Friday, 14 September 2012

14th September 1812: The 'Luddite' burglars seal their fate before Joseph Radcliffe

The remaining 'Luddite' burglars that had been implicated by Earl Parkin in his deposition of 12th September, had been arrested, examined and were brought before Joseph Radcliffe to make a statement. Rather than keeping John Swallow's line of denying everything and saying nothing, some of them had cracked, sealing all their fates.

Earl Parkin himself swore another deposition with more detail about the attack on Abraham Moore, and implicated a new person - Thomas Green. More detail was added about the items stolen as well - 36 Guineas and a gold ring.

Earl Parkin's brother, Samuel, also swore a deposition which implicated several of the gang. He alleged that John Swallow had persuaded him to join them with promises of work, and when it became clear to Samuel what the real purpose was, threatened to kill him if he backed out. Samuel had accompanied the gang to the raid on Samuel Moxon's house on 4th July 1812, but claimed to be not directly involved and had not seen them since. He was bound over to give evidence at the trial.

Alexander Littlewood, a clothier from Flockton, gave evidence that Swallow had boasted to him about the raid on Moxon and gone on to talk about a plan to raid Wilson's Bank at Mirfield. He said they had suggested meeting further to discuss it, but Littlewood later passed it off as a drunken joke, but soon realised it was not later when he met Swallow & Earl Parkin a few days later: they were displeased he had not been to the meeting and threatened him to keep quiet.

Lastly, the three other members of the gang swore a deposition before Radcliffe. Their evidence varied, but was contradictory enough to make a future defence at a trial all but impossible.

John Batley, a clothier from Thornhill Edge denied being inside Moxon's house on 4th July, and also denied having a gun, but admitted he was there.

Joseph Fisher, a coalminer from Briestwistle said he went to Moxon's at the request of Earl Parkin & Swallow, and said he had been threatened with being killed if he did not go.

John Lumb, a coalminer from Thornhill Edge, similarly said that he was asked to go to Moxon's by Parkin & Swallow, but stopped away at a distance while the raid took place.

All three men would face trial at a future Assizes.

The depositions can all be found at HO 42/127.

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