Thursday, 31 December 2009

Manchester finds - Jacobites and census schedule

I've just spent the last three days in Manchester, visiting several members of my wife's family, and staying in the very highly recommended Brittania Hotel on Portland Street. Unfortunately I can't switch off the old genealogy radar, so the following are a couple of discoveries I made whilst on a very typical Northern Irish 'dander' around the place...!

Whilst wandering aimlessly around the centre I came upon St Ann's Church at St. Ann's Square. A series of old tombstone covers drew my attention beside the church wall, and lo and behold, I was onto the Jacobites of the 45. Two stories were in fact connected. From the explanatory plaque, the following:

The tomb of Joseph Hoole, the second rector of St. Ann's, meanwhile takes us back to an historical moment. Hoole was interred on 19 November 1745, the day that the Stuart Pretender to the throne, Bonnie Prince Charlie, entered Manchester. Townsfolk were impressed that although St Ann's supported the Hanoverian monarch George II, the officers of the rebel (Jacobite) army joined the mourners in paying their respects.

Another monument marks that unhappy time. This is the tomb of the argumentative Thomas Deacon who was firmly of the Jacobite party but fell out with them at exactly the wrong time - just before he died in 1753. As a result his body was refused burial at the Jacobite Collegiate Church (the present day Cathedral) and eventually after ten days was generously admitted to the churchyard of those he'd objected to.

What interested me about these is the way that in Scotland we often think of the rebellion as being a very Scottish thing, with the fact the Jacobites made it to Derby and scared everyone to death for all of two seconds as a sort of footnote that really marked the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, depending on your point of view. In fact, the rebellion had an impact down south also, with real stories affecting real people. I've never really heard the Jacobite rebellion from an English point of view, ie at the ordinary townsfolk's viewpoint as opposed to the Hanoverian aristocracy, so these two simple stories were a fresh take for me on a very overtrodden story up here in Alba.

Later in the day I also visited the Manchester Art Gallery. In the Manchester Exhibition I came across a section on the city's textiles heritage, and lo and behold, what did I find but a cotton handkerchief with a humorous print satirising the 1881 census. Despite the interesting satire, what really drew my attention to it was the fact that the images used to lampoon the questions seemed to have been set against a faithful representation of an original household schedule from 1881, as opposed to the enumerator's returns which we use in our research. I've only previously seen a household schedule for the 1911 censuses in England and Ireland, so this was an interesting discovery.

(Apologies for the poor quality of the images, taken wthout a flash on my phone). Anyway, I've also brought back a really nasty cold, but will do my best to keep on top of things over the next few days on the news front!

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