Worker’s Memorial Day Walk Remembering Allen Davenport

Remembering Allen Davenport

‘I was born May 1st, 1775, in the small and obscure village of Ewen … somewhat more than a mile from the source of the Thames, on the banks of which stream stands the cottage where I was born … I was never in any school … I had to get the very alphabet by catching a letter at a time as best I could from other children, who had learnt them at school … The next grand object I had in view was to acquire the art of penmanship …’

‘If there were no parks or pleasure grounds, the whole face of the country would present to the eye cornfields, meadows, gardens, plantations of all kinds of fruit trees etc., all to the highest state of cultivation.’

A government spy’s report of Allen’s words after Peterloo: ‘The Yoemanry had murdered our fellow Countrymen but had we in our own Defence shot even one or two of them it would have been called Murder and Rebellion, but [we] will put up with it no longer … we may loose a few lives in the onset yet what is the army compared to the Mass of the Country who are laboring under the yoke of Despotism … these Yoemanry are but few compared with us and it only wants the People to make up their minds as one Man for it is better to Die fighting in the cause of Liberty and freedom than be starved by our Oppressors.’

Thanks to Deborah Roberts for the above photograph.

Remembering Allen Davenport

‘I was born May 1st, 1775, in the small and obscure village of Ewen … somewhat more than a mile from the source of the Thames, on the banks of which stream stands the cottage where I was born … I was never in any school … I had to get the very alphabet by catching a letter at a time as best I could from other children, who had learnt them at school … The next grand object I had in view was to acquire the art of penmanship …’

‘If there were no parks or pleasure grounds, the whole face of the country would present to the eye cornfields, meadows, gardens, plantations of all kinds of fruit trees etc., all to the highest state of cultivation.’

A government spy’s report of Allen’s words after Peterloo: ‘The Yoemanry had murdered our fellow Countrymen but had we in our own Defence shot even one or two of them it would have been called Murder and Rebellion, but [we] will put up with it no longer … we may loose a few lives in the onset yet what is the army compared to the Mass of the Country who are laboring under the yoke of Despotism … these Yoemanry are but few compared with us and it only wants the People to make up their minds as one Man for it is better to Die fighting in the cause of Liberty and freedom than be starved by our Oppressors.’

Concluding Remarks on Allen Davenport
The King, or Legitimacy Unmasked, A Satirical Poem
Printed by the celebrated exponent of the Spencean burlesque,
Samuel Waddington in Oxford Street in 1819;
This poem written by the son of a weaver in Ewen,
Was bought by a government spy from Robert Wedderburn;
This boy who taught himself to read and write,
Would become a noted writer for Sherwin’s Political Register,
But when he made his last recorded visit to Wedderburn’s chapel,
So he ceased to contribute to the radical press –
The Theological Comet asked:
‘What is become of A.D.?’
Followed by Davenport’s poem,
‘Saint Ethelstone’s Day’,
Which commented upon Peterloo’s
‘Yoemanry Butchers’ who
‘hacked off the breasts of women
and then cut off the ears and noses of men’,
Then his lines about consequent Christian hypocrisy;
So let us remember Allen Davenport with his own concluding words:

‘Every man should study Politics, for my part I study them all Day. I write on them, I dream of them at Night, I stand here twice a week preaching Blasphemy and Sedition (as they call it and will continue to do so unless they rob me of my liberty.’
And, finally, his speech from October 27th 1819: “Let us prepare to knock down this system of tyranny to rush upon the Cannon’s Mouth and if we should not succeed Die gloriously in the Struggle.”

Thanks to Mark Hewlitt for the below images: