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Manchester Martyrs

Manchester Martyrs

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The Manchester Martyrs – William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O'Brien – were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

, an organisation dedicated to ending British rule in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. They were executed for the murder of a police officer in Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, England, in 1867, during an incident that became known as the Manchester Outrages. The trio were members of a group of 30–40 Fenian
The Fenians , both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood , were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century. The name "Fenians" was first applied by John O'Mahony to the members of the Irish republican...

s who attacked a horse-drawn police van transporting two arrested leaders of the Brotherhood, Thomas J. Kelly
Thomas J. Kelly (Irish nationalist)
Thomas J. Kelly was an Irish revolutionary and leader of the Irish Republican Brotherhood .frame|-Biography:...

 and Timothy Deasy
Timothy Deasy
Timothy Deasy was a Captain in the Irish Republican Brotherhood.He was captured during their abortive uprising in 1867. He was released with a fellow IRB prisoner Colonel Thomas J. Kelly by an attack on a prison van in Manchester. He escaped, but three of his rescuers were executed for their part...

, to Belle Vue Gaol
Belle Vue Gaol
Belle Vue Gaol was a Victorian prison in Gorton, Manchester, England. It operated between 1850 and 1888. It was notorious at the time for abysmal prisoner living conditions...

. Police Sergeant Charles Brett, travelling inside with the keys, was shot and killed as the attackers attempted to force the van open by blowing the lock. Kelly and Deasy were released after another prisoner in the van took the keys from Brett's body and passed them to the group outside through a ventilation grill; the pair were never recaptured, despite an extensive search.

Two others were also charged and found guilty of Brett's murder, Thomas Maguire and Edward O'Meagher Condon, but their death sentences were overturned: O'Meagher Condon through the intercession of the United States government – he was an American citizen – and Maguire because the evidence given against him was considered unsatisfactory. Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien were publicly hanged on a temporary structure built on the wall of Salford Gaol, on 23 November 1867, in front of a crowd of 8,000–10,000.

Brett was the first Manchester City Police
Manchester City Police
The Manchester City Police was, from the early 19th century until 1968, the territorial police force of the city of Manchester, in northern England.Under the provisions of the Police Act 1964, Manchester City Police merged with the Salford City Police to create the...

 officer to be killed on duty, and he is memorialised in a monument in St Ann's Church
St Ann's Church, Manchester
St Ann's Church, Manchester, was consecrated in 1712. Although named after St Anne, it also pays tribute to the patron of the church, Ann, Lady Bland. St Ann's Church is a Grade I listed building.-Architecture and setting:...

. Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien are also memorialised, both in Manchester where the Irish community made up more than 10 percent of the population and in Ireland, where they were regarded by many as inspirational heroes.


The whole of Ireland had been under British rule since the end of the Nine Years War
Nine Years' War (Ireland)
The Nine Years' War or Tyrone's Rebellion took place in Ireland from 1594 to 1603. It was fought between the forces of Gaelic Irish chieftains Hugh O'Neill of Tír Eoghain, Hugh Roe O'Donnell of Tír Chonaill and their allies, against English rule in Ireland. The war was fought in all parts of the...

 in 1603. The Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Republican Brotherhood
The Irish Republican Brotherhood was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic republic" in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century...

 (IRB) was founded on 17 March 1859 by James Stephens, with the aim of establishing an independent democratic republic in Ireland. The IRB was a revolutionary fraternal organisation, rather than an insurrectionary conspiracy; Stephens believed that a "thorough social revolution" was required in Ireland before the people could become republicans. The Fenian Brotherhood
Fenian Brotherhood
The Fenian Brotherhood was an Irish republican organization founded in the United States in 1858 by John O'Mahony and Michael Doheny. It was a precursor to Clan na Gael, a sister organization to the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Members were commonly known as "Fenians"...

 was founded in New York in 1859 by John O'Mahony
John O'Mahony
John O'Mahony may refer to:*John O'Mahony , founder of the Irish Republican Brotherhood *John O'Mahony , Irish Fine Gael politician representing Mayo and twice an All-Ireland winner managing the Galway Football Team*Sean Matgamna , also known as John O'Mahony, Trotskyist theorist*Seán O'Mahony ,...

, ostensibly the IRB's American wing. By 1865 the IRB had an estimated 100,000 members, and was carrying out frequent acts of violence in metropolitan Britain. The Irish community in Manchester accounted for more than 10 percent of the population, and one contemporary estimate put the number of Fenians and Fenian sympathisers living within 50 miles (80.5 km) of the city at 50,000.

