Thursday, 15 March 2012

15th March 1812: Bolton weavers meet in secret at the Rope Walk

Sometimes after mid-March, around 18 to 20 weavers met in secret at the Rope Walk on Bolton Moor. Robert Waddington was present again, and heard a man called Christopher Metcalf talk suggest that those present should form a Secret Committee, as had already taken place in other towns. Illegal oaths were also administered at the meeting.

Waddington and a handful of others took up this suggestion after the meeting: an impromptu meeting took place between Waddington, John Garrat, John Hurst & Samuel Ratcliffe who decided to form a Secret Committee and to include a man called Richard Charlton, who agreed to their suggestion the following night. The Secret Committee would thereafter seek to recruit and 'twist-in' (i.e. administer illegal oaths) as many people as possible.

This is largely taken from the deposition of Robert Waddington which can be found at HO 42/128. Other deponents also indicated that they were at this meeting: William Yates (who was 'twisted-in' with a James Mosley), John Fielding & Samuel Mee. Their depositions can also be found at HO 42/128.

We do not know the date of this meeting, but Waddington indicates that it took place after 'mid-March', and we know another meeting took place at a different location only a couple of days later.

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