Saturday 29 September 2012

29th September 1812: James Haigh arrested for the second time

Time had run out for James Haigh. After being freed following the abandonment of his prosecution at York Summer Assizes in July, the magistrate Joseph Radcliffe clearly felt there was cause enough to commit him for being involved in the Luddite attack on Rawfolds Mill on 11th April. Over the past few days, spies operating locally had gained information from those either concerned in or close to Luddism which confirmed his involvement at Rawfolds.

Haigh was sent to Wakefield House of Correction (i.e. Workhouse) on Tuesday 29th September 1812, pending his standing trial at a future Assizes.

29th September 1812: General Acland receives a report about a Luddite Captain at Honley

29th Septr. 1812


In consequence of information received from Mr. Blyth, Constable of this place respecting a man of the name of Robt. Harling I beg to transmit the particulars to you, as follows.

Robert Harling of Quarmley Cliff lodges sometimes near Honley, he is about 30 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, lame in one of his hands, thin & rather of a fair complexion, has an effeminate voice, mostly carries a basket slung over his shoulders & goes about the country selling Spices, is believed to be at this time at Halifax, where he lodges a few nights at a time. Barrowclough has given information against him of being the Captain of the Party of Luddites that infested Holmfirth & that neighbourhood, there are four or five Warrants out against him in different Places, issued by Mr. Radcliffe & Mr. Scott, Magistrates some time since. Mr. Blyth and another Constable were out after him at Honley accompanied by four Soldiers of the West Norfolk the greater part of Saturday night last, but did not succeed in finding him, he had been there that day. Mr. Blyth is of opinion he might be apprehended if a Constable a stranger in the Country were sent after him to Halifax & neighbourhood.

I am [etc]
Robt. Sayer
Captn West Norfk. Ma

Major General Ackland

Friday 28 September 2012

28th September 1812: Arms raid & robbery at Rishworth, West Yorkshire

At 9.00 p.m. on Monday 28th September 1812 James Bottomley, a weaver, came to his door after being summoned to find 6 men confronting him. They all had their faces covered with handkerchiefs and soon wanted him to tell them where Michael Hoyle lived: when Bottomley told them, they began to insist he accompanied them, threatening death if he refused.

As they walked to Hoyle's, Bottomley noticed other men joined them from the shadows, with the disguised men now numbering 15.

Inside his house, the first Michael Hoyle knew of what was to come was a load banging at his door, alternating with threats that it would be broken down if it wasn't opened. Hoyle opened it, and three men pushed him inside, all of them armed with blunderbusses. They demanded a light, and threatened to kill him. Hoyle got a candle and lit it, and the man began their demands. As they demanded his weapons, the men had seen a shotgun over the fireplace, and took it. They wanted 3 Guineas to buy a firelock - Hoyle complied; they demanded gold, but Hoyle had none, so they demanded banknotes - they made it clear they wanted all the money Hoyle had, for if they found as much as one penny later, they would kill him. Hoyle gave them £10 in Bank of England notes. The men also took a silver watch of Hoyle's from a drawer.

Throughout the raid, the men demanded and were served drink, principally rum and gin. After they had left, Hoyle looked at the clock. It was 11.00 p.m.

The same men apparently went later to a pub at Butt's Green and demanded money there and after being either refused or told there was none helped themselves to all the meat & drink in the place.

28th September 1812: Joseph Radcliffe reacts angrily to comments about his legal cases from Government

My Lord

I had the honor to receive Your Lordship's letter of the 24th Inst this day, & beg not to be intrusive in the following remarks, & as I confine myself at home during these disturbed times more so than any other Magistrate in this part of the West Riding of the County of York, being day & Night at the service of the public, it is my ardent wish to know that whilst so many Soldiers are necessarily in the small Alehouses in this neighbourhood: if drunkenness is to be looked upon as an excuse for making use of seditious expressions by the people in such houses. the consequence will be that soldiers who have taken the oath of allegiance, & have been brought up in the habit of thinking & speaking with reverence of their King will think proper to punish the utterers of such expressions in a summary way, with their fists, or other weapons, & though this should not (as it probably may) cause general riots & confusion, between the lower Class of People & the soldiary, yet the Soldiers would be liable to punishment by a Court Martial, & the instigator of the quarrel escape, because they chose to get drunk before they committed an other offence.

