Wednesday, 30 November 2011

30th November 1811: Framebreaking at New Basford, Bobbers Mill, Old & New Radford

The framebreaking continued for another night. This time 1 frame was broken at New Basford, 2 at Bobbers Mill, 1 at Old Radford & 1 at New Radford.

30th November 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

November, 30 1811


I think it proper to enclose you copies of two letters which I have just received by express from Nottingham.

By them you will perceive that the riots in this county become more serious as they appear to be more systematic.

As you will perceive I am now called upon to assemble the whole of the Volunteer Cavalry of this County. I have in consequence, (in the first instance) complied with it only in part, and I have ordered out the Bunny and Holme Pierepont Troops of Yeo. Cavalry only and these I have selected as being the nearest to Nottingham, whereby they may be less inconvenienced than if they were brought from a distance.

I shall go to Nottingham tomorrow and gain every information I can on the spot respecting this most unfortunate business: if I then find it necessary I shall order out all the Volunteer Cavalry to endeavour at once to put a stop to further proceedings - which I most earnestly hope may be effected.

I have [etc.]


30th November 1811: W Sherbrooke to Duke of Newcastle

30th Nov., 1811

My Lord,

As the nightly destruction of Frames by an armed mob, conducted with much system, is continued and extends in every direction, and contributions are levied round the county under the influence of menaces to the lives and property of individuals; and the military force in this District is completely inadequate to the Suppression of the mischief, and the Secretary of State (notwithstanding repeated applications from the Magistrates for an adequate Military Force to be established here during the Winter) has not hitherto complied with the application, I am desired by the Magistrates, assembled at the County Hall in Nottingham this day, to request that your Grace will give immediate directions, that the whole of the Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry of the County shall be immediately called into actual service under the command of your Grace, and to be stationed in such places as the Magistrates direct, during the continuance of the present tumultous state of the county.

The Magistrates will sit at the County Hall in Nottingham on Monday Wednesday and Saturday next.

I have [etc.]

W. Sherbrooke
Chairman of the Special Session

30th November 1811: W Sherbrooke to Duke of Newcastle

30 November, 1811

My Lord,

The mob is now so organized that nothing but military placed in every parish will be adequate to suppress it.

The rioters appeared in the last night in the Parishes of Beeston and Blidworth, placed men in the avenues to the Villages and declared they would shoot any man who attempted to go out to call the civil or Military power.

They then broke a great many frames and levied contributions on which they support themselves and by which they rapidly increase their numbers.

Your Grace will see the necessity of calling out such a formidable force as will at once overawe this Lawless mob — no half measure will be efficient, the mischief to be apprehended is much more formidable than persons not intimately acquainted with their intentions and proceedings can have any notion of and the Military cannot act efficiently unless stationed in every village.

I have [etc.]

Signed W. Sherbrooke

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

29th November 1811: Framebreaking at Beeston, Blidworth & New Radford

The Luddites now felt bold and confident enough to launch attacks in 3 different locations on Friday 29th November.

At Beeston, 18 frames were destroyed, at Blidworth, up to 12 were broken and at New Radford, a lace frame 'of great value' was smashed1. The Leeds Mercury2 had a particularly vivid description of the attack at Beeston:
"on Saturday night a concerted and organized attack was made on the village of Beeston, by about 200 of the rioters, some of whom were armed. The sentinels chosen by the rioters had a watch-word, and when they were all at their post and the watch-word past, they proceeded to breaking the frames of obnoxious Masters. In one house that they entered they found the family at supper, but to this they paid no regard; they seized the candle which was on the table, and immediately rushed up into the room where the frames were, and destroyed them all, and then departed without speaking a word."
The Leeds Mercury3 also reported that an unspecified frames were also broken at Basford on the same evening.

Monday, 28 November 2011

28th November 1811: Attacks at Basford & Bobbers Mill

Frame-breaking continued at Basford for the 6th night, with 4 frames being destroyed, with the Nottingham Review noting that 'the woodworks were burnt'.

On the same night, 5 frames were destroyed at nearby Bobbers Mill.

28th November 1811: George Coldham, Town Clerk to Duke of Newcastle

Nottingham November 28 1811

My Lord Duke,

I stated in my Letter of yesterday to Your Lordship sent by an Orderly Dragoon of the 15th Regiment of Light Horse that I should have the honor by the first post of addressing myself to Your Grace – upon the Topick’s in Your Grace’s letter to me, to which the urgency of the business would not permit me to which give immediate attention.

The only enquiry distinctly made by Your Graces is as to the force at present in Nottingham and the Neighbourhood which consists of 2 Squadrons or 4 Troops of the 15th Dragoons, to this intelligence I ought in candour to add that the Magistrates have received advice from the General of the District that another Squadron of the same Regiment is to be immediately marched to the assistance of this District, this additional force was fairly in the contemplation of the Town and County Magistrates at the time they concurred in the proprietary of forwarding your Grace’s Letter to Colonel Sherbrooke.

As however the terms in which your Grace’s Letter are conceived seem to imply some doubt in your own mind as to the necessity of further aid and a desire to obtain Information as to the state in which this Town and Neighbourhood is placed, I am desirous of detailing to your Lordship our proceedings in the Town from the first period of which the Tendency to disorder in our Neighbourhood began again to manifest itself.

Since I have been resident at Nottingham we have had many dangerous and alarming Riots, some of which are of very short period, have assumed a more dangerous Character in the present state of the surrounding country exhibits, but I regard them all as having afforded infiniteless cause of serious alarm and permanant danger than the present – The state of the Manufacturers who are spread in every direction thro’ a wide extent of Country, and united by one common feeling of distress and one common desire of forcing upon the Hosiers, or the public some decisive measures for their relief; gives the present disturbances a most serious aspect.

On the 12th of the present month, the Magistrates of the Town in consequence of intelligence that one man at Bulwell well had been killed in the act of attacking a House with Frames in it, and that the very next day a great number of Frames were destroyed in the same village and that large assemblages of the people threatened to come to Nottingham for the same purpose and thought it their duty to meet together to take measures to securing the public tranquility.

They immediately called upon the Constables of the Town, and put them into a state of organization to keep a Watch at night, and appointed a place where every one might know where to resort for assistance, and in order that the Constables might be stimulated to a more vigilant discharge of their duty they called out 3 or 400 of the most respectable of the Inhabitants, and appointed them Special Constables, and again arranged them in classes and put a small number of them upon watch during the whole of every night.

The care of the Magistrates extended still further they enquired with the greatest anxiety into the Military force which they could command, and found that owing to the detachment from the 2nd Regiment of Horse Guards and the Demands made upon it by the County Magistrates, they could not mount above 10 or 12 men to come into the Market place, in case of danger from the Barracks, and that in case of any particular House or Factory or Deposit of Frames being threatened, we had not a single Infantry Soldier whom we could send to protect it from Outrage – They therefore wrote to the Secretary of State, the Secty at War and the Commanding Officer of the District, with the expressed concurrence of the County Magistrates stating that “they could not consider themselves in a Situation effectually to secure the public peace and tranquility in conjunction with the Magistrates for the County with whom they were in the habit of acting with the utmost cordiality without the Magistrates – could depend upon a least 3 efficient Troops of Mounted Cavalry. – They also thought that it was important to the efficiency of that force that a Regiment of English Infantry should be stationed at hand to prevent the Cavalry being broken in upon by detachments which are necessarily applied for from the Military to keep the peace of particular Villages in the Neighbourhood”

This was the opinion of the whole of the Magistrates of this District at the very commencement of their being compelled to act in putting down the present perturbed state of the District, and under the impression the Magistrates for the Town were for a year few days kept in a state of dreadful suspense as to the safety of the Town, – this was dissipated by the appearance of the 1st Regiment of Local Militia who amply supplied our then deficiency of Cavalry and placed the Town in a state of perfect Security.

