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Celebrity Drawings by John Moss

Politicians, Law & Social Reformers

Nicholas Mosley

of the Manor of Manchester

Sir Nicholas Mosley

Sir Nicholas Mosley was a prosperous merchant, the first of
the Mosley family to be Lord of the Manor of Manchester, and
also one-time Lord Mayor of London. He and his brother had set
up a business in woollen manufacture at a time when Manchester
had a virtual monopoly on that industry. His business expanded
to such a degree that Nicholas moved to London to handle that
end of the trade and to negotiate many profitable export agreements
for his company. His reputation for shrewd business sense and
skilful negotiation grew very quickly, and after being appointed
as Alderman to several London wards, he was made Lord Mayor
of the city in 1599.
He was a great success in this role, carrying it out with enthusiasm
and dedication, being instrumental in raising soldiers and money
to finance the building of warships for the navy of Queen Elizabeth
I to defend England against the Spanish Armada. He also arranged
for men and supplies to be transported to Ireland in support
of the campaign by Lord Essex. For his work in this field he
was knighted, aged 72 years, by the Queen. In the meantime,
the Manor of Manchester, hitherto belonging to the La Warre
family, was purchased by Mosley for the sum of �3,500. Mosley
built himself a fine house, Hough End Hall, at Withington in
south Manchester, which he furnished largely with gifts from
the Queen, including most of the oak furniture. He retired in
1602, though as Lord of the Manor, he presided over local courts.
During this time he changed his name from Moseley to Mosley,
dropping the ‘e’, so that his name could be embedded into his
family motto : “mos legem regit” (custom regulates law). He
died in 1612 at the ripe old age of 85 years, and is buried
in Didsbury churchyard. His tomb still exists there, showing
effigies of himself kneeling in civic robes, as well as figures
of his first and second wives.
Mosley family retained Lordship of the Manor of Manchester until
1846 when all the rights were sold for �200,000 by Sir Oswald
Mosley to the Corporation of Manchester, which had been newly
created in 1838.


Earl of Derby

James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby

James Stanley, born on the 31st of January 1607
at Knowsley, was known as Lord Strange until he inherited the
family title to become the 7th Earl of Derby. His family was
powerful and influential in Lancashire, though not well liked
for their tough autocratic ways. In 1625 Lord Strange was Member
of Parliament for Liverpool, and later was made Lord Lieutenant
of Lancashire and Cheshire. A solid Royalist throughout the
Civil War, his troops seized many northern towns for the Royalist
cause, though Manchester was one of the few to resist capture.
An attempt was made to seize an arms storehouse in the city
by Strange’s forces in 1642, but the local population rose up
and fended off the attack.
At that time Manchester was staunchly Puritan and supported
the Parliamentarian forces of Cromwell. During this raid, the
first death of the Civil War occurred – one Richard Percival,
a local weaver. Later, in September that year, a second massive
attack was made by Strange and 4,000 troops on Manchester, but
by this time being more organised and prepared, the Manchester
defenders, led by Colonel John Rosworm, beat off the assault
and within the month the Cavalier forces lifted the siege and
withdrew in disarray. Manchester remained one of England’s fiercest
Parliamentary enclaves, and was never taken by Royalist forces.
northern skirmishes ensued, while in the meantime Strange had
become Earl of Derby, and defeat followed upon defeat for his
forces, until in 1644 he and his family were forced to flee
to the Isle of Man. His wife Charlotte stayed behind to hold
the family home at Lathom, and did so through 2 sieges in 1644
and 1645, it being one of the few remaining Royalist strongholds
at this late stage in the war.
Lathom finally fell to the Parliamentarians in December 1645,
by which time Charlotte had secretly fled to the Isle of Man
to join her husband. Stanley
returned to the English mainland in 1651 to help King Charles
II, fighting at Wigan and at Worcester. During this time he
was captured and court-marshalled on the grounds of High Treason.
He was sentenced to death at Bolton and was executed on 15th
October 1651, outside the “Man & Scythe” pub, where a plaque
still marks the spot. His body was buried at Ormskirk, where
he later became known as “the martyr Earl of Derby” .
See also
Borough of Wigan.


