Oldham Historical Research Group

from the 'Diary of William Rowbottom', written between 1787 and 1830, in Oldham

April Selection
A selection of monthly extracts (transcribed as originally written)


Looking back at April in the past, thanks to the diary of William Rowbottom written between 1787-1830.

April 9th, 1795
A letter was received from Bottany Bay, and I am sorry to say it brings the melancholy tidings of the death of Wm. Booth, late of Royton, this person formerly residing at Royton, and followed the occupation of butcher, fustian manufacturer, and kept the first inn in Royton, carrying on the above business, in a very extensive line; was a sober, industrious person, and was consequently a person of great credit, but when at the highest pitch of splendor, and believed to be a person who by his industry to have amassed a deal of property, Dame Fortune frowned, he became embarrassed in his circumstances, and in this delima he forged several fictious names to bills of exchange; he became a bankrupt, to the surprise of the country, and it being believed that deal of fraud was practised to conceal his affects. He was taken into custody for the fictious bills. In August, 1782, he appeared at the bar at Lancaster, but the prosecutor did not frame a bill against him. He was removed to York, and in March 1789, was found guilty of forging these fictious names, and received sentence of death, but through the interference of his friends, which were still numerous, his sentence was changed to transportation for seven years.

April 1802.
This month began with exalent fine weather and vegetation is making rapid approaches. All earthly happiness seems at the highest splendour, for the plenty and cheapness of most sorts of provisions doth greatly astonish and delight the people, and business of all sorts the most, and the highest wages given, especially hatting, weaving, and spinning, and to complete this mass of happiness, treacle is 3lb. for 10d., malt 2d.a peck, hops 1d. per lb., meal 1s. 7d. per peck, flour 2s. 8d. to 3s. a peck. All sorts of butchers' meat is very dear, beef or mutton 9d. per lb.

April 26th, 1811
Elopement. A few days since, John Lee, of Bent, Oldham, shopkeeper, eloped with Grace, wife of Thomas Greaves, of Oldham, late a considerable grocer but lately failed. They took a large quantity of money and goods with them, particularly the woman, who stole her husband's shoes, stockings, shirts, &c. They are supposed to be gone to the island of Jamacoa.

April 20th -
Monday, the most daring riots took place at Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale, and Oldham, and all the neighbouring places. Their complaint was the high price of provisions, the badness of trade, and the lowness of wages in Oldham. They compelled the shopkeepers to sell their flour 3s. and meal 2s. per dozen, and some of the most daring took bread, cheese, bacon, &c. A great number went to Middleton, where there is a factory belonging to Mr. D. Burton, where they weave calicoes by steam. The mob assailed the windows, when those within the factory fired on the mob, when, horrid to relate, four were killed on the spot and a great number wounded, and some very dangerously. Those killed were Daniel Knott, aged 20 years; Joseph Jackson, a hatter, aged 16 years, both from Oldham; John Siddall from Radcliffe Bridge, aged 22 years; and George Albinson, a young man from Boardman-lane, Middleton.

April 27th
The Rev. Mr. Horden and Mr Taylor, two magistrates, met at the Spread Eagle, Oldham, and swore in a large number of constables for the parish of Oldham and Ashton-under-Lyne. And two hundred of the Oldham Local Militia were embodyed for fourteen days, and the rest of the regiment to be caled on duty in rotation. At Middleton, on the 21st instant, the mob entirely gutted the houses and broke the windows of the person who fired on the mob on the 20th. The furniture they laid on a heap, set fire, and consumed to ashes.

April 18th, 1814.
Being Monday, a general illumination took place in Manchester to commemorate the downfall of Buonaparte and the re-establishment of the Buorbons. It was the most splendid ever seen in that town before, and conducted with the greatest order and regularity.

April 18th, 1816.
Last night the warehouse of Messrs. Hadfield, Barker, and Taylor's was broke open, and a large quantity of beaver was stolen therefrom; and early this morning one James Shaw was aprehended with a large quantity of beaver in his possession. He was committed to the New Bayley for tryal; as was James Ogden, late keeper of the White Hart public-house, Maygate-lane, on a charge of the above robbery.

