Index
The Decline of Bull Baiting
Fear of the Press Gang
A Gentlemanly Disagreement
A Barley Supper
The Court Leet
The A.A.F.C in Action 1883
Scarlet Fever in Atherton
The Rex Motor 1907
 
 
 
The Decline of Bull Baiting
Bull baiting at Eccles ceased with the wakes of 1834 and bear baiting ended about the same time. The bull used to be baited on the vacant piece of ground at the Regent Road entrance to the village and on the south side. The ring fastened to a post sunk into the ground remained for some time after. The last bull baited in Eccles was taken to that congenial place Chowbent (Atherton); as it was led out of Eccles it was bestridden by a fiddler and a trumpeter, both of whom played on their respective instruments sictransit gloria eccleside. The bears used to be baited near the Cross Keys Hotel, the road past there being the old Coach Road before the angle was cut off by the present railway bridge to the corner of the church yard. At the last bull bait a stand erected for the use of spectators fell, and several people were injured. One of them a woman, died some little time later in consequence.
 
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Fear of the Press Gangs

 The terrible doings at th’ time o’ th’ press gangs. My gronny toud us a tale abeut summot a’ happened to her at this time. It made mi hutch closer to mi mother. At that time hoo wur a young woman, an lift we her parents an family teart Atherton. They wur farmers an aw’ believe farmed land belongin Atherton Ho. They took what thi had to sell, an fot what they wanted fur Liverpool. Well at this time noather her faither nor her brother dust goo fer fear o’ bein tan with press gang, so oather her mother o’ her sisther, an it wur her turn. A while before a young lad wur cumin fro’ his work (a stiddy lad he wur) an he wur set on an’ robbed an’ murdered, an’ thrut into th’ deytch bottom. He wurnt dead when he wur fund, but he deed that neet. It wur a long time afore anybody wur tan up fer it, till chaps wife leat it eaut ut her husband had done it. This chap wur tried an it wur commonly thought bi folk at time ut there wur more nor one had a hond in it. He were fund guilty un hanged at Lancaster an’ then his body wur layed out on’t gibbet on Dean Moor. Well mi gronny started off one morning, an as wur’t fashion ith those days hoo teed a hankycher deawn her ears, an put on one o’ her brothers tall hats. Hoo took cart un went on past gibbet an theer wurt th’ corpse swingin ith air. Hood passed it money a time afore keepin’ as far away as hoo could. Hoo went un done her business an started back. But Liverpool bein so upset it wur very late. Ho trudged on until abeat midneet, ho cum ith seet oth gibbet. Corpse wur ill there, but unther gibbet wur two men. What they wur after hoo didn’t know. The yard th’ cart un coom toard her, an it bein dark, an her havin this hat on aw daresay they couldn’t tell it wur a woman till they geet to her. They stopped hoss un went on’t other side o’ her, an axed her if hoo’d seen umat th’ gibbet. Hoo said hoo had un they threatened her life. They went away talking un coom back an axed her who her wur, wur ho liv’t, how money of a family they had an then said they’d let her goo if her promised never to tell what hoo’d seen that neet, fur if her did they’d murther’ em ‘o. In her terror hoo promised, in thi let her goo; an hoo just managed to get whoam, when hoo dropped on th’ flure, an wur ill fur some time. But hoo never towd her parents what hood seen; but ith morning corpse wur gone an hoo never yeard of it bein fund. We mun bear’i mind that newspappers wur very scarce an cos 7p apiece, an lethers wur a shillin apiece. so news did not travel like it does neaw, an weather the men took th’ body or someb’dy else did cut it dean, hoo never knew. Hoo geet wed an coom to this side. an her husband made –if not the first flash wheel for th’ Bridge factory he made one ust thought to be sich an improvement on th’ owd sooart ut that folk said if thi mester wur to run it wi new milk it would pay him – it run that leet un steady. Wi may be very thankful ut wi livin i’ these days of enlightenment an con get news so cheap, we known at neet what happens all oer the country, on folks con express their opinion beaut fear o’ losin’ their life.

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  A Gentlemanly Disagreement
 
On Sunday morning shortly after 5 o'clock Samuel Foulds Jun. of Atherton and a man names Scotty from Tyldesley together with their seconds and a number of other men assembled at Cut-acre Clough, Middle Hulton to fight for a£1. It appeared the quarrel started on Saturday night at Chowbent after the Sports Day and it was decided to fight it out the following day. The fight lasted two hours and twenty five minutes. Foulds fought with dogged determination but was evidently not equal to his opponent as he had to be conveyed home in a cab. Dr. Halliwell of Atherton acted as Foulds second.
 
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A Barley Supper
A number of children were entertained to at what is called a "Barley Supper" in the Old Warehouse in Atherton. The barley is prepared and made into puddings, with the addition of currents and raisons, similar to a rice pudding. Mrs Marsh then addressed the children on the use and misuse (alcoholic drinks) with a view to them signing a temperance pledge.
 
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The Court Leet
Lord Lilfords annual Court Leet was held at the Kings Head Inn Market Place Atherton where the scavengers, burleymen, market lookers, affeerers, bailiffs of the court and constables were duly appointed.
 A Scavenger was an official concerned with the receipt of custom duties and also responsible for the cleaning of the streets -A Burleyman covered the framing and execution of by-laws, looking after nuisances, administration of justice in minor matters, arbitration in agricultural disputes - A baillif before the commutation of service rents it was the duty of the bailiff to supervise the work of the villein tenants upon the lords demesne. This office might be held for a period of years - Affeerer the person who would reduce or assess an arbitary penalty or amerciment of a fine that is not prescribed by statute but rather at the discretion of the court
 
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The A.A.F.C in Action May 1883

The Plump footpath leading from Millers Lane and leading through Plump and over the Eccles and Wigan Railway had again been stopped up by the Company. The obstruction had already been pulled down three times that year by the Atherton Ancient Footpaths Society and was to be pulled down again that Sunday

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Scarlet Fever at Atherton

A serious outbreak of Scarlet Fever caused grave concern in Atherton the week following Christmas 1886 resulting in six deaths, every effort was made to stamp out the disease.

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 The “Rex Motor 1907

William Heaton a watchmaker of Atherton has been honoured with a letter of congratulations from the Rex Motor Co. of Coventry, and they propose building him a new machine, seeing that he with his 5hp engine twin Rex covered 107 miles at Douglas to the small consumption of only one gallon of petrol. This is considered very remarkable and the feat gave great pleasure to the firm