Tuesday, 31 January 2012

31st January 1812: Bolton Committee of Trades monitored by spies

On Friday 31st January, a Committee of Trades in Bolton held a meeting to discuss peace & parliamentary reform. They had been in communication with the MP Samuel Whitbread over the best course of action to take, and he had written a letter to the committee suggesting that they should draw up a petition that could be presented to Parliament and the Prince Regent in due course.

What they didn't know was that their meetings were being monitored by a spy working for the Bolton Magistrate and Militia commander Colonel Ralph Fletcher. He even had a copy of the letter sent to the committee by Whitbread. Being a particularly rabid Tory Orangeman, Fletcher was in the habit of seeing the darkest conspiracies in even the most docile expressions of dissent, and at this stage had little time for the complaints of weavers in Bolton, whose "privations ... seemed to have been much exaggerated."

Fletcher would fully indulge himself in his mounting fears and concerns over the coming weeks and months.

31st January 1812: James Tomlinson committed for Ockbrook Mill burglary

On Friday 31st January, James Tomlinson, aka Fruz, a framework-knitter from Belton was committed to Derby Gaol, charged with having taken part in the burglary at Ockbrook Mill in the early hours of 23rd December 1811.

Monday, 30 January 2012

30th January 1812: Military patrols from Dawn to Dusk in Nottingham

In Nottingham, the Berkshire Militia were now patrolling the streets of Nottingham from 5 p.m. at night to 5 a.m. in the morning. A total of 25 troops were divided into sections to patrol different areas, each accompanied by a Special Constable.

30th January 1812: Threatening letter signed “remember Ned Ludd” to Mr Harvey, Nottingham

Mr Harvey

This is to inform you that if you do make any more two course Hole, you will have all your Frames broken and your Goods too, though you may think you have made your doom just I shall know how to break your frames, we will not suffer you to win the Trade will die first, if we cant do it just to night we will break them yet, and if we cant break them we can break something better and we will do it too in spite of the Devil

Remember Nedd Ludd

Sunday, 29 January 2012

29th January 1812: One stocking frame stolen at New Basford

On Wednesday 29th January, Luddites entered the home of a Mr. Rigby of New Basford. Entering into his workshop upstairs in the property, they bundled the stocking frame out of the window and into the street, then proceeded out of the property and made away with the frame.

29th January 1812: Anthony Hardolph Eyre, MP for Nottinghamshire, proposes legislation to the Home Secretary


Grove near Retford
Jany 29. 1812

Dear Sir

I am sorry to say that the outrages, which had been so long committed in this County with impunity, still continue & indeed increase; & the means, which have been employ’d consistent with the existing laws, or those extraordinary means, which have been furnish’d by Government, have hitherto been found ineffective to check them. —Some of the Magistrates have therefore thought, that an Act, founded on the Common Law of the country & upon several ancient & approved Statutes, might be devised, which would, by being better adapted to the present circumstances of the times, & by affording a more prompt & intelligible mode of execution, be attended with the best effects. —I have obtain’d a rough draft of such a Bill, which has been drawn up hastily, & I feel anxious to know how far you & his Majesty's other Ministers approve of the measure or of the principle on which it is founded; & I should feel much obliged to you to let your sentiments be committed to writing & prepared by monday next, when (if the Irish Question should come on) I shall have the pleasure of seeing you in the House. —But if that question should be again postponed, I should be very desirous that you would have the goodness to transmit your sentiments to me, as I could then communicate them to my Brother Magistrates in such a manner as might be less inconvenient than if they were publish’d officially. —I need not impress upon you the urgency of the case & how desirable it is that some efficient measure should be speedily adopted. —I have the honour to be

Dear Sir
your [etc]

A H Eyre

[to] The Rt. Honble. Richard Ryder

29th January 1812: An accidental fire at Eccleshill?

Just prior to dawn on Wednesday 29th January 1812, the Scribbling Mill belonging to Messrs Greaves, Thornton & Co at Eccleshill, near Bradford was found to be on fire. The damage was limited to a heap of wool and the floor above it, the flame having been slowly smouldering for some time. It was later thought that the snuff from a lamp falling in the heap of wool had caused the fire.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

28th January 1812: William Barnes taken into custody for aiding and abetting Luddites

In the 1st February edition of the Nottingham Journal, it was reported that William Barnes, the stockinger in whose house frames had been destroyed on 26th January, had been taken into custody "on a strong suspicion of aiding and abetting in this outrage." The Bow Street Magistrate Robert Baker had indicated in his letter to the Home Office of 28th January that this had happened on the same date.

28th January 1812: Bow Street Magistrate Robert Baker writes to the Home Office

Jany. 28, 1812


We are favoured with your’s of the 27th inst. and have still to speak of reports which have reached here of framebreaking at Selston on the borders of Derbyshire and at Cotgrave 6 miles So-East from Nottm. but we cannot yet learn the extent of the mischief or any circumstances of Aggravation. Our letter of yesterday will shew how much we are impressed with the necessity of leaving no means untried of detecting the delinquents in the fact; in furtherance of which we have pursued every slight information and conjecturing what maybe, from what has been, have tried at hazard every chance of detection.

The inclosed letter will shew the means of security set on foot by Mr. Kirkby the Magistrate at Gotham and we have some satisfaction to think that the readiness we have shewn from the first moment we saw him to give our assistance and encouragement (such as they are) have further’d his Object; and we hope his endeavours will prevent, that most distressing of all measures, the hoziers taking home their frames from that and the neighbouring villages.

The two men brought last night from Budwell by Foy the Constable, as mentioned in our inclosure of yesterday have been examined this morning by a County Justice and committed for re-examination at the adjoumed meeting of the County Justices tomorrow.

We shall take care that the Town Clerk and the Clerk to the County Justices are apprized of the various offences to which their Case may attach, and an old woman and an Apprentice who were probably present when the frames were broken will be brought over in the morning as witnesses. Another man also has been taken into Custody today from Budwell under very singular and important circumstances. A Hosier here who had told a weaver of the name of Barnes at Budwell that he should bring home his frames for fear of their being destroyed. It generally has happened that frames in that case have been visited before removal — To avoid which a constable (not one of our Officers) went on Sunday Evening to Barnes’s house with two soldiers and said he was come to protect the frames ‘till removed and left the soldiers in the house. — Barnes treated the Constable and soldiers with the most abusive language, said he wanted none of their help and went out immediately, and the constable went also away to 4 other soldiers which were at the public house. Presently after Barnes returned and in an instant was followed by six men armed with pistols who ran in upon the Soldiers seized upon their arms presented Pistols at them, threw them on the ground, broke all the frames that belonged to the Hoziers and spared two which were Barnes’s own. Perhaps it may appear that Barnes was not present at the actual breaking as the soldier thinks he might go upstairs as he came in. All this will be before the Justices tomorrow.

Our Officers have brought a man also in Custody from Blidworth whom Mr. Sherbrook thinks may be important and has ordered for examination tomorrow; he was sometime ago in Custody on suspicion of Murder, but had now no pistol or offensive weapon on him or did anything more than run away the moment he was seen on the forest. He was found on the Waste of the Forest by one of the Officers we stationed at Blidworth. The Offr. and Sarjeant of the troop went out about eight at night towards the place where it is said the Mansfield conspirators held their numerous meetings — and where it is supposed their out scouts have sometimes met at night. They found their prisoner near that place alone. He is a man of Nottingham and was taken on the Open Forest 12 miles from home. It is not likely that anything will come of this.

The Result of the Justices meeting tomorrow you of course will hear from us by the first post.

We are [etc.]

Bob Baker

28th January 1812: Prisoners brought into Nottingham from the villages

The Nottingham Review of 31st January gave a vivid report of prisoners being brought into Nottingham on Tuesday 28th January 1811:
"On Tuesday several prisoners were brought in from the country, by military escorts, among whom was John Waplington, a well-known wandering maniac, a native of this town, and, at present time, a pauper belonging to the parish of St Mary. He had left his sister's house in Turncalf-alley the day before, on one of his wandering excursions, and, we understand, was apprehended as a suspicious character in the neighbourhood of Blidworth. But what excited the attention the public more than usual, was, to see this unfortunate offspring of our father Adam, confined in a cart by the side of a lusty Bow-street officer, who drove along the streets with dashing fury, attended by about half a score Hussars."

Friday, 27 January 2012

27th January 1812: Luddites play another practical joke at Basford

On Monday evening the 27th January, Luddites broke three stocking frames frames at Basford, and burned the woodwork from the frames in an adjoining field. The following morning, villagers in Basford awoke to find the ironworks from one of the frames fixed to the top of the local prison or round-house. The Luddites seemed to be operating with complete impunity and mocking the authorities.

27th January 1812: Song 'General Ludd's Triumph', Nottinghamshire

General Ludd’s Triumph
Tune “Poor Jack”

Chant no more your old rhymes about bold Robin Hood,
His feats I but little admire
I will sing the Achievements of General Ludd
Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire
Brave Ludd was to measures of violence unused
Till his sufferings became so severe
That at last to defend his own Interest he rous’d
And for the great work did prepare

Now by force unsubdued, and by threats undismay’d
Death itself can’t his ardour repress
The presence of Armies can’t make him afraid
Nor impede his career of success
Whilst the news of his conquests is spread far and near
How his Enemies take the alarm
His courage, his fortitude, strikes them with fear
For they dread his Omnipotent Arm!

