Monday, 2 January 2017

2nd January 1817: Poaching raid on Lord Middleton's estate turns into a gun battle, prisoner taken

In the evening of 2nd January 1817, a raid on the estate of Lord Middleton, near Wollaton in Nottinghamshire, set off a chain of events that would have huge significance in the battle against the midlands Luddites.

There are several contemporary newspaper accounts of the raid. One of the most detailed was in the Stamford Mercury of Friday 17th January 1817:
On Thursday night the 2d instant, a numerous gang of poachers made their appearance at Broxtow Notts, where they took a man, who was some-time employed as an under-keeper for Lord Middleton, into close custody, in order to prevent his giving any alarm; they then proceeded to the house occupied by Mr. Cooke, one of his Lordship's keepers at Shortwood, which a part of them surrounded, while another part went in pursuit of the game. The under-keeper whom they had with them was compelled to lie down on the ground, and a man armed with a pistol sat upon him. Mr. Cooke's dog, however, having given an alarm, was instantly shot. Mr. Cooke was awakened by the report, and fired out of the window. The fire was returned on both sides several times, and an attempt was made to get into the house, but without success. The noise of the firing soon brought the watch and ward to Mr. Cooke's assistance, together with some other persons, when the poachers decamped, and attempted to make their escape: but one of them was soon discovered and secured; and three more have since been taken into custody, and committed to Nottingham county gaol.

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