Leigh Chronicle 6 March 1914:
Leigh's Oldest Man.MR. JABEZ TYLDESLEY'S BIRTHDAY.CHARACTERISTIC LETTER FROM THE LIBERAL VETERAN.
Mr. Jabez Tyldesley, the oldest man in Leigh, is 92 years old to day. In a letter he wrote to Coun. J. J. Darwell on Monday he says:—
"Dear sir, I am sending you a photo of myself as a memento of my birthday. I was born on March 6th, 1882 [FN1], so I am 92 years old on Friday next. I am not boasting of my age, but 1 feel glad that I am in health and strength. I have seen great changes in Leigh that would fill a local paper. I have lived in the reigns of King George the Fourth, King William the Fifth, Queen Victoria, King Edward the Seventh, and now I am glad that I am living under King George the Fifth, as I think that he is on our side.
I was living in the days of the Corn Laws and when Tariff Reform was on, when flour was from 4s 9d to 5s a dozen, and when bread was 3lbs. for 1s., and now that we are living under Free Trade I can buy two nine pound loaves for the same price as we should have to give for one pound of bread at that time, so I say 'God bless Free Trade,' as it is one of the finest measures ever placed on the English statute book; and now I am sorry to find that they have found us a candidate, who is such a strong tariff reformer, in the Conservative candidate for Leigh, who would take us back to the days of the " Hungry Forties " again.
I am also sorry to see the Labour party playing so much into the hands of the Tory party. I am not against the Labour movement, but when we have such a member for Leigh as Mr. Raffan, who is such a grand man and has done so much for the Labour programme, and now putting a man up like they are I do think that they are making a mistake. Their man is certain to be at the bottom of the poll, but he may possibly lose us the seat we now hold, as they are doing all they can to get the Tory candidate in. If Mr. Hatchard had made the same speech in the year 1839 that he made in Leigh last week he would have been pulled off the platform, and sent to the place he mentioned in his speech on that occasion when he said he would tell them to go to blazes; but I am hoping and trusting that I shall live to see the day when we have one man one vote, and Ireland living under Home Rule, for it is a right and just measure Home Rule was taken from them in a wrongful manner, when the people had no power nor vote.
I am looking forward to the passing of the Welsh Disestablishment Bill and the Land Reform Bill becoming law, and then we shall be living in brighter and happier days when we get these measures passed, but it is only the Liberal party that can give them to us. Now I must thank you for your kindness to me, and I must now close this letter with kind regards — Yours truly, Jabez Tyldesley "
1. The year 1882 is clearly incorrect. Intriguingly, Lancs OPC has a baptism of "Jabez Tildesley - Son of Samuel Tildesley & Margt." at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Leigh on 17 May 1823. This could have been a late baptism, but it seems more likely that Jabez Tyldesley was born on 6 March 1823 and so was aged 91 not 92. His age given on successive census returns is inconsistent.