The guilty may fear, but no vengeance he aims
At the honest man’s life or Estate
His wrath is entirely confined to wide frames
And to those that old prices abate
These Engines of mischief were sentenced to die
By unanimous vote of the Trade
And Ludd who can all opposition defy
Was the grand Executioner made

And when in the work of destruction employed
He himself to no method confines
By fire, and by water he gets them destroyed
For the Elements aid his designs
Whether guarded by Soldiers along the Highway
Or closely secured in the room
He shivers them up both by night and by day
And nothing can soften their doom

He may censure great Ludd’s disrespect for the Laws
Who ne'er for a moment reflects
That foul Imposition alone was the cause
Which produced these unhappy effects
Let the haughty no longer the humble oppress
Then shall Ludd sheath his conquering Sword
His grievances instantly meet with redress
Then peace will be quickly restored

Let the wise and the great lend their aid and advice
Nor e’er their assistance withdraw
Till full fashioned work at the old fashion’d price
Is established by Custom and Law
Then the Trade when this ardorus contest is o’er
Shall raise in full splendor it’s head
And colting, and cutting, and squaring no more
Shall deprive honest workmen of bread.

The ballad 'General Ludd's Triumph' is a good illustration of the rhetoric and concerns of Nottinghamshire Luddism, and makes for an interesting contrast with other 'Luddite song', principally the songs of West Yorkshire Luddism which will be featured in due course. It is not clear exactly when the song was written, but a transcription of the lyrics appears in the Home Office papers at HO 42/119, dated 27th January 1812, so it was clearly composed prior to that date. The Burnley band Chumbawamba are well known for their version of this song, and it can be heard here.

27th January 1812: Town Clerk of Nottingham writes to the Mayor of Leicester on methods used to suppress Luddism in Nottingham


I have received your favour of the 23.d instant which I would have answered sooner but from Indisposition, a very great pressure of Business upon such attention I was capable of giving it – You enquire how the expences of Special Constables are paid, they have always within the Town been paid where the Magistrates have proposed to themselves, in consequence of the nature of the Service, to remunerate them by a quarterly order upon the Treasurer in their favor. In many instances such orders have been made as it does not occur to me that there is any well founded objection in point of Law to such application of the Funds of the County rate.

In the present Instance to far greater number of the Special Constables for the Town have not received and are not intended to receive any remuneration whatever from the Town either for their time or Expenses.

The Magistrates have made about 600 Special Constables whom they have called out nightly by rotation and they have distinctly stated to these Gentleman, who have been selected from the most respectable Inhabitants of the Town that it was expected they took the duty upon them without a payment even of their expenses.

The magistrates have independant of these unpaid Special Constables added to their usual number of Constables, an additional force of Special Constables, to whom with their Ordinary Constables they made an allowance for their time which has been after the rate of 4/ – per night, and as much more if employed in the daytime, – This has been paid by orders upon the County Rate.

Prior to our last plan of providing the Security of the Town we adopted a double watch for the night one of 12 and sometimes on more urgent occasions 24 of the Special Constables who are not paid and who perambulated, under the superintendance of a Captain of the Night; the Town in small divisions of 2, 3 and of 12 Common Constables paid for their services who separately did the same duty and who distinctly made their Report of the Town and of the other Division of Constables to the Magistrates in the morning.

The magistrates attend every night to give Instructions and and place the men upon their duty and one was regularly appointed to receive their nightly morning Report.

Two Guard rooms were appointed at two distinct parts of the Town in which a strong Guard of Infantry were posted ready to turn out at a moment’s notice. At one of these Guard rooms a Constable was placed during the whole night to take the Command of any party who might be called out, and the other Guard room is in the immediate presence of the Police Office where some of the Constables are kept up the whole of the night for the same purpose.

Notwithstanding all these precautions Frames were still broken in the Town, and in consequence the Magistrates applied to the Military for, and organized a System of Military Patrole under the direction and control of the civil power,– They increased their Guards at the two Guard Houses, and divided the Town into 5 Districts, and appointed the unpaid Special Constables, to furnish out of their twelve one man to take the command of the 5 divisions of the patrole guard who consist of five men who are capable of attacking any body of Men who might attack a House for breaking Frames to go on guard 2 or 4 hours, and to relieve such guard by another Special Constable as often as it is itself relieved The other parts of its body forming a Body of Observation to perambulate the Town as does also the number of the Common Constables put upon duty which have been diminished since the employment of the Military.– No Patrole is sufficient to come off its ground till it is relieved by another Guard coming actually upon its duty.

It has been concerted between the Military and the civil parts of this patrole, that it should occasionally change its period of relief and its order of patroling the District beginning it at one time at the one end at another time in the middle and at another time at a different part of the District.

It is relieved every 2 or 4 hours, the Individuals who compose it cannot so easily be known, it consists of two distinct Orders of men, who are a guard upon each other and who are not kept upon this particular duty longer than they can command their complete attention to it, and cannot be in any other concert and in furtherance of their duty.

It has answered here completely hitherto as not a single Frame in the Town has been broken since it has been set on foot, and I have the most decisive evidence that it has struck great Fervour into the Framebreakers independent of the experience of its good effects.— It is now about ten days since this system has been put into practice.

I have no hesitation in saying that I think the system we are acting upon, the best adopted to the Protection of a large Town like Nottingham or Leicester.

I can easily imagine that it is not so easy to introduce such a practice in the Country, I have no doubt also that it is the cheapest system that can be put into execution because it can in the main be supported by an unpaid force of Special Constables with some comparatively speaking small addition of regular Constables, and that with more security for the true and faithful performances of duty on the part of the Military and Constables, than can in my Judgement be likely to result from any separate employment of either of these species of force, without a regular deposit of men in one or more guard rooms I consider either of the systems we have adopted inefficient but the system of protecting the Town merely by Constables perfectly ridiculous.

If the efforts of the Framebreakers should ever attempt to assume increased activity and vigour of the Town, there is but an Improvement of which I think our present system capable independant, of the more increase of the numbers forming the guard, and that it is to to increase the number of our Districts and to provide, that each guard should be supplied from a deposit of twice or thrice its own number kept stationary in a guard room, as much in the centre, as possible of every district, at which Constables should be stationed to turn out to single moments notice, to do any Service which the emergency at the moment might require.

In this case every District acting upon its own Centre would increase the activity of its forces, to such a degree as to render its efforts more powerful and instantaneous and I conceive, that then an energy could be given to this plan capable of meeting any conceivably in the disposition of the Framebreakers.

I have explained whatever I thought could be useful to you in a manner I fear may be tedious, I hope however it may be found useful,– any further Information in my power is at your command.

I am [etc]

Geo. Coldham
Town Clerk, Nottingham

to John Stevenson, Mayor of Leicester

27th January 1812: False reports of frame-breaking at Cotgrave

In the Nottingham Review of 31st January, the paper reported that a rumour that 26 stocking frames had been broken on 27th January at Cotgrave had been proved to be false.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

26th January 1812: Frame-breaking early and late in the day across Nottinghamshire

In the early hours of Sunday 26th January, Luddites struck at Clifton, breaking 20 stocking frames there and a week after the last attack in the small village of Ruddington, breaking 14 frames there. The aftermath of the attack left only 2 functioning frames in Ruddington.

However, the alarm had been raised, and Hussars stationed at Nottingham, as well as the Bunny troop of Yeomanry Cavalry proceeded to the area and blocked all the bridges crossing the river Trent. Seeing their obvious escape routes blocked, the Luddites stole a boat, apparently called 'Aaron's boat', near to Clifton, and used it to cross the Trent. Upon reaching the opposite bank and before fleeing into the night, they discharged their pistols into the air.

On Sunday evening, Luddites visited Bagthorpe and Underwood, breaking up to 45 frames there. They also broke 1 frame at Bulwell, but 7 of the Berkshire Militia were stationed nearby and a gunfight ensued when the Militiamen came across the Luddites after they had done their work. The Luddites escaped, leaving behind a hammer and a shoe.

26th January 1812: Frame-breaking at Basford - anatomy of an attack

In Basford on the night of Sunday 26th January, a Hosiery firm - Messrs Haddens - had arranged with the authorities for 2 soldiers from the Berkshire Militia - Henry Huggins & Thomas Osgood - to guard some of their frames at the home of an employee.

Osgood & Huggins received their orders from Corporal Stephen Allen who, along with a Special Constable Thomas Bodill, accompanied them to the home of the employee, William Barnes, a framework-knitter.

Upon their arrival at 7.00 p.m., Bodill handed Barnes a note from Haddens which explained the arrangement with the military. Barnes was extremely annoyed by this, and insisted the frames were perfectly safe left unguarded in his home. When Bodill gave the soldiers some money for refreshment, Barnes refused Bodill's requests to fetch some food for the soldiers, saying they should go themselves. Bodill and Corporal Allen then left.

Barnes was extremely agitated. Only 10 minutes after their arrival, and whilst Osgood and Huggins warmed themselves by the fire, Barnes left the house, returning again five minutes later. As the soldiers relaxed, they heard a footstep outside, and leapt up seizing their muskets. Barnes told them to rest easy, as it was his neighbour returning home. Within 15 minutes, Barnes had left again, pausing outside to speak to someone who the soldiers assumed was his neighbour.

