BOOK REVIEW - FATHER BRIAN SEALE THE MOSTON STORY 1983 Self Published.
A comprehensive beautifully illustrated history of Moston, where I live myself, in North Manchester, from Roman times to the 1980’s. This is a lavish labour of love. The Town On The Moss, (as Moston means) has played its part in history in more ways than one. Seale Centres first on the early tenants of Moston Hall, who included the Byrons, (Forbears to the poet Lord Byron, ). Sir Ralph de Moston first inherited the Moston estates as early as c.1200. The main village hall occupied high vantage ground fed by moss-streams, with access to Blakely to the North and Manchester itself, three miles South. There were deer in the park now called Boggart Hole Clough nearby. Moston often gets easily confused with neighbouring Nuthurst, now often called New Moston, though in settlement terms it predates Moston itself. Some of Moston’s history has been turbulent and tragic. Thomas Chetham who inherited Moston Hall was a staunch Roundhead in the Civil War, fighting against the Royalists in the 1642 Siege Of Manchester. The Lightbownes who came to the house a little later were related by marriage to Oliver Cromwell’s Favourite poet, John Milton (through Elizabeth Minshall). . Coal was mined here as early as 1615, and rich deep seams run for miles under the district. The pit was the scene of two tragic disasters. In 1884 a flood filled a major section of the pit, and though it killed or injured none, it proved disastrous in other ways. The pumps supplied by Matther & Platt nearby failed to drop the water levels, so four hundred men and boys lost their jobs. The tools of a Miner’s trade were acquired as they learned their craft, rather than easily shop bought. Now most picks and hammers were underwater. Despite hardship funds and charitable donations, the community was pushed literally to the brink of starvation before everyone could find employment again. In 1940, a coal truck brake failure pitched a truck and the men on board into a high-speed derailment, which killed nine men and injured many more. The Moston Pit itself closed in 1950, though miners continued to maintain it as a venting shaft site for the nearby Bradford Colliery until 1968. A group of houses built for the pit crews and families is still known as the Moston Miner’s Estate to this day. The Great Flood of 1872 floated coffins and corpses right out of the ground in Philip’s Park, in the Bradford District; many were reinterred in a stretch of consecrated open ground in Moston. This was the beginning for St. Joseph’s Cemetery (sometimes called Moston Cemetery). Another claim to fame for Moston is The Alexian Brother’s Nursing Home. The Monastic Brothers had helped wounded dispossessed veterans from the crusades. With the Reformation conflict between Catholic and Protestant, they migrated across Europe, and the Nursing Home is a legacy of their ongoing settlement in Moston. Protestant. / Catholic has made its mark on Moston too. The establishment of St. Luke’s Church in proposed and successful launching of the Lightbowne Diocese created much tension. This moved to farce with several thefts of the church’s large brass central altar cross. Eventually, the priest glued it down in a storage room, but the congregation prised it up with crowbars and restored it to the altar. It was stolen again in 1970. The church settled to a more relaxed history, serving proudly as a barrage balloon station during the Blitz. A startling history that deserves wider attention.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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