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Gravestone of James Bentley

1834

This gravestone is a memorial to James Bentley who was killed in 1834. The inscription tells the story of his death during an industrial dispute at Bankside Mill and the importance of the funeral as a public occasion.

This gravestone was originally at Regent Street Congregational Chapel in Oldham town centre.

James Bentley, who was shot by strikebreakers defending a mill during what became known as the Bankside Riots. The disturbances are described in the inscription on this gravestone as ‘a time of general excitement’. The funeral was an important event in the town which showed the sympathy for the workers against the mill owners. A crowd or between 20,000 to 40,000 spectators (depending on which source you believe) watched a procession of 1,500 official mourners.