Thursday, 25 February 2016

25th February 1816: Four shearing frames broken by Luddites at Quarmby, their final action in the West Riding

At 1.00 a.m. on Sunday 25th February 1816, the final Luddite action in the West Riding took place - just after the fourth anniversary of the first actions in the County.

The Leeds Mercury of 2nd March carried the following report about the attack:
Outrage near Huddersfield.—Last Sunday morning, about two o'clock, several persons broke into the house and shop of James Roberts, of Quarmby, near Huddersfield, cloth-dresser, and after demolishing all the windows and window-frames, for several yards square, proceeded to break the shears and improved shear-frames used in the cloth-dressing business; and, having effected their lawless purpose, retired without molesting any part of the family. It is fervently to be hoped, that the outrages which disgraced the neighbourhood of Huddersfield some years ago, and which proved so fatal to their perpetrators, are not about to be renewed; but should that be the case, we are assured that the persons whose property is likely to suffer in the event of a renewal of the frame-breaking system, are determined to defend their property against any attack that may be made upon it, and to render mutual assistance to each other for this important object.
The passage was a press release by the authorities, since the Leeds Intelligencer also quoted the same text and acknowledged they had received it from Huddersfield and didn't wish to add comment.

James Roberts gave a deposition to Joseph Radcliffe on the 26th February, confirming the time of the attack as 1.00 a.m. Throughout the attack - which he said lasted for 3 hours - he remained in bed because he was so afraid, and he also confirmed that not one word was uttered by the attackers. Attached to the deposition was an estimate of the cost of the damage: 3 broken frames, 1 damaged frame, and 4 pairs of hand shears - £16, 17 shillings sixpence; and for damage to the windows, £25, 17 shillings sixpence.

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