Eccles Wakes fair

This painting by Manchester artist Joseph Parry depicts Eccles Wakes being celebrated in 1822. The Wakes were a holiday held over three days that began on the feast day of St Mary, to whom the Parish Church is dedicated. They were celebrated annually until 1877 when the tradition was abolished by the Home Secretary. Originally a pious affair the Wakes became increasingly rowdy with races, competitions and blood sports, including bull and bear baiting and cock fighting. This led to many local people complaining and its eventual ban.