Wednesday, 22 March 2017

22nd March 1817: Derby Assizes Grand Jury call for the reinstatement of the death penalty for frame-breaking

Derby County Hall March 22nd 1817

The undersigned Gentleman, constituting the Grand Jury now assembled at the Assizes for the County of Derby, think it necessary to represent to Lord Sidmouth and the Government their unanimous and decided opinion, that it is highly expedient to make Frame-breaking a capital offence and to subject all persons, subscribing and collecting money to be paid for the Commission of it, or acting in any other manner as aiders or abettors, to the same punishment as the Principals—It must be well known by Lord Sidmouth that so long as the act of the 52nd of the present King was in force not one outrage of this nature was committed by the Luddite Conspiracy, but that immediately after the repeal of that Statute the practice of Frame-breaking revived and has ever since continued—These Facts fully warrant the Conclusion that the existing laws are insufficient for the suppression of the Luddite Conspiracy, and justify the application which the Grand Jury think it is their duty to make to Lord Sidmouth, for an act to be obtained for the more exemplary punishment of Persons guilty of Frame-breaking.

Henry FitzHerbert
A: B: Malley
Winfield Halton
Edward Miller Mundy
P. Gell
Fra. Hurt
W Denny Lowe
J: Radford
Charles Hurt
John Crompton
Joshua Jebb
Bache Heathcote
Robt Holden.
John Toplis
J. Beaumont
John Bell Crompton
[illegible] Draper
W Lord

Saturday, 18 March 2017

18th March 1817: The trial of Joseph Mellors, Nathan Diggle & Jonathan Austin, for attacking William Cook, at Nottingham Assizes

On the same day that the Luddite Daniel Diggle was tried and sentenced to death for his part in an abortive attack in Nottingham, his accomplices in a later attack on Lord Middleton's gamekeeper - William Cook - were put on trial at Nottingham Assizes:
JOSEPH MELLORS, NATHAN DIGGLE, and JONATHAN AUSTIN were put to the bar, charged with having in the night between the 2d and 3d of January last, in company with Daniel Diggle, the prisoner on whom sentence had just been passed, and four others, who have absconded, among whom were Henfrey, Woolley, and Shaw,) beset the house of Mr. William Cook, of Shortwood, near Trowell (gamekeeper to the Right Hon. Lord Middleton) and firing at him several times, through his chamber window, and also firing at Francis Woolley, his neighbour, who came to Cook’s assistance. 
In this prosecution Lord Middleton addressed the Learned Judge a very feeling and impressive manner, stating, that as a dreadful example to the country was about to be made in the execution of Daniel Diggle, who was the principal person concerned in the outrage upon the person, family, and dwelling of one of his gamekeepers, his Lordship did not wish any sanguinary or vindictive proceedings against the three others in custody, and the more especially, as he had reason to believe, they were the least guilty of any of the gang: for as to one of them, when Daniel Diggle proposed to break into Cook’s house and murder him, that one prevented Daniel Diggle from so doing: and therefore, with the learned Judge's permission, he (Lord Middleton) would withdraw all further proceedings against them—his Lordship declaring that all proper means should be taken to apprehend Henfrey, Woolley, Shaw, and others, who, it appeared, had been concerned in the attack upon the house of Kerry, but who were equally guilty with Daniel Diggle, in the outrage in the middle of the night at Cook’s. His Lordship declared that his motive was only public justice, and he thought, as to the four in custody, that end had been obtained. 
The Learned Judge very pointedly complimented Lord Middleton upon the propriety of his conduct on the occasion, and in the most solemn and impressive manner addressed the three prisoners at the bar, informing them, that they owed their lives to his Lordships interference in their favor; for it appeared from documents in the Learned Judge's possession that they were guilty, and might have been convicted if the prosecution had been proceeded in. The Learned Judge exhorted them to go home and break off from the gang of depredators with which they had been heretofore connected—to amend their lives—and, in future, to endeavour to live by honest industry; and to beware of ever being brought to the bar of a Court of Justice again.

18th March 1817: The trial of the Luddite Daniel Diggle, for shooting George Kerry, at Nottingham Assizes


Tuesday, March 18.

