Sunday, 1 May 2016

May 1816: A panicked letter sent to the Home Office about the situation in Suffolk

My Lord

From the remote situation of this part of the Country from the metropolis I am confident you are not aware of the great disorder that prevails & the spirit of insurrection that hourly shews  itself—apparently without any immediate remedy—as the evil  increases—& the mob is daily added unto—every night, we have the horror of observing a fire from some part of the County—& we have  no rest in our Beds but are kept watching till Break of Day the Servants & Labourers are with ourselves quite exhausted—nothing will quell this tumult but some regiments being sent into this district,—& if possible some officers of police for we cannot depend upon one of our own people—even the constables chosen by parishes which I dwell are suspicious persons—& would head the mob rather than disperse them—these villains meet at a public house in Hitcham the Sign of the [Buckie] Lions—the names of them are White, Deacon, two the name of Baker, one Wilding,  [illegible] Brett—&c—but an officer of police from London would very soon detect some of these ring leaders which from being unknown he might do better than any other way—& a troop being stationed in the environs of Bildeston would soon disperse these wretches! pardon my Lord my daring to hint the means of checking this rise of misadventure but I am certain if you will condescend to attend to my proposals it will prevent much harm—to the Country. God knows only if not stopped what will be the event, to Town & Country—they threatened to burn the Clergy in their Beds—the Clergy are all magistrates—& they have gained from some quarter an idea that the high Tythes are the cause of their low wages—in the Parish of Kettlebaston which is the worst in England for  civilization, there is neither magistrate nor Parson—the Rector having another living never visits the Parish—but on an hour on a Sunday, so they are left to their own wicked devices, & all look like Savages—in the next parish viz. Hitcham the magistrate is a Clergyman now absent for two months so that the poor labourer in that village are all in a State of rebellion & threatening to burn every Stack & Barn—then the mills we shall then say they be all equal.

for God’s sake my Lord think of some expedient immediately if not, I predict it will gather Strength—we are all so tired with watching & want of Sleep that we must give up the contest—otherwise the ground can not be tilled—& then a famine inevitably will ensue—send some Troops directly  & some police Officers to the Villages of Kettlebaston Hitcham & Bildestone this will Strike [terror] in the rest—I was in Town when the mob rose on the Corn Bill—I saw the good effect that the Soldiers had immediately in quelling riots.

we are without magistrates & without Rectors & [more/none] that are resident—are in danger from the exorbitant Tithe demanded.—

I am
your Lordships
Ob.nt Servant
J Nicholson

[Undated - May 1816]

1st May 1816: The Rev WR Hay expresses concerns about discontent in Manchester to the Home Secretary

New Bailey Court House, Manchester. 1 May 1816

My Lord,

It becomes my duty, in obedience to the directions the Magistrates who met this morning in Quarter Sessions to state your Lordship that on Monday Information was received by the Boroughreeve and Constables of Manchester that from conversations which had been overheard, & other circumstances, there was reason to believe that it was not improbable that some disturbance might shew itself in this neighbourhood. It appears that the Weavers, & some other branches of the Manufacturers are for the most part out of employ; and those who are so, talk boldly, and in conversations which have been overheard, they seem to lay great stress on the small number of men in the barracks, which they represent to be only one hundred. I cannot help saying that on coming into Manchester I particularly remarked that parties were assembled in groupes, in the same manner as I have observed in former times of disturbance, in each of which some one seemed to be talking to the crowd around him. The Boroughreeve & Constables early on Tuesday informed me of what they had heard, and I lost no time in communicating with Mr. Evans the Magistrate here, in their company I instantly, as was then settled, wrote in Mr. Evans's name and my own to General Barlow, who we understand to command at Liverpool, informing him generally of the circumstances, & requesting to know, in case of necessity, what force could be brought to bear on this neighbourhood.

The opening of the Sessions I laid the subject before the Magistrates in sessions, where it was of course resolved that these particulars should be laid before your Lordship – It so happened that Major Brice who has the command at Liverpool was today in Manchester. In the name of the Court I communicated with him and with Col Holmes of the 3d (or Princes) Regiment of Dragoon Guards, part of which Regiment is now in the Barracks here. We learn from them that the forces of Cavalry in Manchester Barracks is Rank & file 151 – horses 95 – in Liverpool 261; horses 227 – The infantry under Major Brice does not amount to 500. These particulars I am also directed to lay before your Lordship. How far discontent may spread, and whether it will assume a more serious shape, we cannot judge. But I am desired to state, that in the opinion of the Magistrates, should any commotion take place in this manufacturing district, the force at present here would be found inadequate to the public service.

