Here are some notes on all the characters in my historical novel A Weaver’s Web listed in the order they first appear in the book.
Henry Wakefield: Handloom weaver. Head of the main family in story and the protagonist. Initially loyal to god, king and country, Henry is conservative and doesn’t want family members working in the new factories. He becomes a Nonconformist and Radical, attending reform meetings, including Peterloo. He starts his own factory and reverts to Church of England and supporting the aristocracy. His desire to make more and more money and his old-fashioned ways cause many problems for family members. Another important change, seemingly for the better, comes in the last couple of lines of the novel. Henry means well, but many of his actions and ways have adverse consequences.
Daniel Crowther: Agent for Frederick Manning’s mill, Manchester.
orphan boy: Crowther’s assistant.
Sarah Wakefield: Henry’s wife and the story’s heroine. Has five children to raise in conditions of abject poverty. Naturally meek and mild, she is not afraid to take on Henry and actually puts him in his place a number of times. When the family becomes well-off, Henry expects her to be lady of the house but she never successfully makes the transition, preferring cooking, cleaning, mending, etc. the stress of this plus her eldest son becoming a convict leads to a mental breakdown and she spends years in the asylum.
Albert Wakefield: Henry and Sarah’s first son. Extrovert who wants to make his own way in life. Runs away to Manchester at 12. Is transported to New South Wales as a convict. Returns but wants nothing to do with Henry. They meet up again in tragic circumstances at the end.
Benjamin Wakefield: Their second son. Introvert. Is thrown out of church. Flogged at work. Rebels and falls in love with an orphan girl, which doesn’t sit well with Henry. Visits his mother at the asylum but she can receive no visitors.
Emily Wakefield: Their first daughter. Nice early. Changes for the worse later as she assumes the role of lady of the house when her mother is in the asylum.
Thomas Wakefield: Their third son.
Catherine Wakefield: Their second daughter. Disappears in the melee at Peterloo.
Father Edmond: Local Anglican priest. Has little time for Henry and his family. Spends much time fighting the Nonformists.
cook: Edmond’s cook.
James Johnson (Johnno): Henry’s friend. Factory worker. Helps convert Henry to Nonconformism and Radicalism. Card playing partner.
families: heading to church.
congregation: at Edmond’s church.
attendants: at Edmond’s church.
Father Pickering: Minister at Methodist chapel. Has more time for Henry and family, although Sarah worries.
organ player: at chapel.
attendants: at chapel.
congregation: at chapel.
blind man: at chapel.
crowd/club members: at Hampden Club reform meeting (real) at chapel.
Samuel Bamford: Real person. Weaver. Secretary of Middleton’s Hampden Club. Leads the Middleton contingent at Peterloo.
drunk: at meeting. Volunteers as delegate.
drinkers: Group who go to the Green Gate Inn after meeting.
publican: of Green Gate.
women: at Green Gate.
prostitute: at Green Gate.
old woman: on her way to market.
stallholders and crowd: at Middleton market.
stallholders and crowd: at Manchester market.
Mr Montgomery: Workshop owner. Employs Albert. Nice guy, for the era.
people in street: heading home from work.
builders: at building site.
Montgomery Junior: Workshop master. Nasty.
workers: at workshop.
vagabonds: in lanes; at building site.
kidnapper/driver: of Albert.
master: at factory.
owner: of factory.
workers: arriving for work at factory.
older boy: arriving for work at factory.
Mr Blake: rent collector.
Mr Hobsworth: mention only (we don’t actually see him). Henry’s landlord.
Mr Cripps: mention only. New landlord.
Jane: Sarah’s sister.
Isaac: Henry’s friend. Card playing partner.
Richard: mention only. Benjamin’s friend.
Mr Nancarrow: moves Wakefields to Manchester.
travellers: as Wakefields head to Manchester.
elderly couple: provide shelter from rain.
people in streets: going about their business in Manchester.
Uncle William: Henry’s uncle. Has a one-roomed house in Manchester. The Wakefields initially live there too.
agent: shows houses to Henry.
neighbours: watching Henry show Sarah new house.
children: playing at end of street.
Mr Featherstone: Weaver. Buys Henry’s spare loom.
people in street: heading to work.
woman: nearly empties chamber-pot over Benjamin.
Mr Farrell: master of apprentices where Benjamin works. Nasty.
workers: at this factory.
Mr Thorndike: factory owner.
Charlotte: factory orphan where Benjamin works. Lovely. Later chance meeting with Benjamin leads to romance and marriage.
master: at the factory.
master’s orphans: who work at night.
Patrick: fourth card player at Cloak and Dagger Inn. Crook.
patrons: at Cloak and Dagger.
Constable Phipps: Policeman.
publican: of Cloak and Dagger.
watchman: in street.
guard: at factory where Benjamin works.
odd job man: at factory where Benjamin works.
dwarf: at factory where Benjamin works.
two robbers: on road to Middleton.
driver: at Middleton.
Mr Pilkington: old friend of Henry’s.
Mrs Grimshaw: neighbour. Lovely old soul.
Baby/Bridget: Sarah and Henry’s new baby.
doctor: visits Sarah and Baby.
people from house: shoo Sarah away.
women, children: washing, bathing in river.
crowds: at reform meetings.
Mr Saxton: Real person. Speaker at meetings.