This morning, DANIEL DIGGLE, a fine stout-looking young man, only 20 years of age, was put to the bar, and arraigned on a charge of having on the night of Sunday, the 22d of December last, entered the dwelling-house of George Kerry, situate in the parish of Radford, armed and disguised, and then and there, wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully shot at the said George Kerry, with intent to kill and murder him!

To this indictment the prisoner pleaded guilty, but Sir Richard Richards, having humanely pointed out to him the consequences of such a plea, and recommended him to consider the matter, and by pleading not guilty, take the chance of a trial, with some reluctance he consented, and pleaded not guilty.

Serjeant Vaughn shortly stated the case to the Jury. Four men were concerned in the perpetration of this atrocious act. One of them stood at the bar; another would be brought to give evidence, and the other two, Woolley and Henfrey had absconded.

Mr. Denman called William Burton the accomplice, but his Lordship wishing to have Kerry's evidence first, he was called, and Burton was ordered out of Court.

George Kerry (examined by Mr. Denman) was a framework-knitter, and lived at Radford. On the Sunday before Christmas Day, about eight o'clock in the evening, himself, his wife, his mother, Hannah Morley, and his niece (Ann Kerry) were at home. The door was closed and latched, but not locked. Two men lifted up the latch, opened the door, and came in; they had dark coloured long great coats on, with handkerchiefs over their faces, tied up to their eyes; one was a dark checked handkerchief, the other a light faded one; their hats were slouched down; one was a taller man, the other not so tall; at such a time one cannot tell to one, two, or three inches; they said "Advance into the parlour;" but the women were so frightened, instead of obeying the order, they all went into a corner; we were sitting in the house-place—the house-place is on one side of the door, and the parlour on the other. The men had pistols in their hands, which they presented at me and my family; I rose up from my chair, and seized the first man’s pistol by the barrel; he was the shorter man of the two; some struggling ensued; he appeared wishful to discharge the pistol into my body; I turned it aside, and when he pulled the trigger, the contents went into the fire, and knocked out some coals; the candle stood about a yard and a half off, and it was blown out by the firing of the pistol. I gave the pistol a twitch, but did not get it from him, I only drew out the ramrod.— (The ramrod was produced in Court.) I saw the other man with his pistol ready to discharge it at my head, he stood within nine inches of me, and perceiving he was going to fire, I stooped down, and when he fired, part of the contents catched my head, and the other part went into the wall in a triangular form; it was loaded with shot and slugs, and hit a tea tray fixed against the wall, and knocked it down. Two shot-corns entered my head, Mr. Attenburrow (surgeon), extracted one that might, and another the Saturday following. I have reason to believe there is another yet in my head, for it hurts me when I press on the place. I fell down, crying out, "I'm shot, I’m a dead man." They turned round and ran out of the house immediately. Hannah Morley, my wife's sister, locked the door. I got up soon after, and would have followed the men, but the women would not let me. The whole transaction, from the time of their coming into the house, to the time of their going out, might be a minute and a half; there was not above a few seconds between the firing of the two pistols. I saw Daniel Diggle afterwards in the gaol at Nottingham; it was on the 15th of Feb. Hannah Morley and John Kerry were with me. By order of Mr. Rollestone, one of the Magistrates, the turnkey’s lodge was cleared, and Diggle was brought up to me. When he came up, he shook me by the hand, sat down by my side, and asked me how I did; I replied not so bad as you meant me to be, and he made no answer, but his colour changed. I told him I was come to see him in a different form to what he came to see me, the Sunday night before last Christmas day; he made no answer. I asked him what induced him to do so. (Here the learned Judge made particularly enquiries whether any promise had been made to the prisoner, to induce him to confess. The witness maintained that no inducement was held out to Diggle either by himself, or any other person, in his hearing. Hannah Morley was present all the time, and some of the turnkeys occasionally came into the room.)—He made no answer. I asked the question several times, but still he was silent; at last he said, he'd be damn’d if he knew what made him come. I said to him, I reckon you left me for dead, when you left our house; he said he did. I asked him what he thought of me when I seized Woolley’s pistol; he replied, I’ll be damn’d if I know what to think of you. I said, you see I know, do you know who has told? Prisoner said no. I said, then I'll tell you, it is Burton: he replied, I know’d somebody had told, by what Mr. Rollestone said to me last Saturday.—He asked me where Burton was; I told him in Leicester gaol, he said he had never seen him since he was taken. I asked him if he knew what he said when he was coming down Pearson’s close, (Pearson’s close is about 120 yards from Kerry's) he said he did not know. I asked him if he did not say, damn his eyes, we’ll blow his brains out at the first go off; his answer was, I believe I did. I asked if Woolley did not come into the house first. He replied yes. I knew the persons both of the prisoner and Woolley very well, though I did not know them at the time. The prisoner’s father lived next door to me for several years, and is a very honest, industrious man.—(Here the witness’s feelings seemed almost to overcome him.)—Diggle said Shaw loaded the pistols in his room, as he and his wife were sitting at the fire. He said he expected at the time that Woolley, Shaw, Burton, and Henfrey were to come to my house, but when they had loaded the pistols, they put a pistol in his hand, and forced him to go; they were all in his room. I asked him where the hammer came from, that Burton had; he said from Bobber’s mill. The prisoner said Henfrey got the powder at Pogson’s. Hannah Morley asked him if he recollected what he said when he went out of the house; he replied he did not know, for he ran all the way home, quarrelling with Henfrey all the way for loading the pistols with any thing but powder. Hannah Morley repeated her question, adding did you not say, "damn his eyes, he’s is as dead as a nit;" the answer was, I believe I did. The prisoner said he had done that by me for which he should be hanged, and hoped I'd be as favourable as I could. He said Burton wanted them to come back again and break the frames, after they had left me for dead.