The Sessions here, from the weight of business, are likely to continue far into next week. Any communication, with which your Lordship may honour the Magistrates will probably arrive during our sitting. At any rate Mr. Evans will be authorized, should the Sessions have finished, to open any letter from your Lordship on the subject.

I have [etc]
William Robert Hay.

To The Rt Honble Lord Viscount Sidmouth
One of H.M’s principal Secretaries of State &c &c

1st May 1816: Francis Raynes writes again to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury

No. 4, Dorset-Place, Clapham-Road,

SIR, May 1st, 1816.

When you did me the honor to say I might expect to hear from you by Friday, 26th ult. I did  flatter myself I should not be disappointed. I cannot for a moment, Sire, suppose, from having made to you a disclosure of the recent losses my family have sustained, that the circumstance should influence you to my prejudice; but must attribute your silence to the extreme pressure of public duty, or that your interview with Lords Liverpool and Sidmouth, on my behalf, was not favorable.

On Saturday, I called at the Treasury, in the hope that I should have the honor of seeing you, with an intention to solicit the favour of you, Sir, to entreat His Majesty’s Government would be pleased to honor me with their decision; for greatly should I be relieved to be informed, even if that decision was to my disadvantage; for who can near a continued state of suspense and anxiety? Believe me, Sir, that my applications do not result from a fretful impatience, or a doubt of your disposition to forward my views, but from most urgent motives.

I have withheld from the notice of the Generals under whom I served, many mortifying and trying circumstances, and those who are acquainted with my case, do not hesitate to pronounce me an injured man; and I hope I shall be spared the pain of ever detailing them for the information of His Majesty’s Government, or the eye of others; but humbly trust His Majesty’s Government will suffer me to return to my family, with that reward their wisdom may think proper to bestow for my past services.

I have now, Sir, only to apologize for trespassing on your valuable time, and have the honor to subscribe myself,

With great respect,
Your most obedient humble Servant,

[To] The Right Hon. Charles Arbuthnot.

May 1816: Handbill poem titled “The Death of Calico Jack"

The Death of Calico Jack; or the

Bad markets....Several tradesmen threatened with arrest, Oh! the effects of high living. Curse upon lewd women, and fie upon the foreign Company, they under sell us. For what reason? They have their goods made from good wool, we have ours from waste. They have their yarn spun for little or nothing, so have we. The merchants enjoy the juice of the grape, but we will be content with a little malt liquour. Oh! St. David’s Day, be thou like the days of job....let no sun shine upon it....and let it be blotted out from the other days of the year, and let every spinner and weaver of cotton tremble at the remembrance thereof, and let love and friendship be united and dated from this day, and handed down to the latest posterity. But find us the man whose foundation is not shaken at such unprecedented proceedings Quere, is this the way they mean to go to heaven? if so, God enlighten their dark understandings.

Sunday. The prayer of the congregation are desired for the cotton trade and let all the people say, Amen.

Tuesday. Dissected and examined by numbers of Anathamptists, and the Cotton Trade found to be wilfully murdered by persons well known, viz. absolutely choaked with waste.

Wednesday. The town in general disordered. The right honourable and most ignoble Lord Strut, chief president of the company of starve beggars, seduced by some means his fellow creatures to shut up their warehouses, workshops, &c. till such times trade mends or work for whatever they please to give them. Agreed nem con.

Thursday. The spinners and weavers agreed to weather out the storm, and support themselves by other means.

Saturday. Wages paid, shops shut, & a general fast & mouring proclaimed.

Sunday. The spinners and weavers agreed, let us eat and drink to-day, for tomorrow we die; and like the widow of Zarepah, die with a full stomach, flattering themselves they will not be the worse received in Heaven.

Monday. The Military arrived, some say to quell a riot, sed fulsum est, take nothing from nothing, and nothing remains: and every day since, the town has been rigidly strict in abserving Mourning and fasting, (particularly the poor distressed Spinners and weavers) and will for a long time.