In 1867 the Fenians were preparing to launch an armed uprising
Fenian Rising
The Fenian Rising of 1867 was a rebellion against British rule in Ireland, organised by the Irish Republican Brotherhood .After the suppression of the Irish People newspaper, disaffection among Irish radical nationalists had continued to smoulder, and during the later part of 1866 IRB leader James...

 against British rule, but their plans became known to the authorities, and several key members of the movement's leadership were arrested and convicted. Two succeeded in evading the police, Thomas J. Kelly
Thomas J. Kelly (Irish nationalist)
Thomas J. Kelly was an Irish revolutionary and leader of the Irish Republican Brotherhood .frame|-Biography:...

 and Timothy Deasy
Timothy Deasy
Timothy Deasy was a Captain in the Irish Republican Brotherhood.He was captured during their abortive uprising in 1867. He was released with a fellow IRB prisoner Colonel Thomas J. Kelly by an attack on a prison van in Manchester. He escaped, but three of his rescuers were executed for their part...

, and travelled from Ireland to mainland Britain to reorganise and raise the morale of the Fenian groups there in the wake of the failed uprising. Both were Irish Americans who had fought with distinction in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 – Kelly achieving the rank of colonel and Deasy that of captain – and both had played important roles in the abortive uprising; Kelly had been declared the chief executive of the Irish Republic at a secret republican convention, and Deasy commanded a Fenian brigade in County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...


During the early hours of 11 September 1867, police arrested two men found loitering in Oak Street, Shudehill, suspecting them of planning to rob a shop. Both were charged under the Vagrancy Act
Vagrancy (people)
A vagrant is a person in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular employment or income.-Definition:A vagrant is "a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging;" vagrancy is the condition of such persons.-History:In...

 and held in custody. The Manchester police were initially unaware of their identities, until their colleagues in the Irish police identified them as Kelly and Deasy.


On 18 September 1867, Kelly and Deasy were being transferred from the courthouse to Belle Vue Gaol
Belle Vue Gaol
Belle Vue Gaol was a Victorian prison in Gorton, Manchester, England. It operated between 1850 and 1888. It was notorious at the time for abysmal prisoner living conditions...

 on Hyde Road, Gorton
Gorton is an area of the city of Manchester, in North West England. It is located to the southeast of Manchester city centre. Neighbouring areas include Longsight and Levenshulme....

. They were handcuffed and locked in two separate compartments inside a police van escorted by a squad of 12 mounted policemen. The van contained six prisoners: a 12-year-old boy who was being taken to a reformatory, three women convicted of misdemeanours, and the two Fenians. As it passed under a railway arch, a man darted into the middle of the road, pointed a pistol at the driver and told him to stop. Simultaneously, a party of about 30–40 men leaped over a wall at the side of the road, surrounded the van and seized the horses, one of which they shot. The unarmed police were described by O'Meagher Condon, who organised the attack on the police van, as "a miscellaneous lot, apparently embracing the long and short and the fat and lean of the Manchester force"; they offered little resistance and soon fled.

The rescuers, after an unsuccessful attempt to force open the van with hatchets, sledgehammers, and crowbars, called upon Police Sergeant Brett, who was inside the van with the prisoners, to open the door. Brett refused, so one of the rescuers placed his revolver at the keyhole of the van to blow the lock, just as Brett looked through the keyhole to see what was happening outside. The bullet passed through his eye into his brain and killed him. The door was opened when one of the women prisoners took the keys from Brett's pocket, and passed them through a ventilator to the Fenians outside, allowing Kelly and Deasy to escape. Brett was the first Manchester police officer to be killed on duty, in an incident that became known locally as the "Manchester Outrages".


The police suspected that Kelly and Deasy had been taken by their rescuers to Ancoats
Ancoats is an inner city area of Manchester, in North West England, next to the Northern Quarter and the northern part of Manchester's commercial centre....

, considered at that time to be a Fenian area of Manchester. Anonymous letters alleged that the pair were being sheltered in a house on Every Street, but the 50 armed police who raided the premises found no signs of the fugitives. Despite a reward of £300 (£ as of ) offered by the authorities, neither Kelly nor Deasy were recaptured. An article published in the 14 November edition of The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

newspaper reported that they had made their way to Liverpool, from where they had taken passage on a ship bound for New York.

The police raided Manchester's Irish quarters and brought "dozens of suspects, selected almost at random", before local magistrates; the raids have been described as a "reign of terror" for the Irish in Manchester. Amongst those arrested was Thomas Maguire, a young Royal Marine on leave, who unfortunately for him had been in the vicinity of the attack on the police van and was Irish. Such was the zeal of the police that one man with a strong Irish accent surrendered himself to the magistrates "as the only means I have of saving myself from being arrested over and over again wherever I go, as a Fenian".