William Burton, the accomplice, (examined by Mr. Clarke) lived at Nottingham. On the Sunday before Christmas day, himself, Diggle, Henfrey, and Woolley, set off to break a frame at Kerry’s, it was about eight o'clock, they took three pistols and a hammer with them; witness carried the hammer; Henfrey fetched it from Constable’s house or garden, he did not know which, at Basford plat. Henfrey brought one of the pistols into the room loaded: the other two were loaded with powder from Pogson’s. at twenty minutes past eight, the prisoner and Woolley entered Kerry’s house, with pistols in their hands; witness staid at the door. When Diggle flung the door open, Kerry said, "halloo." The prisoner had a great coat on, with a light coloured handkerchief tied on his face, and an apron round his shoulders.—Diggle said to those in the house, "go in," meaning go into the parlour. The women screeted and a little girl (Ann Kerry) came to the door, but on seeing him with the hammer, she ran back again, and directly after the pistol was fired. Witness both heard and saw it; saw Kerry lay hold of Woolley’s pistol, and heard it go off. When the other pistol went off, Diggle and Woolley ran out of the house directly. He asked Diggle what he could think of firing? Diggle said because Kerry had seized hold of Woolley. Witness told him he had no occasion to fire, and he replied he was damn’d mad at himself for it. Witness then said, you're always such a damn’d fool when you’ve got a bit of powder; O says Diggle, damn him, he's as dead as a nit.—Witness and the prisoner went down some closes home; Henfrey and Woolley took another road.

Hannah Morley the sister-in-law to Kerry, was examined by Mr. Denman, but as her evidence was only confirmatory of that of Kerry’s it is not necessary to repeat it.

Ann Kerry, the niece, the girl who went to the door, and ran back when she saw Burton, was placed in the witness box, merely for the purpose of giving the prisoner an opportunity of asking her any questions he might think proper, but he declined doing so.

Thomas Pogson remembers that on Sunday before Christmas, about six o'clock, Henfrey came to borrow some powder of him. He lent in some in a horn.

The witness received an admonition from the Judge, and was desired to be more guarded in future.

The prisoner was called upon for his defence.—He said he did not know that the pistol was loaded with any thing but powder; he did not load it himself; and he only fired it to frighten them.

On being asked whether he had any witnesses to call, he mentioned several names, which were called in Court, but none of them appeared. After a considerable pause, the Learned Judge began his charge to the Jury; but before he had proceeded far, it was announced that one of the prisoner’s witnesses had made his appearance, and his Lordship, with that humanity, which we had frequent opportunities of admiring while he presided in the criminal court, and which we cannot sufficiently applaud, immediately paused, and ordered the witness to be sworn. It proved to be

Wm. Hemmett, who had known the prisoner twelve years, and gave him a good character.

