Saturday, 6 October 2012

6th October 1812: Stockport bourgeoisie & ruling class send a memorial to the Home Secretary about John Lloyd

To the Right Honorable Lord Viscount Sidmouth,
Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The Memorial of the undersigned Inhabitants of the town of Stockport in the County of Chester, and its vicinity.

Humbly Sheweth,

That for several months previous to the fourteenth of April last divers evil disposed persons did assemble almost every night in the Fields adjacent to this Town concerning plans for the destruction of certain Machinery used in the Cotton Manufacture as well as for the purpose of swearing or twisting in all persons who wished to join in their measures the nature of which Oath now publicly known fully explains—That at these meetings it is well known Delegates from the Counties of Lancaster and Nottingham did regularly attend—That Letters were received by most of the principal Manufacturers and spinners threatening not only to burn their Factories but to take away the lives of some of them and likewise by the Magistrates equally daring and wicked—That reports were most industriously circulated amongst the lower orders of Society tending to produce the greatest terror and dismay threats being held out that if anyone should attempt either to prevent their destructive designs or to give any sort of information by which the parties might be discovered he would certainly be murdered and his property destroyed—That on the night of the fourth of April several Slugs were fired into the sleeping Room of Mr Goodair and many large Stones thrown with great violence through the Windows of the said Room—The Windows also of several other Manufacturers were broken in the night time and attempts were made in the night at different times to set fire to two or three Factories providentially without much damage the light being soon discovered—That on Tuesday the fourteenth day of April about 10 o'Clock in the Morning when most of the principal Tradesmen were gone to the Manchester Market a large Mob composed of Men (some of them in Women's Cloaths), Women and Children armed with Stones &c assembled at the upper part of Hillgate breaking the Windows and assailing the Dwellinghouses of several Spinners and Manufacturers pouring in increasing numbers into the Town attacked the House of Peter Marsland Esquire a Magistrate breaking most of the Windows and threatening the family he being at Manchester, they then proceeded to the Weaving Factory of Mr Goodair is in which they destroyed Machinery to a considerable amount, part of the Mob at the same time breaking into his Dwellinghouse demolishing his Furniture & setting Fire to it. That the alarm and apprehensions of the well disposed Inhabitants excited by these outrageous proceedings were general and excessive and had it not been for the exertions of The Reverend Charles Prescot a Magistrate and a small military force your Memorialists are convinced that the extent of their depredations the mischief on that day would have been incalculable—

That for several weeks subsequent to these wicked and, until this period, unheard of transactions this Town and Neighbourhood continued in perpetual alarm and affright, during which time John Lloyd Gentleman a Solicitor in this town did evince  unwearied zeal activity and resolution in discovering and bringing to justice many of the Ringleaders and your memorialists do testify that owing to his indefatigable exertions at the risque of his life and to the total neglect of his professional pursuits they are in a high degree indebted for the tranquillity they now enjoy—That for these valuable services in particular as well as for many others rendered to Government by Mr. Lloyd in his constant and unparalleled endeavours to suppress the same riotous spirit which now prevails in some of the neighbouring Counties your memorialists feel themselves called upon to submit this case to your Lordship beseeching that your Lordship would be graciously pleased to take it into consideration and to confer such recompence upon Mr. Lloyd as in your Lordships wisdom and justice shall seem meet

And your Memorialists will ever pray.—

John Thomas Stanley
HM Mainwaring
John Legh
Egerton Leigh
Wilbraham Egerton
E Stracey
John Clegg
Randle Wilbraham
George Wilbraham
[illegible] Trafford
[& one illegible name]

Magistrates assembled at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at Nether Knutsford in and for the County of Chester the 6th day of October 1812 Do approve of the above Memorial and Recommendation—

Peter Marsland
H.D. Broughton
Thos Wm Tatton

Magistrates for the Stockport Division

This document can be found at HO 42/128. This is the only document that confirms the existence of 'General Ludd's Wives', the Luddite cross-dressers, other than the letter from Mrs Goodair published in the Times in April 1812.

Other signatories of the memorial included:

Isaac Hulme
J.W. Baines
J Rockliffe
Jonn Broadhurst
Olliver Sims
B. Norbury
Isaac Percival
Thos Reddish
Thos Holland
Saml Dean
George Broadhurst
Joshua Wild
Francis Brindley
Charles Potter
Thos Jepson Jr
Geo Holme
Thomas Cartwright
J.A. Newton
Thos Garside
Thos Lingard.
J Bury
John Lingard Jnr M.A.
Geo: Wm Newton
Geo. French
John Broadhurst
Thos Robinson
Ra Oldham
John Baddeley
John Jackson
James Newton Junr
John Harrop
W Whiteley
R.B. Lingard
Robt Harrison
Henry Harrison
John Dale
J Lingard
Thomas Ashton
Thomas Marsland
Thos Cheetham
Rob: [Thurrock]
H.G Hodgkinson
M. Vaughan
Joseph Clayton
Kelsall Prescot BA.
John Howard
James Elliott Turmer
John Oldham
Charles Turner
James Atkinson
Thomas Rix
Joseph Lees
Henry Wild
Samuel Jowett
Geo. Garside, Mayor
Robt Gee
William Salmon (Minister of St Peter's Church Stockport)
Joseph Fogg
Thos. Partington
Robt Partington
Jonn Robinson
John Bradock
Richd Broadhurst
Joseph Coppock
John Davies
R [Binns]
John Stringer
Charles [illegible]
William Coppock Junr
Edwd Reddish
Thomas Norton
Edmd Turner
John Wilkinson
Thomas Clay
WB Worthington
J Worthington
John Egerton Killer
Joseph Lane
John Lister
Wm Wentworth
George Jones
John Sayce
John Taylor
[illegible] Howard
Harry Barlow Jr
Thomas Mosley
Thos Mottershead
Mattw Pickford
P Ashton M:A:
Solomon Thornely
Geo Ferris


  1. Truly fascinating collection of documents.

    I hadn't made the connection between a print I had seen and 'General Ludd's Wives'.

  2. Thanks. If you're referring to the well-known 'leader of the Luddites' print, that's from about May 1812, and I suspect it did pick up on Mrs Goodair's letter to the Times about 'General Ludd's Wives'. There are plenty of examples of cross-dressing in history though - the Caravats in Ireland prior to this time, the Rebecca Rioters in Wales after it for example.

  3. There's also examples of cross-dressing in the Scottish Highland Clearance riots, and amongst the Scotch Cattle and the Captain Swing riots