Canky`s Trade : John Wheatley
In 1811, Lord Byron, pursuing a legal entitlement to lands in Rochdale, stayed at Hopwood Hall, close to the South Lancashire town of Middleton. 1811 was also a year in which the notorious Luddites were active in the region, and whose resistance to new machinery prompted the Frame Breaking Bill, which Byron was to oppose in the House of Lords.
1811 was also in the middle of the period when Oliver Canky, sexton of the parish churchyard plied his trade in bodies, destined for the dissection laboratories of the medical schools in Manchester. Add to these a local weaver and poet, Sam Bamford, a local girl turned bad, and some strange goings-on in the cellar of the isolated house of Canky`s friend, Owd Scrat, and there you have the basic ingredients of the story.
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