Committal proceedings

On 27 September 1867 committal proceedings
Committal procedure
In law, a committal procedure is the process by which a defendant is charged with a serious offence under the criminal justice systems of all common law jurisdictions outside the United States...

 were heard in front of a magistrate to establish whether there was a prima facie
Prima facie
Prima facie is a Latin expression meaning on its first encounter, first blush, or at first sight. The literal translation would be "at first face", from the feminine form of primus and facies , both in the ablative case. It is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a...

case against the 28 accused. The team of defence barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

s included Chartist
Chartism was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and 1859. It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838. Chartism was possibly the first mass working class labour movement in the world...

 leader Ernest Jones
Ernest Charles Jones
Ernest Charles Jones , was an English poet, novelist, and Chartist.- Background :Born in Berlin, he was the son of a British Army Major, equerry to the Duke of Cumberland, afterwards King of Hanover. In 1838 Jones came to England, and in 1841 published anonymously The Wood Spirit, a romantic novel....

, who had spent two years in prison for making seditious speeches, and W. P. Roberts, whose fee was paid by subscribers to a defence fund to represent nine of the men. Jones, representing Condon and O'Brien, clashed with the court almost immediately because the accused were handcuffed, saying "It appears to be discreditable to the administration of justice that men whom the law presumes to be innocent should be brought into Court handcuffed together like a couple of hounds." Jones also objected to the presence of a number of soldiers in the courtroom, and when the magistrate refused to order the prisoners' handcuffs to be removed he "marched dramatically" out of the courtroom saying "Then as a member of the Bar I decline to sit in any Court where the police override the Magistrate ... I cannot disgrace the Bar by proceeding with the defence."

All but two of the accused Allen and Larkin claimed that they had witnesses who would testify that they were elsewhere when the police van was attacked. The defence argued that "the rescue was not illegal as the prisoners [Kelly and Deasy] were wrongly imprisoned", and that there was no intention of "sacrificing human life", as evidenced by only a single fatality despite the presence of so many guns and so many shots being fired. Nevertheless, 26 of the prisoners were sent for trial before a judge and jury at the next assizes; two were released because of "unsatisfactory identification".


Proceedings began on 28 October 1867, in front of Mr Justice Blackburne and Mr Justice Mellor. Twenty-six appeared in court on the first day in front of a grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

, which found that there was a prima facie case against all of the defendants for murder, felony, and misdemeanour. It was decided to charge the five "principal offenders" – Allen, Larkin, Gould (O'Brien), Shore (Condon), and Maguire – under one indictment. They were therefore brought back to the courtroom the following day, when their trial proper began, despite none of them having fired the fatal shot.

Allen was a 19-year-old carpenter; Larkin was a tailor, the only married member of the group, and had four children. O'Brien, who had fought in the American Civil War, was a 30-year-old shop assistant from County Cork
County Cork
County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork . Cork County Council is the local authority for the county...

. O'Meagher Condon, born in Cork and 32-years-old, had also fought for the Union side in the American Civil War. Thomas Maguire was a Royal Marine who had served for 10 years and had just returned home on leave.

The jury retired at 6:15 pm on the fifth day and returned at 7:30 pm to give its verdict of guilty for each of the five defendants. When asked if they had anything to say before sentence was passed, several of the convicted men made a closing speech. Allen stated his innocence, and that he regretted the death of Sergeant Brett, but that he was prepared to "die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people".

Larkin said he felt that he had received a fair trial, and that his counsel had done everything they could in his defence. He ended by saying: "So I look to the mercy of God. May God forgive all who have sworn my life away. As I am a dying man, I forgive them from the bottom of my heart. May God forgive them."

O'Brien claimed that all of the evidence given against him was false, and that as an American citizen he ought not to be facing trial in a UK court. He then went on at length to condemn the British government, the "imbecile and tyrannical rulers" of Ireland, until he was interrupted by the judge, who appealed to him to cease his remarks: "The only effect of your observations must be to tell against you with those who have to consider the sentence. I advise you to say nothing more of that sort. I do so entirely for your own sake."

O'Meagher Condon's address to the court was considered by The Times to have "excelled all the other convicts in his zeal for the Fenian cause". He admitted to having organised the attack on the police van in his role as leader of the north-west section of the movement, but claimed that he "never threw a stone or fired a pistol; I was never at the place [where the attack took place] ... it is all totally false". He went on to say that "had I committed anything against the Crown of England, I would have scorned myself had I attempted to deny it". Towards the end of his speech he shouted, "God save Ireland!", a cry taken up by his companions in the dock.

