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Biographies of people from the Stoke-on-Trent & 
Newcastle-under-Lyme Conurbations

Jeremiah Yates


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Jeremiah Yates  b.1808 d.1852

Potter, Chartist, Coffee House Owner, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent 

  • Jeremiah Yates, was born 2nd April 1808 at Lane End in Stoke-on-Trent, the North Staffordshire Potteries.  

  • He had an eventful life and was a leading Chartist.

  • Jeremiah was already an active Chartist by 1839 (when he was 28)

  • The Yate's house at Miles Bank was large enough to be a centre of Chartist activity. Is is described variously as a 'Coffee House' and 'Temperance Hotel'. Yates was a very active Chartist. Jeremiah Yates was selling Chartist literature and also 'Chartist Beverage', a cheap coffee substitute, from his Miles Bank home.

  • In 1842 Thomas Cooper (a leading Chartist from Leicester) visited Hanley to speak, he lodged at Yates home. 

  • After the 1842 riots Yates was tried, convicted and sentenced to one year (a light sentence) in Stafford Gaol.

  • When he died in 1852, at only 44, his funeral procession attracted two thousand people.



Jeremiah and his wife Ann were living at Crown Bank, Shelton (Hanley)



Hanley town centre from a 1898 map

Hanley town centre from a 1898 map
Miles Bank & Crown Bank can be seen as adjacent areas



Crown Bank, Hanley - 1893
Crown Bank looking towards Miles Bank on the left is Stafford Street



by 1841 Jeremiah and his wife Ann were living at Crown Bank, Shelton (Hanley)....

JUNE 6 1841
992/8 Shelton District 11 page 17
Parish: Stoke on Trent
Township: Shelton
Crown Bank, Stafford Row

- Jeremiah Yates aged 31 Pottery turner

- Ann Yates aged 22 

- Sarah aged 2

- Mary aged 2 months

- Jane Smithaged 15 Pottery transferring.

The neighbours of the Yates family on Crown Bank included -a 'hairdresser, shoemaker, milliner, coaldealer, newsagent, lodging house keeper, publican, three agricultural labourers, butcher, cooper, road surveyor and a pauper.



One of the early chartist meetings at the Sea Lion Inn


The Sea Lion pub, Town Road, Hanley

The Sea Lion pub, Town Road, Hanley


The People's Charter (was first published in May 1838 and there was a meeting in support at the Sea Lion Inn, Hanley on 11 August 1838 and a demonstration of 20,000 people in Hanley in November. 





Jeremiah Yates and chartist activities at his coffee house

Jeremiah Yates was involved in chartist activities and the first printed reference to him is in a report in the newspaper 
"The Operative" The issue for 20 January 1839 contained the report:

"Chartist Dinner at the Lamb Inn"
"Pottery Political Male and Female Unions"

A public dinner took place in the large room at the Lamb Inn, Hanley on Monday last, the 7th instant when upwards of 100 sat down to partake of such fare as ought to grace every poor man's table (but who are unhappily deprived of it by the vile place-hunting, sinecure seeking aristocrats of this nation)....

After the cloth was drawn, a public meeting was held when Mr. G Mart of Stoke, a tried friend of the Working Classes was unanimously called to the chair".

Several resolutions were carried including one "Moved by Mr. John Sutherland, seconded by Mr. Jeremiah Yates that our female friends be requested to lend their able assistance in the further collection of the National Rent".



In 1841 Thomas Cooper began his Chartist work in Leicester. He established and edited The Commonwealthsman, a radical paper (weekly,lid) and distributed this and other pamphlets to agents in the Midlands. Jeremiah yates was one of these agents and sold this literature to Chartists from his house. 

Jeremiah also sold  "Beverage", a cheap coffee substitute, which he bought through Thomas Cooper from the Leicester manufacturers Crow and Tirrell.

12 JUNE 1842 Crown Bank, Hanley

Dear Cooper,

You will please send in my next Parcel

100 What is a Chartist
50 Hints to the army
50 Calumnies Refuted
Second Part of Thos Paines Rights of man
2 Red Books
2 Poor mans Companion
6 F O'Connor on the land
Commonwealthsman as Usual
1 Copies Each of Dr Channings Pamphlets 

I Remain
Yours Truly
Jeremiah Yates


Cooper wrote (English Chartist Circular No. 145 and Temperance Advocate) about his visit to Hanley on 10 April 1842 to the....

"Chartists of Hanley, having been invited to pay them a visit by my friend Mr. Jeremiah Yates who is a weekly purchaser of a small democratic periodical which I then published and from whom consequently I had frequent letters. 

The plain hearty, affectionate manners of the people, together with their zeal and the manifest attachment of the leading Chartists to the principles and practice of Teetotalism led me to form a high opinion of them. In the course of the Summer, I promised my correspondent, Mr. Jeremiah Yates, that I would certainly revisit the Potteries."


