Wednesday, 22 August 2012

22nd August 1812: Arms raid at Sheepridge, near Huddersfield

In the early hours of Saturday 22nd August 1812, at least 40 armed men arrived at the house of Edward Hepworth, a farmer from Sheepridge. Hepworth was not hailed to the window, the Luddites simply immediately set about breaking down his door with a hammer, and when Hepworth was found, they demanded his gun. Hepworth protested that he didn't have one, and that his wife had taken it elsewhere Two Luddites demanded he reduced the price of his milk to twopence a quart, but Hepworth said he couldn't afford to do that - another Luddite threatened to shoot him, and another shouted encouragement 'blow him to atoms'. They then proceeded to destroy many of the valuable items in his house, including his clock and furniture.

Several other houses in the neighbourhood were visited by the Luddites that night.

This has been compiled from a report in the Leeds Mercury of 29th August 1812 and Hepworth's deposition at HO 42/126. The Mercury is precise in saying that 50 Luddites took part, whilst Sheepridge estimated 'Forty and upwards'.

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