Sr. Should any one for the future be taken up & brought before a Magistrate for using such expressions, ought He be discharged, as a matter of course, & no notice taken of the information, or in what Manner is He to be proceeded against?

I have this day Committed two persons to York, Mr. Lloyd attended & has promised to transmit the particulars to your Lordship, I have the honor to be Your Lordships

Most Obt
Hbl Servt.
J: Radcliffe

Milnsbridge House
Sepr 28 1812.—

[To: The Lord Sidmouth]

28th September 1812: Two 'Luddite' burglars committed to York Castle

On Monday 28th September 1812, two men - John Smith & David Moorhouse, both of Kirkburton  were committed to York Castle by Joseph Radcliffe on charges of "burglary under the colour of Luddism" for the robbery of William Savage at Kirkburton on 11th June 1812.

Thursday 27 September 2012

27th September 1812: General Acland's spy, Knight, reports from Halifax

Halifax 27th Septr 1812


I think it my immediate duty to acquaint you with my proceedings since I left Huddersfield. I arrived at Halifax on friday Morning and has taken every opportunity of getting into Company with different classes of people but has not been forward in bringing on any discours for fear of any suspicion as I understand from them that there has been some Men on the Service that has hurt it much by being to hasty in bringing forward the subject and then having some taken up for disaffected Language, which in my opinion is not the proper way to act, Undoubtedly the Generality of them are very much disaffected, but they are very cautious before strangers so that time must bring it round, I pass here for a Cloth Dealer and there is no suspicion of me so that I hope in time I shall be able to learn what they chiefly aim at. I intend to go to Rochdale tomorrow I expect to meet Kenworthy there. And if Jones is come from Liverpool I wish he would find me there as I think it would be of great service. Sir—I wish to have a few lines at Rochdale to be left at the Post office till called for. I intend remaining there are a few days. I shall take particular care in Punctually obeying any orders You shall think fit to honor me with

John Knight

[To] General Ackland
&c. &c. &c.

Monday 24 September 2012

24th September 1812: Two spies report about Luddite activity in & around Huddersfield

Huddersfield 24th. September 1812.
Copy of paper delivered to Mr. Hirst.

Representation of Thomas Ewart & Robert Lumas.

That they have been lodg’d in one of the Luddites houses five weeks, & are now getting into confidence with some of them, that they are not yet twisted in, but expect to be so in a short time. That previous to this are to be employ’d in procuring arms. That Joshua Hague, John Seiner, Richard Horsfall & a Mr. Sunderland all in Dalton & John Fox Innkeeper on Greetland Moor are the Principal supporters, along with other Six whose names they have not learn’d. That John Fox offer’d them a Barrel of ale to destroy the Machinery at Gatehead Mill, which was given them after the Engagement. James Hague that was wounded at Cartwright’s Mill, the Balls were extracted by Dr. Wright, & he along with several others were sent to the Whitworth Drs. to be eased of their wounds, & are now return’d. The first attempt that it is now to be made is to [divert] of the Soldiers by false Alarms, until they can accomplish the destruction of Bradley Mills, & an old Soldier has Volunteer’d to blow them up with powder. They are only waiting for an opportunity to destroy the owner of the Mills, as also justice Ratcliffe. There have several places where they have a considerable quantity of arms & ammunition, & the Two men I have employ’d are in full expectation of seeing where they are concealed in a short time

The Luddites have met 5 or 6 times within these 14 days at a place about 2 Miles out of the Town [west] of Huddersfield at a place called Dungeon Wood at the foot of Taylor’s hill—a meeting took place on Crossland Moor on Monday last to consult about some of their Society that had been taken up—

These are the principal parts of the information obtain’d at present.

An agent from Glascow came down to Huddersfield about Ten days ago, & put up at the Packhorse. The people at Huddersfield would not receive him as he had not he is proper credentials, he staid ‘till he sent a Glascow for them (their own letters) he is now gone back—

Disturbances to break out at Wakefield very soon—

24th September 1812: General Acland tells General Maitland that Luddites taking the Oath of Allegiance may not be serious

Huddersfield 24th September 1812

My dear Sir

Two women were examined last night before Mr. Ratcliffe, they both depos’d that Joshua Haigh when he absconded & went to Ireland deliver’d to each of them, that he was one of the four men who shot at Mr. Horsfall—

Clegg & Smith were bound over to appear at the Sessions at Wakefield.

