Friday, 29 April 2016

29th April 1816: Mole Plough destroyed by a crowd of 200 people at Rattlesden, Suffolk - arrests made

On Monday 29th April 1816, a crowd of around 200 people assembled at the farm of Benjamin Morgan, at Rattlesden in Suffolk. They had come to destroy a Mole Plough, a machine used for drainage, which had the effect of displacing the requirement for labour,

Morgan evidently spent some time remonstrating with the crowd, and attempting to prevent them from damaging his machine, but he failed, and the machine was eventually destroyed. Afterwards, the crowd left the farm and dispersed without taking any other kind of action.

Morgan, however, clearly knew or remembered many of those taking part, and arrests followed in the days to come, with two people being committed to Bury Gaol on the same day - Benjamin Buxton & James Button.

A letter from the Duke of Grafton dated 29th April 1816 has some of the details of this case, including confirmation of the date of the incident, as does the Cambridge Chronicle of 2nd August 1816. The names of prisoners taken the same day were reported in the Bury & Norwich Post of 1st May 1816.

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