SJ9494 : The Grave of John Critchley Prince

taken 4 years ago, near to Gee Cross, Tameside, Great Britain

The Grave of John Critchley Prince
The Grave of John Critchley Prince
The grave of John Critchley Prince is in St George's churchyard. The now barely visible inscription reads:

ERECTED
BY A FEW ADMIRERS
TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN CRITCHLEY PRINCE
AUTHOR OF
HOURS WITH THE MUSES
BORN 21ST JUNE 1808
DIED 5TH MAY 1866.

Thomas Middleton in the Annals of Hyde described him as the Bard of Hyde, one of a band of gifted singers and prominent literary men self taught be it said whose names are household words in the great industrial hive about Cottonopolis. In his day Prince was a great force in the active life of the manufacturing north, and probably no writer ever exercised a greater power over the people, or pleaded more eloquently for the emancipation of the sons of toil.

Critchley Prince was born on June 21st, 1808, at Wigan, in Lancashire. He was brought up amid the greatest poverty, and was never sent to school. His education was obtained solely from his mother and from the teachers of a Baptist Sunday School. At nine years old he started work with his father who was a "reed-maker". A reed was a tool used by hand-loom weavers to separate the threads. His father was a drunkard and a bully and often beat his son if he caught him reading. At eighteen, he married Ann Orme, a resident of Hyde. Once he married Ann, a family followed and by 1830 they had a son and two daughters. Employment was bleak, Prince sought work in France, but it didn't work out. After suffering much hardship on his return journey he arrived home to find his family in the poorhouse at Wigan. In later years he moved between Blackburn, Ashton and Hyde, searching for casual work. He supplemented his income by contributing poems to local papers and begging and borrowing off friends and acquaintances. Effort were made by friends and well-wishers to help lift him from poverty. Several cash grants from the Royal Bounty Fund were given, but each failed because of his addiction to alcohol, which he tried to kick many times but couldn't. His wife Ann died in 1858, and four years later he married Ann Taylor. His final years were marred by declining health and hardship from the near collapse of the cotton industry during the American Civil War. He died in a house in Brook Street, Hyde in 1866, he was by then almost blind and partially paralysed by a stroke suffered shortly after he remarried. He was buried in St George's churchyard and his funeral was attended by, among others, Edwin Waugh, Benjamin Brierley, Samuel Laycock and Elijah Ridings.

Information on John Critchley Prince and reproductions of his work can be found on Ian Petticrew's website LinkExternal link which is devoted to rediscovering the work of Gerald Massey and other contemporary poets mostly connected with the Chartist movement.
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SJ9494, 1731 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 14 September, 2013   (more nearby)
Submitted
Saturday, 21 September, 2013
Geographical Context
Religious sites  Burial ground, Crematorium 
Person (from Tags)
John Critchley Prince  Thomas Middleton  Ann Orme  Ann Taylor  Edwin Waugh  Benjamin Brierley  Samuel Laycock  Elijah Ridings 
Date (from Tags)
1808  1866 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 9486 9440 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:26.7804N 2:4.7313W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 9487 9439
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Other Tags
Grave  Chartists 

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