Liverpool History Society Questions

A selection of Liverpool history questions submitted to the Liverpool History Society

Tarleton’s Obelisk


Hi Rob,

A question for the blog? I’m trying to find out any information about “Tarleton’s Obelisk”. This was located at the side of St George’s Church – you can see it at far left in the illustration attached. St Georges’s church was built directly over the site of Liverpool Castle between 1726 and 1734.

The last service at St George’s Church was held on Boxing Day 1897 and by 1900 it had been demolished and replaced by the Queen Victoria Monument between 1902-6. Perhaps the obelisk was swept away during the same site clearance? I believe it was erected by John Tarleton who was Mayor of Liverpool in 1764/5 and died in 1773.

Banastre Tarleton was born in 1754, so he was about 19 when his father died. These dates would therefore suggest that John Tarleton did not commission the obelisk (as I first pondered) as a proud father in recognition of his son’s heroics during the American War of Independence, which didn’t begin until 1775.

But I am intrigued as to why he erected an obelisk in that location and what it represented.

Best wishes

Ron

Advertisements

12/02/2011 - Posted by | Tarleton's Obelisk | , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Hello Ron,

    I am still looking for particular references to the obelisk and any information it contained. Regarding John and his son Banastre Tarleton he was the fourth of seven children born to the Liverpool merchant, ship owner and slave trader, father John (1718 – 1773), who served as Mayor of Liverpool in 1764 and had extensive trading links with Britain’s American colonies. His son’s full title is General Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, GCB (1754 – 1833).

    Reviewing my trusty, but battered copy of “Recollections of Old Liverpool, by A Nonagenarian” it states; “Redcross-street was so named in consequence of a red obelisk which stood in the open ground, south of St. George’s Church. This street was originally called Tarleton’s New-street.” Tarleton-street is named after Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Banastre-street is named after him also. He is especially noted for supporting the slave trade, with which the port of Liverpool was particularly associated.

    In reality, Tarleton was working to preserve the slavery business with his brothers Clayton and Thomas, and he became well-known for his taunting and mockery of the abolitionists. He generally voted with the Parliamentary opposition, except that when the Fox-North Coalition came to power, he supported the government nominally headed by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland. He was rewarded with the title of Governor of Berwick and Holy Island. He is notoriously linked with “The Battle of Waxhaw Creek”, or as Americans called it the “Buford Massacre” or the “Waxhaw Massacre.”

    A recount of Tarleton’s action at the scene, American field surgeon named Robert Brownfield wrote that Col. Buford raised a white flag of surrender, “expecting the usual treatment sanctioned by civilized warfare”. While Buford was calling for quarter, Tarleton’s horse was struck by a musket ball and fell. This gave the loyalist cavalrymen the impression that the rebels had shot at their commander while asking for mercy. Enraged, the loyalist troops charged at the Virginians. According to Brownfield, the loyalists attacked, carrying out “indiscriminate carnage never surpassed by the most ruthless atrocities of the most barbarous savages.” Tarleton’s men stabbed the wounded where they lay. In Tarleton’s own account, he virtually admits the massacre, stating that his horse had been shot from under him during the initial charge and his men, thinking him dead, engaged in “a vindictive asperity not easily restrained.” The Waxhaw massacre became an important rallying cry for the revolutionaries.

    Regards

    Rob

    Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society
    Web Site:http://liverpoolhistorysociety.org.uk
    Liverpool History Society Questions: https://liverpoolhistorysocietyquestions.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Rob Ainsworth | 12/02/2011 | Reply

  2. Ron,

    From “LIVERPOOL DURING THE LAST QUARTER of THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. BY RICHARD BROOKE, ESQ. F.S.A. Page 114

    “Another market, which afterwards became the principal one for the sale of vegetables, butter, al other articles usually sold in a market, was established early in the last century, in Derby-square, and on the south side of St. Georges'”, Church, where Alderman Tarleton afterwards erected an obelisk of Red sandstone, which was called “The Red CROSS,” or “Tarleton’s Obelisk;” and, after it an establishment, the more ancient market in the vicinity of High-street and the Exchange, became disused, except as to the butchers’, which remained there many years after 1775.”

    Please excuse any typos as it is taken from an OCR scan of my copy. Hope this clarifies the question.

    Regards

    Rob Ainsworth

    Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society
    Web Site:http://liverpoolhistorysociety.org.uk
    Liverpool History Society Questions: https://liverpoolhistorysocietyquestions.wordpress.com/

    Comment by Liverpool History Society Questions | 14/02/2011 | Reply

  3. Ron,

    Further information

    Extracted from Chapter 2 Page 122

    “Brunswick-street did not then exist, and it WM not laid out until after the widening of Castle Street. In Derby square. and at the south end of Castle-street, were dwelling and shops and there St George’s Church was a conspicuous object. Derby Square then comprised the open space lying on the northward side of the church as well as on the castle west of it as far as the row of houses and shops stood, which were recently pulled down in laying out St Gorge’s crescent. The most southward houses of that row projected considerably towards St Gorge’s Church, and left a little passage between the row and the church, for foot passages only, called Temple-bar. One or two small houses were standing in what is now an open space, very near the north westward part of the church; and there was, at the westward end of it near the steeple, a considerable flight of steps called Kenyon’s Steps, which descended towards Preesons Row and James Street. In an open space at the upper end of Pool-Lane, (now South Castle Street,) and on the south side of St. George’s Church, the pillory, a moveable one, used to be placed, within the memory of numbers yet living, and the public stocks formerly stood. there; from that circumstance the spot was formerly called the Stocks Market; and the part of the open space immediately contiguous to Pool-lane, was used for’ the sale of vegetables and called the Green Market. A large. vaulted cistern of water, collected from the church roof, with a pump attached was under the obelisk, which stood contiguous to the fish market, then called the fish-stones, in the open space before mentioned. at the upper end of Pool-lane; and the cistern was in existence until the latter end of 1851, when it was destroyed. Fire engines were kept under an arch of the arcade, formed under the raised terrace before noticed of the church and the market for butter bacon and cheese was principally held under others of the arches.”.

    Regards

    Rob

    Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society
    Web Site:http://liverpoolhistorysociety.org.uk

    Comment by Liverpool History Society Questions | 14/02/2011 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: