Kersal Moor

Kersal Moor

Infobox Mountain
Name = Kersal Moor
Photo = Kersal Moor.jpg
Caption = Kersal Moor, August 2007
Elevation = convert|30|ft|m|1 to convert|75|ft|m|1
Location = Kersal, Greater Manchester, England
Range =
Prominence =
Coordinates = coord|53.515278|N|2.276389|W

Type =
Last eruption =
Easiest route =
Grid_ref_UK = SD816021

Kersal Moor is an area of moorland in Kersal, within the City of Salford, in Greater Manchester, England, consisting of eight hectares bounded by Moor Lane, Heathlands Road, St. Paul's Churchyard and Singleton Brook.

Managed by Salford City Council's Ranger Team, the moor has for some years been designated a Site of Biological Importance, which is the designation given to the most important non-statutory sites for nature conservation in Greater Manchester. [cite web |url= |accessdate=2007-12-11 |date=2003-08-21 |title=English Nature grant Salford its very own nature reserves! |] In 2007 it was designated as a Local Nature Reserve by English Nature. [cite web |url= |title=Salford City Council Supplementary planning Document: Nature Conservation and Biodiversity: Adopted 19 July 2006 |Salford City Council |format=PDF |date=2007-07-19 |accessdate=2007-12-14] The ranger team takes advice from a local user group, the "Friends of Kersal Moor", who make suggestions about the management of the moor and help organise events such as litter collections.


Kersal Moor is one of the many fluvioglacial ridges that formed along the Irwell Valley during the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last ice age. [cite web |url= |accessdate=2007-12-11 |date=2003-08-21 |title=Exploring Greater Manchester — a fieldwork guide: The fluvioglacial gravel ridges of Salford and flooding on the River Irwell |author= Hindle, P.(1998) |publisher=Manchester Geographical Society] Typically for this type of landform, the subsoil is composed of sand mixed with coarse gravel. This is overlaid with a thin topsoil supporting a range of mosses, heathers, grasses, ferns, common broom, gorse and some trees, which are predominately oak with some rowan, cherry and other broadleaved species. The land to the south is elevated, rising to a high point towards the south west. From this elevated position there are views across Manchester to the Derbyshire hills in the south, to the Pennines in the north east and across the Irwell Valley and Salford in the west. The land falls away to the north, ending in a series of low rolling drumlin shaped hills on the northern edge, which were probably formed by sediment from the meltwater of the receding glaciers, in a process known as sedimentary fluting. The moor is criss-crossed with footpaths, many of which cut through to the sand and gravel below.


For such a small area of land, Kersal Moor, originally called Karsey or Carsall, see 'Townships: Broughton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 217-222. URL: Date accessed: 20 February 2008] has a rich history, due in part to it originally covering a larger area. The map of 1848see and search for "Kersal"] shows the moor extending across the land now occupied by Salford City F.C.'s ground, as far as Vine Street.

Flint scrapers, knives and other materials associated with neolithic man were discovered on the moor in the late 19th and early 20th century. [cite web |last=Connor |first=Mary |title=The First Place: A history of Kersal |work=New Deal for Communities: Charlestown and Lower Kersal Newsletter |date=2004-05-09 |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-03-21] The Roman road from Manchester (Mamucium) to Ribchester (Bremetennacum) roughly followed the line of the A56 road (Bury new Road) which is just to the east of Kersal Moor. There was a Roman camp at Rainsough just to the west, [cite web |title=Archaeological sites and monuments |publisher=Metropolitan Borough of Bury |url= |accessdate=2008-04-11] and some have speculated that there may have been a second camp to the east, in the area known as Castle Hill, [cite web |last=Higson |first=John |title=PRESTWICH, Lancashire (Gtr Manchester), ENGLAND:History |url= |accessdate=2008-04-24] making a defensive line across the moor to protect the north of Manchester, or Mamucium as it was called by the Romans.

port on the moor

The first Manchester Racecourse was sited on the moor. The earliest record of horse-racing is contained in the following notice in the "London Gazette" of 2–5 May 1687:

On Carsall Moore near Manchester in Lancashire on the 18th instant, a 20£. plate will be run for to carry ten stone, and ride three heats, four miles each heat. And the next day another plate of 40£. will be run for at the same moore, riding the same heats and carrying the same weight. The horses marks are to be given in four days before to Mr. William Swarbrick at the Kings Arms in Manchester.
The racecourse is shown on the map of 1848 as a roughly oval-shaped course extending around the west, north and east of the moor, crossing Moor Lane and carrying on around the ground that is now the home of Salford City F.C., roughly following the line of what is now Nevile Road. Racing carried on there until the new Castle Irwell Racecourse was built at Kersal Dale in 1847. [cite web |title=Kersal Dale Video |publisher=Salford City Council |date=2007-06-27 |url= |accessdate=2008-04-24]

