Friday, 11 April 2014

11th April 1814: Attacks on properties of the enemies of Luddites around Huddersfield

In the evening of Monday 11th April 1814, the properties of two of the enemies of the Luddites in the Huddersfield area were attacked. The date was significant because it was the second anniversary of the attack on Rawfolds Mill. The anniversary, and the identity of the targets of the attacks, were not remarked upon by the local press.

One of the targets was directly linked to Rawfolds. John Drake of Longroyd Bridge - a Cropper whose son, Joseph, gave evidence at the trial of men accused of being involved in the attack at Rawfolds - had been the target of at least 5 attacks over the past 14 months. As recently as 29th & 31st March, a Tenter kept near his house had been broken. This time, the windows of his house were smashed.

At Folly Foot, the garden of John Sykes was destroyed. Sykes' sole shearing frame had been destroyed by Luddites on 5th March 1812. On this night, palisades in his garden were thrown down, and 'every article growing' there was pulled up and destroyed.

A brief report about the incident appears in the Leeds Mercury of 16th April 1814.The details of the attacks on Drake's Tenter appear in a letter from John Peace to the Home Office, which can be found at HO 42/138.

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