Go to, ye great men, mourn and weep, for the time cometh when you must balance not only with your Merchants, but with one who will not take light gold, bad bills, nor blank securities—'tis hard for a Camel to go through the eye of a needle—when you die, which you certainly think you never must—you will not be asked how much money you possessed here.

The Funeral will be solemnized; the Trade interred in Oliver Cromwell’s Grave, near Lancashire Bridge, on Saturday by ten o’Clock

The Procession as follows: Evil to him who thinks on Evil, doodle doodle doo.

To be extended full length upon the bottom of a Coach or Chariot of some exalted Weaver or Barber covered with a plaid Paul to be 8 bearers

Major General Short Tongue
The Right Honorable Admiral Shifter,
Colonel Black Sam, and Captain Stewmug,
The Honorable Colonel Plowshare,
Captain Snuff,
And Brigadiers Shuffle and Cut, Esqrs.

To be drawn by thirty broken Tradesmen, in Second Mourning,

The distressed Spinners with scarfs and cockados of Waste Cotton, two and two.
Badgers, Butchers, Shopkeepers, Hucksters, and Ale-sellers, in full mourning, two and two.

Carding Engine, Jenny makers, and Loom makers, Spinners and Weavers, Wives and Children, two and two in ragged be-gowns, and old Shoes on. The Perpetrators of this Murder to be tarr’d and feathered.

A Funeral Sermon will be preached at the Tabernacle, from Isaiah xxiv. 10. 11. “The City of Confusion is broke down, Every House is shut up, that no Man come in. There is a cry for Wine in the Streets, All joy is darkened, and the mirth of the land is gone.”

Saturday, 30 April 2016

30th April 1816: Arson at Groton & Timworth, in Suffolk

The Bury & Norwich Post of 8th May 1816 carried reports about another two cases of arson that took place in Suffolk on Tuesday 30th April 1816:
Yesterday se'nnight a small cottage at Groton, in this county, caught fire, and was entirely consumed.—Same day a haulm-stack on the premises of Mr. Harrison, of Timworth, was destroyed by fire.

30th April 2016: The Duke of Grafton informs the Home Secretary of the situation in Suffolk

Newmarket April 30

My Lord

The Revd Mr Smyth, an acting Magistrate in Suffolk, & in the Hundred in which the riotous disposition, of which your Ldship has heard the full extent, has shewn itself, being on his way to Town, I have desired he would wait upon your Lordship, at the Secretary of States Office, tomorrow, at about one oclock, in order that you may have an opportunity of making such enquiries of him with regard to the disposition of the people, the nature of the disturbance which has taken place, the extent of the mischief done, & the causes of the prevailing discontent, as your Lordships may judge the circumstances to require.

Mr Smyth has informed me of a riotous assemblage of people (Men Women & Children) having taken place yesterday at Rattlesden, about ten Miles from Bury St. Edmunds, in this County, for the purpose of destroying a ground, or mole plough, used to save labour in draining; the farmer, occupier of the land where they had assembled, used every means to disperse them, but, in spite of his endeavours, they first executed their purpose of destroying his plough, & afterwards, without committing any other violence, left this premises, & dispersed. An information of these proceedings being laid before the magistrates at Bury, warrants were issued for the apprehension of certain of the rioters 21 in number whose activity had been particularly remembered by the farmer.

Painful as it is to me to relate these circumstances to your Lordships, it is far more so to reflect upon the causes* of the discontent which prevails in parts of this County, to which it appears very difficult to apply a remedy, but to which I am persuaded H.M. Government will feel it incumbent upon them to give, without loss of time, their almost attention:

I have the honor to be
Your Ldships
Most Obedt
& humble Svt


*chiefly: want of employment;

[To] Viscount Sidmouth
& &c &c

Friday, 29 April 2016

29th April 1816: Arson at Hadleigh, Suffolk

The Bury & Norwich Post of 8th May 1816 carried a report about a case of arson in Hadleigh, Suffolk, that took place on Monday evening the 29th April 1816:
About ten o'clock on Monday se'nnight some sheds, in which eight bullocks were fattening, on the premises of Mr. Gray, of Hadleigh, were discovered to be in flames, and, from the repaid progress they assumed, soon became a heap of rubbish. Fortunately,the bullocks were preserved; and, by indefatigable exertion, a barn, to which the fire communicated, did not receive much injury; but an outhouse belonging to Mr. Ling, in which his working tools were deposited, with a number of fowls, were destroyed.