Upon his return 5 minutes later, he flung the door open and was followed by 20 Luddites, many of them carrying sticks, and some of them armed with pistols. Huggins and Osgood were rushed by the Luddites, with Huggins being knocked to the floor, his musket being seized in the process. Up to 4 Luddite dealt with Osgood, who was presented with pistols aimed at his head, and threats to 'blow his brains out' if he moved.

Posting sentries outside, the Luddites then commanded Barnes and his wife to go upstairs, which they did. They then set about smashing 3 stocking frames kept in Barnes' workshop, making sure they targeted those belonging to Messrs Haddens. 3 others that belonged to Barnes were left untouched.

Their work finished, the Luddites fired the soldiers muskets into the air outside the house, confiscating the bayonets. They returned the now empty muskets to the soldiers, insulted them and left. Barnes was still annoyed, telling them that the frames had only destroyed because the soldiers were present, and that the Luddites would target any properties where frames were being guarded.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

25th January 1812: Birmingham Magistrates forward an alarming letter from Leicestershire to the Home Office

[illegible] Leicestershire

dated 25th Jany 1812.

Addressed to a Gentleman in Birmingham

I have been turning it over in my mind to write to you for the last 10 days to relate a conversation which I overheard in this village since I returned Home, which I must confess has occupied my mind day & night how I should act & being with our neighbour W. ____ the magistrate yesterday Evening & hearing from him some strangers were come into this Place of very suspicious character within the last three days & well knowing that two men last week had been in this village from Nottingham at the Principal Stocking makers Shops, to get support for the Rioters in that part of the Country, (who call themselves Ned Luds Men) I mentioned it to the Magistrate what I had heard & what were my intentions & he requested I would not delay a post to write to you, for if time were the delay of a few hours might be the greatest consequence. I therefore will communicate to you the following information —

That there is a correspondence going on at this moment between the Nottingham & Derbyshire Rioters & the lower class of Manufacturers in Birmhm, but as the latter are obliged to manufacture the Arms privately, they cannot be ready to join them this fortnight; in which time One Hundred Thousand will be ready to join them from Birmingham & they request the Rioters to keep on their depredations in some degree till they are ready.

(This information has been made in the fullest confidence that the writer’s name may never be divulged, who is a person not only of the greatest respectability, but not at all likely to feel alarmed without a good cause for being so.)

25th January 1812: Reward for information about attack on George Ball's frames at Lenton

25th January 1812: Reward notice for arson at Oatlands Mill

200 Guineas Reward.

WHEREAS some Villain or Villains did, on Sunday the 19th of January Instant. Wilfully and maliciously SET FIRE to the BUILDINGS of Messrs. OATES, WOOD and SMITHSON, situate at OATLANDS, nears Leeds, whereby the Property was materially injured.

NOTICE is hereby given,

That a Reward of ONE HUNDRED GUINEAS will be given to any Person or Persons who shall communicate such lnformation as will lead to the Conviction of the Incendiary or Incendiaries, or of any other Person or Persons who were engaged in a Conspiracy for destroying or injuring the Said Property, upon Conviction of the Offenders or any of them.

Any Accomplice or Accomplices (except the Person or Persons who actually set Fire to the Property,) may, by giving the necessary Information, receive the said Reward, and an Application will be made for his Majesty’s Pardon on Behalf of any such Accomplice or Accomplices.

Apply to Messrs. Oates, Wood and Smithson, or at the Town Clerk's Office, in Leeds.

A further Reward of ONE HUNDRED GUINEAS will be; given as above-stated, by Mr. T. H. Ridsdale, Agent for the Norwich Union Insurance-Office.

Leeds, Jan. 25th, 1812.

25th January 1812: Luddites destroy cut-up goods in transit

Early in the morning of Saturday 25th January, a carrier (waggon) was making its way from Sutton-in-Ashfield towards Nottingham carrying completed hosiery goods. It was still not light, and he had proceeded some way along his journey when he was met by a number of men with lanterns who ordered him to stop. They proceeded to search all of the bags to examine the goods - those they could identify as 'cut-ups' made on wide frames were burned at the side of the road, whilst those that were 'full-fashioned' with proper selvedges on traditional frames were left alone. When all the goods had been thus examined, the carrier was allowed to proceed to Nottingham.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

24th January 1812: 2 frames broken at Radford

On the evening of Friday the 24th January, 2 frames were broken at Acomb Lane in Radford, with the Ironwork of 2 others being carried away.

Monday, 23 January 2012

23rd January 1812: Frames broken at Bobbers Mill & Old Radford

On Thursday 23rd January, 2 frames were broken in the night at Bobbers Mill, with their remains being carried away by the Luddites. The tendency to carry away the remains of broken frames had increased since the new year. One frame was also broken at Old Radford.

23rd January 1812: Luddites make audacious attack at Lenton

On the evening of Thursday 23rd January, a mass Luddite attack took place on stocking frames in multiple locations at Lenton, which in 1812 was a village just a mile outside the Town of Nottingham. The village had become a target because of the widespread use there of wide frames, used to make 'cut-up' rather than 'full-fashioned' stockings.

50 armed men entered the village that night, with many of them stationing themselves in the streets and alleyways, keeping watch. A man who was passing by was pressed into service by the Luddites - given an iron bar and tasked with standing sentry.

The Luddites then proceeded to denude Lenton of 22 stocking frames, including the following: 5 at the house of George Ball (of which 4 belonged to Ball himself), 8 at the house of Thomas Selby, 1 at the house of William Selby, with another machine disabled there by removing the jack wires, 2 at Joseph Shepherd, 1 at a Mr Taylor, 1 at John Barnes, 1 at Ann Taylor & 2 at the house of William Burton.

During the action, William Selby ran away to raise the alarm, and was pursued by a Luddite threatening vengeance. The attack was extremely audacious because the main Barracks lay only a quarter of a mile from Lenton, which Selby eventually reached at around 10.30 p.m. and tried to get the military to intervene. However, the officer in charge at the Barracks, a Lieutenant Booth of the 15th Hussars, would not order his men without direct orders from either the Magistrates or a Special Constable from Lenton making a complaint to him, neither of which happened. According to Selby, the frame-breaking could clearly be heard from the barracks, but Booth subsequently disputed this.

Back in Lenton, a volley of shots from 3 pistols signalled the end of the Luddite action that evening, and they escaped into the night.

The incident subsequently became the source of a bitter dispute between the Magistrates and the military. The latter believed the military should have acted with more initiative, with their being effectively only 100 yards away from the frame-breaking when it was taking place. For their part, the military took the view that action would have been illegal without receiving instructions from the Civil authorities.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

22nd January 1812: London police magistrates & Bow Street officers arrive in Nottingham

On Wednesday 22nd January, 2 Bow Street magistrates - Nathaniel Conant & Robert Baker - arrived in Nottingham with 8 Bow Street police officers. Nottingham was now looking to London and central government for solutions to detect and apprehend Luddites.

Conant had travelled to Nottingham in early December 1811 to give his opinion to Government of the situation there, and had left shortly afterwards having downplayed the disturbances. Indeed, there were press reports of Bow Street officers being present much earlier at the commencement of rioting in Nottinghamshire in early 1811, although not much is known about their involvement beyond the mention in the press.

For the authorities, there seemed to be a wish for 'third time lucky', and Conant wasted no time in sending a preliminary report to the Home Office on the evening of their arrival:
We beg to inform you that We arrived at this place to day and have seen Mr. Coldham the Town Clerk from whom we learn that the County Magistrates had a full meeting here on Monday, at which the Lord Lieutenant and Lord Middleton attended, and a large subscription was entered into to promote the detection and prosecution of these delinquents. The two nobleman above named have subscribed 500£ each and some of the magistrates 100£

And you may be assured that no assistance on our part or of the force we have with us shall be wanting in the furtherance of any mode that can be desired to take the Aggressors in the fact.—We propose if it appears desirable to the Magistrates to get our Men sworn in as Special Constables both for this County and Derbyshire that they may be ready to act at any moment opportunity may arise

Every thing has been perfectly quiet in this Town during the last Week

No very formidable outrage as even taken place in the Town, and from the beginning they have not been numerous — every thing has been done with the utmost privacy and there is some reason to think that many instances the sufferers themselves connive at the injury altho’ they are thrown out of their present employ by it

In the short time we have had for enquiry, we do not learn that any thing particular has occurred in the near adjacent Country within a few days — And so far as we could learn in our way here, no material outrages have even occurred to the South of this place

Saturday, 21 January 2012

21st January 1812: Carrier from Kimberley attacked in broad daylight

On the morning of Tuesday 21st January, a waggon conveying a stocking frame from Kimberley was attacked in broad daylight. A man with whose face was disguised with a goatskin leapt from the roadside into the back of the waggon and smashed the frame, later fleeing before the alarm could be raised.

Friday, 20 January 2012

20th January 1812: Luddites play a practical joke in Arnold

On the evening on Monday 20th January, Luddites broke 1 stocking frame in Arnold. They took the remains of the frame away, but the following morning, villagers found parts of the frame left in the village stocks. As well as playing a practical joke, which demonstrated their increasing confidence, the Luddites were mocking the authorities.

