Friday, 4 April 2014

4th April 1814: 5 stocking-frames broken at Gilt Hill, near Kimberley, Nottinghamshire

At 2.00 a.m. on Monday 4th April 1814, Thomas Morley and his wife were awoken by noises outside their house and workshop in Gilt Hill, near Kimberley, Nottinghamshire.

Morley's wife opened the bedroom window, and looking down she could make out between 5 or 6 people in the darkness. She asked them what they wanted and they replied that they wanted 'to look at Mr Nixon's frames' (Morley rented 4 frames belonging to the Hosiery firm Needham & Nixon, along with another belonging to Charles Allcock, a clerk of the same company). Morley's wife spotted one of the figures holding a hammer and asked if they were out frame-breaking - the figures didn't answer, but asked again to see the frames. Morley called out that Needham & Nixon were 'good masters' to him and that he would not let them in. Morley then cried out 'murder' and received threats from below to kill him if he continued to cry out.

Morley quickly made his way downstairs. The Luddites were already forcing entry to his workshop from the outside, and broke a window, gaining entry. Morley attempted to enter his workshop from the inside - through the door, he could see men disguised and wearing flannel shirts. However, before he could enter properly, the Luddites on the inside forced him back inside and shut the door. They then set about breaking all 5 frames in the workshop, as well as damaging work that was set-up in three of the frames, all of which they accomplished within 4 minutes.

By now in fear of his life, Morley decided not to pursue the Luddites into the darkness.

This attack in described in evidence given by Thomas Morley to the authorities the same day, and can be found at HO 42/138.

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