29th April 1816: The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk writes to the Home Secretary about the disturbances in the County

April 29. [1816]

My Lord

In consequence of the communication I had with your Ldship upon the representation you received, from a gentleman in Suffolk, a riotous disposition which had shewn itself among the lower orders of people in the neighbourhood of Bildeston, in this County, I have now the honor of enclosing, for your Ldships information, two reports, the one from the four Magistrates acting in the Division in which Bildestone is situated, the other from the Magistrates assembled at the Quarter Sessions at Bury St. Edmonds this day.

It will be painful to your Lordships to know, from such authorities, that the distress of the common people of that part of Suffolk is so great, as to have led them to the commission of certain outrages; but I trust your Lordships will be assured, from the tenor of the documents which I have enclosed, that the utmost vigilance will be used by the magistrates in suppressing riotous combinations wherever they may be discovered, & in apprehending, so that they may brought to trial for their offences, any promoters of mischief, or disturbers of the public tranquillity:

I have the honor to be
your Lordships
most Obet
& faithful Sert


[To] Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

29th April 1816: Mole Plough destroyed by a crowd of 200 people at Rattlesden, Suffolk - arrests made

On Monday 29th April 1816, a crowd of around 200 people assembled at the farm of Benjamin Morgan, at Rattlesden in Suffolk. They had come to destroy a Mole Plough, a machine used for drainage, which had the effect of displacing the requirement for labour,

Morgan evidently spent some time remonstrating with the crowd, and attempting to prevent them from damaging his machine, but he failed, and the machine was eventually destroyed. Afterwards, the crowd left the farm and dispersed without taking any other kind of action.

Morgan, however, clearly knew or remembered many of those taking part, and arrests followed in the days to come, with two people being committed to Bury Gaol on the same day - Benjamin Buxton & James Button.

29th April 1816: Bury St Edmunds Justices express concerns to the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk

[29th April 1816]

To the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Suffolk

We, the Justices assembled at the adjourned quarter Sessions at Bury Saint Edmunds this day, having heard the report read and addressed to your Grace from the acting Justices of Cosford Hundred, begged leave to join in their Representation and earnestly request your Grace to state it to His Majesty's Ministers, that the distresses of the labouring poor throughout the Liberties of Bury are greatly aggravated by the total Want of Employment for the Women and Children in Consequence of the failure of the Spinning of long wool, which has thrown the Burthen of additional poor rates for their Support upon the Farmers who can now with great difficulty pay the existing taxes.

[Various signatures]

29th April 1816: Bury St Edmunds Magistrates issue warning against assemblies

APRIL 29, 1816.

WHEREAS disorderly Assemblages of Persons have taken place, and Outrages have been committed in some parts of the Division of Bury St. Edmund's: The Magistrates present at the above Sessions do hereby signify their determination to take prompt and effectual measures to put a stop to such assemblages, and to bring to justice all persons who are found offending against the Peace.

And the Magistrates will, in their respective districts, take such measures for strengthening the hands of the civil power, as shall seem necessary to preserve the peace therein.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

27th April 1816: Suffolk magistrates report on the disturbances to the Home Office

Cosford Hundred, Suffolk – April – 27 – 1816

We, whose names are subscribed, being Justices of the Peace, acting in the said Hundred, beg leave to inform your Grace, that previous to the receipt of your letter by Sir Robert Pocklington, we had fixed to meet this day in order to investigate the circumstances attending an alarming Fire which broke out yesterday morning about the hour of eight on the Premises of Mr Zachariah Scott of Kettlebaston Hall in the said Hundred, by which his two Barns containing a considerable quantity of threshed & unthreshed Corn, and Granary and other Outbuildings, and also two Stacks of Stover were totally consumed and which there were strong reasons to apprehend were maliciously set on fire.