Charles Worsley

Charles Worsley was born the eldest son of Ralph Worsley in
1622 at Platt Hall in Rusholme,
Manchester (now the Gallery of Costume). In keeping with prevailing
Manchester politics, he was a keen Parliamentarian in the Civil
War era, joining the army on that side when quite a young man.
In 1644, aged just 22 years, he was promoted to captain, and
in 1650 he became Lieutenant-Colonel of the Lancashire Regiment,
when he immediately set off with troops to support Cromwell
in Scotland, though he arrived too late for the battle.
Worsley was a favourite of Cromwell, who appointed him to his
own Regiment of Foot, to be stationed in London in 1652. Worsley
came to national attention when, on the 20th April 1653, acting
under direct orders from Cromwell, he led 300 armed men to dissolve
the Long Parliament, cleared the chamber and ejected the Speaker
of the House, William Lenthall. Worsley confiscated the mace,
which he kept safe until the formation of the new “Barebones”
parliament on 8th July of that year, when he was requested to
return it to the House. Cromwell nominated Worsley as prospective
Member of Parliament for Manchester, its first parliamentary
representation, in September 1654, and further extended Worsley’s
powers within the year to create him Major General, with jurisdiction
over most of Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire, where his
powers were second only to Cromwell himself. His task was to
root out dissenters, to levy taxes on Royalists and to maintain
the peace. This enormous and responsible task, which he carried
out conscientiously took a severe toll on his health, and is
regarded as having hastened a premature death. He was precise
and diligent in the execution of his duties as he saw them,
kicking corrupt officials out of office, sacking incompetent
constables, schoolmasters and ministers of religion – as well
as evicting unscrupulous brewers and publicans who watered down
their ales! Worsley died shortly after a meeting of his Major
Generals summoned by Cromwell in London, after being ill for
some time. He was given full military honours and buried in
King Henry VII’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey. A statue of Worsley
can be found on the facade of Manchester
Town Hall


Robert Owen Monument
<< Robert Owen Statue at the corner of Balloon Street
and Corporation Street

Robert Owen was born in 1771 in Newtown, Montgomeryshire
in Wales, the son of a saddler and ironmonger. He has been called
the “Father of British Socialism”, though his early life was
occupied with being a successful emerging industrialist. He
stood out as an intelligent boy, and by the age of 7 was made
an “usher” at school, being given responsibility in teaching
some of his fellow pupils. He left school and home aged 10 to
work in Stamford and London, and in Manchester he worked as
an apprentice shopboy in a drapery shop in St Ann’s Square.
In the 12 years that he lived in Manchester, Owen went on to
amass a personal fortune
through the manufacture of spinning machines for the booming
local cotton and textiles industry. At the age of 20 he was
given the job of manager to one of Manchester’s largest factories,
in Piccadilly, and in less than 3 years had formed his own partnership.
His last business enterprise in Manchester was the Chorlton
Twist Company. Owen lived in Chorlton Hall, and in “Greenheys”,
the former home of Thomas De Quincey,
the author.
He was a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical
Society, and it was during various meetings and discussions
here, that he met Thomas Percival, a major influence on Owen’s
thinking, who was instrumental in the formulation of his ideas
on social reform. He tried to implement a more humane social
order and to improve the working conditions of his own employees,
though he was always constrained by business partners who were
more interested in profits than working conditions. Later, after
he moved to Glasgow in Scotland he opened new mills, and had
the opportunity to bring some of his theories into play.
He formed a worker’s community based on humane principles, which
included a free school for worker’s children. They were taught
such revolutionary subjects as dancing and singing! In 1815
Owen published plans for setting up what he called “Villages
of Co-operation”, to support the poor with government funds,
where they could establish work and crafts to be eventually
self-supporting. His ideas were very much ahead of their time,
and inevitably his ideas were rarely supported or implemented
as he had planned. Nevertheless, he continued to write and publish
books and articles expounding his new “socialist” policies,
which bore fruit much later when they were to form the basis
of Socialism and the Co-operative Movement in Britain.



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This page last updated 3 Jan 12.