'Canky`s Trade' is set in the south Lancashire township of Middleton in 1811. Lord Byron, pursuing a legal entitlement which he had in nearby Rochdale, stayed at Hopwood Hall, close to Middleton in September of 1811, and the novel deals partly with Byron`s impact on the people he meets there. 1811 was also a year when the infamous Luddites were at large, and whose destructive resistance to new machinery prompted the Frame-breaking Bill, which Byron was to oppose in the House of Lords. And it was in the middle of the period when Oliver Canky, sexton of the parish churchyard, plied his `trade`. Throw in a young local weaver and poet, Sam Bamford, a murdered prostitute 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…
Author: John Wheatley
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