During the 18th century the moor was also used for nude male races, allowing females to study the form before choosing their mates. Indeed in 1796 Roger Aytoun, known as "Spanking Roger" who was later a hero of the siege of Gibraltar, acquired Hough Hall in Moston through marriage to the widowed Barbara Minshull, after such a race. [ [ History of Kersal] 2007-10-27]

The moor has also been used for a number of other sporting activities. In the 18th and early 19th century archery was still practised as a village sport, and the archers of Broughton, Cheetham and Prestwich were renowned countrywide. The Broughton archers practised their sport on Kersal Moor and in 1793 the Manchester writer, James Ogden, composed a poem in praise of them, which begins: quote|The Broughton Archers, and the bowmen good
Of Lancashire, keep up the former name
Their sires acquir'd, for skill in archery ...

and ends with:

quote|... Near Kersal Moor the Broughton archers fix
Their targets pierced with many a well aimed shot.

By 1830 however, archery had become the sport of gentlemen and an exclusive club called "The Broughton Archers" was formed, the membership of which included some of the most influential men in the town. They originally met at a public house nicknamed "Hard backed Nan's" on the site of Bishopscourt where the Bishop of Manchester now resides, but after Bury New Road was built and the site became too public, they moved to the Turf Tavern on Kersal Moor. cite book |last=Dobkin |first=Monty |title=Broughton and Cheetham Hill in Regency and Victorian Times |publisher=Neil Richardson |date=1999 |location=Radcliffe |pages=63 |isbn=1 85216 131 0 ] In 1818 a golf course was founded on the moor for The Manchester Golf Club, a group of Manchester businessmen, some of whom had emigrated from Scotland. This was only the second course to be built outside Scotland. [cite web |title=A Brief History of Golf: Early golf organisations |publisher=Athens Golf Club |work=Tradition |date=2007-08-12 |url= |accessdate=2008-04-23] The course at that time consisted of only five holes and had no fairways or greens as the players had to share the ground with other users. The club was very exclusive and by 1825 a club house had been built on Singleton Road. By 1869 the course had increased to nine holes and the club continued playing on the moor until 1862.

Public gatherings and military use

As one of the largest open spaces close to Manchester, the moor had a history of use for army manoeuvres and large public gatherings. In June 1812, 30,000 troops from the Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Louth and Stirling regiments were camped on Kersal Moor ready for action to suppress the Luddites. [cite web |last=Peacock |first=Douglas |title=Luddites: War against the machines – page 2 |work=Cotton Times |date=2007-08-12 |url= |accessdate=2008-04-23] In 1818 a protest meeting was held there by coal miners to publicise their case for better pay, because of the dangers they faced at work, then, on 24 September 1838, the largest of a series of Chartist meetings was held on the moor. The meeting, which was planned as a show of strength and to elect delegates for the Chartist national convention, attracted speakers from all over the country and a massive crowd, which was estimated at 30,000 by the Manchester Guardian and 300,000 by The Morning Advertiser. The Chartists were active for the next eight months, but the poor attendance at a second meeting held there at the same time as a racing fixture on 25th May 1839, signalled the end of the movement, although most of the Chartists' demands were eventually met by Parliament. [cite web |last=Bloy |first=Marjorie |title=A Web of English History: Manchester Chartism |url= |accessdate=2008-04-06] In 1848, the moor was used as an encampment for the East Norfolk Regiment as part of an increased military presence in Lancashire brought about by the unrest caused by Chartist agitation. A duel was fought on the moor in 1804 between an army officer and his corporal, although the outcome is not recorded.

Other pursuits

As a relatively rural environment in an increasingly urbanised area, Kersal moor was also used for more peaceful pursuits. In 1829 an amateur insect collector named Robert Cribb, collected a series of about fifty small yellow and brown moths from a rotting alder on the moor. These turned out to be a previously unknown species of moth, but they were mistakenly attributed to a friend of Cribb’s, the collector R. Wood who had asked an expert to identify them. The moths were classified as "pancalia woodiella " (later "schiffermulleria woodiella") in Wood's honour. Enraged by this, and by accusations of fraudulently passing off foreign moths as British, Cribb gave up collecting and left the rest of the collection with his landlady as security for a debt. Here the stories from Manchester University [cite journal |title=Museum home to “Manchester Moth” |journal=UniLife |volume=3 |issue=10 |pages=4 |publisher=The University of Manchester |location=Manchester |date=2006-07-03 |url= |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-02-28] and The Australian, Museum Victoria, [cite web |title=The John Curtis British Insects Collection |url= |accessdate=2008-01-24] differ as to whether it was Cribb's pub landlady or the landlady of his lodgings, but either way the result was the same. The debt was not paid on time and when Cribb went back for the moths, which he had already sold to another collector, his landlady had burnt them. Subsequent efforts by other collectors to find more of the moths were unsuccessful, and the three specimens left in existence are thought to be the only representatives of an extinct species. "Schiffermulleria woodiella" is now included in the List of extinct animals of the British Isles.

