Samuel Bamford

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Bamford, Samuel (1788–1872). Lancashire radical and poet. Brought up a Wesleyan in Middleton near Manchester, he worked as a warehouse boy, farm labourer, on coal ships plying between Tyneside and London, and as a bookseller before setting up as a hand-loom weaver. Under the influence of William Cobbett he became a radical, founding the Middleton Hampden club in 1816 and being arrested for treason for advocating parliamentary reform in 1817. Acquitted of this charge, he was present at the ‘Peterloo’ massacre of 16 August 1819 as leader of the Middleton contingent and was sentenced to a year in Lincoln gaol for treason. This ended his radical career. He returned to hand-loom weaving and when this failed turned unsuccessfully to writing and public readings of his poetry. His autobiography was written in 1841–3 to justify his turbulent past and warn chartists against the use of violence.

Edward Royle