A NEW monument has been added to the summit of Tandle Hill to mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre.
The stone stands side-by-side with the famous obelisk war memorial erected in October 1921.The new stone was hand carved by a stonemason from Old Trafford firm, Mather & Ellis Ltd, and installed by Oldham Council’s environmental team.
The inscription reads: ‘In 1819 men from Royton drilled here before the demonstration on 16th August 1819 now known as Peterloo.
‘Not with the loaded musket and steel. An important milestone in the struggle for democracy.’
Royton’s ward councillors, Hannah Roberts, Clint Phythian, Marie Bashforth, Steve Bashforth, James Larkin and Amanda Chadderton paid for the stone to be cut, have the lettering carved into the boulder and for installation on site.
It received its first viewing by the general public on Sunday, August 18 as part of the Peterloo commemorations and a Picnic in the Park to celebrate 100 years since the land passed into public ownership.
Local historian Frances Stott produced a special pamphlet for the day – A History of Tandle Hill Park and Woods.Once a private game reserve and a favourite haunt of poachers, the land was also used by the Royton Jacobins who used to practice marching and drilling prior to the Peterloo massacre.
The Park and woods, created as a country park on July 1, 1971, originally formed part of the Assheton family estate of Middleton Hall.
It remained in the family and other private ownership until 1919, including Morris Bradbury, a retired mill manager and Royton councillor.
He took ownership on June 28, 1919 but in an act of philanthropy presented the grounds to Royton Council.
In a vote of thanks, Cllr S Smethurst JP talked of a plan of making a boulevard for Royton-a road 25 yards wide. This is now Tandle Hill Road.
The park was chosen to be the site of Royton’s war memorial unveiled on October 22, 1921 by the Earl of Derby. Originally made of Portland Stone, it was replaced three years later by a granite version.A spokesperson for Royton, Shaw, Crompton Neighbourhoods team, said: “A massive thank you to all who attended the picnic in the park and the blessing of the commemorative stone, remembering Peterloo.
“It was great to see you all and welcome you to our event. So much appreciation to all those that helped make it special.
“We are blessed to have such fantastic community groups in Royton, Shaw and Crompton; brilliant local scholars Michael Higgins and Frances Stott, Royton Historical Society, Royton’s Town Women’s Guild, working all year to make the community a better place for everyone.
“There was also Crompton and Royton Rotary Club, Shaw and Crompton Events Team, Oldham Amateur Radio Club, our new reverend, Graham Hollowood at St Paul’s Royton plus fantastic authors and historians Dr Robert Poole and Graham Phythian.
“Last but certainly not least Oldham Council’s First Response, and Oldham Markets and the volunteers-you are simply the best. We could not have asked for a better team.”