Saturday, 21 April 2012

21st April 1812: Rawfolds mutineer is flogged outside the Mill


On the morning of Tuesday 21st April 1812, the sentenced handed down the soldier who refused to fire on Luddites during the attack on Rawfolds Mill was due to be carried out.

The army had decided that his punishment of 300 lashes should be carried out outside the Mill itself, and the soldier was marched 7 miles with an escort of Dragoons from Huddersfield to the site near Liversedge.

William Cartwright was present, and according to the Leeds Mercury's brief article about the flogging, Cartwright intervened in the delivery of the punishment numerous times. Eventually, the military agreed to remit the sentence after 25 lashes. Although Cartwright's thoughts about the spectacle haven't survived, it seems fair to surmise that with each stroke of the lash, he must have realised he was becoming even more of a villain, and not just in the eyes of the people of the area, but also the ordinary soldiers whom he and his fellow capitalists were depending on to suppress Luddism.

It's not clear how many people were present, but it seems likely that it was a significant public spectacle.

As reported in the Leeds Mercury of 25th April 1812 and the Leeds Intelligencer of 27th April 1812.

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