I believe I can safely assure your Lordship that the experience of their utility has established in the minds of the Magistrates a Conviction that they were originally correct in stating that a force of Infantry was essential to the complete protection of the Town, and altho’ less than a Regiment might suffice for that purpose the County Magistrates seem still to think that the District surrounding us if it continue disturbed can scarcely be secure without a whole Regiment being stationed here for the Winter.

Since the commencement of these disturbances the state of the surrounding Country has hitherto been progressively growing more serious – Great numbers of the people are armed, they act by Signals giving by the firing of Guns from Village to Village and collect considerable sums of money in the Country. – Anonymous threats and incendiary Letters have been addressed to numbers in the Town, and I am sorry to say not without effects having a Tendancy to encourage the efforts of the misguided populace.

Six or 8 Frames have also in the Town been lately destroyed, notwithstanding the utmost exertions of the Magistrates who have always been upon the alert, and who have in Custody 2 persons resident in the Country who appear to have been concerned in these outrages. With a very short Interval occasioned by a temporary appearance of tranquility the Mayor and Aldermen have kept up their nocturnal watches and have every night seen a Military Guard posted so as to be at any moment ready to move for the protection of the public peace.

They have reason to fear that the spirit of disorder is not yet subsiding. – This conviction induced them to apply to your grace on the 26th Inst. for a further Reinforcement of Infantry and they felt themselves under the necessity from the same Conviction of publishing the hand Bill a copy of which I enclose for your Grace’s Information.

Their communications with the County Magistrates which are of the most confidential nature give them reason to know that those Gentm consider the state of the County more alarming than ever, and that they still continue decided in their opinion of the necessity of a Stationary force of infantry and are taking other measures for the more complete protection of the District.

I have [etc]

Geo. Coldham, Town Clerk

P.S. in order that your Grace may have some Idea of the extent of the mischief done since the first commencement of the system of Frame-breaking I understand that it is computed that about 600 have been broken of the value of £6,000 depreciated as this species of property is by the present dreadful state of the Manufactory, but of more than double that value if the Trade was in a prosperous state. –

28th November 1811: 'An Address from the Framework-Knitters to the Gentlemen Hosiers of the Town of Nottingham'






GENTLEMEN,—At a time like the present, so big with Calamity and Distress, we think it right to solicit your Advice, Aid, and Direction, as we know no Reason why our Business, which is looked upon as the staple Trade, and principal Support of the Community at large, should be exposed to so many Evils, without any suitable means of defence; or if any, why not brought forward into exercise. As we have nothing in view but a reciprocal Advantage in the Trade, both for ourselves and you, and a mutual good Understanding in all our Actions, we solicit your Advice, Aid, Direction, and Support, in this time of our Calamity and Distress, and we think we have a humble Claim upon you for it. On account of the great rise of all the Necessaries of Life, a Man that has full employ, with all his industry, and a Woman, with all her care and economy, can by no means support a Family with any degree of Comfort. If this is the Case (which it really is) how deplorable must the situation of those be, that have but a small portion of Employ, and at very low Rates; but still worse, what must the situation of those be that have none at all, which is the Case with INCALCULABLE NUMBERS at this time.-Destitute of all the Comforts of Life, our only acquaintance is pinching Poverty and pining Want. We wish to live peaceably and honestly by our Labour, and to train up our Children in the paths of virtue and rectitude, but we cannot accomplish our wishes. Our Children, instead of being trained up by a regular course of Education, for social life, virtuous employments, and all the reciprocal advantages of mutual enjoyment, are scarce one remove from the Brute, are left to all the dangerous Evils attendant on an uncultivated Mind, and often fall dreadful Victims to that guilt, which Ignorance is the parent of. But, Gentlemen, we forbear, as we think it would be insulting both to your judgments and feelings, were we to attempt a description of all our Calamities, which you so well know, and which we so much experience. Our request, Gentlemen, is that you will favor us with your best Advice, respecting as Address to Parliament, for the better Regulation of our Trade, and means of defence against future Impositions. Being well assured that the most suitable means lie in the compass of your breasts, we wish to pay all deference to your superior judgments, and are now waiting for your decision, which we hope you will favor us with as soon as possible; that if it meets your views, the Business may be conducted peaceably and in good order, to our mutual Comfort and Advantage.

November 28, 1811.

28th November 1811: Troop Movements

The 2nd Regiment of Nottinghamshire Local Militia arrives in Nottingham from Southwell after being called out by the Lord Lieutenant of the County (The Duke of Newcastle).

28th November 1811: John Beckett of the Home Office to Samuel Smith MP

28 Novr. 1811


As Mr. Ryder happens to be very much engaged today, he has directed me to return you his best thanks for your letter of yesterday marked ‘Private’ relative to the disordered state of the neighbourhood of Nottingham. Mr. Ryder had flattered himself that the assemblage of the Military Force lately collected in that Quarter would have had the effect of overawing the fomentors of the disturbance you allude to, and he is much concerned to find from your letter that there is reason to believe that they are still using their efforts to continue them.

With respect to your suggestion of sending down Bow Street Officers, I am to inform you that it has not been usual to resort to this practice except in some particular cases attended with aggravated circumstances, where it appeared of importance that assistance should be afforded for the purpose of bringing an offender to Justice. In the present case, Mr. Ryder apprehends their duty would be of too general a nature to admit of his taking the officers away from their regular duty for an indefinite time. He hopes therefore that the Police of Nottingham, which you mention is on the alert, may eventually be able to discover the parties who have been most instrumental in the late riots, and that the Magistrates may be able to punish them as they deserve. You will no doubt have learnt during your stay at Nottingham that the General of the District at Lichfield has been desired to attend to any representations which he may receive from the Magistrates near Nottingham, and to afford them in case of need any assistance in his power.

I am [etc.]

J.S. Beckett

Sunday, 27 November 2011

27th November 1811: 1 Frame broken at Carlton, 6 at Basford

One frame was broken at Carlton, and Luddites would have no doubt broken more, but Conant & Baker reported that a party of Dragoons disturbed them.

The destruction at Basford continued: 6 more frames were broken in the evening.

Earlier in the daytime, a party of the 15th Dragoons were escorting a number of Frames from Bulwell and Basford to Nottingham when Luddites mounted an attack at 12 noon at Redhill, near Arnold. One frame was broken, and the Nottingham Review noted that the soldiers "avoided proceeding to extremities, not having the power to obstruct the rioters in a determined purpose."

