Friday, 11 November 2011

11th November 1811: John Westley, Luddite Martyr

At dawn near the road at Bulwell Forest, and at a short distance from Edward Hollingworth's wrecked house, lay the body of the man who had been shot the night before. It would appear that his comrades had decided to leave his corpse where he had died, rather than risk returning with it and increasing the possibility they would be exposed. The man was subsequently identified as a John Westley1, a framework-knitter originally from Leicester, but who had lived in Arnold for 12 years. Westley was a single parent, with two children aged 5 and 3, who were now orphans. The Inquest, which was held a day later, stated that a bullet had entered Westley on the left side of his body, just below the navel, and had exited on the right side, just below the ribs. The Inquest held that the death was justifiable homicide on the grounds of self-defence.

As far as is known, Westley was the only fatal casualty of the disturbances in Nottinghamshire.

1. The Leeds Mercury has Westley, with the Derby Mercury Westby (from the Coroner's report). I have used Westley because it seems to be more commonly adopted in most of the publications.

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