Thursday, 13 September 2012

13th September 1812: A Huddersfield man is duped by an undercover soldier

James Robertson, the private in the Stirlingshire Militia who worked undercover in the Huddersfield area, was at the Yew Tree Inn on Sunday 13th September.

Between 8.00 and 10.00 p.m. that night, Robertson observed a man walk into the pub with a bundle under his arm - he ordered some ale and said to the barman he had been at Leeds. Robertson immediately regarded this as suspicious, believing the man might be a delegate. When the man left, Robertson followed him out and engaged him in conversation, asking him if he was going to Huddersfield - he said he was - and they walked together. He learned his name - John Crosland. Robertson spun Crosland a yarn, that he was wanted by the soldiers for being involved at Rawfolds Mill - he asked if Crosland had been there, but Crosland replied he hadn't. But Crosland went on to say that he knew men who were: some who were wounded but got away and were not found out; he also said he knew James Haigh, who had recently faced an abortive trial at York; he knew another who had been shot through the hand, but would not name him; and another who had been unhurt, despite being shot through the tailflap of his coat.

Robertson asked for Crosland's views on the Royal Family - he said he wished were in hell. Crosland explained that he was "true, and will spend my last drop of blood for the Croppers". And whilst Crosland initially said he had not been twisted-in, he later said this had happened "at Cartwright's".

Within 24 hours, Crosland was arrested. When he caught sight of Robertson, he called him "damned rogue and villain" to have taken advantage of him.

This is from James Robertson's information against at HO 42/127.

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