27th November 1811: Steps towards Martial Law in Nottinghamshire

On Wednesday 27th November 1811, the Commander of the 15th Light Dragoons, Major Lord Waldegrave, received the following order from the County Magistrates:
Notification from the Magistrates of the County of Nottingham, to the Troops employed in preserving the public Peace of the County.

"The Magistrates of the County of Nottingham, beg to inform the Officers and Soldiers now employed in the suppression of the riots and unlawful assemblies of persons to commit felony in the County, that the troops are of themselves, and without the presence of a Magistrate, authorised and empowered to disperse, or apprehend, any of the persons meeting for the purposes above-mentioned

“Clerk to the County Magistrates.
“Nottingham, Nov. 27th, 1811.”

In this order, there is a recognition that given the nature of the Luddite tactics of mounting simultaneous actions in various places at the same time, that the legal authority usually required is too stretched to be able to cope. And so this delegation of authortity, which is a step towards martial law. It's not clear if this order was issued because of the failure of the troops to act to prevent frame-breaking that took place in front of them and in broad daylight on the same day at Red Hill.

27th November 1811: Samuel Smith MP to Home Office

Nov. 27, 1811


Having been staying at this place for a few Days, I take the liberty of troubling you with a few lines respecting the disordered state of the Neighbourhood. The destruction of Stocking Frames in the surrounding Villages is still going on in a secret crafty manner.

The Night before last some Frames were demolished at the Village of Basford within ten yards of the place where a Magistrate and a party of Dragoons were stationed and yet no one gave information. I mention this to show with what cunning and artifice these outrages are conducted.

This evil has prevailed about nine months, more or less, as I am informed, and yet no one person in custody for the offence, or any means devised to obtain evidence against the offenders.

Anonymous threatening letters are continually received by the Magistrates without detection, and the Military are likely to be harrassed by misinformation, and are themselves unequal to meet the evil, unless some collateral assistance can be afforded. Perhaps you might think it advisable to send down some Bow Street Officers who might act without suspicion and could possibly obtain evidence.

The Magistrates for the Town are much on the alert, and will it is to be hoped supress any gross violation of the public peace, but the County Magistrates acting for this District do not seem to proceed upon much system, and indeed when it is to be considered that they are so exposed to much private injury, it is no wonder they do not put themselves very forward in the performance of so arduous a duty.

No doubt, Sir, you have the best information from those in authority, and it may be considered as presumption in my offering an opinion, but I am persuaded you will receive it as intended, and consider it confidential.

I shall remain here till Monday next and have the Honor to be with sincere respects,

Sir, [etc.]

Saml. Smith

27th November 1811: 'Address of the Plain Silk Stocking-Makers to the Gentlemen Hosiers of Nottingham'





An advance of Sixpence per Pair


GENTLEMEN,—Gratitude is an Attribute imprinted upon the Human Heart by Deity himself; and for us not to acknowledge your Favor on the present occasion, would render us unworthy of your future regard, and justly expose us to the scorn of every honest and humane Man, who might be made acquainted with attention to our interest. It is therefore with peculiar satisfaction return you our Thanks for your ready condescension in attending to the solicitations of those Persons that waited upon you, on our behalf, to obtain the advance above specified. Indeed, whoever contemplates for a moment the present situation of the Stocking-Makers, with the alarming price of every necessary of life staring them in the face, will sympathize with their sufferings, and the sufferings of the Families, and will readily join with them in giving Thanks to of their Employers, who attend to the amelioration of their piteous Condition.


Believe me your very humble and obedient Servant,


In behalf of the Plain Silk Stocking-Makers.

Nottingham, Nov. 27, 1811.

N. B. The following is a List of those Gentlemen Hosiers, who have Signed the above Advance:—

Lawson and Sons
J. and I. Lawson
Brocksopp and Parker
E. Chatteris
Thos. Kelk
Beardsmore and Sons
T. Galloway
W. Meats and Sons
Barwick and Christian
N. and J. Cox and Co.
Simon Skidmore
For Mr. Eaton, Rich. Satterthwaite
Child, Cosens, and Co.
Saml. Clark
Scorer and Acomb
James and Neal
Saml. Barlow
G. and S. Nichols
Geo. Gibson and Son
Hancock and Wakefield
Hall, Northage, and Hardwick
Wilks and Armfield
Kewney and Richardson
Wm. Howitt
Berridge and Tarratt
For L. B. Mason, W Smith
J. Rawson
For Berridge and James, Rich Shaw
Radford and Stones
R. Hopper
Thos. Jackson
Turner and Smith
Geo. Carey
Edmund Wright and Co.
Strahan, Theaker and Co.
J. Billins
G. L. Cox and Son
W. Walker
Morley, Wilson, and Morley
Holmes, Edenborough, & Stenson
Trentham, Trentham, and Martin
G. and J. Ray
Geo Pickering
James Pritt and Co.
G. and J. Mills
R. and S. Cheetham
Pope and Co.
Green and Gill
J Lightfoot
Dove, Gill, and Co.
Thos. Jerram
Richd. Smith and Co.

A Pledge of the same nature has been given by several other Hosiers, whose Names are not annexed.

27th November 1811: Troop movements

The 1st Regiment of Nottinghamshire Local Militia disbands after being on duty for a fortnight. This is the maximum period the law allows a Local Militia to be on duty for.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

26th November 1811: More attacks in Basford & a description of an attack

The frame-breaking continued apace at Basford, with between 8 and 13 frames being broken. The Nottingham Review carried a description of an attack which is notable for its comment upon the apparent motivations of the Luddites at this time:
“One house that they went into, they had much trouble to obtain a light, and, while rummaging a cupboard the something with which to procure one, they discovered some plate and other valuables; but, having obtained a bit of paper, they shut to the cupboard door, nor touched any thing in the house but the frames, which were the object of their vengeance. In another house it was well understood, that from fifty to seventy golden guineas were kept by the master; but, having exercised their wrath upon the obnoxious IRON, they left the GOLD in quiet possession of the owner. At another house the master offered them a considerable portion of money if they would spare the frames; but their answer was, that they wanted not his money, but the destruction of those instruments which prevented them from obtaining a livelihood in an honest manner. One poor man begged of the rioters to spare two frames that had been the fruit of his industry for many years: his request was granted.”

26th November 1811: Public Notice from the Town Clerk of Nottingham


THE Magistrates have observed with extreme regret, that the Spirit of Disorder, which has for some time past disgraced the County in the immediate Neighbourhood, has at length found means to proceed to the Destruction of Frames within the Town of Nottingham:—

I am therefore directed to give Notice,

That, the maintenance of the Public Peace, in order to enable them to give immediate Protection to the Property of their Fellow-Townsmen, the Magistrates have taken effectual means, by which an adequate Civil and Military Force can be assembled and brought the immediate Assistance of any Person or Persons, in the Town, whose Person or Property may be in Danger. And in order that every Individual may know, as well by Night as by Day, where to apply for Aid, I am further desired to state, for the information of the Public, that a Number of Constables will be kept in constant attendance at the POLICE OFFICE, to give immediate Information to the Magistrates, so long as they consider such Precautions necessary.

By Order of the Magistrates,

GEO. COLDHAM, Town Clerk.