It being stated that others were expected, his Lordship waited, and the next who appeared was

Robert Willis, a framework-knitter, of Arnold, who knew the prisoner, for he had worked for witness from July 1815, to July 1816, and always conducted himself well.

Elizabeth Hemmett had known him seven or eight years; he worked with her husband, and bore a good character as far as she knew.

After impartial and clear summing up of the evidence by the learner judge, the jury were desire to consider their verdict; which they returned obstinately, "guilty, my Lord."

His Lordship proceeded to pass sentence of death upon the prisoner, which he did in so impressive a manner, as to draw tears from most persons in the Court. It was nearly in the following words:—

"Daniel Diggle—You have been tried by a patient and attentive Jury, and been convicted on the clearest evidence, of an offence, which the law has made capital. In consequence thereof, your life has become forfeited, and you must lose it in the prime of your days, and in the full vigour of your mental and corporeal faculties. You went to the house of your neighbour and friend, a man who even now speaks of your father in terms of commendation; you went along with the other assassins, with deadly arms, forgetful of your duty to your God, forgetful of your duty to society, and forgetful of your duty to your father; you went, without provocation, in the calm and tranquillity of the evening, and you did all that you could, to murder your neighbour in cold blood. I thank God that you failed in your diabolical purpose. Your crime is of that magnitude, that you must not expect any mercy to be shewn you here; I should think myself accessary to the crime were I to suffer you to live, and depend upon it, I shall not disgrace myself, by soliciting mercy on your behalf. I therefore most earnestly intreat you to prepare yourself for that world, for an entrance into which I am afraid, you are quite unprepared. I have now only to pass the sentence of the law, which is, that you shall be taken to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, there to be hung by the neck till you are dead, and may the Lord God of all mercies, have compassion on your soul."

These words were pronounced with so much solemnity, that they appeared to make a deep impression both on the prisoner and the Court: almost every eye was suffused with tears, and his Lordship himself was evidently much affected.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

16th March 1817: Louis Allsopp accuses the frameworkknitter union leader, Gravenor Henson, of being the 'chief instigator' of the Hampden Clubs


16. March 1817.—

My Lord—

I  have had a Communication since my return with Mr Hooley, who is prepared to state his firm Belief & Conviction; that G. Henson is the chief Instigator of the Hampden Clubs here, tho’ not known to be a member of any one Club; that prior to the Establishment of Hampden Clubs Henson had the Charge of the Books & papers belonging to the Society of the associated Counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire & Nottinghamshire, whose object was to overthrow the [Government] & effect a Revolution; & that these books & papers are in the possession of G Henson. at a Meeting of the Deputies from the different Counties in December at his house; that it was determined at this meeting that it was then too early to make any attempts, but that they [should] wait till the Spring, by which time the Country would be irritated by the Rejection of the Petitions in the mean time to be presented, & would be ripe for the purpose & a Revolution might be effected; that as soon as Parliament evinced a determination to support the measures brought forward by yr Lordship, Henson concealed, or destroyed these books & papers, & no Traces can be obtained of them, nor any Evidence of their contents procured; that Henson avoids appearing openly, & is too cautious to commit himself to any but a few he thinks he can confide in;—that tho he may appear to be quiet, yet that all his attention & Views are directed for his favorite objects of a Revolution; that in these Views he is assisted by a man of the name of [Matthew] Atkin, who is also a very shy & cautious man—Mr Hooley has obtained his Information from a person to whom Atkin has communicated these matters, & though he can take upon himself to swear to the his firm belief & Conviction in these Circumstances & that Henson & Atkin entertain at this time Views of a most dangerous & treasonable nature, yet as no conviction [could] take place without further Evidence, & as there is little or no probability of getting at any of the papers, Mr Hooley entertains an opinion that no good would be derived from an arrest of these men or either of them; they would be considered as Martyrs & only comfortable from their Confinement hereafter, possessed of more influence and Consequence than they now know, & that by waiting there is a Chance they may become bolden, & their papers may be got at—At the same time as yr Lordship possesses much more general Information of what is going on here & elsewhere, Mr Hooley & myself have thought it right to transmit these points to yr Lordships Consideration with this an observation, that we shall most readily adopt any measures your Lordship may advise—G.Henson is a most skilful man, he has quiet Caution & Command of himself—

every thing is going on with Spirit & Courage all will, I understand, be quiet—Your Lordship will of course have heard of the Conduct of the Prisoners at Leicester, I have no doubt the Magistrates there will do their duty—

Mr Hooley has made a sacred promise to the person who gave him the Information not to divulge  his name, but he has the greatest [illegible] in his Veracity.