20th January 1812: Nottingham County Magistrates lobby Government for more extensive powers

At a meeting of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Nottingham held at the Shire Hall on the 20th day of January 1812.—

His Grace the Duke of Newcastle Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the County in the Chair.—

It was unanimously resolved that it appears expedient in the present disturbed state of this County that Magistrates and the Peace Officers should be invested with more extensive powers for the preservation of the Peace, and the protection of the Persons and Property of the inhabitants.—

That it would materially conduce to the public Security if more prompt and Effectual means were provided by the Legislature for Enforcing the ancient Laws relating to Watch and Ward, and that the Members for this County be requested to present immediately a Bill for this purpose to Parliament.—

That the general purport and tendency of such Bill shall be to authorize Magistrates under suitable Restrictions to establish whether this County in every Parish, Township, or Place wherein Disturbances or Outrages prevail or seem likely to arise a Watch by night and Ward by day to be regulated and proportioned according to the Extent and population of every such Parish Township, or Place.—

That every Male Inhabitant above the Age of 21 years, and paying Parish Rates, shall be liable personally to perform the Duties of so watching and warding in the Parish Township or Place wherein he resides, or to find a sufficient substitute, or to forfeit a sum of Money. But that men being 50 years of age or more, and not renting Property of the Yearly Value of Twenty Pounds may be exempted by the Magistrates.—

That the Magistrates be Empowered by the Provisions of the Bill to nominate in every Parish Township or Place Special Constables for directing and regulating all Persons so engaged in watching or warding.

That the Chief Constables in their respective Hundreds or Divisions shall once in every week or oftener if ordered by the Magistrates visit to the several Parishes Townships or Places in which Watch or Ward shall be directed to be kept, and shall diligently Examine the Conduct of all Persons enjoined to Execute these Duties, and make a faithful Report in writing upon their Behaviour, as well as upon all matters relating to the Peace of their District at such times and places as the Magistrates may appoint — and that every Chief Constable so Employed shall be paid out of the County Rates such Compensation as the Magistrates shall been reasonable for his trouble and Expenses incurred in thus discharging his Duty.—

That the Honourable Henry Sedly, the Revd John Thomas Becher, and Francis Evans Esq be appointed a Committee with William Sherbrooke Esq for carrying into Effect these Resolutions.—

20th January 1812: Reward notice for Derbyshire burglars



THE Undermentioned Persons are charged with several FELONIES in the Counties of DERBY, LEICESTER, and NOTTINGHAM.

PIERCE COOK, by Trade a Stockinger, about 25 years of age, stands 5 feet 10 inches high, very stout made, sallow complexion, light brown hair, remarkably active, and a fast runner, usually carries a pair of bright Pistols in his breeches pockets, and is a Deserter from the 2d Regiment of Foot Guards.

JAMES TOMLINSON, alias FRUZ, rather handsome, and by trade a Stockinger, about 26 years of age, fair complexion, stands about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, stout made, had large dark whiskers, which are in part cut off, light grey eyes, pimpled face, light brown hair, and a genteel appearance; supposed to have in his company a young Woman, also of respectable appearance, who is not his Wife. She has very black hair and eyes, and dark eye brows. He is a deserter from the 45th Regiment of Foot, and the Derby & Warwick Militias; frequently wears a drab coloured top coat with a pocket on the left side.

ANDREW SCOTT, (a Scotchman) alias THOMAS PURDAY, by Trade a Stockinger, about 30 years of age, very dark complexion, stands about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, rather stout made, and large whiskers, which come under his chin, has black hair, and speaks the Scotch dialect very broad; wore a dark brown lapel’d coat, worsted cord breaches, and light spotted waistcoat. Is a Deserter from the Derby Militia, and was tried for Burglary at the last Worcester Assizes.

JAMES HOWITT, alias JOB ALLEN, alias JAMES TYLER, a Stockinger, about 30 years of age, long nose, sallow complexion, dark brown hair, stands 5 feet 7inches high, slender made, and rather of mean appearance; is a Deserter from the Derby Militia, in which he was enrolled for the Parish of Stanton by Dale, in Derbyshire, by the name of Job Allen.

JOHN STRINGER, alias THOMPSON, a Stockinger, about 25 years of age, very ruddy complexion, sturdy whiskers, and light hair, stands about 5 feet 8 inches high, rather stout made, and at times wears a dark coloured top coat. Was tried at Worcester with SCOTT, alias PURDAY.

WILLIAM WELLS, ALIAS BLACK TOM, a Stockinger, about 32 years of age, a tooth out before, very dark complexion, black hair, stands about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, rather stout made, and of mean appearance. Is a Deserter from the 2d Regiment of Foot Guards, and several other Regiments.

Whoever will lodge any of the above Offenders in any of his Majesty's Gaols, and give information thereof to the Magistrates of any of the before mentioned Counties, shall receive a Reward of


On Conviction, over and above such Rewards as they may be entitled to under the Prince Regent's Proclamation, and the Act of Parliament.

Derby, 20th Jan. 1812.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

19th January 1812: Multiple Luddite attacks in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire villages

On the night of Sunday the 19th January, a number of Luddite raids took place across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, in places by now familiar and unfamiliar with the Luddites.

Four frames were destroyed at New Radford, including a high quality silk frame. The Nottingham Review reported that this frame was employed in making silk stockings for the Price Regent. The rentier of the frame complained to the Review that he was not working for low prices (i.e. wages) and had been making stockings for 20 years.

At Ruddington (nowadays home to a Framework-knitting museum), up to 3 frames were destroyed.

At Linby, expectations of an attack were high, so much so that a group of stockingers had agreed to keep watch in the village. But at midnight, and with no signs of anything taking place, they decided to go home. Not long after, the Luddites chose to make their attack, and up to 20 men entered the house of a Charles Shipley. 3 men stood over him, two with pistols and one with a sword whilst the others destroyed the 10 warp lace frames (2 of which belonged to him) in his workshop within 10 minutes. The Luddites also took away the pieces of cloth being worked on, and destroyed some of Shipley's crockery and furniture. The cost of the broken frames was estimated at £200.

At Cotmanhay in Derbyshire, up to 9 plain cotton frames were destroyed, and at Swanwick in the same county, 11 similar frames were destroyed.

19th January 1812: Frame-breaking at Kirkby

On Sunday the 19th January, one stocking frame was broken by Luddites at Kirkby.

19th January 1812: Arson at Oatlands Mill, Leeds

On Sunday 19th January at 7 p.m., the mill belonging to Messrs Oates Wood & Smithson at Woodhouse-Carr, Leeds, was found on fire. The building, which contained gig mills, was badly damaged with half of the upper storey being destroyed in the inferno. The fire was eventually brought under control, but the damage to premises and stock was thought to be in the region of £500, although the owners were insured with Norwich Union.

Arson was suspected immediately, mainly because the Mill was closed that day, but also because it was found that combustible materials had been placed around the building, some of which had failed to take hold.

Oates Wood & Smithson wrote to the Home Office three days later on the 22nd January, making it clear that they were offering a reward of £100 for information, and also that they were requesting a Royal pardon for anyone who took part who wished to incriminate those involved.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

18th January 1812: More frames destroyed in the town of Nottingham

On Saturday night the 18th January, a stocking frame was destroyed on the Long Stairs in Nottingham with up to 3 also being destroyed in Back Lane.

18th January 1812: Duke of Newcastle urges the Home Office to replace the military commander in Nottinghamshire


Jany 18 1812


Until quite lately I was in hopes that every thing was becoming quiet in this County — at present however there appears no prospect of such a fortunate Event, on the contrary affairs are becoming worse every day, and I receive from all quarters the most melancholy accounts the State of the County —

People are now never safe in their houses and robberies and even attempts to murder are constantly taking place — Indeed, without being an alarmist, I am of opinion that the present state of the County is calculated to excite the most serious apprehensions for the consequences which may ensue, and I most earnestly entreat the vigorous assistance of Government in whatever way may be thought the most efficacious —

I will mention some facts which appeared to me of the utmost importance, and which require to be noticed without delay —

The Garrison of Nottingham and the dispersal of all the troops in the County &c is under the command of a very young officer (Ld. Waldegrave) who is only a Major in the 15th Lt Dragoons — it cannot be expected that a young man of this age is equal to the direction and proper application of the troops belonging to so intricate a command — I had understood that Col. Grant was to have commanded the Garrison and I have no doubt that it would be safe in his hands; I should hope therefore that without delay either he or someone of equal experience and ability will be ordered to Nottingham to take the command then — it is a situation of infinite responsibility I assure you, and one which requires very great arrangement, activity and intelligence —

Another thing which I have to mention is that I have heard that the troops are without cartridges, which if it is really so, does appear to me most extraordinary — let me entreat that this may be enquired into and rectified with the utmost dispatch —

I will have the honor of writing to you again on Monday or Tuesday after having been at Nottingham, when I will hope to be able to give you pleasanter information —

I have [etc]


The Right Honble Richard Ryder &c

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

17th January 1812: The Manchester spy, B, meets another Irish contact & visits Stockport

Colonel Fletcher's spy, 'B', filed another report on the 17th January.

Commencing on the 14th January, B explained he had a met a man called Brannigan from Ireland, and they discussed 'the Business' there. Once again, a state of non-sectarian unity was described to B, with 'knobs' (i.e. noblemen) being involved. Brannigan said large numbers of people - 400,000 - were said to be involved, and that Catholics in England may also rise, a line which no doubt leapt out at the recipient of the report, the Orangeman Colonel Ralph Fletcher. Brannigan's destination was Birmingham, and B posited that this was where the Irish were getting their arms from.