Nottingham, 26th November, 1811.

26th November 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Nov. 26, 1811


It is with my great satisfaction that l can now write to inform you that the late disagreeable disturbances in the County are entirely got under.

The disposition to riot in the neighbourhood of Nottingham was very speedily quelled, but a bad spirit was longer kept up in the villages near Mansfield where they are populous and the inhabitants in much distress at this moment from not being able to get work at their business — which consist principally of making stocking articles — as I mentioned also in a former letter the high price of every thing necessary for their subsistance presses now still heavier upon these poor people as they are out of employ. They certainly are very much to be pitied and when every thing is perfectly tranquil and that they find themselves subdued by being obliged to submit to the Laws I hope we may be able by some means to relieve them.

The Local Militia and Yeomanry of this County were a great deal more than necessary to keep the peace of the County.

As the whole four regiments of Local Militia have been called out on this occasion — I have written to the respective Colonels desiring them to send me returns of the number of day’s service which they have had, and which, when I obtain I will transmit to you.

I imagine the regular form on this occasion will be to request H.R.H. the Prince Regent’s approbation of the different regts. having been assembled for such a number of days. Should any other mode be necessary in order to make it more regular I shall be happy to receive your instructions on that head — as it will be a consideration with the Colonels to be able to draw for the pay and allowances for their men.

I have [etc.]


Friday, 25 November 2011

25th November 1811: Further attacks in the town of Nottingham

During the daytime, some frames had been brought into Nottingham from Bulwell, and secured in an empty house in York Street, guarded by 3 or 4 men. At some point during the evening, the guards left the house, and the Luddites saw their chance and destroyed 6 frames. William Parkes & George Shaw were later apprehended with parts of the frames about their person.

25th November 1811: One frame-broken at Chilwell and multiple attacks across the Counties.

In the early hours of the morning, one stocking frames was broken at Chilwell "the wood-work of which was chopped to pieces with an axe" and allegedly burnt.

On the same night, Conant & Baker reported that attacks also took place at Hucknall Torkard, Bulwell, Dob Park & Eastwood, with the Nottingham Journal adding Cossall and Heanor in Derbyshire.

25th November 1811: More attacks at Basford

Basford continued to rage. Two waggons accompanied by a party of the 15th Dragoons were en route from Bulwell when they were attacked at 5 p.m. at Parson's Flat, near Basford by Luddites, who were then forced to retreat without achieving much. But the conflict brought more troops away from Basford itself, resulting in attacks on frames by other groups of Luddites, some in plain sight of the military.

The attacks continued through to 10 p.m., when the soldiers apprehended 3 men and took them to Nottingham under escort. But the absence of the military again gave the Luddites an opportunity, with more frame-breaking taking place after their departure.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

24th November 1811: More frame-breaking at Basford

Saturday night's frame-breaking at Basford continued the next evening. Numbers vary, but between 30 and 38 frames were broken that night, with the Nottingham Journal furnishing a particularly vivid description:
"On Sunday night last a general attack was made by these depredators upon the stocking frames in various workshops in the town and parish of Basford, when upwards of 30 (some accounts say 38) were completely destroyed, & the ironwork broken to pieces & scattered in all directions. The operations were conducted with so much secrecy and dispatch, that the business was accomplished, long before any force could be collected to resist them. A party of hussars, of which two additional troops had arrived here on Sunday morning, under the command of the Earl of Waldegrave, immediately set out for the scene of action, but arrived too late to be of any essential service."

24th November 1811: Troop movements

2 more troops of the 15th Dragoons arrive in Nottingham after a march of nearly 40 miles.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

23rd November 1811: Frame-breaking comes to Derbyshire & Luddites win concessions

Conant & Baker reported1 that on Saturday 23rd Novmber, "one Frame was broken at Ilkeston in Derbyshire but further mischief was prevented by coercive and conciliatory measures being resorted to", but are entirely vague about what either of these measures were. Darvall2 quotes a passage from Felkin3 as evidence that concessions were being offered to Luddites at this early stage:
It was in this last week of November, 1811, that the writer of these lines, then a youth of scarcely seventeen, was required by his masters to get into the saddle and make a long round, to convey the information that if their frames, of which they employed about 3000, were spared from the destruction with which they were threatened, one shilling per dozen advance would be paid the following Saturday, and be continued whether others paid it or not. It was a dreary afternoon with heavy rain and winter sleet. He rode hard, and at Basford, Bulwell, Eastwood, Heanor, Ilkiston, Smalley, Sawiey, Kegworth, Gotham and Ruddington, delivered to their head frame-work-knitters the joyful news of the offered advance. The wintry storm, though uncomfortable enough to the messenger, tended greatly to the success of his message. It prevented for that night the marauding parties employing themselves; these frames had been undoubtedly doomed, for an example, as belonging to one of the most influential houses in the trade. The promise made was faithfully performed; not one of their frames was injured, and no further fears were excited as to the safety of their property.

23rd November 1811: A week of frame-breaking begins at Basford

Whatever agreements had been reached between Framework-knitters and some of the Hosiers, there were still plenty unwilling to yield to the Luddites in Nottinghamshire. And so began 6 nights of frame-breaking in Basford on Saturday night 23rd November, as attacks were taking place elsewhere.

The Leeds Mercury tells us that 20 frames were destroyed that night by "an assemblage of rioters accompanied by 15 men in military uniforms". The same publication also said that frame-breaking had taken place at Bulwell, but gave no further information.

23rd November 1811: Frame-breaking comes to the Town of Nottingham

Up until Saturday 23rd November, frame-breaking had largely been confined to the county villages and not the town of Nottingham. Indeed, many Hosiers had begun to bring their frames into the town, in the hope that it would afford their machines some protection. But that hope & pattern was broken on that night, along with a frame at a house in the town.

23rd November 1811: Editorial in the Leeds Mercury

We are more concerned than surprised to find, that a Spirit of Riot and Insubordination has broken out in the county of Nottingham amongst the suffering Manufacturers. As it frequently happens on such occasions, the cause of the distress of these unfortunate people is mistaken; they imagine, it seems, that the low rate of wages and the scarcity of work arise from some improvement in the Stocking weaving Frames, and their vengeance is directed against the owners of these inoffensive implements of labour; but they ought to be informed that the real cause of the evils of which they so loudly and justly complain, is the long continuance of a heart-sickening war, without visible object, and apparently without end, and which has in its consequences damned up all the regular outlets of trade; and if instead of sacking the workshops of their employers, who are in general deep participators in the sufferings of the labouring classes, they would unite with the other manufacturers throughout the kingdom in petitioning the proper authorities, first to inform them what it is we are fighting for; and secondly, if the object does not justify the sacrifices, to put a stop to the horrors and miseries of this contest, they would act much more wisely and have a much better chance of seeing an end of their grievances, than by their present lawless and senseless proceedings. We do most sincerely commisserate their situation, but we utterly condemn the means by which they seek to obtain redress.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

20th November 1811: Troop Movements

2 troops of the 15th Light Dragoons arrive in Nottingham after undertaking a forced march from Colchester. The following day, they head for Mansfield and adjacent villages, where they will be stationed.

