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Chartist Ancestors
What did your family do in the revolution?

Millions signed the three great Chartist petitions of 1839 to 1848. Thousands were active in those years in the campaign to win the vote, secret ballots, and other democratic rights that we now take for granted.

Chartist Ancestors lists many of those who risked their freedom, and sometimes their lives, because of their participation in the Chartist cause. The names included on the site are drawn from newspapers, court records and books of the time, from later histories and other sources.

I would like to thank the many historians, researchers and the descendents of those associated with Chartism who have helped with this site since it was launched in 2003.

Mark Crail, Editor

History research toolkit
Local and family history groups: full UK list

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How to...
Make the most of your visit to an archive or records office

Research your trade union ancestors

Find Chartist records in the National Archives

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Chartist timeline - 1836-60

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Trade union membership - 1901-2000

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Mark Crail

Variations on Chartism
Dig deep: the Chartist Land Plan

This page introduces the Chartist Land Plan, which aimed to resettle industrial workers on smallholdings by collecting small share contributions from Chartists and allocating farms by lot.

Jump straight to names of those allocated land

Other pages on this site dealing with the Chartist Land Plan
More about the Land Company and the names of subscribers
Chartist Land Company officials in 1849

Index of Chartist land plan subscribers in 11 Lancashire towns
Ashton-under-Lyne - 1,120 names
Bacup - 500 names
Bolton - 781 names
Bury - 639 names
Colne - 254 names
Oldham - 219 names
Preston - 215 names
Rochdale - 285 names
Salford - 350 names
Stalybridge - 643 names
Wigan - 69 names

With the Chartist movement demoralised by the rejection of the second great Charter of 1842, and many of its leaders on trial or in prison in the wake of that year's general strike, Feargus O'Connor led his supporters away from political action and into a plan for resettling urban workers on the land.

The Chartist Land Plan originated in speeches made by O'Connor at Chartist conventions in Birmingham in 1843 and Manchester in 1845, but it was only after the London convention of 1845 that the Chartist Land Co-operative Society was formed. This was later renamed the National Land Company.

Its aim was to sell 100,000 shares, the money from which would be used to buy estates. These would then be parcelled out by lot among the members, who would receive between two and four acres each.

In four years, the National Land Company attracted 70,000 shareholders, raised more than £100,000, acquired a total of 1,118 acres (the first of which, Herringsgate [in some sources given as Heronsgate] near Watford, was renamed O'Connorville), but succeeded in establishing just 250 smallholders. Its other sites were at Lowbands, Snigs End, Minster Lovell and Great Dodford in Worcestershire.

Opinions vary on the wisdom of the scheme. For many it was a utopian and even reactionary nonsense, doomed to failure both because it would inevitably disappoint the bulk of subscribers who failed to gain a smallholding from the lottery while diverting the Chartist movement from its objectives. But it may also be considered an inspired way of reawakening the enthusiasm of the many workers dismayed and alienated from political activity by the failure of the Chartist petition.

Either way, the scheme collapsed in recriminations by 1851, having failed to find a proper legal basis for its activities, and embroiling O'Connor in arguments about its finances. An utterly damning account of the land scheme's history, which puts much of the blame on the unrealistic and increasingly insane O'Connor, can be found in The Chartist Land Company by Alice Mary Hadfield (David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1970).

The list of 73 National Land Company shareholders who were allocated land at Minster Lovell (renamed Charterville) is drawn from The Northern Star . The other lists were compiled by Alice Mary Hadfield from the same newspaper and other contemporary sources. It is important to note that sometimes those allocated land in the ballots did not always take it up, and sometimes abandoned or sold their claim on.

Ballot for location on the Minster Lovell Estate
February 3rd 1848
Four acres

Benjamin Jackson, Oldham
W.Atkins, Peterborough
Robert Goodwill, Leeds
T.Pickersgill, Westminster
John Benson, Manchester
A.Dunford, City of London
S.Rathery, Dewsbury
R.Seed, Clitheroe
M.Cornwall, Bradford
W.W.Coombes, Newton Abbott
P.Loutel, Alva
P.O’Learey, Kidderminster
C.E.Hill, Rochester
J.Price, Pershore
W.Smith, Carlisle
J.Smart, Branham, Wilts
C.Barton, office list
J.Littlewood, Leeds
A.Lockwood, Wakefield
J.S.Beattie, Glasgow
J.Baker, Birmingham
J.Kendall, Bradford, Wilts
J.Plaice, Lambeth
E.Sikes, Huddersfield
T.Holland, Manchester
J.Ramsey, Glasgow
J.Stanton, office list, Coggeshill
G.Johnson, Mottram
J.Bennett, Wooton-under-Edge
H.Lester, Reading
A.Willis, Rochester
J.Hoe, Nottingham
A.Rice, Cheltenham
E.Coolan, Navarra St German
J.McWilliam, Manchester
J.Shawcross, Manchester
J.Campbell, Manchester
J.Gathard, Manchester