After a long and careful Investigation of all the Parties implicated in this Transaction, we committed to Gaol one Labourer, for want of Sureties to keep the Peace towards Mr L. Scott [the] said Labourer having used threatening Language respecting the Stacks of Mr Scott, but we had no Evidence before us from which we could conclude that he was the Incendiary.

We also examined several persons respecting the alarming Reports which have been lately circulated in this Neighbourhood respecting the Discontents and threatening Combinations of the Poor in order to oblige their Masters to raise their Wages, and though we discovered that a Paper had been signed by many of them for this purpose, yet we could gain no Information of any nocturnal Meetings having been held; and we beg to assure your Grace, that we will use the utmost Diligence and Activity to prevent such Meetings, and to suppress such Combinations by every means which the existing Laws of the Land enable us to do.

In the mean time, we beg to represent through your Grace to his Majestys Ministers that in consequence of the distresses of the Farmers, numbers of the labouring Poor are out of employ, others working at very reduced Wages, and that all the Women and Children in this Hundred are deprived of means of earning any Subsistence for their Support, through the total Failure of the Spinning of long Wool which used to afford Employment to so many thousand persons in this County,

We beg leave to subscribe ourselves
Your Grace’s Ob. H. Sts

Robt. Pocklington
J. Gee Smyth Clk
Chas. Cooke
[illegible] Harrison

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

26th April 1816: Major Marrie sends news of Bildeston to the Home Office

Brettenham Park 26th Apl 1816

My Lord

I am sorry to have the unpleasant task of again addressing your Lordship on the melancholy picture before me, I am now writing this letter in view of a Farm house, where the stacks Barns and building have been set on Fire (as supposed) at 8 this morning, the land adjoins mine about a mile from hence. I have sent all my people from the different occupations they were employed in to lend their aide, one servant has returned, and says that there are some hundred [illegible] of Corn in the flames and no chance of saving a single grain really my Lord, under these circumstances it is dangerous to remain in the Country, but I do not like to desert it unless from circumstances I am forced to quit it. There are so many reports and so many agitators, and I hear deep schemes laid, that if something is not done, immediately the consequences may be dreadful, and we may experience by our own hand what Bonaparte long wish for (our destruction) from some propositions made to some of the Farmers by the mob assembled yesterday. I judge there is more intended, than simply the employment of the poor, they (the mob) said if you will join us we will lower the Tithe, and their Corn will be cheaper, and we shall get Work — I fully believe that my night watch may be of little avail as from compositions (which now appears, all the Country people are aware of). They can do any damage they please even in the daylight by laying the [train] at every opportunity – I have not understood that any plan has been spoken of nor do I see any disposition in those who have property to protect it. lights are seen in Cottages all the night tho’ which cannot be kept up without great expence if it is not paid for by secret agents as I am sure the poor cannot find sufficient food to eat, nor half of them gain employment—

Whatever your Lordship  and His Majesty’s Government mean to do, with submission, should be promptly and instantly done, for if a few examples were made, it would no doubt check the ardour that seems to subsist amongst all the Labouring classes, a very considerable occupier and owner of Land called upon me this morning for Taxes and he informed me that he had a paper in his possession which was taken up in the Church, and which he would send me, but it not having arrived I am obliged as the Post will so go out from the neighbouring Town to send my letter without it, but I shall take the liberty of sending it tomorrow on Sunday should I receive it for your Lordships inspection — I beg to intreat an early attention to my communications, as I am convinced that nothing but my own personal attendance with all those whom I can trust, has prevented some of my extensive premises of being destroyed. I have all armed and set spring guns in every direction to intimidate intruders. I again beg your Lordships attention to some measure to put a stop to the present appearances of disorder, and distruction.

I have the Honor to be
your Lordships most obt Hbl Servant

[Illegible] Marrie

½ past 3–

The inclosed is the paper mentioned and I understand there are many more of the same handwriting, but to different purposes – all threatening lives &c—

26th April 1816: The Secretary of the Leeds Cloth Dressers' Union outlines their distress to the Leeds Mercury

To the editor of the Leeds Mercury.