At the same time, the Holme and Bunny troops of Yeomanry Cavalry come off duty and return to their homes.

20th November 1811: George Coldham, Town Clerk to Richard Ryder, Secretary of State for the Home Office


The Mayor and Aldermen of Nottingham are duly sensible of your attention to the request which the Danger in which the Publick Peace here was involved compelled them to address to you on 13th of November Instant manifested by the Letter addressed to me by your directions and in the very prompt and efficient aid afforded them by the Secretary at War in Directing a Squadron of Cavalry to march to the assistance of this District and in the Orders issued to the General of the District to afford further aid in case the Emergency should call for it.

At the time the Magistrates for the Town first address themselves to you it was not so much from a Fear as to the Inhabitants of the Town that they required additional protection as from a Conviction that it Disposition to mischief was widely spread in the County and had assumed an order and method capable of combined efforts which were chiefly Directed to the destruction of that part of the Stocking Frames in the Manufactory of the Neighbourhood which were most obnoxious to popular Prejudice; a great part of which were in the Hands of Workmen resident in the Town and which it was therefore the special Duty of the Magistrates to protect. — It has not been until this day that the whole of the Cavalry Destined for our Assistance has arrived. In the mean time the Disposition to tumult in the County has been manifested in numerous acts of violence and has induced the High Sheriff to call out two the Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry and the first and second Regiments of Local Militia. The First Regiment of Local Militia is quartered in the Town and Colonel Wright its Commanding Officer has been in constant communication with the Magistrates and to his active Exertions and steady attention as well as every other Officer and Soldier of the Regiment they desire to bear the fullest Testimony.

The Mayor and Aldermen are persuaded that the very prompt and energetic manner in which so great a force has been assembled for the protection of the Publick Peace has been eminently serviceable in shewing the misguided People in how instantaneous a manner the publick Security can be placed beyond the reach of their Violence but they must look with alarm at any long continuance of the Expense to which the Country must be put by their continuing in Service, unless Urgent necessity should require it.

It is understood that if no measure is taken for continuing the Local Militia in Service beyond the first Fortnight from their being first assembled the Law would Disband them and the Magistrates of the Town now that they know that they have at their Command two Troops of regular Cavalry think it not necessary in any of the Regiments of Local Militia should continue assembled for their Security but they enter not into the Councils or Determination of the County Magistrates to whom is committed the Safety of the County and the means to secure it.

The Mayor and Aldermen still think that if the Convenience of the service would permit it would be essential to the full security and efficient protection of the Town and County that a Body of 200 or 300 Infantry should be stationed in the Town for the Winter.

I have communicated the substance of this Letter at Secretary of War and the General of the District.

The Magistrates desire me to add that they have appointed upwards of 400 Special Constables from amongst the most respectable and able of the Town People and after having kept a Nightly Watch from the most trusty of their regular Constables in order to discover whether any of the Town’s People have taken part in the disturbances in the County have not been able to ascertain that any number of the People of the Town have left it or returned to it, from which they infer that they have taken no part in the acts of Violence committed in the County. In the Town no Frame has been Destroyed or any act of Violence committed.

I have [etc]

George Coldham Town Clerk

Nottingham 20th November 1811

The Honourable Mr Ryder, Secretary of State

Saturday, 19 November 2011

19th November 1811: Threats & tension at New Radford

After threats had been issued and a stone had been thrown through the window of a workshop in New Radford, the local Militia was called out to stand guard over the this and one other house. The Militia spent the rest of the night patrolling the vicinity.

19th November 1811: Reprisals & arson at Hucknall Torkard

Tuesday the 19th saw another arson attack on hay ricks, this time at Hucknall Torkard, where 2 belonging to a Mr. Hardstaff and Mr. Toon were set alight. Conant & Baker allege that the motive lay in the owners connections to the suppression of the disturbances.

Friday, 18 November 2011

18th November 1811: Frame-breaking comes to Old Radford

On Monday 18th November, one of the hated 'wide frames' was broken to pieces at a house in Acomb Lane, Old Radford.

18th November 1811: Reprisals and arson at Sneinton

Two nights after the arson attack on John Stirrup's hay rick at Mansfield, and a similar attack is launched on a hay rick belonging to a Mr Lewis of Sneinton, at Sneinton Field. A relative of Lewis was a member of the Holme-Pierrepont Yeomanry which had been called out on duty the previous week.

Although the fire was put out, and the remaining hay moved to a nearby farm-building, this building was also set alight the following night. The Luddites and/or their sympathisers were issuing clear and unambiguous warnings to the local bourgeoisie - assist in their suppression and there will be consequences.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

17th November 1811: High Sheriff of Nottingham to Home Office

Norwood Park
near Southwell
Nov. 17th 1811

Rt Hon Sir

By a letter, which I have the honor of receiving last Night, I am informed that a Regular Military force has been ordered to proceed for the purpose of quelling the Riots which are taking place in this County.— As I consider it my duty to relate to you the particulars of the proceedings which I have adopted upon the sudden & unexpected commotion which threatened the peace of the County, I have the honour to transmit to you the foll.g statement. –

Upon the receipt of a most [illegible] letter (which reach me about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 14th Inst.) from a leading Magistrate residing in this Neighbourhood; stating that a lawless Mob was then marching through the County armed with fire arms &c. &c. exceeding a thousand Men, and giving it as his opinion that I, as High Sheriff, ought to call out the Posse Comitatus, & send expenses to all the Yeomanry Cavalry in the County to assemble immediately at the Red Hill in the Parish of Arnold; that the Special Constables dare not turn out, or could they resist so great a force; & that, moreover, nearly two thousand Men had marched (as he was informed) from the neighbouring Villages in the Night, to join the other insurgents; I did in consequence of such Intelligence in the quickest manner in my power, send Expenses to the following corps.


The 1st or Nottingham Corps of L.l Militia
The 2nd or Southwell Corps of L.l Militia
Newark Troop (Capt. Chaplin) of Yeo. Cavalry
Ollerton Troop (Dk. Newcastle) of Yeo. Cavalry
Holme Troop (Capt. Bittrin) of Yeo. Cavalry
Bunny Troop (Capt Boullbee) of Yeo. Cavalry

After collecting at Southwell (the Town nearest to my own Residence) what Constables & people I could, I repaired immediately to Red Hill, at which place I arrived about 2 PM. — Upon meeting there with a party of Regular dragoons, sent thither by the Magistrates of Nott.m from the Barracks, to my assistance I proceeded in company with them & my other attendants (having first stationed what few (about 30) of the 2nd L. Militia had collected, at the above place) to the Town of Arnold, read the Riot Act, took up a number of suspicious persons, & intimidated others.— As it appeared to be the object of the Rioters, for the purpose of exciting the commissaration of the inhabitants of, & others collected in this populous Village to enter at Night, in formal procession, the Body of a Man who had been killed in the Fray which occurred two or three days before, I ordered that the Funeral should take place in the daytime, & remained during the whole Ceremony. (without, in the smallest degree, interfering with or interrupting the studied formality of the Scene) of the procession & Internment.

