VICTIMS, CASUALTIES

& BURIALS

In 2005 Michael Bush published his reference book 'The Casualties of Peterloo'.

This comprehensive book was 'intended to present and analyse eight surviving casualty lists, each of them detailing the injuries sustained in Manchester on 16 August 1819'.

Bush listed some 630 names - a small percentage of the estimated 60,000 people who were on the field on that day.

 

Had it not been for the relief lists which were established soon after the event by philanthropic and sympathetic citizens in Manchester even this small number may never have been known to us. Very few people in 1819 would have been able to afford treatment by a qualified doctor and those who could not would have had to rely on the care of family members. 

There are recorded incidents of some injured parties being refused treatment at The Infirmary by doctors who were unsympathetic to their cause, whilst others were reluctant to seek medical assistance for fear of the repercussions when they were identified as having attended the meeting.

For almost a decade Bush's book remained the only authoritative reference work for anyone wanting to study the aftermath of the event.

 

However, from about 2014 a dedicated group of researchers, under the guidance of Dr. Robert Poole have been searching through Home Office Papers, reading countless documents including letters, petitions, written testimonies and newspaper articles to further identify people who were present at Peterloo and the injuries they sustained.  

  

This research is now freely available to the general public                     in the form of a fully searchable spreadsheet. In all, this database now contains information on over 1200 individuals, almost twice as many as the number uncovered by Bush.

THE VICTIMS

By 2014 the number of people  generally agreed to have died on the field or as a direct result of actions on the field had been 15, with an additional 3 deaths occurring later that day or in the ensuing days and weeks.

Further research by Dr Poole and others has now revealed a number of inaccuracies in the data collected previously.

As of February 2018 the definitive number still stands at 15 with three more classified as 'unconfirmed.' However, some of those thought earlier to have died have been discounted and others added.

The full roll call is provided below, along with biographical details which have been compiled from official records, eye-witness accounts and Home Office papers.

DEFINITES (in order of death) *In Metropolitan Relief Committee (MRC) list of dead, Jan. 1820.

 

*WILLIAM FILDES

The first victim of Peterloo was William Fildes, aged two, from Kennedy Street, Manchester.

He was knocked from his mother’s arms by a Yeomanry Cavalryman galloping along Cooper Street.

William was

'thrown from her by the shock to a distance of two or three yards and pitched upon his head.'

He afterwards suffered convulsions and died.

The inquest said that

'No blame could attach to the rider'

News of his death inspired Shelley to write his great protest poem ‘The Masque of Anarchy’. View witness statement

 

*THOMAS (OR JOHN) ASHWORTH

Thomas (or John) Ashworth of Manchester, a volunteer special constable, was also accidentally run down and trampled in the charge of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry.

He died the same day.

*MARTHA PARKINSON or PARTINGTON

Martha Parkinson or Partington, aged 38, of King Street,  Eccles, was pushed down a set of steps into a cellar on Windmill Street, when a railing collapsed under pressure from the fleeing crowd, and was crushed and suffocated under the weight of other people falling upon her.

A man, crushed with her at the bottom of a pile of people, reported that

'a female, whose head lay on his shoulder, cried most piteously, and was taken out dead.'

The inquest decided that

'she lost her life by accident'

She left behind two children

 

*JOHN ASHTON

John Ashton, aged 41, who lived in Cowhill, near Oldham, was sabred and trampled on the field and was pronounced dead on arrival at the infirmary. Ashton had carried the black flag of the Saddleworth, Lees and Mossley Union. His son, Samuel, received 20 shillings in relief.

 

*THOMAS BUCKLEY

Thomas Buckley, from Baretrees, Chadderton, was bayoneted and sabred on the field, and died the same day.

No inquest was held

*JAMES CROMPTON

James Crompton of Barton upon Irwell, was trampled to death by the cavalry.

He was buried on the 1st of September. No inquest was held

 

*JOSEPH WHITWORTH

Joseph Whitworth of Hyde , aged 17, was part of an angry crowd confronted by troops at New Cross on the evening of the massacre.

When the crowd refused to disperse, troops opened fire and he was shot in the head.

He died four days later.

The inquest jury found that

'The deceased was shot by the military. under the command of the civil power, in the suppression of a riot'

 

EDMUND DAWSON

Edmund Dawson, from Saddleworth, was knocked unconscious by two sever blows and a sabre wound to the headsabred on the head.  

He died at the Manchester Infirmary, after long sufferings, on 31 August.

The inquest jury’s verdict of ‘wilful murder’ was disallowed. Instead they found that

'he died by a sabre wound, but how the deceased came by his wound no evidence was received.'

His untimely death was said to have contributed to the death of his father, David Dawson, who was buried beside his son three years later.

 

*JOHN LEES

John Lees, of Oldham, was an ex-soldier who had fought in the Battle of Waterloo.

He received sabre wounds to the arm and shoulder, and was also bludgeoned with truncheons and a broken banner staff.

He died on the 7th September.

The inquest into his death was stopped by the authorities.

The jury afterwards said that they would have brought in a verdict of unlawful killing.

 

JOHN RHODES

John Rhodes, from Hopwood, received a sabre wound to the head and severe internal bruising.

He was found wandering and covered in blood. He never recovered his health and eventually died on the 18th (19th?)of November.

His body was subjected to a post-mortem by order of the magistrates, who were determined to prove his death was not a result of Peterloo. The result of the post-mortem was that 

'he died a natural death'

His funeral at Middleton Church was attended by upwards of 600 people.

*ARTHUR O’NEILL

Arthur Neil from Pidgeon Street, Manchester, was truncheoned and crushed on the field.

He was held without trial for several weeks in the New Bailey for want of bail money whilst ‘very ill’ from internal injuries, and eventually died.

 

*MARY HEYES

Mary Heyes or Heys, of Oxford St, Chorlton upon Medlock, Manchester, was ridden over by cavalry, severely lacerated and bruised.

Disabled and suffering from almost daily seizures caused by her injuries, she gave premature birth to her child, resulting in her death on the 17th of December.

She was buried at Walker's Croft

Her child, Henry, survived, and a descendent, Denise Southworth, now lives in Manchester.

 

WILLIAM BRADSHAW

William Bradshaw of Lily Hill, Pilkington, Whitefield near Bury, aged 17 or 18 (recorded as 16),

‘received a severe sabre stroke upon the head, at St Peter's Field, and was otherwise much injured and trodden underfoot by the yeomanry.’

His health gradually declined until his death four years later on 29 April 1822.

His funeral was accompanied by ‘an immense concourse of people’.

THE UNBORN CHILD OF ELIZABETH GAUNT

Elizabeth Gaunt of Manchester was attacked an beaten near the hustings, arrested and imprisoned in the New Bailey Prison for eleven days.

Although pregnant and weak from loss of blood she was repeatedly interrogated, and refused medical care, food and visitors.

She was released, without charge, but suffered a miscarriage.

 

RELATED DEATH

 

ROBERT CAMPBELL

Robert Campbell, special constable, Manchester. Beaten to death in a revenge attack in Newton Lane on the morning of 17th August.

Died in the infirmary 30 August.

 

NO EVIDENCE OF DEATH

Margaret Downes, from Manchester, was cut down and killed by a yeomanry sabre.

Reported as injured by The Manchester Observer and ‘supposed to be dead’ but no evidence of death.

 

Sarah jones, of 96 Silk Street, Salford, was severely beaten on the head by Thomas Woodworth or Wordsworth, a neighbour and special constable who lived in Newton Lane.

She died from her injuries, leaving behind her seven children.

No contemporary claim or listing of her death.

 

William Evans, special constable, Pickfords, Hulme.

Trampled by Yeomanry Cavalry, for some weeks ‘dangerously ill’ and on 2 Dec. ‘in a dying state’.

No contemporary claim or listing of his death.

 

WRONGLY LISTED AS DEAD

 

*1 Sept. WILLIAM DAWSON, FROM SADDLEWORTH.

This is a mistake for Edmund Dawson in an early list, picked up and repeated.

There is evidence for the death, inquest and burial of Edmund Dawson but not of William who is listed as dying the next day.

The father David Dawson’s petitioned parliament about Edmund’s death, but did not mention a William.

A report of the father’s death blames it on sorrow for Edmund’s death but again does not mention a William.

THE CASUALTIES

Over 600 casualties have so far been identified. Their names come from a number of lists compiled around the time of the massacre and in the period following.

Many of the entries in these lists include details of the occupations, addresses and ages of the people named and also often graphic details of their injuries and the circumstances in which they received them.

However, these are only those who were identified at the time because they sought medical help or financial relief. There were likely hundreds, even thousands of others whose injuries were less sever and who chose to treat themselves.

Others were reluctant to approach 'the authorities' for fear of losing their jobs or being arrested for taking part in the gathering.

The database                 is the most up-to-date list available and is still being added to from time to time as research continues.

THE WITNESSES

Witnesses to the events of 16th August 1819 fall into several categories; Members of The Press, Magistrates, Special Constables, Members of the various militia, Residents of Manchester, Organisers of the event and, the huge number of 'the general public' who attended.

Some of the witness statements come from a number of inquests which were held into the causes of death of the victims, whilst others are from testimony given at a number of trials which ensued, notably that of Henry Hunt.

All these witness statements and testimonies are available to view in libraries and archives throughout the country but a great debt is owed to a small, dedicated group of people who have spent years, sifting through boxes of documents, books and manuscripts to extract the information on behalf of everyone else.

The results of the research done to date and still going on have been collected in The Peterloo Witness Project.

the peterloo witness project

The Peterloo Witness project has collected and transcribed virtually all the eye-witness evidence for Peterloo – some 350 eye-witness accounts in all, together with information about over a thousand people who were there: victims, participants, witnesses, troops, reporters.  

Peterloo is the best-documented crowd event of the nineteenth century.

The aim is to make all this material available online in time to support the bicentenary commemorations in 2019. 

The work has been done by research assistants and volunteers, supported in various ways by the British Academy, the National Archives, the Manchester Histories Festival, and the universities of Hertfordshire and Central Lancashire. 

 

LIST OF TRANSCRIBERS

Martyn Amos, Geoff Barlow, Peter Castree, Tom Crolla, Martin Gittins, Frances Jackson, Mike Jenkinson, Ryan Jones, Sylvia Kölling, David Lees, Dave McGealy, Harriet Monkhouse, Maxine Peake, Robert Poole, Susan Richardson, Claire Robinson, Peter Trumper, Chris Westhead, Harry Westhead, Becky Wright and others to be added....

the peterloo names

Building on the research carried out by The Peterloo Witness Project, members of The Peterloo Memorial Campaign Group (notably Peter Castree) have gone on to create a searchable database in the form of an Excel Spreadsheet.

This details all those people identified as having been present at Peterloo. 

This work continues to turn up new information and more names to add to the ever-growing list we have identified so far.

The following designations have been used in the spreadsheet ; Leading radical figures, Special constables,  Yeomanry, Magistrates, Town authority figures, Military personnel, Witnesses, Detainees.

The database names are colour-coded to make comparisons easier.

TO VIEW THE DATABASE CLICK