Saturday, 7 July 2012

7th July 1812: Information given by Joseph Barrowclough

Four days after being arrested in West Yorkshire, Joseph Barrowclough had been interrogated by the Stockport solicitor John Lloyd along with Captain John Allison and the Manchester Magistrate the Reverend William Hay. By the evening of 6th July, he had started to give information, and Lloyd & Allison recorded a long deposition on the morning of Tuesday 7th July 1812.

Barrowclough began by implicating a man named Samuel Haigh as the principal assassin of William Horsfall. He continued to describe the origins of the 'Lud System' in Scotland 22 years ago, and described the oath in use.  Barrowclough then dropped the bombshell that French prisoners of war were involved with the Luddites.

The rest of the deposition describes the system of arms raiding, even the way raiding parties were organised, as well as the signalling system used. Dates, times and locations were given for future Luddite meetings and well as  the location and sizes of arms dumps.

Barrowclough stated there were four principal un-named leaders organising the arms raids, 3 of whom were French, and that they paid out wages to the Luddites in the 24th of each month. He also confirmed that a rising was planned - the "Marriage feast of Mrs Ludd" - which would involve French Prisoners held at Chesterfield, Plymouth and on Dartmoor, but would not take place until the 24th anniversary of the formation of the system - 24th July 1814.

Barrowclough stated there was religious element in West Yorkshire Luddism: "The Luds go by the 21st Ezekiel 25th 6th 7th verses - They call themselves the Godly".

Barrowclough's initial deposition can be found at HO 42/125.

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