The alertness with which the different Corps assembled themselves (& a proudly great praise is due to them all for this singular promptitude on this occasion) & the rapidity of their motions, have in a considerable degree quelled the disturbance; still, however, affairs bear so threatening an aspect, that I shall not deem it requisite (two Hay Stacks, as I am informed, having been burnt last night) to dismiss the Military Force I have collected, until I am informed of the arrival of the Regular Mil.y Force which, I understand, is proceeding hither: when that Force does arrive I shall think it necessary to disband the provincial Corps.

I shall deem it a favour if you will do me the honor to inform me what Reports & Returns of the several Corps of Ll. Mlitia & Yeo. Cavalry called out will be required to be made in order to enable the Men who comprise them to receive their pay and allowances.— Should any thing further of Moment occur, I shall not fail to make you acquainted with the particulars;

I have [etc]

Thomas Wright

High Sheriff of Nottingham

Rt Hon. Sec. of State

P.S.— My letter, I fear, may appear [illegible] but, as a Statement of Facts has been considered necessary. I have confined them to as now limited circumstances have allowed.—

17th November 1811: Troop movements

A troop of Scots Greys from Lichfield arrive in Nottingham and proceed to the Barracks.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

16th November 1811: Reprisals and arson at Mansfield

On Saturday night the 16th November 1811, John Stirrup, the proprietor of the Swan Inn, Mansfield and a local landowner, found a hay rick belonging to him ablaze. The fire had apparently been started deliberately, with the Derby Mercury reporting the motive as a form of reprisal, owing to his assisting the Mansfield Yeomanry by providing them with horses in their response to the frame-breaking at Sutton-in-Ashfield 3 nights before. The fire completely destroyed the hay rick, which amounted to 20 tons of hay.

16th November 1811: Fletcher's spy 'B' hears of an Irish Rising and meets a Nottingham Framework-knitter

In Lancashire, Colonel Fletcher's informant 'B' began to write another report on the 11th November about the underground in Lancashire and Cheshire. But he started his report with news of Ireland from an Irish contact. The contact explained that 200,000 Catholics and Protestants were ready to rise in either April or May 1812, with religion and sectarian division seemingly having as loose a grip on society than ever before, & that they expected to receive help with arms and troops from the French. As a member of the Orange Order, this no doubt horrified Fletcher more than anything else.

The meeting of the Trades scheduled for Wednesday 13th was brought forward to the Tuesday, as a General meeting was scheduled for Thursday 14th. The Trades meeting discussed petitioning the Prince Regent for a reform of Parliament and an end to war, and scheduling a meeting 'of towns of Manchester' to enable this.

The General meeting on the 14th was described by 'B' as being packed, and proceeded to ratify the plans laid by the meeting two nights before and set up a committee to organise a Requisition. 'B' describes how a 'publickation ... from Glasgow' was read to the meeting, but the he apologised to Fletcher for not obtaining it, expressing fears that his life would be in danger should he be discovered to be spying.

'B' went on to relate how, on Saturday 16th November, he had met a man called Williamson from Nottingham, who he describes as some kind of Master Framework-knitter travelling to market his wares. Williamson describes how not only Nottingham, but also the surrounding area is 'ready' and waiting for a leader to emerge and that they 'was for a revelaiton and nothing Else as nothing Else would do'.

16th November 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Nov. 16, 1811


Had there been any post from hence yesterday l should have written to inform you that within these few days some disturbances have unfortunately arisen in that part of the County which lies between Nottingham and Mansfield.

The rioters are chiefly stockingers, and the causes of discontent, in the first instance, that a new machine had been invented which enabled the manufacturers to employ women in many instances in which men had hitherto been employed; also that the malcontents were looking to exacting greater wages than the manufacturers were able or inclined to pay them, and this because trade is very flat and that there are many industrious men (sufficient in number to supply the trade) who will work at more moderate terms.

Those who were then thrown out of employ by reason of the new invention and of their not choosing to work for decreased wages thought to realise their demands by force, and imagined that their ends would be gained by proceeding to destroy the frames of those who would work for the manufacturers and for this purpose broke into the houses of those who possessed them destroyed their frames and committed many outrages.

The rioters proceeded in considerable parties armed with firearms and the Householders were determined on their side to protect their property; in doing this a life was lost and some men hurt — this made the affair serious and exasperated the mob. It was then found absolutely necessary to call out the armed force to the assistance of the Magistrates and in consequence the whole of the Local Militia and Yeomanry Cavalry were called out and are now under arms.

The promptitude with which the armed force was assembled intimidated the rioters and on their (the military) marching against them they every where dispersed. I am informed that the rioters are compleatly overawed by the force which has been brought against them and it is expected that order will be very soon entirely restored.

It should be observed that these disturbances are entirely of a local and partial nature, totally unmixed as yet with any political notions, tho’ I should add that in addition to the reasons which I have above given in a former part of my letter the high price of corn very much tends to aggravate their grievances.

I anxiously hope that l may in the course of a few days be able to write you word of the total extinction of all riot and that the accustomed order of things is returned.

It will however be a matter of great satisfaction to you to learn as well as it is to me to inform you that the Yeomanry cavalry and Local Militia are well disposed; the former has been most employed and the alacrity with which they came forward, and their conduct when ordered to act is I am informed entitled to the greatest praise, they have been of great use in bringing about the present state of things and may on all occasions be thoroughly depended upon.

The Local Militia from the nature of their service cannot have been so much employed, but I learn that they most of them quickly repaired to Head Quarters when required to do so, and many as they collected where marched against the rioters. I will endeavour to obtain more accurate information of the spirit which animates the Local Militia regts. as it is an highly essential and most interesting point to ascertain. From all I can at present learn I have every reason to believe that the Local Militia regiments may be trusted, and in that case the county armed force is most ample to protect the county against the most extended riots.

I am to receive accurate reports from all parts of the County tomorrow and I will not fail to inform you of the result.

I have [etc]


16th November 1811: Troop movements

The Newark Local Militia are sent home.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

15th November 1811: Troop movements

Having assembled the previous day, the 1st Regiment of Nottinghamshire Local Militia is given the task of mounting a permanent guard at the Exchange in Market Square in Nottingham.

15th November 1811: A Courier from Nottingham delivers a letter to the Home Office

At 3.00 a.m. on Friday 15th November, a special courier sent by the Nottingham authorities the day before arrived at the Home Office in London with two identical letters, one bound for the Secretary at War Lord Palmerston, and the other for the Home Secretary, Richard Ryder. The letter read as follows:

Nottingham 13th of Nov. 1811.


The Magistrates of the Town of Nottingham have communicated to the Magistrates of the County the application which they have made to you for a Military Force to preserve the Peace of this District.

The disturbed state of this part of the Country, the number of persons assembling amounting frequently to 2 or 300, armed some of them with fire-arms, and others with bludgeons for the avow’d purpose of breaking forcibly into houses to destroy Stocking Frames, and there actually destroying Stocking Frames and other property and threatening yet further outrages, have excited a very general alarm and the civil power is totally ineffectual for suppressing the riots and restoring tranquillity.

The disturbances have at present prevailed chiefly in the County, because the population being there dispersed the property cannot be so well defended –

The Magistrates of the County have assembled for the purpose of considering what measures are necessary to restore and preserve the Public Peace and being convinced that nothing less than an adequate Military force can be effectual for that purpose, have directed me to add their request to that of the Magistrates of the Town, that not less than the force applied for by them, may be immediately sent to this place and Neighbourhood.