Who is the true Friend of his Country? This Question strikes me more forcibly at a Time like the present, when it is acknowledged by all, that general Embarrassment and Want of Employment pervades the whole Nation. The Man, (at such a critical time,) that does every thing in his power to give employment to the lesser class of the community, must be acknowledged to be a friend truly to his Country, and if he should make a small sacrifice, so much the more. Now, Sir, it is a well known fact to every one that properly understands it, that the Machinery for the making of Cloth in the Town and Neighbourhood of Leeds throws Two to Three Hundred [Men] out of Employment, with very little benefit to the Owner, if any, and the Work, to say the least of it, no better done. If this be true, and it is too true, what will be the feeling of those brave Men returning from the Army and Navy to find all their hopes blasted, and their former employment [taken] by Machinery?

Likewise, the Cloth-workers, who have borne the weight of heavy Taxes and dear Provisions during the War, at the return of peace to [have] every thing turn from them that would Support them and their Families. The Person that gives Employment to the Working Classes encourages Consumption and helps the Revenue, and is worthy the gratitude of all good Men. It is unnecessary to say any thing more, the following statement will say sufficient:

The Quarterly Report of the Clothworkers’ Brief Institution, taken from the 1st of January, 1816, to the 31st of March.

In January there were out of Employ…… 317
In February…….D………...D………….. 378
In March ………..D……….D…….…… [389]

In this Number are included the lately returned from his Majesty’s Service.

The Number of Children dependent on these Individuals or Support is, 1134.

In the course of the last Quarter the Institution has paid to the Relief of their own Sick and Funerals 61l. 6s.

April 26th 1816.

N.B. There are at present not less than Six Hundred Pairs of Sheers going by Machinery.

26th April 1816: Field of reeds set alight at Woodwalton Fen, Cambridgeshire

On Friday 26th April 1816, the Cambridge Chronicle reported that a field of standing reeds belonging to a General Hussey had been set alight in five different places. Hussey offered a reward of £20 for information.

26th April 1816: Multiple arson attacks across Suffolk

The Bury & Norwich Post of 1st May 1816 carried reports of multiple cases of arson that took place across Suffolk on Friday 26th April 1816:
About two o'clock on Friday morning an alarming fire broke out on the premises of Mr. Kingsbury, of Bungay, (whose death we have noticed above) which, from the quantity of tallow, tar, oil, &c. therein, threatened total destruction to the adjoining buildings, but was fortunately got under by the very prompt and active exertions of the inhabitants, though not until the offices were destroyed. 
Same day a fire was discovered in two barns occupied by Mr. Scott, of Kettlebaston, during the time the men who had been threshing therein were gone to breakfast, which circumstance leads to a strong suspicion they were wilfully set on fire, The flames raged so furiously, that the whole were destroyed in a short time, together with a stable, cowhouse, and a stack of stover.—The buildings, which belong to Matthew Beechcroft, Esq. of London, we do not hear are insured, but Mr. Scott had secured his property by insurance in the Suffolk Fire Office. 
Same morning a fire broke out in a cottage in the occupation of Mr. Rosier, of Grundisburgh, which was entirely consumed, and not an article of the furniture saved.

Monday, 25 April 2016

25th April 1816: Threatening letter left at Bildeston church


I could wish you to be very carefully about you buisness for endeed things are getting to a very bad pass now for there is a great number of us thinking about making a bussel amongst you Gentlemen

an so I Remain to
R Xmple
are 3 parishes join
I our warning
729 men

25th April 1816: Major Marrie sends another worried letter to the Home Office from Suffolk

4. oClock

Brettenham Park
Bildeston Suffolk
Apl. 25th 1816

My Lord,

I have the Honor to return my best thanks for answer to my letter, on subject of the 22d Instant, I have further to form your Lordship that I have seen one premises on Fire on the 23d at Night and I understand that another took place last night about 9 miles from hence.

