Thursday 22 December 2016

22nd December 1816: Assassination attempt on George Kerry, at Aspley, Nottinghamshire - the final Luddite raid?

On the evening of  Sunday 22nd December 1816, an attempt was made on the life of a framework-knitter called George Kerry, in the village of Aspley, Nottinghamshire. The attack was probably the final Luddite raid, at least that we know about.

The attack drew limited coverage in the press at this point, with both articles getting Kerry's name wrong. The Leicester Chronicle of 27th December 1816 carried a brief Nottingham Review article:
It is with the greatest concern we feel it our duty this week, to record one of the most atrocious attempts at murder, that ever disgraced Nottingham. On Sunday evening last about a quarter before eight, as George Kenney and his family (who reside at a lone house by the road leading from Bobber’s Mill, to Bilborough,) was sitting by the fire-side, at supper, their house was entered by two men in disguise and armed with pistols. Kenney in attempting to seize the foremost man, was shot at by him, but without effect, and during the struggle the other man fired, but fortunately the slugs only grazed his head. The murderers thinking their object attained, instantly departed. The most prompt assistance was rendered by the neighbours, and the Police from Nottingham, but owing to the frost, and extreme darkness of the night, no trace whatever could be made of their retreat. Nottingham Review.
The Morning Post of the 28th December also ran an article:
Accounts have been received of another most atrocious attempt on the part of the Luddites to commit murder. On Sunday night last, as a weaver of the name of CURRY was sitting with his wife and a relation, two men knocked at the door and desired admittance. When they entered, they immediately made up to CURRY, and one of them discharged a pistol at him. The ball did not touch him. CURRY immediately made an effort to close with the villain, when the other man immediately five, and wounded him under the eye, but it is hoped not mortally. The men then retired, and made their escape. Their faces were completely disguised. CURRY does not know in what way he could have made himself obnoxious to the Luddites. He has not been working with machines, which are the objects of their hostility, nor has he been working under price. The magistrates took all possible steps, as soon as the event was known, to discover the assassins. A Constable was placed in CURRY'S house for his protection, but it is not supposed the villains will make a second attempt.

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