B reported that on the 16th January, the Mottram delegate has returned from his trip around Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria. Some places had links with Scotland, and many were willing to correspond, while others at Northallerton felt this was too risky. B had tried to find out the name of the delegate, but the Committee was sworn to secrecy.

On Friday 17th, B had been to Stockport and explained that the Committee there was growing and that they had delegates from an area up to 6 or 7 miles wider than previously.

B gave an account of the disarray the Manchester Committee appeared to be in. The President had gone to the Derby Quarter Sessions and not returned. B did not know when they were to meet next. Another Committee member, called Washington, was described as  being "in darby jail for a bastard Chield". B described Royton as being "in a dengrous state", as well as Saddleworth.

Finally, B stated he was due to attend a meeting in Newton, near Hyde, Cheshire on 22nd January where delegates from many of the surrounding villages would be present to give reports and give account of the numbers involved and their plans.

Monday, 16 January 2012

16th January 1812: 2 frames broken at West Hallam

On the evening of Thursday 16th December, 2 stocking frames were broken in the Derbyshire village of West Hallam. They apparently belonged to a hosier from Nottingham.

16th January 1812: The first Yorkshire Luddite is committed for trial

The day after he was arrested at the bridge near Sheepscar in Leeds, James Shaw was charged under the Black Act with "disguising his person, and having in his possession several offensive weapons" and committed to York Castle, being escorted there by a part of Scotch Greys. He was to stand trial at the York lent Assizes in March.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

15th January 1812: Magistrates break up nocturnal croppers meeting near Leeds

At 9 o'clock on the evening of Wednesday the 15th of January, Magistrates in Leeds received news they must have been dreading. An informant gave them information under oath about a conspiracy to destroy machinery in the area. Croppers were to gather en masse that night and then make their way at 11 o'clock to a new Mill at Sheepscar to "proceed to the work of destruction".

The Magistrates assembled at the office of the Town Clerk to decide what to do. They proceeded with mounted troops towards the proposed location of the attack, the meeting point being a bridge close to the Mill. Once there, they observed a number of people, who were passing the meeting place, and then returning to pass it by again, as if they were unsure of what to do. They seemed reluctant to gather, and when they finally dispersed at 1.00 a.m., the Magistrates and troops apprehended one of their number. The man had his face blacked, and carried a hammer and chisel. He also carried a large piece of burnt cork in his pocket.

The Magistrates had acted just in time to prevent what would have been the first Luddite attack in Yorkshire.

The historic context of West Yorkshire Luddism in 1812

In 1812, the West Riding of Yorkshire was the centre of the woollen cloth industry in England. But it had not always been this way: for a long period of time the South West of England - and in particular counties like Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset - had been at the forefront of the woollen trade. But the industrial revolution saw the centre of gravity shift to the North of England.

The wool trade had 2 distinct branches - woollen and worsted. In the woollen or cloth branch the raw material was short wool, which was first carded and then spun, whereas in the the worsted branch, long wool was prepared by combing prior to spinning. Spinning and weaving were common to both branches, but the cloth branch required separate processes: 'felting' ('milling' or 'fulling') which strengthened the cloth and 'finishing' which involved raising the fibres into a nap, which was then cut, leaving a smooth, high quality finish.

In the South West, the industrial model saw master manufacturers or 'gentlemen clothiers' buying the raw material and then employing others to produce the finished product. An increase in trade had led to many of these capitalists becoming merchants.

In the West Riding of Yorkshire, the system was semi-domesticated, dominated by an increasing number of small master manufacturers who worked on the wool and took it to market themselves. The workers were self-sufficient, frequently living on small plots of land which they cultivated to provide much of their food. Later, factories took on much of the 'felting' process, but spinning, weaving and finishing remained semi-domesticated.

The introduction of machinery into the industry came first in the form of James Hargreaves' Spinning Jenny, a machine that could be used to spin multiple spindles of yarn. The effect was to increase output, but it was still possible for the industry to remain domestic, since the Jennies could be used at home. Nevertheless, the introduction of Jennies by the capitalists in the trade in the South-West in 1776 caused serious uproar amongst cloth workers there, with rioting taking place at Shepton Mallet. Workers were naturally concerned about increased mechanisation leading to widespread unemployment and severe hardship. An increase in trade had negated the ill-effects of mechanisation. When the conditions of trade took a turn for the worse, hardship increased with predictable results.

Specific existing legislation afforded woollen workers some economic protection from a 'race to the bottom' amongst laissez-faire capitalists, at least in theory. These were: a statute of Edward VI prohibiting the use of gig mills; a statute of Elizabeth 1 enforcing apprenticeship in the woollen trade; and a statute of Phillip & Mary limiting the number of looms that clothiers and weavers could own outside of cities and certain towns. It was the abrogation and eventual repealing of this legislation which escalated the class conflict in the period running up to 1812. The workers at the sharp end of the changes in the industry at the beginning of the nineteenth century were those working in the cloth finishing trade, and in particular the 'Croppers' as they were called in the West Riding (they were known as 'Shearmen' in the South West).

The Croppers/Shearmen were amongst the most skilled and privileged of workers in 1812. They played a crucial part of the cloth finishing process, using huge four foot long hand shears which weighed 30 to 40 pounds, to crop or shear the nap that had been raised by another worker using a teazle. The direct application of their skill could increase or decrease the value of a piece of cloth by as much as 20%, placing them in an unusually strong bargaining position. They controlled the finishing process, and could keep out unskilled labour. Between 3,000 to 5,000 croppers were employed in the West Riding, largely concentrated in the Spen Valley, with only a third of this number employed in the South West.

The use of gig mills - a machine that raised the fibres on a piece of cloth to produce a nap - had been a flash point in the South West in 1802, when the introduction of this machinery had become more widespread, along with the more limited introduction of shearing frames, a machine which mechanised the shearing of cloth. A number of mills containing the machinery had been attacked and destroyed and a parallel wages dispute had resulted saw clothiers conceding to the demands of Shearmen. Despite the Combination Act, the Shearmen/Croppers were very highly organised, and there were links between those working in the South West and those in the West Riding. But because of the Combination Act, the workers had good reason to have no faith that the capitalists would keep to their word.

In Yorkshire, the unrest in the South West had horrified the authorities to the extent that they discouraged manufacturers from installing them in their mills, and in August 1802, the mere threat of a strike by Croppers over the introduction of more machinery had brought the capitalists to heel. Another strike by Croppers came about when Benjamin Gott of Leeds had used non-apprenticed labour in his factories - the strike lasted for months, and the Croppers won.

Thereafter, the disputes in the woollen trade moved to the Parliamentary level. The clothiers of the South West first mounted a campaign to repeal all the protective legislation, and were soon joined by clothiers in the West Riding. The Shearmen and Croppers organised and petitioned to oppose the changes. The campaign was long fought, and in the interim a number of suspending acts were introduced giving the clothiers temporary suspension. In 1806, the House of Commons produced a report into the state of manufacture of the woollen industry in England, which recommended the repeal of the laws that the clothiers objected to. This was not actually achieved until 1809 with introduction of Woollen Manufacture Act (49 Geo.III.c.109.)

With the 1806 parliamentary report being particularly vitriolic in it's attitude to the Croppers/Shearmen and the way they were organised, these workers now had no choice but to go underground. With the declaration of war with North America in and the consequent loss of the American market for cloth goods, the West Riding was hit particularly hard. Allied to the broader context and in this climate, the capitalists increasingly moved to step up the pace of mechanisation in an effort to undercut their rivals and corner what little trade was now left.

The scene was set for confrontation.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

14th January 1812: Frames broken at New Radford and Sneinton

A number of frames were damaged at New Radford in the evening of Tuesday 14th January: they beonged to a Mr Slater, who opened the door expecting to be confronted with his apprentice but instead found a sword pointed at his breast. The Luddites cut the warp from the frames and took away parts of the machinery necessary for its function.

On the same evening, 2 plain cotton frames were broken by Luddites at Sneinton, the Hosier being accused of paying 'abated prices'.