April 7th -
Manchester Sessions. There were a very large number of prisoners for tryal, twenty eight of whom received transportation. John Buckley, of Northmoor, 14 years, and his son Philip 7 years.

April 15th -
Was a very large meeting at Bent Green, Oldham, on purpose to petition for reform in Parliament. The meeting disolved in the most peasable order.

April 1st , 1821.
The prize-ringing at Manchester Old Church commenced, when the first prize, a silver cup, was won by the Bolton senior set; £3, 2nd prize, Mottram senior set; £1, 3rd prize, Ashton-under-Line; Oldham 4th, Bolton junior set, 5th, Flixton 6th, Mottram junior set 7th, Preston 8th. The peal was three courses of Mr. John Holt's grandsire triples. 2nd -Six bells grandsire bob: 1st prize, £6, Eccles; 2nd prize, £2, Prestwich senior set; 3rd prize, £1. Radcliffe senior set; Prestwich junior 4th, Middleton junior 5th, Saddeworth 6th, Bury 7th, Ratcliffe junior 8th, Middleton senior 9th, Crogston 10th.

Further particulars of the ringing from the last page.
First Day – Monday
1. Croston: False peal.
2. Bolton, jun: Time of ringing, 51 minutes; number of faults, 2,067
3. Macclesfield: False peal.
4. Bolton, sen.: Time of ringing, 51 minutes; number of faults, 632. – 1st prize.
5. Mottram, jun.: 54 minutes, 2,664 faults.
6. Flixton: 54 minutes, 2,013 faults.
7. Mottram, sen.: 52 minutes, 704 faults.- 2nd prize.
8. Oldham: 50 minutes, 853 faults.
9. Preston: 51 minutes, 2,782 faults.
10. Ashton: 52 ½ minutes, 730 faults – 3rd prize.
Second Day – Tuesday.
1. Middleton, jun: 29 minutes, 650 faults.
2. Ratcliff, jun: 28 minutes, 1067 ½ faults.
3. Bury: 28 ½ minutes, 1,451 faults.
4. Ratcliff, sen.: 28 minutes, 491 faults. – 3rd prize.
5. Prestwich, sen.: 29 minutes, 473 faults. – 2nd prize.
6. Middleton, sen.: rung 848 changes ow out; 381 faults.
7. Eccles; 38 minutes, 455 faults. – 1st prize.
8. Prestwich, 29 ½ minutes, 628 faults.
9. Saddleworth: false peal.
The above is the order they rung in.

April 17th, 1822
Being Easter Sunday, there where at Collegiate Church, Manchester, 17 marriages, 217 cristnings; on Monday, the 8th, 34 marriages, on the 9th, 10th, 11th, extreme cold days, with the wind very high at north, with hail, sleet, and rain. At the Assizes at Lancaster, last week, John Robishaw, formerly of Thorp, was convicted of horse stealing at Lancaster in 1814, and had been in prison since that period, received his Majesty's most gracious pardon.

April 23rd, 1824
The ascent of Mr. Sadler in his balloon took place this day at Manchester, which made a very grand appearance to thousands of spectators. After sailing for about 30 minutes, and the space of 35, Mr. Sadler landed on Monks Heath, four miles from Knutsford.

April 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th, 1825
were such days as never was seen for warmth, and fine warm showers which causes grass to come astonishingly. The gardens look in excellent condition; the blossoms look remarkably fine.

Bacon is now selling 8 1/2d. and 9d. per lb.; beef and mutton each 8d. per lb.; chees, 8d.; butter old, 11d. and 12d. per lb.

April 18th, 1826
Thomas Barns and John Stott, two hatters, commited to Lancaster on a charge of robbing, a juglar on the highway near Hollinwood, and in open day.


Here we have a slice of Oldham's past as recorded by on individual.
If these diary snippets ignite your imagination or raise questions, then go to the Local Studies and Achives on Union Street. Here you can read the full Rowbottom diary and find answers for your questions.

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