Saturday, 28 January 2012

28th January 1812: Bow Street Magistrate Robert Baker writes to the Home Office

Jany. 28, 1812


We are favoured with your’s of the 27th inst. and have still to speak of reports which have reached here of framebreaking at Selston on the borders of Derbyshire and at Cotgrave 6 miles So-East from Nottm. but we cannot yet learn the extent of the mischief or any circumstances of Aggravation. Our letter of yesterday will shew how much we are impressed with the necessity of leaving no means untried of detecting the delinquents in the fact; in furtherance of which we have pursued every slight information and conjecturing what maybe, from what has been, have tried at hazard every chance of detection.

The inclosed letter will shew the means of security set on foot by Mr. Kirkby the Magistrate at Gotham and we have some satisfaction to think that the readiness we have shewn from the first moment we saw him to give our assistance and encouragement (such as they are) have further’d his Object; and we hope his endeavours will prevent, that most distressing of all measures, the hoziers taking home their frames from that and the neighbouring villages.

The two men brought last night from Budwell by Foy the Constable, as mentioned in our inclosure of yesterday have been examined this morning by a County Justice and committed for re-examination at the adjoumed meeting of the County Justices tomorrow.

We shall take care that the Town Clerk and the Clerk to the County Justices are apprized of the various offences to which their Case may attach, and an old woman and an Apprentice who were probably present when the frames were broken will be brought over in the morning as witnesses. Another man also has been taken into Custody today from Budwell under very singular and important circumstances. A Hosier here who had told a weaver of the name of Barnes at Budwell that he should bring home his frames for fear of their being destroyed. It generally has happened that frames in that case have been visited before removal — To avoid which a constable (not one of our Officers) went on Sunday Evening to Barnes’s house with two soldiers and said he was come to protect the frames ‘till removed and left the soldiers in the house. — Barnes treated the Constable and soldiers with the most abusive language, said he wanted none of their help and went out immediately, and the constable went also away to 4 other soldiers which were at the public house. Presently after Barnes returned and in an instant was followed by six men armed with pistols who ran in upon the Soldiers seized upon their arms presented Pistols at them, threw them on the ground, broke all the frames that belonged to the Hoziers and spared two which were Barnes’s own. Perhaps it may appear that Barnes was not present at the actual breaking as the soldier thinks he might go upstairs as he came in. All this will be before the Justices tomorrow.

Our Officers have brought a man also in Custody from Blidworth whom Mr. Sherbrook thinks may be important and has ordered for examination tomorrow; he was sometime ago in Custody on suspicion of Murder, but had now no pistol or offensive weapon on him or did anything more than run away the moment he was seen on the forest. He was found on the Waste of the Forest by one of the Officers we stationed at Blidworth. The Offr. and Sarjeant of the troop went out about eight at night towards the place where it is said the Mansfield conspirators held their numerous meetings — and where it is supposed their out scouts have sometimes met at night. They found their prisoner near that place alone. He is a man of Nottingham and was taken on the Open Forest 12 miles from home. It is not likely that anything will come of this.

The Result of the Justices meeting tomorrow you of course will hear from us by the first post.

We are [etc.]

Bob Baker

The letter appears at HO 42/119. Baker was clearly confused when writing the letter, as the incident involving (William) Barnes he describes taking place at 'Budwell' (i.e. Bulwell) actually took place at Basford.

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