Friday, 13 April 2012

13th April 1812: Inquest into the deaths of Booth & Hartley at Roberttown

In the daytime following Samuel Hartley's death at 3.00 a.m., an inquest was held into the death of Hartley & John Booth, apparently in Roberttown where the corpses of the men still lay. The coroner, James Wiglesworth, who reminded the 'respectable' Jury gathered there of the comments of the Judge at the last York Assizes in relation to the disturbances. Witnesses were examined, but it would appear that no evidence has survived of who they were or what was said. Unsurprisingly, the Jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide.

William Cartwright later wrote to Major General Acland, pointing out either that he had seen or had heard that Abraham Pule, his informant about the Luddites plans for Rawfolds, and another man called John Midgely, a friend of Samuel Hartley, were in Roberttown that day, and appeared to be very upset about what had happened. This and the fact that they were both several miles from where they lived led Cartwright to conclude that they had been involved in the attack at Rawfolds.

The sources are: Leeds Intelligencer 20th April 1812; Leeds Mercury 18th April 1812; Cartwright to Acland, 5th September 1812, which is at HO 40/2/3.

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