I am desired to add that since the communication made to you by the Magistrates of the Town, the Magistrates of the County have understood that the present inefficient force at the Barracks arises from several detachments having been already called out to escort French prisoners.

I have written a similar letter to the Secretary at War.

And have the honor to be

Sir, Your obedient humble servant

George Sculthorpe

Clerk to the Magistrates

Monday, 14 November 2011

14th November 1811: Troop movements

The High Sheriff ordered the Newark Troop of Local Militia to muster at Redhill near Arnold, and the troops arrived swiftly and 4.30 p.m. There being no disturbances in the area that night, they then proceeded to Southwell where they were to remain stationed.

14th November 1811: The funeral of the Luddite John Westley

In the afternoon of Thursday the 14th November, an almost palpable air of tension existed in the village of Arnold. Up to 1000 people had gathered for the funeral of John Westley, the Luddite shot dead in the early hours of the previous Monday morning.

The funeral cortege was preceded by former colleagues of Westley "bearing black wands, decked with knots of crape"1 and a band played solemn music. The authorities had turned out for the occasion: the High Sheriff, the Under Sheriff and six of the County Magistrates no less. They were joined by Special Constables as well as 30 Mounted Dragoons. At one stage, the Riot Act was read, and the crowd was given an hour to disperse. To make matters worse, the hour elapsed when Westley's body was being lowered into the grave and the crowd was then ordered to disperse immediately by the High Sheriff, Thomas Wright, the same man who had acted as Coroner at the Inquest into Westley's death. Two who refused were taken into custody (but later released) and at this point the tension dissipated and the crowd dispersed quietly.

14th November 1811: 420 Special Constables sworn in

The Town Magistrates in Nottingham swore in 420 Special Constables, who were selected from 'the most respectable Inhabitants of the Place', as Conant & Baker put it.

The Magistrates also ensured that in future some of their number attended the Police Office in Nottingham each night to place Constables on watch and communicate with both them and any military force as necessary.

On the same day, Public Notice was given in Nottingham for the assembly of the 1st Regiment of Nottinghamshire Local Militia under Lieutenant-Colonel Wright.

14th November 1811: J Beckett at the Home Office to William Sherbrooke, County Magistrate

Whitehall 14 November 1811


I am directed by Mr Secretary Ryder to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant relative to certain riotous proceedings which have taken place in the vicinity of Nottingham, and requesting that an additional Military force might be sent thither to aid the Civil Power in the Preservation of the Peace, and I am to acquaint you that a Squadron of the 15th Dragoons has been ordered to repair immediately to Nottingham and that General Dyott at who commands the District has been directed to afford such additional force as may be necessary in case of emergency.

I am &c.

J. Beckett

[to] William Sherbrooke Esq Southwell Nottingham

Sunday, 13 November 2011

13th November 1811: Troop movements

In response to the Luddite attacks taking place, the Holme and Bunny Troops of local Yeomanry Cavalry were called out and marched through the Town of Nottingham.

13th November 1811: Mass Luddite attack at Sutton-in-Ashfield

Sutton-in-Ashfield had been chosen by the Luddites as the next place to be subject to frame-breaking. According to Darvall, the town was a "great centre for manufacture of 'cut-ups' and payment in 'truck'."1

Arnold was the main assembly point for the Luddites that afternoon, and in particular an Alehouse called 'The Hut' where 100 local men had already gathered, with contingents arriving thereafter from Hucknall Torkard, Kirkby & Bulwell. A local militia Sergeant called Jackson allegedly handed out gunpowder to those with firearms. Having mustered, the force then marched alongside the road between Nottingham and Mansfield, stopping for those armed with guns to fire off a few rounds to determine who was the best shot and, therefore, who should be in the vanguard. Their immediate destination was the seventh milestone on the same road2, where they waited to be joined by others there, and then set off en masse via Kirkby - stopping to solicit arms from houses along the way - and headed for Sutton-in-Ashfield, arriving there at dusk (approximately 5 p.m.).

The Luddites halted at a distance of 200 yards from the house of the hosier Francis Betts, their main target that night.Three men had been given the task of approaching Betts directly, demanding he surrender his frames, but the waiting group were given an order to advance 10 minutes later; it seemed Betts would not yield to their demands. The numbers given for frames broken in the resulting attack that night vary3, but up to 70 were destroyed, including all of those owned by the Betts, with the frames being hauled from houses and smashed in the street to cries of 'Roll Up Ned Lud's Family' and 'Hey Luds!'. All kinds of weapons & tools were employed in the attack, including Hammers & Coal Hammers, Hatchets, even Hedge Stakes, as well as the proverbial bars of iron, bludgeons and sticks. One reference tells us that some frames belonging to a Mr Gadsby were also destroyed4. The group then moved on to Woodhouse, to attack more of Betts' frames, along with some belonging to a Richard Nailor. According to William Felkin, the attack left Betts deranged and he died soon after (1867, p.232).

One report in the Leeds Mercury mentions that a Corn Mill was also attacked. But the Luddites did meet some resistance that night from the military: the Mansfield militia & a handful of dismounted Dragoons in the town caught between 8 and 12 of the Luddites: four of them were later remanded in custody to be committed for trial at the next Assizes, these being John Bradbury, Gervas Marshall, George Green & John Clarke5.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

12th November 1811: Nottingham Magistrates emergency meeting

Following the events of the last 48 hours, the Magistrates for the Town of Nottingham convened at the Police Office in the town. Their first act was to make inquiries of the military forces available to them: the Town Clerk, George Coldham, wrote to the Commanding Officer at the Barracks of the Queens Bays enquiring of the strength of his forces. Coldham was subsequently informed that the Regiment was comprised mainly of new recruits, that the horses they had were relatively new, and not ready for the field and therefore only 10 or 12 Dragoons could be made available as cavalry.Coldham also wrote to General Dyott, the Commanding Officer of the District, asking for his help.

In addition, the Magistrates assembled a watch of 12 Constables for that night, to warn of any approaches being made to the town itself.

12th November 1811: Daytime attacks on frames in transit at Basford

Following the outbreaks of frame-breaking that were already taking place, many hosiers decided to move their frames into the town of Nottingham itself, in the belief there was greater security there. But only a few hours after the attacks at Bulwell & Kimberley, attacks now followed on frames in transit.

The hosiers Maltby & Brewett in Sutton-in-Ashfield were moving five wide-frames by waggon when Luddites intercepted the transport at Basford. The frames were destroyed in the road, the Luddites making sure they broke the metal parts, and then set the woodwork alight. Another report has frames belonging to Job Bramley suffering a similar fate (in this case five wide and two narrow frames).