Yates and chartist riots 

Crown Bank, Hanley - c.1900

Crown Bank, Hanley - c.1900

In 1842 Thomas Cooper stayed at Yate's house and then spoke
at  Chartist meetings here at Crown Bank near Yate's coffee house

there were 8-10,000 people at the meeting


Thomas cooper wrote.....

"I came to Hanley in consequence of an engagement to lecture to the Chartists of that place, and slept at Mr. Yates's on the Saturday night."

 "All seemed perfectly quiet when I reached Hanley the principal town in the Potteries on Saturday, 13th August, 1842 I saw nothing of the colliers who were on strike; and companied with the teetotal Chartists whom I had known when I paid a few days' visit to Hanley in April preceding. On Sunday morning in company with these Chartist friends, I went and spoke in the open air at Fenton and in the afternoon at Longton. In the evening I addressed an immense crowd at Hanley, standing on a chair in front of the Crown Inn: such ground being called Crown Bank by the natives."

This intention to continue the strikes until the Charter was accepted was to be put to a Chartist meeting on Monday. Cooper writes:

"I constituted myself chairman of the meeting on the Crown Bank at Hanley on Monday morning, the 15th August 1842, a day to be remembered to my life's end."

"I suppose there would be eight or ten thousand present. I showed them that, if they carried out the resolution no government on earth could resist their demand. 

But I told them that "peace Law and Order" must be their motto and that, while they took peaceable means to secure a general turn-out (strike) and kept from violence, no law could touch.

"... all hands seemed held up for it. Three cheers were given for success and the meeting broke up."

Men from the meeting left Hanley for Longton to persuade others to strike but a riot and violence ensued. At a further meeting on the Crown Bank that evening Thomas Cooper "warned all who had participated in that act that they were not the friends but the enemies of freedom."

Nevertheless, rioting and violence had got out of hand. Police and military cordoned off the Potteries, arrested hundreds -including Jeremiah Yates and Thomas Cooper.

The Staffordshire Examiner 20 August 1842 reported...

A meeting took place on the Crown Bank here on Monday. The colliers were called together by the the Chartists at eight o'clock for the purpose of adopting resolutions to the effect that they will all cease work until the Charter becomes the law of the land'

North Staffordshire Mercury 27 August 1842...

The late Riots in the Potteries

"The arrest of Chartist agitators in connexion with these outrages has caused no little dismay among their adherents ...  Yates, the coffee-shopkeeper at Hanley, whose house had been a place of rendezvous for violent Chartists, and who had himself been one of the most active in turning out the people at the manufactory ... was apprehended on Saturday 20th while at work
"On Tuesday, John Richards the Chartist Lecturer was apprehended at Yates's coffee house"



Trial and conviction of Yates 



N Staffordshire Mercury 27 August 1842...



"Jeremiah Yates, the proprietor of a coffee-house at Hanley, where the Chartists frequently held their meetings was brought up on a charge of riot. Thomas Furnival, a foremen of Messrs Ridgway and Marley at Shelton, stated that a mob of 200 persons came to the manufactory about 10 o'clock on Monday morning the 15th and the prisoner was at the head of it. He came forward and asked witness if any persons were at work. Witness answered "But a The prisoner said "It is the determination that they shall stop" and he and the mob entered the workshops, stopped all the men and took them away. The works had stood still up to last Saturday (20th).

The Prisoner was committed for trial; but bailed out himself in 100 and two sureties in 50 each"

Jeremiah Yates was thus freed until his trial began at Stafford in October 1842. There is a letter in the library at the Bishopsgate Institute from Thomas Winter at Stafford to Cooper's wife in which he writes on Oct 8 1842:

"Poor J Yates was called up before the Court to stand his trial this morning about twelve o'clock After a trial of three hours he was brought in guilty of Riot and Intimidation. He was in good spirits"


The Staffordshire Mercury 15th October 1842 reported:

Turning out workman at Shelton

" --- Yates is well known as the keeper of temperance coffee house and shop for the sale of Chartist publications at Mile's Bank, Hanley"

"400 hands were employed when the manufactory was fully at work. On Aug 15, the Monday after the wakes, the hands were not all on, but only about 20 or 30"

"The prisoner appeared to have the control in bringing the mob. The mob were principally colliers. The prisoner was a china turner"

Joseph Bradley of Shelton, Clock manufacturer had known prisoner 5 or 6 years, during which time he had always been honest, industrious and peaceable.

Mr. Jefferies, hairdresser had known Yates 2 years and gave the same character.

The Judge summing up, said 'nothing could be more unlawful than to prevent any man from working'

According to the report in The Staffordshire Examiner (Oct 15 1842) the Judge added: "If it (Chartism) meant persons labouring for the general confusion and overthrow of society, he did not think a very sane opinion could be formed of that man's judgment on political matters, although he hoped it would not prejudice the jury.