14th January 1812: An unpublished letter to the Times is sent to the Home Office

To the Editor of The Times


Conceiving it a matter of some importance that the Public should be better acquainted with the nature of the “Riots at Nottingham” as they are usually tho’ very erroneously called — I beg leave to transmit a few observations on the subject. Both the Town & Country are perfectly tranquil — save during the momentary space of time occupied by the Destruction of Frames which is the work of a few Minutes — consequently the term “Riot” is misapplied. Such nevertheless is the System of Terror under which this Mischief is perpetrated that it not only requires activity on the part of the Magistracy but also the most undocumented courage and Public Virtue — for, whatever might be the ostensible or original motives which led to these outrages there is every reason to fear that their real extent was to be proportioned to the success which should attend their first enterprises. What follows will prove beyond a doubt that no concession on the part of the Hosiers, short of actual connivance at these Atrocities, can shield them from the effects of unprincipled vengeance. On Friday evening last nine Frames belonging to a Gentleman who had always given the full price and whose Frames were then on with Full Fashioned work were destroyed. Two reasons were assigned – First because one of his Family (in the discharge his Duty as a Constable) had brought two (of Ned Lud’s) men before the Magistrates who would give no account of themselves and who were consequently committed to prison. Secondly because the man who had the Frames was Honest, Sober, Industrious, and was living comfortably. Thus a plea has been found to Destroy the Property of a Hosier with whom they themselves declared at first they were perfectly satisfied! Four more Frames have been subsequently destroyed and the whole of their Lives and Property threatened, because Two if not Three of the Conspirators have been caught and imprisoned. It is the assurance that these threats will be executed if a favourable opportunity should occur which prevents any individual from impeaching — for strange as it may appear the parties are generally well known. The Poor Man & his Wife took refuge in Nottm but are still loudly threatened to the great terror of their Neighbours. Should the County Magistrates exert themselves it becomes obvious that it must be at the evident hazard of their property. Cutting up Plantations, Burning Hay & Corn Stacks Houghing Cattle & Horses, &c. would be the prelude to more serious depredations. If a Carrier should presume to assist in removing frames a note is dispatched to warn him that his next offence will be Death

Daring robberies are now very frequent and from the universal terror that prevails – I must observe, that the evil will soon become of serious magnitude. Perhaps one mode of checking it might be by a power vested in active Resolute men who have no local interest … this is a consideration for government. Military are in the present state of things useless — unless Martial Law was proclaimed — They dare any Judge to condemn them to Death and I truly believe would find means to intimidate any common Jury

14th January 1812: Town Clerk of Nottingham to Home Office

14th January 1812


Since I had last the Honour of addressing you by Desire of the Committee of the Corporation of Nottingham they have been extremely anxious to acquire every Information in their power as to the System of Framebreaking and other acts of violence which they cannot doubt are upheld by very considerable numbers of the Mechanics for coercing the Hosiers in the Price of their labour and the mode of conducting their Manufactories. I am very sorry to be compelled to say that the Committee cannot flatter his Majesty’s Ministers that the force or extent of the System is at all abated or that it is likely to abate. On the contrary they have reason to fear that it is daily attracting the dishonest and the profligate, and educating them in the habit of supporting themselves in this manner and that therefore it is difficult to say in what direction the mischief may extend itself. The Committee from all the information they can obtain (which is not at all commensurate to their wishes and previous expections) entertains no Doubt that the men actively engaged in breaking Frames are supported by the pecuniary contributions of those of the Frameworknitters who are employed in productive labour. These men must commit acts of violence to be entitled to receive their wages and to be enabled to shew those who pass these wages that thereby the System of Terror is supported and proceeds on its course. The committee has given the usual most diligent and constant attention to it and have been enabled to acquire and are daily obtaining such information as with the assistance of the Magistrates (with whom thro’ the medium of the Town Clerk they have been in daily communication) has been and may be the means of saving the property of their Neighbours from Destruction. The Frameworknitters appear to be as much dissatisfied as ever. Such of them as are out of employment are many in number and are disposed to inflame the Discontent of those who in work in order to exist upon their Contributions in support of the System carrying on. They seem to have succeeded in such an astonishing degree that it is difficult to find out a person engaged in this employment who is not heart and soul embarked in it. If these deluded People keep within the Bounds they have hitherto prescribed to themselves it will be most difficult to stop them in their carreer. They have lately exercised great Judgement and Discretion in the Selection of their Victims in the Town by fixing upon the property of Individuals on some Account Obnoxious to popular resentment. The last frames destroyed in the Town belong to Persons who have been in the Habit of paying the Workman in part or in whole in Goods generally inadequate in Value to the Price of his Labour. The general System adopted for coercing the Hosiers is so closely embraced by the great mass of the Mechanics that they feel a confidence which is hardly ever abused in each other and refuse to trust any person not concerned in the Trade. The Committee have in consequence found such insuperable difficulties in the way of acquiring such information as would be most useful to them as induces them to fear that their real utility will bear no proportion to their desire of serving the Publick. They have however determined to persevere in their labours. The Magistrates are so impressed with the inefficiency of such measures as they have hitherto acted upon for the Protection of the Peace and property of the Town that they have determined to sett on foot a nightly and organized Military Patrole. For this purpose they meet tomorrow at the Guildhall and the Commanding Officer of the Garrison has been requested to attend to arrange with them the manner of carrying this System to Execution. When we see its effects I shall have the pleasure of communicating with you respecting them. I send you a paper which has been lately discovered posted up by the Framebreakers.

I have [etc.]

Geo. Coldham, Town Clerk

14th January 1812: Posted proclamation by “Mr Pistol.”, Nottingham

I do hereby discharge all Persons what soever from takeing out work Call'd the Single Preess, or the two Coarse ole which is Condemn by Law, any Persons Found so doing to the great injuries of our Trade such People so found out shall be shot any Persons will bring me information of the offenders shall receive a reward of one Guinea to be Paid be me, Mr Pistol


Friday, 13 January 2012

13th January 1812: 4 lace frames destroyed at New Radford - an anatomy of an attack

A detailed description of 2 Luddite raids at New Radford was published by the Nottingham Review of 17th January 1812:
"On Monday evening, about six o’clock, eight men entered the house of Mr. Noble, at New Radford, in various disguises, and armed with different instruments of destruction; and whilst one remained below to take care Of Mrs. N. the others proceeded up stairs to demolish four warp lace frames, because they were making what is called two course hole. In vain Mr. Noble informed them that he was receiving eightpence a yard more than the standard price. “It was not the price,” they said, “but the sort of net that they objected to," and he was forced out of his frame with the blow of a sword, which narrowly missed his head, and cut asunder nearly the whole of the threads across his frames. The screams of his wife (which a severe blow on the head .with the butt end of a pistol could not still) brought him down to her assistance, where he found a neighbour, who had come in at the back door to their aid; and who in conjunction with Mr. N. seized the man in the house, and attempted to disarm him; but he, finding himself in danger, called out “Ned Ludd,” when his companions rushed down stairs before they had demolished the fourth frame, to his rescue; and, in the scuffle, one of them snapped a pistol, which happily missed fire. When their companion was liberated, they found the door fast; but they cut it in pieces in a few seconds, and forced their way through a collected crowd, threatening destruction to any one who should attempt to oppose-them. The same night they went to a house on the forest-side to demolish two warp lace frames, for the reason above assigned; but on the man and his family putting up the most tender entreaties for mercy, (the frames being the product of his own diligent industry,) and giving his word to make no more of that sort of net, his frames were spared; but with the most horrid threats of vengeance if he did not keep his promise. "

13th January 1812: 'Luddite fundraisers' discharged at Nottingham Quarter Sessions

On Monday 13th January, the Epiphany Quarter Sessions commenced in Nottingham. Several prisoners that had been committed for collecting money to support Luddism the previous December were brought to trial, these being Job Hezledine, Job Farnworth, John Hickling, George Taylor, Thomas Langley, William Padley, John Leivers, Michael Leivers, Joseph Needham, and Henry Leverton.

However, there being no indictment ('no bill') from the grand jury, they were discharged with, according to the Nottingham Review "appropriate admonition from the Bench".

Thursday, 12 January 2012

12th January 1812: 8 lace frames destroyed in Nottingham - an anatomy of a Luddite attack

The Nottingham Review of 17th January 1812 carried a description of an attack at Carter Gate in Nottingham which took place at 7 p.m. on the evening of Sunday 12th January:
"a number of men, supposed not less than forty, disguised in various ways, and armed with pistols, &c. proceeded to the house of Mr. Benson; and, after sentinels had been placed at all the neighbours’ doors, and the avenues lending to it, about eight entered; and some of them drove the family into the pantry, with threats of immediate death if they created the least alarm, with the exception of one woman, who was expected every hour to fall in travail, and she was, permitted to remain in the parlour; the rest proceeded into the workshop, and demolished the eight frames in about as many minutes. They escaped without detection. On their departure, the alarm was immediately given; and the civil and military authorities sought every road and by-path in the neighbourhood, but without the desired effect. It is the opinion of Mr Benson himself, that his frames, four of which were his own property, have been broken in consequence of his partly paying his workmen in goods; though this, all his journeyman declare, was done in their accommodation, and without any peculiar profit to himself: as without submitting to this lawless practice, they could not get employment..."

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

11th January 1812: One lace frame broken at New Radford

On the evening of Saturday 11th January, one lace frame was broken at New Radford.

11th January 1812: Arson at Bulwell

On Saturday evening the 11th January, a hay stack belonging to Henry Sells was set alight at Bulwell, but the fire was extinguised by 2 or 3 people "without doing much damage".

11th January 1812: Nottingham County Magistrates request witness protection from the Home Office

County Hall
11th of Jany 1812


The destruction of Stocking frames, and other violations of the law, still continue in the Neighbourhood of Nottingham, with almost unabated violence. John Braithwaite & Elizabeth his wife, lately residing in Basford near Nottingham, have given direct evidence against Wm. Carnell & Joseph Maples, both of Basford, that they, with many other persons at 8 o'Cl in the Evening on Friday the 3d of January broke open the house of John Braithwaite, and broke several Frames therein and took away certain parts of these Frames. In consequence of such evidence Wm Carnell and Joseph Maples have been committed for trial at the next Assizes. As the lives of the Witnesses have been threatened, they been brought into the Town of Nottingham for security, but considerable apprehensions have been entertained that as their evidence may lead to the conviction of the Offenders their lives cannot be deemed secure till the time of their giving their testimony. We therefore take the liberty as acting Magistrates for the County of Nottingham of submitting to your consideration whether these persons may not with propriety be conveyed to London or some other place of security in the discretion of the Justices, and at the expense of Government till the time when their evidence will be required; and whether the Justices might not have the same discretionary power in the case of other witnesses similarly circumstanced.