I have [etc]

L. P. Allsopp

PS – I have this morning seen Blackburn & Burton who were brought over Yesterday from Leicester to give Evidence—The former says G.Henson has now nothing whatever to do with Luddism, only with politics—but there is a man of the name of Ward (whom I know) who is a very bad fellow in every respect, he was the person who suggested & instigated the men to the murder of the Judge—

16th March 1817: The Duke of Newcastle informs the Home Office he plans to attend the Nottingham Assizes

Mar. 16. 1817.

My Lord

I write a few lines to inform your Lordship that I am going to attend the Assizes tomorrow, for the purpose of giving support to the Judge & Sheriff and to be of what use I may be able—

The Sheriff was so good as to transmit to me your Lordship’s letter informing him that you had had  intimation of a body of people from Manchester being about to pass thro’ Nottingham, he mentions that he can gain no news of such persons being expected, and at a meeting held immediately to consider your Lordships information, it was decided that the preparation already made was so ample that nothing further was necessary—However to make every thing secure I have ordered two troops of Yeomanry escort to Nottingham to be under arms and ready to march at a moment’s notice—

I am sorry to observe that the cavalry has all been withdrawn from Nottm except 20 dragoons.—It is expected that all will go off very quietly, if otherwise, we shall be fully prepared to meet any opponents, and I feel sanguine in the hope that every one will do his duty—

I shall write to your Lordship if I have any information to give you.

I have [etc]


Visct. Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

15th March 1817: Charles Mundy informs the Home Office that Blackburn & Burton have been moved to Nottingham under escort

Burton March 15th 1817
near Loughborough

My Lord

I have the Honour to inform your Lordship that I have made arrangements with the commanding Officer at Leicester & the High Sheriff for the County Nottingham for the removal of the two prisoners Blackburn & Burton from Leicester to Nottingham and under an escort of the 15th Light Dragoons this day. I anticipate that they will return on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have [etc]

C. G. Mundy

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

15th March 1817: The arrest of John Clarke, aka 'Little Sam' is reported in the press

The Leicester Chronicle of Saturday 15th March 1817 reported the arrest of John Clarke, aka 'Little Sam', a man wanted for involvement in the 'Loughborough Job'. The arrangements for his arrest had been discussed recently by the prosecuting solicitor Jeffrey Lockett & the Home Office's John Beckett:
A man named Clarke, has been brought from a depot in Devonshire, where he had been marched previous for his embarkation for some foreign station, for desertion, charged with being concerned in the outrage upon Messrs. Heathcote and Boden's factory at Loughborough.

Friday, 10 March 2017

10th March 1817: The Luddite,Thomas Savage, writes to his wife from Leicester Gaol

Leicester County Gaol
March 10, 1817.

My dear Wife,

I write these few lines to you, hoping they will find you in good health, and my dear children. I am as well as can be expected in my situation; tell my dear father he must do every thing in his power for me; I have had no attorney to see me at present; what I have got to say will be to my attorney; so no more at present from your loving and affectionate husband,


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

8th March 1817: Charles Mundy is concerned for the safety of the Luddites-turned-infomers, Blackburn & Burton

Burton March 8th 1817
near Loughborough

My Lord.

