Tuesday 27 December 2016

27th December 1816: Joseph Allen confesses to frame-breaking in Leicester in 1815

The 3rd January 1817 edition of the Leicester Chronicle carried an article about a Luddite called Joseph Allen who had confessed to breaking frames in Leicester in June 1815 after approaching a constable in Loughborough on Friday 27th December 1816:
Friday last, a young man, of the name of Joseph Allen, a native of Melton Mowbray, and who has for some time past lived in Sheepshead, came to Mr. Edward Bilson, one of the constables of Loughborough, and voluntarily confessed, that he was concerned in the breaking of two wide-glove frames, at Mr. Mason’s, Belgrave-gate, in this town, as far back as the 17th of June, 1815, and that John Ross, a shopmate of his at that time, assisted in the transaction. Mr. Bilson therefore conveyed Allen to this town for examination, when it turned out that the account was correct, so far as to the frames having been then broken—that Allen and Ross worked in Mr. Mason’s shop at the time—that Allen absconded the next day, and although diligent enquiries were immediately made after him he eluded detection—and that his now coming forward and surrendering himself, of his own accord, was with the view of escaping punishment for an offence which he had recently committed at Sheepshead, together with the idea, that transportation itself could not make him more miserable than he had latterly been, from the pressure of the time. He is fully committed to prison for trial, and Ross, who has since been taken up and examined, is out upon bail, the magistrates finding that he was not implicated in the business in the way that Allen had represented.

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