Three acres
J.Bowers, Birmingham
M.Dyson, Ashton
C.Arnold, Leicester
J.Holmes, Nottingham
C.P.Graham, Hull
J.Townson, Oldham
J.Hornby, Stockport
W.Bottrill, Northampton
T.Kirk, Hull
R.Tippler, Northampton
J.Horne, Brighton
J.Z.Barber, Westminster

Two acres
M.Stockley, Lamberhead Green
W.Hay, Stockport
H.E.Grimshaw, Ashton-under-Lyne
E.Tibbles, Cirencester
W.Smith, Newcastle-on-Tyne
H.Gose, Derby
O.Hornby, Manchester
S.Ashworth, Rochdale
J.Bennett, Stockton
D.Denton, Huddersfield
B.Sledaw, Rochdale
T.Bankell, Radcliffe
J.Ashanan, Dudley
J.Clark, Norwich
R.Butterfield, Bradford
T.Gilbert, Coventry
A.Brierley, Leeds
R.Jones, Bilston
T.House, Norwich
E.Stallwood, Hammersmith
J.Davis, Pershore
H.Heskit, Leigh
J.Crampton, Leigh

Wm.Cuffay, Chairman
Source: The Northern Star, February 12, 1848

Heronsgate (renamed O’Connorville)
Ballot names in order of their plots, 1846
Two acres

John Westmoreland, London
John Lambourne, Reading
Michael Fitzsimmon, Manchester
William Mann, Northampton
Philip Ford, Wotton-under-Edge
George Hearson, Leeds
George Mansfield, Bradford-on-Avon
Richard Eveson, Stockport
Charles Brown, Halifax
John Walwark, Ashton-under-Lyne
William Mitchell, London
John Firth, Bradford
Ralph Kerfoot, Rouen

Three acres
James Short, Bilston
William Oddy, Bradford
George Richardson, London
Benjamin Knott, Halifax
Isaac Jowett, Bradford

Four acres
Thomas Meyrick, Worcester
Joseph Mills, Ashton-under-Lyne
David Watson, Edinburgh
Martin Griffiths, Worcester
James Cole, Bradford
Barbara Vaughan, Sunderland
Alfred Crowther, Ashton-under-Lyne
Thomas Smith, Wigan
James Greenwood, Heddon Bridge
Thomas Smith, London
Thomas Bond, Devizes
James Taylor, Manchester
Joseph Openshaw, Manchester

Later, George Hearson of Leeds was replaced by Charles Smith of Halifax. By 1 May 1847, when the allottees took up their land, Charles Tawes of New Radford replaced Charles Brown of Halifax, and Alfred Barker of Ashton-under-Lyne replaced Joseph Mills, also of Ashton-under-Lyne.

Between this date, the sale of the land in 1857 and the production of a tithe role in 1858, there were numerous changes. These are listed in The Chartist Land Company by Alice Mary Hadfield, but the new names have no other information attached which would help to identify them.

Land allocated in 1846
Probably two acres

James Young, Manchester
James Dennis, Salford
Sheriff Wyatt, Leicester
William Jennings, Bilston
Arthur Shaw, Nottingham

Three acres
James South, Blackburn
Cornelius Ashton, Manchester
John Dennis, New Bradford
Alexander Robertson, Aberdeen
James Driver, Northampton

Four acres
William Young Souter, Westminster
Saville Crowther, Mottram
Thomas Rawson, Manchester
Edmund Kershaw, Rochdale
William Charlesworth, Stalybridge
James Bearman, Bocking
William Addison, Manchester
Thomas Richardson, London
George Webb, Reading
Thomas Aclam, Barnsley
James Halliwell, Hebden Bridge
James Wharnton, London
Christopher O’Doyle, O’Connorville
Isaac Weir, Manchester
John Renham, London
James Ferguson, Burnley
William Rogerson, Somerston
John Lee, Manchester
George Redfern, London

Runners up in the second ballot
John Hartley, Hebden Bridge
William Danley, Stockport
Richard Robinson, Clitheroe
George Smith, Halifax
William Johnston, Hindley
Thos Wm Dale, Macclesfield
John Cloud, Monmouth
George Forster, Manchester
William Sadler, Manchester
James Stott, Bradford

