


Old Style.


Possibly, "Th' Camp-hill Well," a well in what is called "Th' Broad Feelt," where the Danes encamped, previously to their attack on the Saxon castle, and their slaughter at Kill-Danes in the vale below.




John Leach, of Wardle, was a notable man among the early Methodists, and was one of Wesley's first preachers.  He was my grandmother's uncle.  In Southey's "Life of Wesley" I find the following note respecting him, under the head " OUTCRY AGAINST METHODISIM. VIOLENCE OF MOBS, AND MISCONDUCT OF MAGISTRATES."  When John Leach was pelted, near Rochdale, in those riotous days, and saw his brother wounded in the forehead by a stone, he was mad enough to tell the rabble that not one of them could hit him, if he were to stand preaching there till midnight.  Just then the mob began to quarrel among themselves, and, therefore, left off pelting.  But the anecdote has been related by his brethren for his praise."




Hadloont reean—headland gutter.


 Het—hight, called.




Ed.—in my copy appears a pencil note, written in the margin: "Sold about 1935."


Ed.—James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby (1607-51), executed at Bolton on the 15 October 1651 because of his part in the Bolton Massacre, and buried in Ormskirk church.


Succeeded his father, the thirteenth Earl of Derby, in 1851.  Had been Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Secretary of State for the Colonies.  Accepted office as Premier in 1851.


Ed.—"The natural reticence of the North-countryman leads him to avoid the use of "love" whenever possible; and in Lancashire, "loike," the weaker word, has come to be most commonly used about amatory matters, and expresses the strongest possible affection." John Ackworth.


"BENEFICIAL PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY, NO. 4, SPARTH BOTTOMS, NEAR ROCHDALE.—Prognostic astro-phrenology, or nature considered as a whole—its matter, its properties, its laws, physical, moral, and intellectual, and the effect of their influence on individual life, character, and ability.  From these premises, and nearly twenty years' experience, any lady or gentleman may have the most valuable advice on matters of health, sickness, profession, trade, emigration, and speculation; also marriage—its prospects to the inquirer, whether it will be attended with happiness, the time of its occurrence, a full description and character of the present or future partner, with copious instruction to the unmarried—which offer or party to take, and thus secure the fullest amount of happiness, shown to any individual by this combination of science.  The principal requisite points of information for applying the science to the benefit of an inquirer are—the precise date, place of birth, and the station in life.  Attendance every day, except Mondays, at No. 4, Sparth Bottoms, Rochdale.



Ed.—I suspect that the "Stanlaw" to which Waugh refers is present day "Stanlow", now a huge oil refinery.


In the autumn of the year 1875 I went to the same neighbourhood in search of this old moorland student.  The lonely cottage where he had lived was known by the name of "Th' Weshfowd."  I found, however, that he had been dead many years, and that his cottage in the hollow of the moors had been pulled down.  Long before his death he had, by his solitary way of life and studious habits, earned for himself something of a weird fame among the simple folk of the neighbourhood.  But he was at rest at last.  The man and his house were both gone,—as all things on earth must go.


Testa de Neville.


 Harl. MSS.  Codex 2,085, fo. 443.


Harl. MSS., 1296.  There is a pedigree of this family in Dodsworth's MSS., Bodleian Lib., vol. lxxix.


This was about the year 1855.


The "picking-rod" is a straight wooden handle, by which the hand-loom weaver used to impel his shuttle.  "As straight as a pickin'-rod" is a common phrase among country people in South Lancashire.


"Radcliffe's Origin of Power-loom Weaving," pp. 59-66.


The village of Newton, on Newton Heath, near Manchester.


A kind of spiced cake, for which the village of Eccles, near Manchester, is famous.


A quaint old vendor of nuts and Eccles cakes, who used to be well known at Lancashire wakes and fairs.


Much valuable silver plate was sometimes lent by the inhabitants of Lancashire villages to adorn the front of their native rush-cart during its annual peregrinations.


A thirty-six gallon barrel.


He was the landlord of an old road-side inn, on Newton Heath, with a pleasant bowling-green behind it.  The house is still known as " Bill o' Booths."


The following note is attached to this passage, in Mr. Gaskell's lectures: "That noble master of language, Walter Savage Landor, who has done me the honour to refer to my lecture in the Examiner, says of this word 'symble,' a feast, it is very likely 'symbslum,' which means the same, in form of pic-nic; and adds, 'In Tuscany a fine cake is called semolino.  When I was a boy in Rugby, I remember a man from Banbury who sold simnels, very eatable.  The interior was not unlike mince-pie without fat, but flavoured with saffron; the exterior was hard, smooth, and yellow."


Fear God, and keep on the straight path.


Harl. MSS., 1926.  There is a pedigree of this family in Dodsworth's MSS., Bodleian Lib., vol. lxxix.


Clarendon's "History of the Rebellion," edit. 1714, vol. I., p.196.


Bain's 4to "Hist. Lancashire," vol. I., p.586; vol. ii., p. 676. 12mo, vol. I., p.55. Adams's "Cat. of Lords," &c., who compounded for their estates, p.51.


"Survey of London," by Stowe, Strype's edition, 1720, vol. I., fol. 102.


Corry's "Lancashire," vol. III., p.619.  In Dodsworth's MSS. Bodleian Lib., v. cxvii., p. 163, is a record of Robert Heywood, Esq.

JOHN HEYWOOD, Excelsior Printing and Bookbinding Works, Manchester.


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