In 1852, Queen Victoria commissioned a painting by the artist William Wyld (pictured) which became "A view of Manchester from Kersal Moor". The painting, which depicts the moor as a beautiful pastoral scene overlooking Castle Irwell Racecourse and the industrial landscape of Manchester, is now in the Royal Collection where it is listed as "Manchester from Higher Broughton". [cite web |title=The Royal Collection: Royal Palaces, Residences and Art Collection |url= |accessdate=2008-04-06] A steel line engraving of the painting by the engraver Edward Goodall was also commissioned. [cite web |title=Edward Goodall 1795-1870 |url=|format=JPG |accessdate=2008-04-06]

In 1876 the Lancashire dialect poet and songwriter Edwin Waugh moved from his Manchester home to Kersal Moor for the “fresher air”. Waugh's early life was spent in Rochdale and although he worked in Manchester he yearned for the moors he remembered from his youth, as is shown by the following stanzas from his song "Aw've worn me bits o' shoon away": [cite web |title=Edwin Waugh |work=Minor Victorian poets and Authors | |url= |accessdate=2008-04-30] quote|It's what care I for cities grand,
We never shall agree;
I'd rayther live where the' layrock sings,
A country teawn for me!
A country teawn, where one can meet
Wi' friends an' neighbours known;
Where one can lounge i' the' market place
An' see the meadows mown.

Yon' moorlan' hills are bloomin' wild
At the' endin' o' July;
Yon' woodlan' cloofs, an' valleys green,
The sweetest under th' sky;
Yon' dainty rindles, dancing' deawn
Fro' th' meawntains into th' plain;
As soon as the' new moon rises, lads,
I'm off to th' moors again!

As his health declined, Waugh moved to the seaside town of New Brighton. On his death in 1890, his body was brought back to be buried in the graveyard of St. Paul’s Church, on the edge of the moorland he loved so well. [cite web |title=Edwin Waugh |url= |accessdate =2008-04-06]

Literary references

There are references to Kersal Moor in the following books:

"Passages in the Life of a Radical (1840-1844) Chapter X11" Samuel Bamford

His best way would be to avoid Manchester, and go over Kersal moor and Agecroft bridge; and as I had a relation in that quarter who wished to see me, I would keep him company as far as Agecroft. [cite book |last=Bamford |first=Samuel |authorlink=Samuel Bamford |title=Passages in the life of a radical |publisher=T. Fisher Unwin |date=1841 |location=London |url=]
"Poaching on Parnassus" Manchester John Heywood 1865. [ Poaching on Parnassus (Manchester John Heywood 1865) 29-32.]

Lines to Mr. Isaac Holdenby Philip Connellon his Drawing of the Prestwich Lunatic Asylum:

And Southward at due distance the huge hive,
Of busy Manchester is all alive,
Its towering chimnies, domes and steeples rise,
In strange confusion thro’ the hazy skies;
There Broughton glimmers in the evening sun;
Here Cheetham Hill o’ertops the vapours dun;
There Kersal Moor the same bleak front doth shew,
That met the view Eight hundred years ago,
Where Clunian Monks there with their God did dwell,
Within the precincts of its holy cell.

In the novel "The Manchester Man" by Mrs. G. Linnaeus banks (1874) one of the main characters, Jabez Clegg, meets a street boy named Kit Townley, of whom Mrs. Banks says:

He knew him to be not over-scrupulous. He had seen him at Knott Mill Fair and Dirt Fair (so called from its being held in muddy November), or at Kersal Moor Races, with more money to spend in pop, nuts, and gingerbread, shows and merry-go-rounds, flying boats and flying boxes, fighting cocks and fighting men, than he could possibly have saved out of the sum his father allowed him for pocket-money, even if he had been of the savingkind; and, coupling all these things together, Jabez was far from satisfied. [cite book | last =Linnaeus Banks | first =G | authorlink = Isabella Banks | title = The Manchester Man | publisher = EJ Morten | date =1874 | location = Manchester| pages = 73| url =| isbn = 978-0859720540 ]


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