Snigs End
Land allocated in June 1848
Two acres

Emma Andrews, Banbury
S.Whalley, Manchester
J.Holt, Manchester
J.Hudson, Leicester
J.Carter. Upton-on-Severn
C.Frith, Greenwich
W.Curtis, London
W.Peckitt, office list
C.Jay, Hull
R.Wilson, Walsoken
C.Firth, office list
J.Harmer, office list
J.Smith, Birmingham
S.Needham, Derby
T.Sutton, office list
J.Langley, Norwich
F.Staples, J.Staples – family ticket, office list
J.Teague, Bilston
Mary Clarkson, Addingham
I.Goodhall, Market Lavington
W.Gray, Market Lavington
C.Buddecombe, Southampton
E.Edesbury, office list
W.Dart, Exeter
T.Hope, Ledbury
T.Ashman, Mells
R.Heppenstall, Hull
R.Bains, Newcastle-on-Tyne
J.West, office list
J.Robertson, Stalybridge
R.Halsale, Chorley
R.Daniels, office
D.O’Brien, Alva

Three acres
J.Kay, T.Buckby – family ticket, Ashton-under-Lyne
J.Watson, Dewsbury
J.Buswell, Banbury
A.Cleland, Glasgow
G.Close, Nottingham
T.Saville, Halifax
R.Winter, Hull
H.Oliver, Newport Pagnall
Matthew Brown, office list
Donal Robinson, Edinburgh
W.Gent, Wellingborough

Four acres
Doyle, O’Connorville
Baker, Birmingham
G.Wheeler, Reading
Cornwall, Bradford
Rawson, Manchester
Smith, London
Kindell, Bradford
W.Colston, Derby
J.Wakeman, Torquay
T.Newson, Dewsbury
D.Powell, Merthyr Tydfil
J.Brand, Sleaford
J.Rice, Bradford
T.Franklin, Limehouse
J.Kinross, A.Kinross – family ticket, Alva
J.Lawton, Retford
J.Simpson, Esther Hunt – family ticket, Manchester
R.Jarvis, office list
J.Smith, Rouen, France
E.Gee, Wigan
W.James, Merthyr Tydfil
J.Miller, Newton Abbot
J.Carew, Manchester
J.Ramsey, Glasgow
W.Jarrett, office list
T.Launchbury, Kidderminster

Find out more about Chartism on this website, or browse the Chartist Ancestors Bookshop.

Supporters of the Land PLan

Now that the three great Charter petitions have been lost, the best record of Chartist sympathisers is the list of shareholders in the National Land Company (which records a name, occupation and home address). This contains tens of thousands of names and can be freely consulted at the National Archives at Kew. Anyone wanting to see it should cite these references: BT 41/474/2659 for the initial list; and BT 41/476/2659.


A business opportunity

The land plan presented some with the chance to make a little money on the side, or to buy their way in, as these advertisements indicate:

WANTED, a Two Acre Allotment, at Mathon, Snig’s End, Moat or Filkin’s Hall; for which £40 will be paid. Apply by letter, post paid, to Mr Love, News Agent, 5, Nelson-street, Glasgow.
Northern Star, February 5, 1848

TO BE DISPOSED OF, A FOUR ACRE ALLOTMENT (obtained in the November Ballot); the successful allottee having engagements preventing him taking possession. Far particulars, apply (post paid) to Henry Whitworth, 35 Scott’s-row, Winding-road, Northgate, Halifax, Yorkshire.
Northern Star, February 5, 1848

TO BE SOLD A BARGAIN, A TWO ACRE ALLOTMENT, situated number seven, in the middle of the estate, which has been much improved. A three-roomed cottage and large outhouse is attached, with a capital iron boiler, water butts and a brick tank capable of holding some hundred gallons of water, a yard fenced round, together with pig sties and manure tank; a beautiful verandah with gates and railings in front of the cottage; one acre of land is in winter wheat and the rest is ploughed up ready for spring operations, with a sufficient quantity of seed potatoes and manure, a number of fruit trees &c &c.
All persons wishing to avail themselves of this offer (as no reasonable sum will be refused) must apply, immediately, to Mr John Horney, No 13, Northam’s-buildings, Somers town, London. All letters pre-paid with a stamp for reply.
Northern Star, March 17, 1849

THREE PAID-UP FOUR ACRE SHARES in the National Land Company; also £2 paid in part of FOUR ACRES. Price £10. They may be had in one or three separate lots at £3 each; the £2 for £1. Also a THREE ACRE SCRIP, drawn in the November ballot. Any reasonable offer, as the parties are about to emigrate.
Apply (by letter pre-paid) to Mr R.D.Morgan, Malt Mill-square, Merthyr Tydvil.
Northern Star, March 17, 1849


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