Monday, 19 March 2012

19th March 1812: An Ashton man overhears a conversation about oaths and a planned uprising

On Thursday 19th March 1812, Joseph Taylor of Hurst, near Ashton-under-Lyne, was standing near to his house watching the world go by. Across the way there was a labourer steadily building a wall and he noticed a man approach him and stop to talk.

Taylor was close enough to recognise the man as a local weaver, William Bardsley, and he could also hear their conversation:

"I though you would have been over the hills by this time, as you talked of when I last saw you?" said the labourer,

"I thought you would have been gone too, I haven't seen you for so long" replied Bardsley. Taylor assumed they meant Yorkshire.

"It's a wrong place for you to go into at this time, they seem to be very uneasy in that County"

"Aye, and it will be here before long!" said Bardsley

The labourer then asked Bardsley why he said that, and Bardsley related that two 'strange men' had come into his workshop in the last week. They had asked him how weaving was going, and would it not like it go better? Bardsley has said that he would, and they then the two asked if he would risk his life to make things better. The men said they wanted to 'twist in' local people who were interested in coming forward, and that hundreds of people in Stockport and Ashton had taken an oath. They talked about having a plan to seize the arms of the Local Militia.

Taylor was shocked. He felt it was his duty, as a Sergeant in the Middleton Local Militia, to go as soon as he could to the authorities to report what he had heard.

This has been based upon the deposition given by Joseph Taylor to the JP Joseph Hordern of Royton on 23rd March 1812. It can be found at HO 42/121.

No comments:

Post a comment