Sir your most obedient
hum. servants

Charles Wylde
Fran. Evans

11th January 1812: Lord Middleton tries to strong-arm the Home Secretary

Wollaton House Nottinghamshire Jany 11th 1812


It is become my painful Duty to repeat my report to you that the hitherto unparalleled state of plunder, outrage, & general terror, continues thro’ out the whole of this Country, & although I should wish to be the last person to bring forward any measure that might prove painful to Government, Unless prompt & effective measures are directed, I shall most reluctantly feel myself driven to the necessity of coming to Town, Expressly to state, plainly, & as distinctly as I may be able to Parliament, the very shameful occurrences that have been suffer’d for such a length of time to take place involving the ruin of Hundreds, & to endeavour to call the attention of the public, to the shortsightedness of those who have so supinely sufferd the Hydra raise its Heads.

I have the Honor to be Sir with Every Consideration
Your Most Obedient Humble Lord Middleton

(to Richard Ryder, Home Secretary)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

10th January 1812: The spy 'B' reports on travelling delegates in the North East and from Nottingham

Colonel Fletcher's spy 'B' filed another report on the 10th January.

Starting on the 6th, he has some complaints on the collection of Income Tax which was due to take place on 11th January. B's concern may have reflected personal considerations, but he presented it as yet more hardship in a time of great austerity, with the 'old Jacks' (i.e. Jacobins) eyeing it as an opportunity to take advantage of discontent.

B reported on the travels of the Mottram delegate, who had now reached the North East. On the 2nd January, he had been in Tynemouth and had evidently visited Sunderland and both North and South Shields as well. He had visited well-attended delegate meetings there who had promised to correspond.

On the 10th January, B had met a delegate from Nottinghamshire called Whittaker. The picture he painted of Nottinghamshire was that the actions of the Luddites had been premature, as they had apparently expected Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Leicestershire to rise simultaneously. This not having happened, at least to the same degree of ferocity in all but 2 of the Counties, meant Whittaker felt that an opportunity to wrest control from the government had been missed. He described the Luddites being bound by oaths and also the scale of machine-breaking - he estimated that 1000 'looms' (i.e. stocking frames) had been destroyed. Whittaker said that B's real name was well-known in Nottinghamshire, as well as that of others involved in the 'business'.

B had also met the delegate called Taylor, from Royton on the 4th January. He described the desperation of people in Royton, saying the were ready to fight, and that 'nothing Ealse will do', but that they looked to Manchester to give a lead.

10th January 1812: “Address of the Plain Silk Hands, to the Gentlemen Hosiers," Nottingham

In the Manufacturing of Plain Silk Hose and Gloves.

GENTLEMEN—Urged by the pressure of the Times, and the Encouragement of some of you, we beg leave to state the Grievances which many of us are labouring under; at the same time hope and you will call a Meeting of yourselves, to take into your most serious Consideration the great Evils of which we complain—Evils not only grievous to ourselves, but highly injurious to the fair and upright Hosier; a statement of plain Facts need but little glossary to explain them, as the making what is termed inferior Work on fine gauged frames, has destroyed the comforts of our Families, is a fact too well known to be denied. By making such Work on those frames, we are compelled to have finer Silk, and then if set on the regulated number of Jacks, the Hose become too Small for the Size intended; to remedy this, we are ordered to widen our Frames by some four Jacks, others eight, giving us 1d. for four, and 2d. for eight Jacks, as supposed Remuneration for extra labour. Here then let us examine the case as it really is, beginning with Women's 24 Work, which by your own Regulation, bearing Date the 14th November, 1809, is to be set on 120 jacks. This work made from too fine a Gauge as above stated, if ordered to widen eight Jack, we receive 2d. extra, and then become the exact number of Jacks, with the same sized Silk and Quality, in every shape, (BUT PRICE,) as for Women’s 26 Work, for which, when Chevened, the difference between 24 and 26 Work, is 10d. per pair extra; here our loss is 8d. per Pair, and in finer Work still more; and permit us to say, that in the case of Plain Silk Gloves, the Evil is not less grievous. Thus, while every Necessary of Life has been advancing to a great Amount, and all other Manufacturers have been raising their Wages, we are suffering a shameful Abatement.

Gentlemen, these Evils do exist, and loudly call for your interference. The distressed State of many of our Families, compels us to call upon you to rescue them from a State of little better than Starvation, well knowing without your aid, all our efforts will prove unavailing.

If, at your Meeting, you will condescend to listen to our Proposals to remedy the above Evils, by a Deputation from the Trade, or by Writing, we shall be ever thankful, and pledge ourselves to cease complaining, if we do not prove the existence of these and other Impositions.

By Order of the Committee,

WM. LOCK, Chairman.
WM. CRUMP, Secretary.

Nottingham, January 10th, 1812.

Monday, 9 January 2012

9th January 1812: Reward notice for Wilsthorpe burglary



WHEREAS on Monday morning the 6th instant January, 1812, about half past Two o'clock, the House of Mr. THOMAS THEOBALD, of WILSTROP, in the county of Derby, was broken into by three Men armed with Pistols, and robbed of Forty-five pounds in Notes, Thirty-six Shillings in silver, three Silver Table Spoons, eight Silver Tea Spoons, one pair Silver Sugar Tongs, all the best Linen, Wearing Apparel, and a Cheese.

Notice is hereby Given,

That a Reward of THIRTY POUNDS is hereby offered by the Inhabitants of Wilstrop, and a Reward of TWENTY POUNDS by the principal Inhabitants of Breaston, (in addition to the FIFTY POUNDS Reward offered by the Prince Regent,) to anyone giving Information of the Offenders, to be paid on Conviction.—And if one of the Parties concerned will impeach his Accomplices, he shall on Conviction be entitled to the above Reward, and the best means used to obtain his Pardon.

The Robbers were well-dressed;—one was a lusty Man, and had on a dark-coloured Great Coat, light-coloured Breeches, and Stockings and Shoes. The others had dark coloured Coats, (not Great Coats,) like coloured Breeches, and had on Stockings and Shoes. Each had a Handkerchief tied round the Neck and lower part of the Face as high as the Mouth. They were young Men, apparently from twenty to thirty years of age.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

8th January 1812: Windmill attacked at Bulwell Forest, arson at Bagthorpe

On Wednesday evening the 8th January, a windmill at Bulwell Forest was broken into, and some of the machinery was damaged.

At Bagthorpe Farm, a barn belonging to a Mrs Dakin was set alight and largely destroyed, along with the contents.

8th January 1812: Two more men committed for frame-breaking

On Wednesday 8th January, two men were committed to Nottingham Gaol charged with machine-breaking. William Carnell and Joseph Maples were charged with entering the house of John Braithwaite, a framework-knitter, at Basford on the 3rd January and destroying 7 stocking-frames there. Upon being taken into custody, one of the men was found to have in his possession a pistol belonging to Lord Middleton.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

7th January 1812: Derbyshire burglar, Thomas Draper, committed to Derby Gaol

On Monday 7th January Thomas Draper, a Derbyshire Framework-knitter originally from Heanor, was committed to Derby Gaol. He had been charged with committing burglary at the home of Samuel Hunt, of Ockbrook Mill on the 22nd December 1811. The arrest and committal of Draper would later prove to be highly significant.

7th January 1812: Burglary at Wilsthorpe, Derbyshire

At 2.30 a.m.on Monday 7th January, 3 men broke into the home of the well-to-do Mr Theobald of Wilsthorpe in Derbyshire. Gaining entry through the kitchen window, they made their way to the parlour, where Theobald slept - Theobald awoke to find a pistol aimed at his head, and threats of death hurled at him, if he tried to resist. Two of the burglars went upstairs, making similar threats towards Theobald's daughters, and proceeded to search the house for valuables, with which they later escaped.

Friday, 6 January 2012

6th January 1812: More frames broken at Old Radford & Arnold

Luddites were raging night after night in the new year. On Monday 6th January, 13 frames were destroyed at Old Radford, and five at Arnold.

6th January 1812: Steel traps at Locko Park


NOTICE is hereby Given, that, in consequence of the daring and repeated Attacks made upon the House and Premises of John Brentnall, at Locko Grange, and there being no Public Road through his Yards, STEEL TRAPS and SPRING GUNS will be regularly set upon all the Premises, as well as in and upon all the Woods and Grounds belonging to W.D. Lowe, Esq.

January 6th, 1812.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

5th January 1812: Arson at Mansfield

On the evening of Sunday 5th January, a hay stack belonging to a Mr Dodsley from Mansfield was set alight. The stack weighed 20 tons and was partially destroyed in the resulting fire before it could be extinguished. A reward of £400 was later offered for information about the arsonist(s).

5th January 1812: Frame-breaking in Nottingham and Old Radford

The town of Nottingham was raided again on Sunday 5th January, when Luddites destroyed 2 lace frames - at the end of the raid, they fired off their pistols and muskets. The owner had been paying his employees in 'truck'.

