Wednesday, 30 May 2012

30th May 1812: The trials of Barton & Worsley food rioters & Bolton illegal oath giver/takers at Lancaster Special Commission

On Saturday 30th May 1812, the penultimate day of the trials proceeded to deal with various offences.

Ann Hamer (aged 43) was charged with riotously entering the mill of Messrs Gilbert, Marsdens & Co at Barton-upon-Irwell on 20th April 1812 and stealing flour. While others had tried to break the machinery, Hamer was said to have filled her apron with flour from a sack. When she confronted and told she would be transported for what she was doing, a witness attested she had said "if you say that, I'll have nothing to do with it" and returned the flour to the sack. However, the same witness saw her return later and take more flour, to the approximate quantity of between 20-30 lb (priced at 4d per pound).

In her defence, Hamer said that she was on her way for a pint of ale when she came across the crowd at the mill, and was compelled to join in with them by some of the crowd. She had later handed herself in to the authorities. Hamer pointed out she was the carer of her blind mother. Hamer was found guilty.

John Hope (aged 33) and Samuel Crossley (28) were accused of rioting at Worsley, and stealing a large quantity of grain flour out of a mill there. The two men were alleged to have been armed with clubs and were found guilty.

John Burney (aged 49) was found guilty of aiding and assisting in administering an unlawful oath to Isaac Clayton, a private in the Royal Cumberland Militia.

James Knowles (aged 21), who had been acquitted of a similar offence on Wednesday, and John Fisher (also 21) were accused of taking an unlawful oath, at Bolton. Both were found guilty.

This has been compiled from the Lancaster Gazette of 6th & 27th June 1812.

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