After 10 minutes, the Jury found Jeremiah guilty. The sentence was deferred, bail being given. (The sentence was one year's imprisonment)

Staffordshire Advertiser on Saturday, 15th October 1842 also reported:

Conviction of Jeremiah Yates

"Jeremiah Yates, a respectable looking man, who was said to be the keeper of a temperance coffee-house, was indicted for a riot and an unlawful assembly.

Evidence by Thomas Furnival, manager of Ridgeway's earthenware manufactory, said "The prisoner is a china-turner by trade" and said that Yates led the mob who came to "turn out workman"

Joseph Bradley said "I live at Shelton. I have known the prisoner for 5 or 6 years. I never heard anything of him contrary to peace and good order"

Thos. Jeffries: "I live next door to the prisoner and have known him two years. For honesty, sobriety and industry, a more peaceably disposed man or a more spotless character, I do not know."

The Stafford Gaol Register (1841-5) at the Public Record Office mentions his transfer to the penitentiary on 7 Dec 1842 and that he had been 'disorderly' - perhaps meaning 'rebellious' The Calendar of Prisoners of Stafford Gaol (Public Record office) records:

"1842. Jeremiah Yates aged 32: Reads and writes well,
One year for riot.
August 15th 1842 in the
Parish of Stoke on Trent."

The prison Calendar recorded for each prisoner his reading and writing ability. Illiteracy was commonplace and the political prisoners must have been exceptional.

The Northern Star of 17 Dec 1842 mentions Jeremiah as one of the Stafford prisoners transferred to the Penitentiary at Millbank, London.

Eight hundred had been arrested and the sentences included:

54 transported for up to 21 years
146 sentenced to hard labour.



After the riots


The imprisonments and deportations set back Chartism and many quit but, as the leaders were released, the movement revived and Jeremiah was soon active again.


NS 11 Nov 1843 under Chartist Intelligence

"Hanley. A meeting of the Chartists of the above place was holden on Monday evening last at Mr. Jeremiah Yates's Temperance Hotel when nearly 100 enrolled themselves under the New Plan of organisation. A Council has been formed and all those who are desirous of taking cards of membership may do so by applying at Jeremiah Yates's Temperance Hotel, Miles Bank, Shelton where meetings are holden every Monday evening at seven o'clock for carrying out the objects of our body"


N. Staffordshire Mercury 18 May 1844

"Meeting on Crown Bank, Hanley

On Monday evening last a meeting was held on the Crown Bank to return thanks to Mr Alderman Copeland and Mr Ricardo, the members for this borough and to Mr.T Duncombe for their opposition to the obnoxious master and servants bill, also against the Irish Registration Bill and in favour of the release of Thomas Cooper. The number present has been variously estimated at from 1000 to 2000. Mr. Jeremiah Yates was in the chair."




Yates death and obituary



Staffordshire Advertiser (Saturday, 16th October 1852) contained the following obituary:

"Jeremiah Yates. On Monday morning last (October 11 1852) after a short illness, aged 42, Mr. Jeremiah Yates Assistant Surveyor of Highways for the Township of Shelton a situation which he had filled for several years.

The deceased was an early advocate of the total abstinence cause, and afterwards became a prominent actor in the Chartist agitation".


The People's Paper of London (with the sub-title 'The Champion of Political Justice and Human Rights') of Saturday Oct 16 announced:

DEATH. On Monday morning last, awfully sudden, to the inexpressible grief of his family and friends, died Mr. Jeremiah Yates of the Temperance Hotel, Crown Bank, Hanley, Staffordshire Potteries, in the 42nd year of his age, leaving a wife and three children unprovided for. Mr. Yates was for many years a firm and consistent advocate of the Rights of Man, ever at his post, in season and out of season, mild and conciliating in his language, yet never yielding his principles.

His kindness and charity were proverbial, and he never withheld his mite from the indigent stranger or the poverty stricken workman in his own locality.

His loss will be deeply felt in this neighbourhood leaving a vacancy that cannot easily be filled up.

On the announcement of his death not a dry eye was to be seen - such a scene of grief and sorrow was never before witnessed in this neighbourhood.

It is the intention of the friends of the deceased, to adopt means to continue the bereaved widow in her present residence and that the house shall be conducted for her benefit, the same as during the lifetime of her lamented husband.




St. Mark's - Shelton Parish Church where Yates was buried in 1852




The Staffordshire Advertiser 23 October 1852:

"Hanley: Funeral of the late Mr. Jeremiah Yates

In our obituary of last week we noticed the death of Mr Yates, the assistant surveyor of highways for Shelton. His remains were interred in the burial ground of Shelton Church on Sunday afternoon, and were followed to the grave by a very large number of his friends who walked in procession. The road from Crown Bank (his place of residence) to the church was lined with spectators and a dense crowd surrounded the burial ground".






next: Charles William Brown, Mine Manager, artist, Etruria
previous: Jesse Shirley, Hanley Mayor, Flint & Bone Merchant




Related pages..

Chartism in the Potteries

Detailed history Of Jeremiah Yates