Moors, Fields, and Popular Protest in South Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1800–1848
This article argues that moors and fields in south Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire were integral to the symbolism of political and social agitation during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The landscape formed the foreground rather than merely the background to protest. The association of particular moors with protest became established in local, and increasingly national, radical collective memory during this period. Skircoat Moor, Hartshead Moor near Huddersfield, and Kersal Moor near Manchester, were the most prominent among sites that gained a history of political agitation. The ways in which local inhabitants symbolized such moors in protests, and interacted with moors in their everyday life, reveals another insight into the culture of popular politics. Political actions and identities were shaped not just by the principles and ideologies transmitted through texts and speeches, but also by the landscape forming a visual and physical reminder of social structures and a history of conflicts over the freedom to meet as well as speak.