Friday, 11 November 2011

11th November 1811: John Westley, Luddite Martyr

At dawn near the road at Bulwell Forest, and at a short distance from Edward Hollingworth's wrecked house, lay the body of the man who had been shot the night before. It would appear that his comrades had decided to leave his corpse where he had died, rather than risk returning with it and increasing the possibility they would be exposed. The man was subsequently identified as a John Westley1, a framework-knitter originally from Leicester, but who had lived in Arnold for 12 years. Westley was a single parent, with two children aged 5 and 3, who were now orphans. The Inquest, which was held a day later, stated that a bullet had entered Westley on the left side of his body, just below the navel, and had exited on the right side, just below the ribs. The Inquest held that the death was justifiable homicide on the grounds of self-defence.

As far as is known, Westley was the only fatal casualty of the disturbances in Nottinghamshire.

10th November 1811: Frame-breaking at Kimberley

The same night of the attack at Bulwell, another group attacked frames in the village of Kimberley. The hosier there had been using 'colts' (un-apprenticed labour) and the forfeit for this grievance meant that between 8 and 10 frames were destroyed1.

More significantly, simultaneous attacks had taken place in 2 different locations, which would often be a feature of the coming weeks.

10th November 1811: Attack on Edward Hollingworth's frames at Bulwell & the death of a Luddite

Edward Hollingworth, a Hosier at Bulwell in Nottinghamshire knew they were coming.1 Prior to the Sunday evening of 10th November, he had removed some of his frames to Nottingham2, barricaded his house, and enlisted the help of his brother-in-law and several friends3, all of whom had firearms. All they could do now was wait for what would come.

Late at night on the 10th, between 20 and 30 frame-breakers had left Arnold to meet up with 40 more at Bulwell Forest. They were formed into a line by a man calling himself 'Ned Ludd' who tried to instill confidence in the group, pointing out that they had 21 firearms amongst them. The Luddites then marched in single file to their destination.4

They arrived at Hollingworth's house at around 1 a.m. the following morning. They demanded entry to the property, or that Hollingworth surrendered the frames inside. Hollingworth refused to comply at all, and in the darkness, an exchange of fire broke out. After nearly 20 shots had been fired, the Luddites began to try to break in, using hammers. It was at this point that one of the attackers was mortally wounded by gunfire, and the shock and resulting alarm caused the attackers to briefly pause their attack and retreat, carrying the wounded man with them.

But it was not over: the anger the Luddites no doubt felt over the death of their comrade strengthened their resolve, and they returned to Hollingworth's house to renew their attack. Hollingworth and his men retreated upstairs and the two groups exchanged fire, up and down the stair-well. By now, the attackers had started to pull down the partition wall which supported the floor of the room the hosier and his men had fled to, and being in a hopeless situation, Hollingworth and his men decided to escape through a window at the back of the house.

Now undisturbed, the Luddites set about what they came for: all the frames in the property (5 wide frames and 2 warp-frames)5 were destroyed, along with the doors, window-frames and household furniture. Their work done, they retreated and dispersed.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

8th November 1811: Fletcher's spy 'B' reports on the Manchester Secret Committees

On the 4th November, Colonel Fletcher's informant 'B' began writing another report about underground activities across Lancashire and Cheshire, and in particular in Manchester.

'B' first related a meeting he had that day at the Falstaff Hotel with a contact from Nantwich in Cheshire, who informed him that the underground there was 1000-strong and familiar with the use of Arms whose 'General wish was a revulation' and who believed that 'a parlimentry reform is of no use to us'.

On the 5th, 'B' reported attending the same Manchester Committee he had documented being constituted the previous month. A delegate from Royton reported that 'the Royton people is worne out with petitioning and his Ready at a days warning to Come forward if they had a Leader', noting that other delegates who had been elected to the Committee in October reported their areas shared these sentiments.

On the 6th, 'B' reported he had attended yet another meeting at the Falstaff Hotel representing different trades and chaired by an un-named Cobbler. The meeting seemed to be concerned with organisational matters and the informant admitted 'most of the Committee are str(a)ngers to me will give their names in my next'. They were due to meet again on Friday the 8th November.

On the 8th, 'B' reported he had travelled to Stockport to meet a contact there only to find that he had absconded to Dublin, taking the subscriptions of an un-named group with him - the funds amounted at £61, 3 shillings and 8 pence. 'B' expressed hope to Fletcher that this would have the effect of making people reluctant to contribute to the funds of Secret Committees across the whole country. Returning home at midnight meant that the informant had been unable to get to the Manchester Committee meeting at the Falstaff, but he reported that he had heard it had been inconclusive in its attempts to arrange a general meeting of the trades, and had set a date for another meeting on Wednesday 13th November at 8 p.m.

'B' closed his report with an expenses claim for 22 days of activity, which included his Committee subscriptions. Deducting an overpayment left him requesting £5, 14 shillings and 9 pence.

A postscript was added: referring to the address to the Lancashire Weavers posted in Manchester in October, it is claimed the author was a Mr Knight.

8th November 1811: Letter from Ned Ludd at Nottingham to Mr H at Bulwell

Mr H
at Bulwell


Sir if you do not pull don the Frames
or stop pay [in] Goods onely for work
extra work or m[ake] in Full fashon
my Companey will [vi]sit yr machines
for execution agai[nst] [y]ou--
Mr Bolton the Forfeit--
I visitd him--

Ned Lu[d]
Kings [illegible]

Nottinghm---Novembr 8 1811

Friday, 4 November 2011

4th November 1811: 6 Frames broken in Bulwell

Like a faint rumble of thunder in the distance, frame-breaking broke out again 2 weeks after the October incident at Arnold. Six stocking frames were broken at Bulwell, and the frame-breakers seem to have targetted them for destruction on account of their being wide-frames, of the the type used to create cut-ups ('shoddy goods' as far as the framework-knitters were concerned).The thunder would be directly overhead in but a few days time.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

November 1811: "Declaration; Extraordinary''

Declaration; Extraordinary.
Death, or Revenge.

To our well-beloved Brother, and Captain-in-Chief, Edward Ludd.

Whereas, it hath been represented to us: the General Agitators, for the Northern Counties, assembled to redress the Grievances of the Operative Mechanics, That Charles Lacy, of the Town of Nottingham, British Lace Manufacturer, has been guilty of divers fraudulent, and oppresiv, Acts―whereby he has reduced to poverty and Misery Seven Hundred of our beloved Brethren; moeover, it hath been represented to us that the said Charles Lacy, by making fraudulent Cotton Point Nett, of One Thread Stuff, has obtain'd the Sum of Fifteen Thousand Pounds, whereby he has ruine'd the Cotton-Lace Trade, and consequently our worthy and wellbelov'd Brethren; whose support and comfort depended on the continuance of that manufacture.

It appeareth to us that the said Charles Lacy was actuated by the most diabolical motives, namely to get rich gain riches by the misery of his Fellow Creatures, we therefore willing to make an example of the said Charles Lacy, do adjudge the said Fifteen Thousand Pounds to be forfeited, and we do hereby authorise, impower, and enjoin you, to command Charles Lacy to disburse the said sum, in equal shares among the Workmen, who made Cotten Nett in the Year 1807, within ten Days from the Date hereof.

In default whereof, we do command that you inflict the Punishment of Death on the said Charles Lacy, and we do authorise you to distribute among [the party] you may employ for that purpose the Sum of Fifty Pounds, we enjoin you to cause this our Order to be presented to the said Charles Lacy without Delay,

November 1811--By Order Thos Death