Sunday, 26 March 2017

26th March 1817: The statement of the Luddite, Joshua Mitchell

Examination of Joshua Mitchell

Loughbro’—Was at the destruction of Heathcoate’s Machinery at Loughbro’—I had the Gun and Bayonet in the top Shop—I committed no violence, only threatened—Blackburn shot Asher—C: Blackburn first told me of this plot on the Tuesday evening before it was done—On the following morning (Wednesday) Francis Ward mentioned it to me and urged me much to go saying there would be a deal of money—said there had been a Turn-out of Heathcoate’s workmen who had expended a great deal of money—they (the Loughbro’ men) Ward said offered £100 for the Machines to be destroyed or Heathcoate Shot—but in consequence of their expences they could then afford to give only £40 or £50—but if done to their mind he (Ward) knew by going over to them he could get more—Ward also observed that men would be wanted to work in the Factory and some of them (Ludds) might get into what they call a good deal of work—he (Ward) told me he had frequent interviews with the Loughbro’ workmen—On the day of the Loughbro’ business seven of us met at the Navigation Inn Nottm—Badder met them—I received of Badder (10 shillings or 15 shillings) said he received it of Ward—one Wingfield of Ruddington was present—we afterwards separated—3 went to Loughbro’ by the Coach—the other 4 walk’d—met again at Loughbro’—Needless Inn—I received betwixt 3£ & 4£ of Ward about a week after the Loughbro’ business—received 30 [shillings] or 40 [shillings] afterwards—Savage (with one Powell New Radford) went over to Loughbro’ about a fortnight before the thing was done & made the bargain:—was to receive 50£—recd all but 18£ then which was sent to Ward the Sunday after the destruction—who paid it to Savage—money was also raised in Nottm—Ward and Badder were very active in raising & paying money especially Ward—Ward paid £10 for destroying some frames in Woolpack Lane in Nottm  in Goose Fair Week—I assisted him in the destruction—did not receive it from Ward himself.—

New Radford.—I assisted in the destruction of Wright & Mullen’s Frames at New Radford—Several Meetings were held at the Odd Fellows Arms in New Radford before the Frames were broken—Badder, Thos Glover, Henry Mayfield John Anderson Saml Fletcher and some others attended—Wright & Mullen were sent for to enquire as to their prices—the Meeting thought they had been working under price & said their Machines ought to be broke—the persons I have named said they could raise a sum of money if the frames were destroyed & strongly urged the measure—I received 3 [shillings] from Glover the day before the frames were broke—knows all the men concerned in this business.—

Castle Donington—I was not concerned the destruction of Mr Orgill's Frames—I know who were—mentions their names—Saml Preston told me on the Sunday morning (the Frames were destroyed in the night of that day) the Machines of Mr. Orgill would be broke that night—He said he had borrowed the key of a Framesmith’s Shop in Nottingham for the purpose of lending the men that they might take out what they wanted (one Shore’s Shop who now lives in Narrow Marsh)—a Wrench was left in Orgill’s Shop—Toulson slept at one Price’s at Beeston Rylands on his return—Ward plotted this business—

Linby more than 5 years since—broad Lane Paddock at Mr. Harvey's—New Radford at Mr. Noble’s—Old Sneinton at Stensons—New Sneinton—Near the Bugle Horn Nottm.}Was concerned in these various depredations besides many others

Warp Lace Committee—The Meetings were held at the Duke of York in Nottm—Ward has been one of the Committee—Matthew Atkins of New Radford has also served on this Committee—Matthew Atkins of New Radford has also served on this Committee—Thos Roper is Secretary—Ward Treasurer—Roper lives near Charlotte Street—I attended a Meeting in Christmas week—Thos Roper acted as Secretary—met once a month except something particular happened and then oftener—recollects attending a meeting about this time to consider as to raising money to pay the Law expences for defending the Luddites who had been tried —It was agreed that the Warp Branch should advance the money—balance about 40£ and Foulks from Loughbro’ proposed that the Loughbro’ Committee should give them joint them to repay it in 3 months—2 other persons from Loughbro’ attended with Foulks as a Deputation from the Lougbro’ Committee—Foulks & F. Ward belong to the Loughbro’ Committee—

Twist Lace Committee—Foulks of Loughbro’ belongs to this Committee—Adam McRea (Broad Lane Nottm) told me this Committee had employed him to get men to shoot one of Mr. Kendall’s wokmen who had refused to turn out—two had refused—one was to be shot as an example—a large sum would be paid—McRea said he received 23 [shillings] from this Committee which he gave to Josh. Mellor of Basford—who promised to get men to do it—C. Blackburn & Thos Henfrey told me they had received 4 [shillings] apiece from Mellor to shoot some man—they did not know who the man was & requested me to enquire—I saw McRea and asked him who the man was—he said it was one of Mr. Kendall’s men who resided at New Sneinton—I persuaded them not to do it—does not recollect his name—McRea received 20 [shillings] more of Foulks for the same purpose—At the sign of the Col. Wardle in Nottm meetings were frequently held—

