Tuesday, 3 July 2012

3rd July 1812: John Lloyd arrests a Luddite in Yorkshire on the information of his spies

In the afternoon of Wednesday, 1st July 1812, a spy called Thomas Whitehead sent by the Solicitor, John Lloyd, into Yorkshire travelled back to his master at Stockport and informed him that he and his fellow spy, Joseph Taylor, had made contact with a Luddite in Holmfirth.

Lloyd wasted no time in taking a deposition, and then went to Manchester to get a warrant from the Magistrate William Robert Hay before heading into Yorkshire with General Maitland's Aide-de-Camp. They raised troops at Marsden, and after finding the alleged Luddite, a Corporal in the Upper Agbrigg Local Militia called Joseph Barrowclough, they arrested him in the early hours of the morning of Friday 3rd July, bringing him back into Lancashire for questioning at the New Bailey prison in Salford.

The Leeds Mercury and the Lancaster Gazette, both of the 11th July, printed Barrowclough's name. The Gazette  also carried an article from the Sheffield Mercury of the 4th July which, although many of the facts were wrong, suggested that someone was leaking information to the Press at a vry early stage:
On the 3d instant a Luddite of the name of Barrowclough, charged with the atrocious crime of twisting-in, was brought from the edge of Yorkshire to the New Bailey prison, Manchester, in a post-chaise, escorted by a party of dragoons.

The Sheffield Mercury of Saturday last furnishes us with the following information; probably the man in the preceding paragraph is the person alluded to:

“At a late hour last night we received highly important and very gratifying intelligence to every friend of peace and good order. It says that two Bow-street Officers have been in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield for nearly three weeks past, and that they had been Twisted-in, or in other words had taken the oath of the Luddites. By this means they have learned the proceedings and ways of those infatuated persons, and have obtained the knowledge of the depot where their arms were concealed. Warrants were yesterday (Friday) issued the apprehension of fifty of the ringleaders, and in the course of the day great number of them were taken into custody. The actual murderer of Mr. Horsfall was discovered in a house about eight miles from Huddersfield, and is committed to Lancaster Castle* to be tried for the said barbarous deed. He was seized yesterday morning about two o'clock, within the county of Lancaster. The Queen’s Bays were on duty during the whole of Thursday night and yesterday morning; and the Scotch Greys have arrived from Manchester to assist in this business. LET THE GUILTY FEAR AND TREMBLE.”

*This is not correct—Edit
Over the next few days, under the questioning of Lloyd and Hay, Barrowclough would go on to relate much of Luddite activities in Yorkshire.
The actual events are outlined in John Lloyd's letter to the Home Office of 7th July 1812, which can be found at HO 42/125.

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