Thursday, 17 November 2011

17th November 1811: High Sheriff of Nottingham to Home Office

Norwood Park
near Southwell
Nov. 17th 1811

Rt Hon Sir

By a letter, which I have the honor of receiving last Night, I am informed that a Regular Military force has been ordered to proceed for the purpose of quelling the Riots which are taking place in this County.— As I consider it my duty to relate to you the particulars of the proceedings which I have adopted upon the sudden & unexpected commotion which threatened the peace of the County, I have the honour to transmit to you the foll.g statement. –

Upon the receipt of a most [illegible] letter (which reach me about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 14th Inst.) from a leading Magistrate residing in this Neighbourhood; stating that a lawless Mob was then marching through the County armed with fire arms &c. &c. exceeding a thousand Men, and giving it as his opinion that I, as High Sheriff, ought to call out the Posse Comitatus, & send expenses to all the Yeomanry Cavalry in the County to assemble immediately at the Red Hill in the Parish of Arnold; that the Special Constables dare not turn out, or could they resist so great a force; & that, moreover, nearly two thousand Men had marched (as he was informed) from the neighbouring Villages in the Night, to join the other insurgents; I did in consequence of such Intelligence in the quickest manner in my power, send Expenses to the following corps.


The 1st or Nottingham Corps of L.l Militia
The 2nd or Southwell Corps of L.l Militia
Newark Troop (Capt. Chaplin) of Yeo. Cavalry
Ollerton Troop (Dk. Newcastle) of Yeo. Cavalry
Holme Troop (Capt. Bittrin) of Yeo. Cavalry
Bunny Troop (Capt Boullbee) of Yeo. Cavalry

After collecting at Southwell (the Town nearest to my own Residence) what Constables & people I could, I repaired immediately to Red Hill, at which place I arrived about 2 PM. — Upon meeting there with a party of Regular dragoons, sent thither by the Magistrates of Nott.m from the Barracks, to my assistance I proceeded in company with them & my other attendants (having first stationed what few (about 30) of the 2nd L. Militia had collected, at the above place) to the Town of Arnold, read the Riot Act, took up a number of suspicious persons, & intimidated others.— As it appeared to be the object of the Rioters, for the purpose of exciting the commissaration of the inhabitants of, & others collected in this populous Village to enter at Night, in formal procession, the Body of a Man who had been killed in the Fray which occurred two or three days before, I ordered that the Funeral should take place in the daytime, & remained during the whole Ceremony. (without, in the smallest degree, interfering with or interrupting the studied formality of the Scene) of the procession & Internment.

The alertness with which the different Corps assembled themselves (& a proudly great praise is due to them all for this singular promptitude on this occasion) & the rapidity of their motions, have in a considerable degree quelled the disturbance; still, however, affairs bear so threatening an aspect, that I shall not deem it requisite (two Hay Stacks, as I am informed, having been burnt last night) to dismiss the Military Force I have collected, until I am informed of the arrival of the Regular Mil.y Force which, I understand, is proceeding hither: when that Force does arrive I shall think it necessary to disband the provincial Corps.

I shall deem it a favour if you will do me the honor to inform me what Reports & Returns of the several Corps of Ll. Mlitia & Yeo. Cavalry called out will be required to be made in order to enable the Men who comprise them to receive their pay and allowances.— Should any thing further of Moment occur, I shall not fail to make you acquainted with the particulars;

I have [etc]

Thomas Wright

High Sheriff of Nottingham

Rt Hon. Sec. of State

P.S.— My letter, I fear, may appear [illegible] but, as a Statement of Facts has been considered necessary. I have confined them to as now limited circumstances have allowed.—

The letter can be found at HO 42/117 and has been transcribed verbatim.

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