F. Ward—John Hill told me Ward had promised him £10 if he would shoot Mr. Seals (a Lacemakr Nottm) and 5£ more if he would shoot his workmen (Banwell) for working under price—Hill wanted me to join him—I refused—this is since the Loughbro’ business—John Hill had called on Ward for some money for the Loughbro’ business—he said he had not any for that concern and then made him this promise—

Continuation of Mitchell's Confession

A Plot was laid by Ward to murder the Judge the last Leicster Assizes—he gave 10 men 10 [shillings] a piece to pay their expences from Nottingham to Leicester. I received 10 [shillings] from John Hill—said he had received it from Ward—some of them brought Fire Arms. I saw a Pistol at the sign of the Jolly Bachus in Leicester—knows all the ten—We all met at the Jolly Bachus—Ward frequently called on us—immediately after Towle’s trial was over, Ward came to them and said Towle was condemned—said he was determined to have the Judge done—he then pulled out £5—said it was all he had (except 2 [shillings] to carry him home) he would give them that—he said he would give the man that pulled the trigger a golden guinea more—I said take the money up again as nothing of the sort would be done—Ward said he was determined it should be done and then offered the golden guinea and said he knew where he could get another—he left the £5 saying they must share it amongst them—he left the money in my hands—said they had better appoint some one to take the Command and the rest be ruled by him—said they must consult amongst themselves and do him either at his lodgings or on his way to Coventry—Ward went away saying he should sleep at Loughbro’ and should be out of the way—

Thos. Woodward—John Hill—William Withers—Little Ben of Thurmaston—Isaac Burton—Clarke—Wm Towle—were hired—Some Members of the Hampden Club called on us next morning at the Jolly Bachus—and proposed rescuing Towle—Digby (stiled Gen Digby) said he had inspected many Depots of Arms—said the Depot at Derby could be taken in 20 minutes—mentioned many others—one Bellamy also came—Hill and myself saw Ward next day at Nottingham—and told him what the Hampden Club Men had proposed—he appeared anxious for it to be done—Ward during hisat Leicester was recommending frames to be destroyed—Richard Thornton—Stones Junr a Carrier of Loughbro’—and one Bell were present—Ward told me he collected money from his Journeymen—two Storers (Brothers)—Hopkin and his (Ward’s) Brother in law Hawley.

The £10 paid for breaking the two frames in Woolpack Lane was paid by Ward to Saml Hooley—then a Shopmate of mine—Hooley told Ward what sort of work these frames were making and Ward then offered the £10—I received the day the frames were destroyed—I distributed it to my accomplices—Hooley resides with his father—top of Barker gate—

John Southern Fisher gate gave me £1. to destroy four silk knotted frames in Crosland Street about three years ago—shewed me the house

Pym (who has lodgings in the Meadow Platts) & ____ Wheatcroft, who lives near Pennyfoot Hill paid me £5 for destroying four frames at Mr. Bullock’s in Bellar Gate—one Hutton was also concerned—Pym told me he and the other two men belonged to the Silk Knotted Committee—they met at the Dog and Drake

John Anderson paid me and John Hill 5 [shillings] a piece for the Loughbro’ Business—he belongs to both Committees

Ward, Anderson and Macrea—has heard them urge the New Basford Business—when Kilby and Bamford were shot—Ward said he would find some money—John Swanwick (Independent Hill) offered to raise £5—would be answerable for that if he advanced it himself—Amos was present—The morning after—Richard Groves and myself went to see the men who were shot. Swanwick asked Groves how Bamford was dressed—he described—Swanwick said they were things he had given him the night before—Adam Mcrea was in Company with the men immediately before—treated them and waited at the Horse and Chaise in Sandy lane till their return

Ward proposed the warp Lace hands should subscribe five [shillings] a piece for the Castle Donington business—I received money from Joseph Harris—Samuel Hooley—James Cowlishaw—I gave it to Francis Cooper one of the men concerned

Thomas Kirk (Fair Maiden Lane Nottingham)—advanced money for defending his nephew—T Kirk for assaulting Kilbourne—it was repaid by the central Committee (Point Net).

Samuel Husbands of New Radford contributed to the New Radford Business—also to the Loughbro’ largely—has seen him pay money to John Blackburn

Joseph White (Broad lane Paddock) told me he had paid more than two Guineas towards the Loughbro’ Business—James Cowlishaw was present—at the sign of the Eclipse Chapel Bar—

Has heard Gravener Henson speak favorably of Luddites more than 5 years ago—thought they should have a Commander—has heard him say a Revolution might be easily effected—and if Nottingham stood where Leicester was it soon would be—said it was a central situation—thought Weedon Barracks should be first seized then Derby Armoury—Anderson about a year ago told me 500 men had marched from Leicestershire—but had been recalled—he said it was planned to seize Nottingham Barracks first—then the Soldiers Arms in their quarters—then the Derby Armoury—then to Weedon Barracks and so on to London compelling every one to join them—

I saw Gravener Henson a day or two after the Loughbro’ business—he asked me if I was there—he said a Revolution might easily be brought about in the same way by rising in the middle of the night—Amos told me the plan was formed by Dennis Rhodes of Nottingham and my name was put down for one concerned.

This document can be found at HO 42/162. It is undated, but it was enclosed with a letter from Henry Enfield to Lord Sidmouth of the same date.

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