I take the liberty of addressing your Lordship on account of the uneasiness I feel for the safety of the two prisoners John Blackburn and William Burton who are as your Lordship is perfectly aware the mainspring of the case against the Luddites now in the Gaol of this County. I find that both those persons will be necessary as Kings Evidence at Nottingham assizes the former in the prosecution for the attack on my Lord Middleton's gamekeeper the latter in the attack on one Kerry’s House & shooting at him & wounding him in the Head. As Nottingham assizes unfortunately take place previous to those at Leicester there is every possible inducement for such of the Gang as are at large & their very numerous friends to attempt the lives of those men, for if they were disposed of the whole case for the prosecution for the outrage at Loughborough falls to the ground with the exception of one prisoner (Thomas Savage) The removal of these persons from Leicester to Nottingham will be attended with danger as will also their appearance in Court at the latter place. I should hope the High Sheriff & the magistrates for that County will take ample precautions and that the police of the Town will likewise be called into service on the occasion. If I might venture to offer an opinion I should suggest that a very large number of Special Constables should be appointed, & selected from the most respectable classes & well arm’d. I will say to your Lordship (privately) that I fear they are hardly sufficiently alive to the danger and that a jealousy of acknowledging the justice of the bad character the population of the Town & neighbourhood have acquired induces them to under rate the probability of any attempt of the kind I allude to.—Respecting the mode of conveying these two men from Leicester to Nottingham I conceive that best mode will be to take them in chaises under an escort of dragoons two troops of the 15th Lt [Dragoons] are at Leicester but I believe none at Nottingham the distance from Leicester to Nottingham is twenty five miles. In my opinion the best method would be to bring send an escort from Leicester to Loughborough the day before the men set out which would be ready, with their Horses fresh, to take charge of them from the escort which brings them from Leicester & convey them to Nottingham and remain in the Barracks (which are out of the limits of the Town) to convey the men back again, the Escort which brought them to Loughborough remaining there to receive & convey them to Leicester. This arrangement will of course require all your Lordships interference respecting the escort. I should think sixteen men would be sufficient—probably infinitely less would be sufficient for real security but the terror of the two men especially Blackburn, is so great that I am sure you Lordship will see the necessity of inspiring them with confidence. I should hope either a Military Guard or a strong party of well armed Constables will be retaind in the County Gaol at Nottingham during the time these men are there. If this plan should be adopted by your Lordship I would order chaises from Nottingham to meet them at my House which is in the most direct road from Leicester to Nottingham; some distance would be sav’d & the Town of Loughborough avoided. The escort from Loughborough would take charge of them here with less tumult than at Loughborough.—An attempt at a correspondence between Savage & some friends at Nottingham has been discovered to the Gaoler through the means of a prisoner charged with sheepstealing. the Object of it is that a party from Nottingham are to be ready in the vicinity of the Gaol on a certain night the prisoners at Locking up time are to rush on the two Turnkeys & either murder them or force them into one of the Cells & lock them in while others secure the Gaoler & get possession of the keys. Let themselves out into the street where their friends are to be ready with tools to take off their irons & a change of Cloaths to facilitate escape. I have procured a Guard of the 15th [Light Dragoons] every night from Locking up time till after they are let out of the cells in the morning.

I suspect they have some plan in agitation from which they expect success otherwise I cannot account for their encreased spirits & appearance of confidence knowing, as I do, that their [illegible] gives them no hopes of acquittal. As the assizes for the County of Nottingham are very fast approaching I have thought it right to lose no time in stating the circumstances to your Lordship.—I have the Honour to remain

My lord, your Lordships most Obedient very Humble Servant

C. G. Mundy

I should add that the prisoners now in the Gaol of this County for trial at the next assizes amount to no less than fifty four.—

[To] The Rt Honble Lord Sidmouth &c &c &c

Friday, 3 March 2017

3rd March 1817: John Beckett advises Jeffrey Lockett on how to apprehend the Luddite 'Little Sam'

Whitehall 3 March 1817.

Dr Sir

The only safe mode of proceeding in this Case, and the least dilatory in this. Send an Officer from Leicester to London with a Warrant of Apprehension—let him apply at the War Office for Sam’s discharge from Porchester Castle—let him proceed with both to the County of Hants, and then get the Warrant backed—let him go to Porchester Castle—exhibit the War office Order for Sam’s discharge, & take him into Custody under the Justice’s Warrant, & go back with him to Leicester

Yrs faithfully

J. Beckett

[To: Jeffrey Lockett]

3rd March 1817: Jeffrey Lockett aks John Beckett how to apprehend the Luddite 'Little Sam'