The People to the amount of 45 of one Parish (Wallisham) have come down to the next parish Hitcham and are endeavouring to persuade those who are disposed to be peaceable to join with them, this has occurred to two Men who at present have refused to go, and whom I have now in my employment but from what I can collect from them, if speedy measures are not taken they will be obliged to go with the Tide, various written Papers have been dropped, and some posted up with a list of Names, threatening vengeance for higher wages. The greatest part of the Corn in this part of the Country having been carried to market at a low rate, and several Occupiers at this time having none upon their premises, they all appear disposed in a degree to sanction the disposition to riot. One Farmer, has openly said (I am informed) that he is ready to join the mob and that if the Clergy do not lower their tithes or attempt to gather it up, they will burn them in their Beds. There does not appear to be the least motion in the magistracy one of them called at my House in my absence this morning & said they must wait for some act to take the rioters up, my opinion is that 5 fires, and threatening letters besides the gathering together of the people, both night & day in a riotous manner are sufficient cause for them to act, by swearing in constables or otherwise as circumstances require to keep the peace, for with subscription to your Lordships Knowledge of the state of the Country, prevention is better than cure, in my services I happened to be in a ship in the meeting at the Nore – & had the Captains only acted with firmness upon that occasion many ships would have remained with Lord Duncan, on his post of the [vessel] instead of going into [illegible] Roads where they were deserted by their Captains only. In this neighbourhood the magistrates I may say certainly Clergy & I do not hear of one of them stirring in this affair. For my own part I have not been in my bed for the last four nights, nor my servants, but we have been expecting to be attacked and the premises set on fire, I am determined to defend my property with my life, but I assure you Lordship that I think it rather hard after 16 years service to be obliged to watch an enemy who I am in the habit of supporting year after year on my Farm. This way I have done every thing as far as possible to support the poor at a Parish meeting – they are greatly distressed and every thing to make them happy and quiet should be done, although it is impossible for the [hundred] intent to hear, the poor rate, and high tithes

I hope you Lordship will excuse this long detail, & I have written in haste that I might be in time for the post, which is 9 miles off

I have, the honor to be
your Lordships Obedt Servant

[Illegible] Marrie

with submission, would not some of the police officers be of Service in finding out this business. I understand there are many persons lately or now in this place who are suspected of these affiliations – and who are strangers in this County—

Sunday, 24 April 2016

24th April 1816: Arson at Martlesham Hall, Woodbridge, Suffolk

The Bury and Norwich Post of 1st May 1816 carried a report about an arson attack upon Martlesham Hall, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, that took place on Wednesday 24th April 1816:
On Wednesday morning, about one o'clock, the barn and outbuildings of Mr. Glandfield, of Martlesham-hall, near Woodbridge, were discovered to be on fire. The flames consumed a quantity of barley in the straw, and also the waggons, tumbrils, ploughs, and general implements. A cart-lodge, about 150 yards distant, was also consumed; a circumstance which sufficiently indicated that the fire was not accidental. A man of the name of Joseph Bugg, who had been heard to use threatening language respecting Mr. Glandfield, was, by the active exertions of Mr. Charles Moor, of Woodbridge, (Agent to the Suffolk Fire-Office, where the corn was insured) soon after apprehended on suspicion of having set fire to the premises. He was examined before Edw. Moore and William Carthew, Esqrs. and has been fully committed to take his trial at the next Assizes.

Friday, 22 April 2016

22nd April 1816: A panicked Major Marrie writes to the Home Office from Bildeston, Suffolk

Brettenham Park
Bildeston Suffolk

22d. Apr. 1816

My Lord,

I am induced from the disturbed state of the Labouring classes &c in this part of the Country to address your Lordship, thinking it a duty I owe to my Country and to society in general.

Nightly meetings have already taken place and are still accumulating, they have already burned several Threshing-Machines together with their Barns, [Cows] implements &c—&c— and are dropping threatening letters in the yards and other enclosures of the different persons of property and yesterday one of their papers were dropped in the Parish Church of Hitcham and carried to the Church Warden – they complain of want of work and higher wages – which according to the situation of most of the Farmers here is impossible to grant as they are already too much distressed and having carried all their Corn to Market at so low a price many of them are as unable to bare the pressure of the times as the Pauper – if something prompt is not done, this may lead to serious consequences – I therefore have taken the earliest moment to represent it to your Lordship, as I have been accustomed from my earliest age do my duty. I much regret that a reduction has taken place in all departments, as from reports I have heard several parishes have been taking Oaths to stand by each other as in the meeting at the Nore. I beg your Lordships early attention to my representation, I have armed all my Servants and keep up a patrol for the security of my property & Family

I am, your Lordships obt. Sert.

[Illegible] Marrie

Should your Lordship think proper to [answer] this Letter please direct to

Major Marrie
Brettenham Park