Monday, 23 July 2012

23rd July 1812: The result of the Derby and Nottingham Summer Assizes

The Derby Mercury of Thursday 23rd July 1812 carried the outcomes of both the Derby & Nottingham Summer Assizes. The Nottingham Assizes are of particular interest because they contain a case which resulted in a sentence of transportation, a case never remarked upon by historians in any of the significant works about Luddism. The following is extracted from the Derby Mercury report:
At [Derby] Assizes, Andrew Scott, alias Thomas Purday, charged with being an accomplice in the burglary committed at the dwelling house of Mr. Hunt, at Ockbrook, in December last, pleaded guilty, and received sentence of death, but was afterwards reprieved.

At Nottingham Assizes, Benjamin Renshaw, for setting fire to a stack of hay at Mansfield, the property of Mr. Charles Stanton, and for feloniously killing and carrying away a sheep, the property of Isaac Dodsley, of Mansfield … received sentence of death … [and] is left for execution.

George Spray, for destroying a stocking frame at Sutton in Ashfield, the property of Francis Betts … to be transported 14 years; John Stanley for inciting soldiers to break a frame at Basford, to be imprisoned three years.

In earlier reports about his arrest, the John Stanley mentioned here was called Slaney, which was his actual name. His trial had been left over from the Lent Assizes in March

In the report about Nottingham, there is no mention of the other 3 suspected Luddites the we know the Nottingham magistrates wanted to prosecute - William Fell, Joseph Falconbridge & John Clarke. It may be that they were acquitted or that no indictment was found against. In the case of Falconbridge, we know that his indictment rested upon the evidence of a witness that had absconded, so we can assume the witness never appeared.

As I write, I have not had the opportunity to check the Nottingham newspapers for reports.

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