Mr Lockett presents his [Compliments] to Mr Beckett and has the pleasure to inform him that Mr Hobhouse has received a second communication from Col. Mainwaring which leaves no doubt as to the identity of Little Sam and the deserter at Porchester Castle. Mr L. would have waited upon Mr Beckett to have taken his directions as to the removal of the prisoner to Leicester, but is just leaving town. Time will not admit of his being marched back again—If a less expensive method cannot be suggested Mr L. will send an officer from Derby with a warrant from Mr Mundy, which maybe backed by Hampshire magistrate, but he will wait to hear from Mr B. on the [illegible]

Grecian Coffee house
March: 3d 1817

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

1st March 1817: William Sherbrooke writes to the Home Office about the plan to re-site the Assizes in Newark

County Hall Nottm March 1st 1817

My Lord

It is with considerable regret that we hear that His Majesty's Government have determined to adjourn the Assize usually held at the County Hall at the Town of Nottingham to Newark.—We apprehend that this measure will have a very bad effect upon the public mind, that it will be regarded by the Discontented and Disaffected as an acknowledgemt of the weakness of the Civil Power and be looked upon as an act of pusillanimity, at a moment when firmness and energy are peculiarly required.—We beg your Lordship to recollect that every attempt to break the Peace in this County has been instantly repulsed; and that although many nocturnal and secret Outrages have been committed, that no rising of a Mob, or attempt to resist the Civil Power, has taken place since the year 1812. We must also bring your Lordship’s mind, that although some disturbance was observed in the Court at the last Assizes, the Magistrates had no suspicion of any riotous proceedings being likely to take place: nor had they any notion that a Trial of so much interest or that the [illegible] in the Court, would have been proceeded upon in the night.

The Magistrates are now fully prepared; and if His Majesty's Ministers, upon mature consideration, should be induced to alter their determination, there have no doubt, in conjunction with the High Sheriff, of being able to preserve the peace,—and even of preventing any alarm during the ensuing Assizes for this County.

I have the honour to be, My Lord,
Your Lordships most obedt Servt

W: Sherbrooke


[Home Office note on the reverse]

Lord Sidmouth

[Acquaint] Him that upon full [consideration] of the Representations [which] have been made to Lord [Sidmouth] from various [quarters]—it has been deemed Expedient that the approaching Assizes for the [County] of [Nottingham] [should] be held at the Town of [Nottingham] as heretofore:

1st March 1817: The High Sheriff of Nottingham writes to the Home Secretary about re-siting the Assizes to Newark

Flintham House
March 1st 1817.

My Lord

I had the Honor of receiving your Lordships letter of the 25th Feby, in obedience to which, I have with my underSheriff & Gaoler, been at Newark, and inspected the Gaol, Town Hall, &c and have this day been at Nottingham, for the purpose of laying before the County Magistrates, a Plan of such preparations, as appear to be requisite, for holding the Assizes at Newark—

Previous to the receipt of your Lordships letter I had attended a Special meeting of the County Magistrates for the purpose of making arrangements for preserving the peace at the ensuing Assizes, supposing them to be held, as usual, at Nottingham, and I entertained a confident hope, that the arrangements, then proposed by the Magistrates, added to an increase of my own attendants, beyond the number which my immediate predecessor had employed, would have been effectual for the maintenance of order Tranquillity—

Were I to venture to offer an opinion to your Lordship upon the impression produced by the removal of the Assizes, I should say, that the factions, & desperate, would represent it, as the effect of the intimidation produced by their former attempts, & regard it as a kind of triumph; which I understand they have openly manifested—

I beg leave to represent your Lordship, the necessity of a strong Guard for the removal of the numerous prisoners, now in the Gaol at Nottm, from that place to Newark—The number I understand at present to be 18 & that there is a probability of an increase. Amongst these are many desperate Characters, and 5 frame breakers—I conceive a Strong Escort of Soldiers to be absolutely requisite, & indeed the Gaoler informs me, that he cannot be answerable for their safe conduct, without such protection—The Gaol at Newark is very small, but I believe with a proper watch, it is perfectly secure the principal inconvenience would arise, from placing together a number of prisoners, whom it might be desirable to keep Separate—

I beg leave to conclude this letter by soliciting your Lordship's advice, & directions, on this occasion.

I have [etc]

Mr B Hildyard

High Sheriff of the
County of Nottingham

[To] The Right Honble
The Secretary of State
for the Home Department
&c &c &c