Joseph Edge, the Macclesfield Pedestrian of 1806

All Things Georgian

Joseph Edge was aged either 61 or 62 years of age when he set off to walk from Macclesfield in Cheshire to London (a journey of 172 miles) in fifty hours or less in the summer of 1806. Several large bets had been placed on his progress, amounting to upwards of 2,000 guineas.

Joseph Edge: The Macclesfield Pedestrian by R Bradbury; Silk Heritage Trust; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/joseph-edge-the-macclesfield-pedestrian-103349 Joseph Edge: The Macclesfield Pedestrian by R Bradbury; Silk Heritage Trust

His first attempt ended in disaster – he set off from the Angel Inn in Macclesfield’s Market Place (it’s now the site of the NatWest Bank) at midnight on Monday 28th July and, eleven hours later, he arrived at Kegworth in Leicestershire (a distance of 51 miles). There he took some refreshment and drank a pint of beer, a bad mistake! The beer disagreed with him and after walking just a short distance further he became very ill and fell to the ground. His expedition…

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