In the evening, 2 frames were broken at Old Radford

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

4th January 1812: Attempted assassination at New Radford

On the evening of Saturday 4th January, an attempt was made to kill a Constable at New Radford. The man was asleep when he was roused by voices outside his window - the strangers called out to him that Luddites were in a nearby house and when he appeared at a window fired a shot from a pistol. The shot missed him, but did lodge in his window frame: the assassins fled.

4th January 1812: Frames destroyed at Basford, Bulwell, Hucknall, Nottingham & Heanor

The new year was seeing an increasing urgency to the destruction of stocking frames by Luddites. On the afternoon of Saturday 4th January at 3 p.m., one frame was destroyed in Basford. The same afternoon, 2 frames were smashed at Bulwell, not long before they were due to be transported to Nottingham for the greater security the town offered.

In the evening, Luddites destroyed 7 frames at Hucknall Torkard, with the ironworks of 2 of the frames being taken away. Meanwhile, in the town of Nottingham, 1 lace frame was destroyed in Pomfret Street, and another in Pearl Street.

Luddites were also at work again in Derbyshire, destroying a number of stocking frames there.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

3rd January 1812: Frame-breaking at Basford

Large numbers of stocking frames had been broken at Basford over the past few months, and the new year was to be no exception. On the Friday evening 3rd January, 9 frames were destroyed in the village.

3rd January 1812: The Nottingham Review responds to accusations of encouraging rioters

We are not in the habit of abtruding ourselves on the notice of our readers, nor would this be proper, excepting on extraordinary occasions. An extraordinary one now presents itself; and we feel ourselves called upon, imperiously called upon, by a most unwarranted attack upon the REVIEW, and consequently upon its proprietor; and this from an individual, from whom we had been led to expect better treatment.

On Friday last, the REVIEW was voted out of the News Room of this place.* The motion of this extraordinary act, was made by a Magistrate, whose name, from motives of delicacy, for the present at least, we will conceal. The ostensible reason given for the expulsion of the REVIEW, is, “That in its report of the late outrages, it has given a colouring to the depredations of the rioters, which has tended to encourage rather than suppress them.” We think the present moment not the most proper season to discuss this point. While the parties are at strife, and during the ferment which these tumultuous proceedings have occasioned, it is not the time for dispassionate reflection. Manufacturers and workmen, magistrates and people, have all their different feelings, according to the circumstances in which they stand; nor ought the opinion of any one of these to be taken as the standard of truth. When the ferment shall have subsided, will be the time to re-consider these disputes; and then, we presume, our statements will be deemed more impartial, than some people at the present imagine; and in general they will be found to have been essentially correct. We say, essentially correct; for where is the Journalist that is not subject to occasional errors. We here beg leave to introduce a quotation from our REVIEW, of November 15, 1811, in proof of our determined opposition to violence and outrage.

“We would beg leave to state, as an axion founded on the everlasting standard of universal justice, and which ought to govern every man in his political reasonings, that when the barrier which protects individual property is broken down and disregarded, the reign of anarchy begins; which, of all the tyrannies that can afflict mankind, is the most horrible, and of course all to be the most shunned. Here then this ought to be taken as our manifesto against the practice in question.”

It will be necessary, however, to notice two or three particulars, in our report of the proceedings at the funeral of Wesley, (see REVIEW, as above) which have been the subject of censure, and severe and illiberal animadversion. When the paper of the above date was published, Mr. Sutton was more than 120 miles from home; he returned, however, on the day after its publication, and had not been arrived more than half an hour, when he was requested to attend upon two gentlemen, but for what purpose he was at a loss to guess. At this interview, he was charged with having grossly misrepresented the conduct of a gentleman in high office, and the magistrates who attended at the funeral. The passages pointed out, as being obnoxious, are the following.

“The High Sheriff, the Under Sheriff, and about half a dozen magistrates were on the spot, attended by a posse of constables and about 30 mounted Dragoons, who all proceeded with the funeral to the church yard;”

“About the time that the corpse was lowering into the grave, the High Sheriff proclaimed that an hour had elapsed since the reading of the Riot Act, and informed the multitude, that those that did not instantly disperse, should be taken into custody as rioters;”

Mr. S. not having had an opportunity of perusing the account, which had been written by a person who occasionally collects the home news, he could not then judge of the accuracy of the charge, but observed he was sorry if any mis-statements had been given, and assured them it must have been done inadvertently, and without any design but that of giving correct information; and that he would most certainly correct any errors that might, in his absence, have been thus committed. With these acknowledgements, the gentleman seems satisfied; only it was observed, this ought to be done immediately by a hand-bill, expressive of his sorrow for the supposed errors. His feelings, on this proposal, rose up in formidable opposition; but he merely remarked, whatever on enquiry and investigation may be deemed right to be done, should be done. After this, Mr. S. had an interview with one of the gentleman, and several notes passed between the parties, which are present are not important to the public. The last by Mr. S. was to the following effect:

“I have made it my business to enquire concerning those parts of our statement of the transactions which took place at the interment of Wesley, and which you pointed out as being incorrect, and have conversed with three persons+, who were on the spot, and who were eye and ear witnesses to the whole transaction, and they all confirm the statement given in the REVIEW, on which account I cannot, at present, consent to retract any part of them; but if you, Sir, or any of your friends still think we have made any mis-statements, and will give what you deem correct, the same shall have a place in the columns of the NOTTINGHAM REVIEW.”

The statement was declined, and here the correspondence ended.

We have entered the more largely into this, because the foregoing quotations are what have been principally objected to; we say principally, for objections have been made to other parts, by different parties, according to their various interests and feelings. Our invariable rule, however, has been, and we still need to adhere to the same line of conduct, viz. to pay no attention to partizans or cavaliers, whose minds are never at rest, but are “like the troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Nothing can be done to please these gentleman; and were we to hearken to their complaints, we should be circumstanced as the old man was with his ass. The independent manner in which we have conducted our paper, refusing to lend our aid to any particular party, any further than they have had truth on their side, has raised it in the estimation of candid and reflecting men, and given it such an extensive circulation, and share of public patronage, as to render it invulnerable to all the attacks of those whose minds are what with prejudice, or who are actuated by interested motives.

We wish to observe here, that we always keep our ear open at least, to the monitions of friends. We are always obliged when they call upon us, and give us their advice; and we have of this sort, whose friendship we highly esteem, and beg leave to thank them for their favours.

*It is right the reader should be informed that not more than 40 persons present at this meeting, though the subscribers amount to 120, consequently the expulsion of the REVIEW cannot be considered as the act of the Subscribers. We beg leave here to introduce an extract from a letter written by a gentleman of the first respectability, to Mr. SUTTON, whose a subscriber to the News Room:—

“It is impossible to hear, without indignation, the decision of the ——— Faction, on a recent occasion; however it is consolatory to know, that the interest and principles of the REVIEW were advocated by those of the first character among us.”

+ It is been said that these three persons are framework-knitters; this, however, is not true–for one is a hair-dresser, another is a tailor, and the third a hosier.

Monday, 2 January 2012

2nd January 1812: Frame destroyed at Wollaton

On the evening of Thursday 2nd January, the first stocking frame of the new year was broken. The location was near to the toll bar at Wollaton, with the iron works from the frame being thrown into the nearby canal.

2nd January 1812: Reward notice for burglary at Lewcote Gate, West Hallam



WHEREAS a Number of Persons did in the Night between Saturday the 21st, on Sunday the 22d days of December instant, break and enter the Dwelling House and Shop of Mrs ELIZABETH HANDLEY, at Lewcote Gate; in the Parish of West Hallam, in the county of Derby, and did feloniously carry away from thence a considerable quantity of Shop Goods, together with all the Money in the House.

Notice is hereby Given.

That a Reward of FIFTY POUNDS will be paid on application to MR. BIRCH, of Smalley, to any person who shall give such information as may lead to the Discovery and Conviction of the Offenders.

Description of Three of the Robbers, who with Handkerchiefs tied over their Faces, and armed with Pistols, entered and plundered Mrs Handley's Bed Room.

One was a remarkable muscular man, & stood about 5 feet nine or 10 inches high, his legs and thighs were uncommonly strong and fleshy. He had on a light-coloured jean coat much resembling a shooting jacket; a very light-coloured pair of corduroy breeches, which appeared too straight at the knee, being unbuttoned; and a pair of ash coloured stockings. His step was very firm and heavy.

Another appeared a stripling, about 5 feet, 5 or 6 inches high. Had on a pair of breaches either of cloth or Jean, a dark coat, unlike stockings; his hands appeared rather delicate.

The third was in the middle stature, and dressed apparently the same as the last mentioned person; and both of them wore glazed hats.

ARTICLES, &c. STOLEN.—Cash and notes the amount of £6 12 shillings, and upwards.—Several pieces of ancient silver coin, among which were South Sea Shilling, and 13 pence halfpenny piece.—One gold wedding ring, filed into two—One gold ring, set with a large square diamond, and marked in the inside of the ring with the letters (M.D.)

FROM THE SHOP.—1 hundredweight of sugar, tied up in pound and half pound packets. Several pounds of tea. About four stone of soap. Upwards of 1 hundredweight of rice. About six pounds of tobacco. A roll of blue cotton. Some handkerchiefs. One pair of worsted stockings – and considerable quantities of flour, meal, bacon, cheese, butter, bread, and candles.