Friday, 29 May 2015

Ellen Strange - update on plans for 29 November


Ellen Strange was murdered near Ramsbottom by her husband in 1761 and following which local people began a practice that is now over 250 years old by placing stones in her memory on the murder spot. 
On 29 November 2015 there will be a chance to remember Ellen Strange and in doing so reaffirm the need to continue challenging domestic violence, which results in 2 women a week in the UK being killed by their partners or ex-partners. Thousands of other women suffer physical and emotional brutality.  

Please come along to Emmanuel Church of England, Chapel Lane, Holcombe Village, Ramsbottom BL8 4NB at 11am on November 29. Bring shoes and boots as the site where Ellen was murdered is on the local moors and the walk there is approximately 20 minutes away. On the return there will be tea and refreshments in a local hall.
Ellen Strange 
Ellen Strange (Broadley) was murdered by her husband, John Broadley on Holcombe Moor near Ramsbottom in January 1761. After which Ellen’s family and/or local people raised a pile of stones in her memory. This was called ‘Ellen Strange’ on the first Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1844-47. Yet by which time the true story had become clouded in the belief that a lover had committed the murder. One of the reasons for this was because of the practice - still common today in parts of Lancashire – to refer to married women by their maiden name. 
Other facts, including that the murderer had been convicted and executed, had also been replaced by fiction. Then in 1989; local author John Simpson published the results of his exhaustive research into events on the desolate moor over 200 years earlier. 
John and Ellen Broadley were a very poor couple who led an itinerant life. Prior to her wedding, Ellen lived at Ash Farm, Hawkshaw with her parents. It appears certain that Ellen, hoping to take advantage of the full moon, was en route to the family home when Broadley murdered her shortly after midnight The couple had been seen together at a local pub in the hours before Ellen died. 
When Ellen’s strangled and badly disfigured body was discovered her husband was arrested & indicted for her murder. At his trial a number of witnesses were called but as it was not the practice to write down such evidence then we don’t know what they said. What we can be sure of is that their evidence was insufficient to convict Broadley. Forensic evidence had not yet been identified & the charged man pleaded ‘not guilty.’ It is almost certain there were no eye-witnesses to the attack. 
Since 1761 the practice of adding stones to the Ellen Strange cairn has continued. Late last year a small number of trade unionists & domestic violence campaigners visited the cairn as part of the annual two week domestic violence awareness events organised each November. It was agreed to persuade more people to get involved in 2015. 
Meanwhile, £1760 has so far been raised by trade unionists. This will help pay for the reprinting of John Simpson’s book and for the social event on 29 November. Any further funds that are raised will be used to arrange transport from various venues. 
It’s hoped the event will attract significant media interest & Esther Brazil, a media student at Salford University, has agreed to film the day’s events & make a short programme for YouTube that could be shown at union branch meetings. "It is something more people should know about," said Esther. 

"I'd urge anyone who opposes domestic violence to get involved & come along on 29 November.” Martin McMulkin, Bolton TUC.

For further details please see    Alternatively contact Mark Metcalf on 07952 801783 

Bolton Trades Union Council has agreed that its bank account can be used for cheques, payable to Bolton TUC.  BTUC, c/o Bolton Socialist Club, Wood Street, Bolton BL1 1DY.

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