Friday, 28 September 2012

28th September 1812: Arms raid & robbery at Rishworth, West Yorkshire

At 9.00 p.m. on Monday 28th September 1812 James Bottomley, a weaver, came to his door after being summoned to find 6 men confronting him. They all had their faces covered with handkerchiefs and soon wanted him to tell them where Michael Hoyle lived: when Bottomley told them, they began to insist he accompanied them, threatening death if he refused.

As they walked to Hoyle's, Bottomley noticed other men joined them from the shadows, with the disguised men now numbering 15.

Inside his house, the first Michael Hoyle knew of what was to come was a load banging at his door, alternating with threats that it would be broken down if it wasn't opened. Hoyle opened it, and three men pushed him inside, all of them armed with blunderbusses. They demanded a light, and threatened to kill him. Hoyle got a candle and lit it, and the man began their demands. As they demanded his weapons, the men had seen a shotgun over the fireplace, and took it. They wanted 3 Guineas to buy a firelock - Hoyle complied; they demanded gold, but Hoyle had none, so they demanded banknotes - they made it clear they wanted all the money Hoyle had, for if they found as much as one penny later, they would kill him. Hoyle gave them £10 in Bank of England notes. The men also took a silver watch of Hoyle's from a drawer.

Throughout the raid, the men demanded and were served drink, principally rum and gin. After they had left, Hoyle looked at the clock. It was 11.00 p.m.

The same men apparently went later to a pub at Butt's Green and demanded money there and after being either refused or told there was none helped themselves to all the meat & drink in the place.

This is from Michael Hoyle's report of the incident, which can be found at HO 40/2/3, and also the Leeds Mercury of 3rd October 1812. The Leeds Mercury states the men obtained £40, but I trust Hoyle to know what he lost.

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