Thursday 13 October 2016

13th October 1816: Luddites destroy at least 30 Frames at Lambley, Nottinghamshire

At around midnight on Sunday 13th October, a large body of Luddites raided a number of houses in the Nottinghamshire village of Lambley.

The Leicester Chronicle of 19th October 1816 carried a brief article about the raid:
On Saturday last, about twelve o'clock, a party of men, computed at one hundred, or more, disguised and armed, appeared in Lambley, a village about seven miles from Nottingham, and destroyed no less than thirty frames. The first house they attacked was Joseph Lovatt’s, which they broke into, and destroyed his frames: while a part of them were engaging in this business, another part, called Thos. Needham out of his bed, and threatened his life he did not obey the call (the men frequently fired pistols in the streets, so that nearly the whole village was in a state of consternation and alarm). Under the influence of fear, he came down and opened the door, and as he was going up stairs again, they fired at him, exclaiming — "damn you, you remember Clumber-street." Fortunately the firing was without effect, and they set a guard over him, while they broke seven frames which were his shop. They also broke the frames which were in the houses of Arthur Kirk, and Joseph Godber, but we have not heard the number broken in each house. What renders this an unparalleled outrage is, that not content with breaking the frames, these depredators proceeded to rifle the houses, and actually took away a large quantity of property, shirts, stockings, and other articles. Various parts of the frames were also taken away. A very active constable was sent over to the place, but no clue has yet been found for the detection of the perpetrators of this outrage and robbery.
The Nottingham Review of 18th October also carried a brief article, with some interesting information about the supposed grievances which had meant certain Hosiers were targeted in particular:
Frame breaking.—Extract of a letter from Nottingham, dated Oct. 16, 1816.—“I am sorry to inform you, that during the night of Saturday last, the village of Lumley, about six miles from this place, was visited by a large number of persons, armed and disguised, under the command of the invincible General Ludd, who addressed his forces in a short speech, on the nature of the service they were then employed upon, and then dividing them into small parties, ordered them to their respective posts.—They immediately commenced the work of demolishing a number of lace and two needle frames, in different parts of the village, belonging to various hosiers in this place. In some of the houses, they broke and destroyed every article of furniture, taking away with them knives and forks, and provisions of every description.—These nightly depredators went to the house of a person named Needham, who was the prosecutor of Simpson, executed for highway robbery, last Lent Assizes, and they told him “they came to punish him for swearing against Simpson!” The number of frames broken is not exactly ascertained, but certainly they amount to more than thirty; and the reason assigned for this outrage is, that the lace frames were making what is called in the trade, two coats hole; a lace of the worst quality; alike injurious to the workmen, the honest manufacturer, and the public. This disgraceful article has brought the lace of this place into disrepute, and it is that which is generally sold by Hawkers. The two-needle frames are stated to have been making hose of 56 gauge for sixpence a pair, which ought to be 2s. 2d. which is now actually paid by some of the first hosiers in this place.
Finally, the legal deposition of one of the targets of the raid, Thomas Needham, is also interesting:
Thomas Needham of Lambley Fwk, who works to Messrs Rogers and Shaw, states that between 12 and 1, in the night of Saturday the 12th Instant he was awakened by a noise in the Village and a short time after he looked out at the Chamber Window and saw (being moonlight) a number of men disguised Some with Smock Frocks on—some had their Coats turned and one whom they called Ned Ludd, had, apparently a Straw Bonnet tied under the Chin and a petticoat on—they then went to the house of Lovet which is opposite to Needham’s and ordered him "to open the door or death"—he not opening the door they broke it open and destroyed the Frames in the house about 10 or 11 in number—Whilst the Ludds were doing this, Needham called up and armed each of his Apprentices (5 or 6) with a Pitchfork, being determined to defend the Frames in his house, but he then looking through the different Windows in his house and perceiving that every Window was guarded by a Ludd with Fire arms he thought it would be impossible to stand against them and in a short time after they came to his door and demanded "entrance or death"—he then went down Stairs and opened the house door, and as he was returning up Stairs, one of them fired at him but as neither Ball or Shot could be found it is supposed only to have been with Blank Cartridge—they then proceeded into the Workshop on the Ground Floor in which were 9 frames, 7 of which they broke, 5 belonging to Rogers and Shaw, one to Mr. Leaver and one to Rogers—The Ludds did not go up Stairs—after having broken the Frames they proceeded into the House place—and destroyed a quantity of Tea, Sugar &c—Spilt 2 or 3 Panchions full of milk and destroyed the Panchions—Eat a Pot of preserved Black Currants, and stole several articles of wearing Apparel—plated tea Spoons and Sugar Nippers—and on going away they called out "damn you remember Clumber Street" which Needham supposed alluded to his having prosecuted Jas Simpson alias Dann &c who went up Clumber Street to be hanged—The Ludds might be in Lambley about 2 hours.—
Of course, the press would have been unaware - and possibly Needham too - but the authorities knew that Simpson/Dann was a Luddite.

Needham's deposition can be found at HO 42/154.

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