Monday 23 July 2012

23rd July 1812: A badly-injured John Hinchliffe gives evidence to West Riding magistrates

At 11.30 a.m. on Thursday 23rd July 1812, two West Riding magistrates - Sir George Armitage and Joseph Scott - visited the badly wounded John Hinchliffe, who had been shot outside his house the night before.

He had been taken to the home of Constable Blythe at Holmfirth, and lay there in bed, in what was later described as a "dangerous state" - unsurprising since the shot from the pistol had destroyed his left eye and part of his face.

Hinchliffe was examined by the two magistrates, who took a deposition about what had occurred the night before . They also took further information from him which, unlike the deposition about the events, described events prior to the 22nd July. Hinchliffe stated that he had met a man called John Schofield junior some 9 or 10 weeks ago who tried to recruit him into a 'Society of Luds', and expounded upon plans for a rising in future. Hinchliffe had afterwards mentioned this meeting to the vicar of Holmfirth, William Keeling, and had next met Schofield at 6.00 a.m. on the 20th July when Schofield came to his house asking him who he had told: Schofield said Constable Blythe knew. Hinchliffe told him who he had talked to, which by now included 2 other men as well as Keeling. Schofield stated his fears about what would happen to him and asked Hinchliffe if he would repeat what he had told Keeling - Hinchliffe said that he would.

Lying in a gravely ill state, Hinchliffe believed that what had happened to him was a consequence of his speaking to the vicar of Holmfirth.

This is based upon Hinchliffe's depositions, which can be found at HO 42/126 and Howell (1823, p.1054). The time of the meeting is taken from Howell, although it is not clear if it was a.m. or p.m.

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