Mr Walker: Real person. Speaker at meetings.
crowd of 60,000+: on way to and at St Peter’s Field for reform meeting (Peterloo – real event)
William Hulton: Real person. Magistrate assigned to keep check on meeting; chairman.
Rev C W Ethelston: Real person. Magistrate assigned to keep check.
James Norris: Real person. Magistrate assigned to keep check.
Rev W R Hay: Real person Magistrate assigned to keep check.
several messengers: to the magistrates.
troop x 1,000+: brought in to maintain and order at meeting.
special constables x 200: recruited for the day.
Joseph Nadin: Real person. Deputy constable.
Henry (Orator) Hunt: Real person. Speaker at St Peter’s Field meeting.
several reporters: from the Radical press.
loyalists x 30: to sign affidavit.
Captain Birley: Real person. Leader of the Manchester Yeomanry (real).
Colonel l’Estange: Real person. Leader of the Fifteenth Hussars (real).
constable: stops Henry from re-entering St Peter’s Field.
soldier: stops Henry from re-entering St Peter’s Field.
several soldiers: stop Henry from re-entering St Peter’s Field.
groups of young men: in street with weapons, after Peterloo.
Joseph Wearmouth: special constable.
Mr Perrywinkle: master at Henry’s new mill.
workers: at mill.
two men: in street.
Perrywinkle’s brother: mends machinery.
drunk: outside factory.
drunken woman: at mill.
two robbers: rob Henry.
woman: at window.
man and woman: in street, drunk.
constable: in street.
Martha: Wakefields’ new maid. Becomes part of family.
Alice: Wakefields’ new cook. Becomes part of family.
Gertrude: mention only. Neighbour.
Jacob: Wakefields’ new driver.
Rowland Sinclair: Manchester merchant.
Jack Flanders: Sinclair’s assistant.
middle-aged man: finds constable.
constable: arrests Albert and Flanders.
people in street: watching Albert and Flanders.
inmates: at local gaol.
gaoler: at local gaol.
two other prisoners: in cart with Albert and Flanders.
driver: of prisoner cart.
crowd: at court, John of Gaunt’s castle, Lancaster.
old woman: at court.
three judges: at court.
assistant: at court.
prisoner: first case.
two officials: bringing in prisoners.
two prisoners: second case.
witnesses: second case.
constable: reads charges against Albert and Flanders.
heckler: in gallery.
official: admonishes Henry.
guests: at Wakefields’ society party.
butler: at party.
merchant: at party.
bishop: at party.
Mr Dickson: merchant/supplier.
attendant: at Henry’s mill.
saddler: at Urmston (real place).
card players: at Urmston hotel.
innkeeper: at Urmston hotel.
two robbers: hold up Henry and Sarah.
innkeeper: at Garston (real place) hotel.
two drinkers: at Garston hotel.
convict gangs: on the Mersey River (real place).
Captain Hardwick: of the Argot.
convict: being flogged.
townspeople: in street.
elderly couple: at country cottage.
guests: at Wakefields’ party.
woman: at party, talks to Sarah.
second woman: at party, talks to Henry.
her husband: a merchant
guard: at asylum.
assistant: at asylum.
two elderly women: outside asylum.
Rosanna: asylum inmate. Is nice to Sarah.
other inmates: at asylum.
Miss Brody: Supervisor at asylum. Huge and nasty. Later, confronts Sarah at market.
her two assistants: at asylum.
Dr Neagle: from infirmary, next door.
two kitchen workers: at asylum.
two young female inmates: at asylum.
Elizabeth: mention only. Asylum inmate.
inmate: in bed with assistant.
cricketers: from Gentlemen and Artisans teams.
supporters: of both teams.
umpire: of game.
scorer/bookie: at game
local priest: passes by game.
scorer’s wife: at her house.
people in streets: when Benjamin meets up again with Charlotte.
young pickpocket: tries to pickpocket Benjamin.
girl: at Charlotte’s house.
Ellen: Charlotte’s ‘aunt’.
Nicholas: resident where Charlotte lives.
George: resident where Charlotte lives.
other residents: where Charlotte lives.
a master: at Henry’s mill.
publican: of Crown and Anchor.
two drinkers: at Crown and Anchor.
Margaret: mention only. Albert’s girl in Sydney.
apprentices: at Henry’s mill.
their master: at Henry’s mill.
women in dormitories: at asylum.
watchman: near asylum.
people: at market.
guard: at Henry’s mill.
Gabriela: little girl at church where Baby was buried.
her mother: at house near church.
the mother’s baby: at house near church.
the mother’s toddler: at house near church.
stallholders: at market.
elderly couple: selling farm produce at market.
man: coming out of workshop where Albert works.
Mr Halliwell: workshop owner where Albert works.
old man: Sarah’s first customer.
worker: at Halliwell’s. Carries Sarah’s trestle and box.
publican: of Plough Inn.
patron: at Plough Inn.
Hannah: mention only. Cousin of Wakefield children.
Joshua: Jacob’s brother, Charlotte’s ‘father’.
Lucy: Martha’s sister, Charlotte’s ‘mother’.
Jane’s family: Jane is Sarah’s sister.
wedding guests: at Benjamin and Charlotte’s wedding.
Father Knox: officiates at wedding.
baby: Charlotte and Benjamin’s.
worker: at Halliwell’s.
watchman: comes to Wakefields’ house.
crowd: watching fire.
master: at window.
machine breakers: at fire.
rescuers: at fire.
orphans: rescued, and fleeing into the night.