William Allen, Michael Larkin, Michael O'Brien, Thomas Maguire, and Edward O'Meagher Condon, were sentenced to death by hanging – the only punishment English law
English law
English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

 at that time allowed for murder – again crying "God save Ireland" from the dock after sentence was pronounced. Maguire was subsequently pardoned and discharged, and O'Meagher Condon's sentence was commuted
Commutation of sentence
Commutation of sentence involves the reduction of legal penalties, especially in terms of imprisonment. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not nullify the conviction and is often conditional. Clemency is a similar term, meaning the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime...

 on the eve of his execution.

The trial took place in what was described as a "climate of anti-Irish hysteria" by the weekly Reynold's Newspaper, which described it as a "deep and everlasting disgrace to the English government", the product of an ignoble panic which seized the governing classes. A yell of vengeance, it said, had issued from every aristocratic organ, and that before any evidence had been obtained the prisoners guilt was assumed and their executions had been demanded.


In Thomas Maguire's case the witnesses who had identified the prisoners and had testified that Maguire was in the forefront of the attack had their evidence shown to be transparently false. This resulted in over 30 English reporters sending an appeal to the Home Secretary to have him pardoned. With such widespread doubts about the conviction of Maguire the government yielded to the pressure to grant him a pardon. This led many to believe that the other four would not be hanged since they had been convicted on the evidence of the same witnesses who, according to Liz Curtis, had "blatantly perjured themselves in the case of Maguire". While eminent lawyers tried through procedural means to halt the executions, leading figures such as John Bright
John Bright
John Bright , Quaker, was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, associated with Richard Cobden in the formation of the Anti-Corn Law League. He was one of the greatest orators of his generation, and a strong critic of British foreign policy...

, Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh was a political activist and one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th century. He founded the National Secular Society in 1866.-Early life:...

 and John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

 appealed for clemency.


A crowd estimated at 8,000–10,000 gathered outside the walls of Salford Jail on the evening of 22 November 1867 to witness the public execution of the three convicted men the following morning. A platform had been built about 30 feet (9.1 m) above ground, through the outside wall of the jail facing New Bailey Street, to support the gallows
A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or by means to torture before execution, as was used when being hanged, drawn and quartered...

. The spectators were "well supplied by the gin palaces of Deansgate and the portable beer and coffee stalls". According to Father Gadd, one of the three Catholic priests who attended to the men:
The authorities took considerable pains to discourage any rescue attempt. Over 2,500 regular and special police were deployed in and around the prison, augmented by a military presence which included a detachment of the 72nd Highlanders
72nd Regiment of Foot
The 72nd Highlanders was a British Army Highland Infantry Regiment of the Line raised in the late 18th Century in Scotland for service against the French...

 and a squadron of the Eighth Hussars. All traffic in and out of the city was stopped. The Times newspaper reported that by the time the hangings took place, shortly after 8:00 am, "the mob were quiet and orderly", in contrast to the previous night and early morning.
The executioner, William Calcraft
William Calcraft
William Calcraft was the most famous English hangman of the 19th century. One of the most prolific British executioners of all time, it is estimated that he carried out 450 executions during his 45-year career...

, was the most famous of the 19th century, but was reportedly nervous of executing Fenians, because of threats he had received. He was also "particularly incompetent", and was "notoriously unable to calculate the correct length of rope required for each individual hanging; he frequently had to rush below the scaffold to pull on his victim's legs to hasten death". Most accounts claim that Allen died almost instanteously from a broken neck, but Larkin and O'Brien were not so fortunate. Father Gadd, reported that:
Father Gadd refused to allow Calcraft to dispatch O'Brien in the same way, and so "for three-quarters of an hour the good priest knelt, holding the dying man's hands within his own, reciting the prayers for the dying. Then the long drawn out agony ended."


Most of the British press had demanded "retribution swift and stern", not because the men were Irish, but because they were Fenians; "the public demand for the death penalty was not simply an expression of anti-Irish sentiment, but rather a product of the Fenian panic and popular feelings of insecurity and the desire for order." The Daily Telegraph, for instance, although like most of its contemporaries describing Brett's death as "a vulgar, dastardly murder", nevertheless supported reform in Ireland; "we may hang convicted Fenians with good conscience, but we should also thoroughly redress those evils distinctly due to English policy and still supported by English power."

