Civil unrest at Leckhampton Hill – brought to life through research and poetry

Dr Angela France, Course Leader for the MA in Creative and Critical Writing, at the University of Gloucestershire, has investigated the little-known instance of civil unrest that took place in July 1902 at Leckhampton Hill, to the south of Cheltenham.

New quarry owner Henry Dale had built a cottage for his foreman, Cratchley, which blocked a right of way on Leckhampton Hill and filled in a pit where working people held a fair every Easter. Closing the hill to local people in this way − led to riots. The ringleaders, known as ‘The Leckhampton Stalwarts’, were working men, clay-diggers and labourers.

Dr France’s research included primary sources from Gloucestershire County Archives: letters, court records, legal documents, photographs and newspaper reports from 1902-1904, relating to the disputed rights of way and the riots that resulted.

One of the ringleaders was a road sweeper called William Sparrow, who wrote many letters to the Gloucestershire Echo. His letters were intelligent, witty, and furious. You can read more about them here.

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