Explore the timeline to see how the events unfolded on 16 August 1819.
14th August

Hunt's Offer

Hunt offers himself for arrest; magistrates decline.

15th August

Police officers beaten

John Shawcross, police clerk, and James Murray, special constable, beaten up at White Moss.

15th August, PM

Loyalists assemble

Loyalists assemble at Police office to prepare statements of alarm.

16th August 08:00

Ground cleared

Town surveyor clears ground of stones.

16th August 08:00

Marchers assemble

Onwards: marchers assemble in surrounding towns: Bolton, Bury, Heywood, Rochdale, Middleton, Oldham, Saddleworth, Lees, Stalybridge, Ashton, Stockport and many others.

16th August 16th August 09:00

Magistrates gather

Magistrates gather at Star Inn, Deansgate.

16th August by 11:00

Magistrates move

By 11am Magistrates move to Mr Buxton’s House, Mount St.

16th August 11:00

Demonstrators arrive

First demonstrators start to arrive on St Peter’s Field. Some shops in town centre close.

16th August 11:30

Hustings erected

2-300 special constables arrive and form double line between hustings and magistrates’ house.

16th August 11:30

Stockport and Ashton marches arrive

Stockport and Ashton marches arrive.

16th August 11:30 -12:00

Jones, Wilde & Swift address crowd

Jones, Wilde & Swift urge them to peace and good order. Arrange ranks of men in a circle to protect the platform.

16th August 12:00

Other marches arrive

Saddleworth, Lees & Mossley, & Oldham marches arrive.

16th August 12:30

Magistrates visits

Over 50 local gentlemen visit magistrates to give sworn testimony of their alarm at the marches and meeting.

16th August 12:30

Other marches arrive

Rochdale, Heywood & Middleton march arrives.

16th August 13:00

Hunt's procession passes Exchange

Hunt’s procession passes Exchange.


Hunt's procession arrives at St Peter's Field

Richard Owen swears that he ‘considers the town to be in danger and the peace to be broken’. Magistrates issue warrant for the arrest of Hunt & associates.

16th August 13:20

Hulton requests support

Hulton sends separate requests for military support to Manchester and Salford Yeomanry in Portland St and Lieutenant-Colonel L’Estrange in Byrom Street. Hunt begins speech. Infantry moved forward to Dickinson Street, blocking exit towards town centre. The magistrates claim the Riot Act is read, but no independent witness saw or heard it.

16th August 13:30

Yeomanry arrive on field

Yeomanry arrive on field, knocking down and killing William Fildes (age 2) on the way. Yeomanry advance on hustings, knocking down and killing special constable Ashworth on the way. Deputy Constable Nadin & other peace officers follow and arrest Hunt.

16th August 13:35

Yeomanry attack hustings

Yeomanry attack hustings and surrounding crowd. Crowd panics and begins to flee. 15th Hussars arrive, followed by Cheshire Yeomanry. On request from Hulton, Hussars charge to disperse the crowd.

16th August 13:45

Field largely cleared of demonstrators

Yeomanry and special constables cheer outside magistrates’ house. Escaping reformers continue to be pursued in the streets by Yeomanry and special constables.

16th August 14:00

Hunt taken to New Bailey

Hunt and other arrested reformers taken to New Bailey courthouse to be charged.

16th August 18:00

Flag displayed in window

Captured flag displayed in window of Tate’s grocer’s shop, New Cross, provoking riot. Troops arrive and repeatedly charge to disperse crowd.

16th August 19:00

Cavalry attack

Cavalry attack workers leaving Murray’s mill, Ancoats.

16th August 20:00

Rifle volleys

Platoon of infantry at New Cross fire rifle volleys down three streets, killing Joseph Whitworth and seriously injuring several others. Rioting continues into the night.

17th August 10:00

Police officer beaten to death

Robert Campbell, special constable, Ancoats, lynched and beaten to death; it is believed (probably wrongly) that he killed a child the previous day.

17th August 11:00

Large crowd on Oldham Road

Alarm that a large crowd is advancing down Oldham Road to attack Manchester. Exchange and many shops closed and troops & cannon stationed around the town; it is a false alarm.

17th August Evening

Macclesfield riots

Rioting in Macclesfield after news of Manchester affair arrives; buildings attacked, arms seized, London mail coach delayed several hours.

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