And The Children's Teeth are Set on Edge

Adam Hodgson and The Razing of Caton Chapel

An electronic book by Jonathan Huddleston

Caton Chapel prior to 1864

The story begins with the destruction, in 1864, of the medieval chapel of Caton, near Lancaster, and its replacement by the neo-gothic Church of St Paul. Behind this event lies the surprising story of the Hodgson family which was strongly involved in the development of the Liverpool slave trade during the 18th Century and the reaction of its next generation to the continued existence of slavery and the profound social problems that came with the rapid development of the port. The story takes the reader from the time of the Seven Years War with France through the American and French Revolutions and includes the visit of Thomas Clarkson to Liverpool in pursuit of evidence against the slave trade. The family invested heavily in the development of cotton and silk mills in Caton. Adam Hodgson the second son of the slave trader Thomas Hodgson became a leading cotton broker and banker in Liverpool during the 19th Century. Adam Hodgson was an Anglican Evangelical committed to the abolition of slavery and to social and moral reform in what became the unhealthiest town in England. The story of this generation of Liverpool merchants encompasses the abolition movement, the effects of the Irish Famine and the rebellion of the Chartists and Repealers. At heart a free-trade Tory, threats to the established church from the reformers led Adam Hodgson to become increasingly committed to an ultra-Tory anti-catholic position. Finally the destruction of the chapel is shown to have been the result of the collapse in the cotton trade during the Lancashire cotton famine caused by the outbreak of the American civil war – the war to end slavery. The church can thus be seen as both a monument to slavery and to the abolition movement.

Since June 2010 beta versions of each chapter of the e-book - And The Childrens Teeth Are Set On Edge - by Jonathan Huddleston have been placed here in pdf format for free download and reading. The most recent revision of the book, compiled as a result of the many helpful and informative comments I have received, is now available in both "Kindle" and "pdf" formats via the links in the sidebar. See the Comments page for 15/02/2012 for information about this revision.

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Photos copyright Barclays Bank plc, S. Paul's Church, Jenny Smith : Used by Permission