Sunday, 15 April 2012

15th April 1812: More unrest in the Stockport area

An air of tension still prevailed in Stockport on Wednesday 15th April, the day following large scale disturbances there.

A large number of people assembled upon Cheadle Heath. The Times carried a report of the meeting:
'Letters of the same day [16th April] represent the meeting of the Luddites, the day before, on Cheadle-Heath, to have been held, not merely with a view to the outrages which immediately ensued, but also for the purpose of arranging future operations on a larger scale. They were assembled with a party of weavers, the majority of whom had been discarded for misconduct. Several harangued the mob, and induced them, it is said, to elect a body of delegates to hold "a second Congress." They spoke of sending deputations to other manufacturing districts; and in the mean time, until the strength of their friends could be ascertained, they counselled their auditors to avoid contests with the military, and to confine themselves to nocturnal depredations. It is stated, that at this meeting, which they determined their "First Congress," they determined upon an immediate attack of the manufactory of Messrs. Bury and Co. but were prevented in consequence of its being guarded by soldiers.'
After a while, the large group dispersed into smaller parties. The Stockport solicitor John Lloyd was later to recount how many of these smaller groups set about 'levying contributions in the Country at Gentlemen's Houses'. The Chester Courant had details of one such 'levy':
'One party called at Sharston Hall, the residence of Mr. Worthington, (of the house of Worthington, Baxter, and Co. Manchester) who distributed to them bread, cheese, and ale: after which, the villains, to show their gratitude, broke all his windows.'

As reported in the Chester Courant of 21st April 1812 & the Times of 20th April 1812. John Lloyd's letter of 16th April 1812 is at HO 40/1/1.

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