Monday, 27 February 2012

27th February 1812: Attack on workshop of William Hinchliffe at Leymoor, Golcar, near Huddersfield

William Hinchliffe awoke in shock. It was 1 a.m. and the sound of a gunshot had rushed him headlong out of his slumber. He almost fell out of bed and peered outside from his bedroom window - he could make out the silhouettes of many men below, all around his house. He hadn't time to count them, but thought there must be about 50 of them, a veritable army. In what little light there was, Hinchliffe could make out that their faces were marked black and white. Still shocked he could now hear some banging: someone was hammering at the door of his workshop. It gave way and he heard his shearing frames and shears being smashed and broken.

He ran out of his bedroom and gathered his family about him. They all went down to the parlour and closed the door tight. Just then he heard more hammering, this time on his own front door, which soon gave way. He heard voices "Where is he? Bring him out, let's kill him!" Soon after they were in & one started to pull on the parlour door handle, but another intruder shouted out "let him alone for this time". He could another approach and call out from the other side of the door "if you cause us to come again upon this subject, we'll take your life".

Another voice from outside called the men on the other side of the parlour door to come out, and an order followed to "fall in". He heard many boots stamping around his yard outside as they assembled. Not long after, they moved off.

Hinchliffe waited for some time afterwards before he dared open the parlour door. Making his way to his workshop, he surveyed the toll of destruction the Luddites had wrought on him: all 5 of his shearing frames were smashed, as well 30 pairs of conventional hand shears.

This has been compiled from William Hinchliffe's deposition, a Home Office copy of which can be found at HO 40/1/7.

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