Wednesday, 25 April 2012

25th April 1812: A suspected informer is attacked in Huddersfield

On Friday 24th April 1812, Betty Armstrong was at the door of an Inn in Huddersfield when she was set by a group of people. Nearby were a group of cavalry soldiers, and one of them managed to get her away from the crowd before she was too seriously hurt. She was suspected of having given information about people held on suspicion of being Luddites by the authorities.

At midday on Saturday 25th, she was on her to way to see Joseph Radcliffe when she again set upon and badly beaten by a group of people. In the fracas, she had suffered a fractured skull.

This is compiled from the Leeds Mercury of 2nd May 1812; a letter from Colonel Campbell to Grey of 1st May 1812 at HO 42/123; and the 'Memorial of the Secret Committee...' to HO of 29th April 1812 at HO 40/1/1.

The 'Memorial' is quite clear about the date of the assaults, whereas the Mercury is vague. Campbell says the assault took place on 30th April, but this is impossible given that the 'Memorial' was written a day before that!

The extended details of the assault in Reid (1986, pp.130-131) are not found in any of the sources he uses and owe more to his journalism than the historical record.

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