Many mock funerals were held in Ireland and even in a few British cities during the weeks following the executions, sometimes attracting crowds of thousands. These demonstrations of support for the three Fenians further outraged British public opinion, and "reinforced the prevailing sentiment that the Irish moral compass was somehow off-center". The executions gave rise to an enormous groundswell of feeling among Irish communities the world over; according to Christy Campbell, Ireland drenched itself in martyred indignation. One unexpected effect was the narrowing of the rift between the Catholic Church and the Fenians. Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, instructed his priests to pray for the dead men, and to say masses privately for them. Bishop Moriarty of Kerry, however, having once declared: "when we look down into the fathomless depth of this infamy of the heads of the Fenian conspiracy, we must acknowledge that eternity is not long enough, nor hell hot enough to punish such miscreants", prohibited such displays in his parish.

The executions were the inspiration for the song "God Save Ireland
God Save Ireland
"God Save Ireland" is an Irish rebel song. It served as an unofficial Irish national anthem for Irish nationalists from the 1870s to the 1910s. During the Parnellite split it was the anthem of the anti-Parnellite Irish National Federation....

", Ireland's unofficial national anthem, since replaced by "Amhrán na bhFiann
Amhrán na bhFiann
is the national anthem of Ireland. The music was composed by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, and the original English lyrics were authored by Kearney. It is sung in the Irish language translation made by Liam Ó Rinn. The song has three verses, but the national anthem consists of the chorus only...

" ("The Soldier's Song"). They were also "incalculable" in their influence some years later on the "political awakening" of Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell was an Irish landowner, nationalist political leader, land reform agitator, and the founder and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party...

, founder of the Irish Parliamentary Party
Irish Parliamentary Party
The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament elected to the House of Commons at...

. Speaking in the House of Commons ten years after the executions Parnell told the House of Commons that "I wish to say as directly as I can that I do not believe, and never shall believe, that any murder was committed in Manchester".


Monuments erected in honour of Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien stand in Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

, Kilrush
Kilrush is a coastal town in County Clare, Ireland. It is located near the mouth of the River Shannon in the south-west of the county. Kilrush is a town of great historical significance, being one of the listed Heritage Towns of Ireland.-History:...

 (County Clare), Clonmel
Clonmel is the county town of South Tipperary in Ireland. It is the largest town in the county. While the borough had a population of 15,482 in 2006, another 17,008 people were in the rural hinterland. The town is noted in Irish history for its resistance to the Cromwellian army which sacked both...

 (County Tipperary), Birr
Birr is a town in County Offaly, Ireland. Once called Parsonstown, after the Parsons family who were local landowners and hereditary Earls of Rosse. It is also a parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe....

 (County Offaly), Ennis
Ennis is the county town of Clare in Ireland. Situated on the River Fergus, it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway. Its name is a shortening of the original ....

 (County Clare), Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery , officially known as Prospect Cemetery, is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland with an estimated 1.5 million burials...

 (Dublin), and in St Joseph's Cemetery, Moston
Moston, Greater Manchester
Moston is a district of Manchester, in North West England, approximately 3 miles north east of the city centre. Historically a part of Lancashire, Moston is a predominantly residential area, with a population of about 12,500 and covering approximately .-History:The name Moston may derive...

, Manchester. The monument in St Joseph's Cemetery was designed by J. Geraghty and unveiled in November 1898 (53°30′56.17"N 2°11′24.14"W). Commissioned by the Manchester Martyrs Central Memorial Committee, it stands just over 20 feet (6.1 m) high and takes the form of a Celtic cross
Celtic cross
A Celtic cross is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection. In the Celtic Christian world it was combined with the Christian cross and this design was often used for high crosses – a free-standing cross made of stone and often richly decorated...

. On three sides of the pedestal are medallion portraits of the three men, originally surmounted by figures of the Irish wolfhound
Irish Wolfhound
The Irish wolfhound is a breed of domestic dog , specifically a sighthound. The name originates from its purpose rather than from its appearance...

, now removed. The site of this monument has been the scene of several disturbances, as it has been the tradition for Republican sympathisers to parade there on the anniversary of the deaths of those hanged. The monument has suffered several attacks to its structure, as well as acts of vandalism, and is listed as being "at risk" by the Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project.

Police Sergeant Brett was buried in Harpurhey Cemetery; the words "I will do my duty" are engraved on his tombstone. There is also a memorial tablet to him in St Ann's Church, Manchester
St Ann's Church, Manchester
St Ann's Church, Manchester, was consecrated in 1712. Although named after St Anne, it also pays tribute to the patron of the church, Ann, Lady Bland. St Ann's Church is a Grade I listed building.-Architecture and setting:...


External links