Civil unrest at Leckhampton Hill – brought to life through research and poetry
12th February 2021
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.