Nadin writes me from Manchester that the men who went to Mr. Farrington to be untwisted, have in general said they did so only to save themselves, but their Hearts remain’d the same — he says there have been several Meetings during the last week in the public houses at Manchester & some of the 38 attended each, & are very active—

Capt. McDougal came over here yesterday & reports that several of those who were untwisted in his neighbourhood, still associate with the Luddites, & are not looked upon with much suspicion —

On further enquiry it seems advisable he should not attempt any search for arms without more perfect information—

I send you a letter receiv’d from Nottingham, which I open’d supposing it might be on [district] business, but finding it was from Robert Fisher, I did not read it – I shall continue to write daily till I hear of your return

Wroth P Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honorable
T. Maitland

Sunday 23 September 2012

23rd September 1812: The mill-owner, John Goodair, sells up and quits Stockport

Five months after his home was destroyed and his premises were attacked in Stockport, John Goodair had decided to quite the town and the business altogether. An advertisement in the Manchester Mercury of 1st & 15th September 1812 drew notice to an auction of the entire contents of his factory which was to take place on Wednesday 23rd September 1812:

New and Valuable Machinery, Power Looms and other Effects.

By John Wood,

At the Factories lately occupied by Mr John Goodair, situate at Edgeley, and Stockport, in the county of Chester, (by order of his assignees,) on Wednesday the 23d September, 1812, and on such following days as may be requisite for the disposal of the whole, the sale each day commencing at ten o'clock,

An extensive assortment of very valuable MACHINERY, and EFFECTS, comprising picking machines, carding engines, drawing and fly frames, throstles, mules, warping mills and machines, dressing machines, cup presses, patent looms, straps, cans, skips, bobbins, iron safe, desks, counters, shelves, beams, scales and weights. A large quantity of joiner’s, machine maker’s and smith's tools, cast-iron, brass, new cards, and a great variety of useful and requisite implements and materials for spinning and manufacturing concerns.

The principal part of the above property is nearly new, was made by mechanics of the greatest eminence, and has been lately in use.

Catalogues containing the allotments of the whole will be ready one week previous to the sale, and may be had on application to Messrs. Scholes and Kirk, Cotton Dealers; the Auctioneer, King-street, Manchester; or to Mr. Turner, on the premises Stockport.

Friday 21 September 2012

21st September 1812: The Manufacturer, Francis Vickerman, sends another letter to General Acland at Huddersfield

General Ackland


I am afraid to make my Self troublesome to you. the Only Object I have in vue his that (through your Ability and Exertions) our Neighbourhood may be brought into that State of Peace and Safety to live in it Originaly was, it Seems to be generaly believed now that by the rebel party, that a revolution at presant cannot be accomplished but the repeated ditclarations are, it will not be forgotten but accomplished with greater vigor the Very first Opertunity for they Say there will be no more good times until the government has puled down Tirants they call them Who continue the War for their Own Intrests and Support Machienary that they may raise Taxes to Support the war. If government cannot be Overcomin they say Machienary Shall be Stoped in its progress for it never did a pore man good. If the country his full of red Coats we See that they cannot keep up Machienary. this his conversation you might learn at any of the Publick houses where the rebil parties are accustomed to go.—

I have Sufficient Evidence to convince me that this Spirit of rebelion his princable promoted in this Neighbourhood by men Called Master dressers who Imploy from 4 or 5 to Twenty men who can in general get great wages and Spend more money at the Ale house and all the Other Inhabitants. If some of those men could be brought to the light and punished we might then Expect the journeymen would give up their designs of outrage and plunder. I do believe its not posable at presant for a Stranger to Swear on amongst them unles he should be in the Neighbourhood for some time at first become familiar to them. If you could take any plan to cause them to confes I could give you a list of names that most certainly Swore rebils. they begin to be a little more afraid, they say that this General that is comen to Huddersfield his a Divel of a Man if he can get any hold he his Sure to have them Sent to Prison. If you think it Proper to make a General Search for Arms in Lockwood and Salford & Taylorhill and all on one Night I believe Stolen Arms are in those places for it is believed No Neighbourhood has such Invetrate Rebils in as this has, and they have so planed their designs that not one of them has been detected Since the rioting & rebelion broke out, hoping that you accomplish the grand design till then I remain With sentiments

of Esteem Honoured Sir your Most
Obdt. Servt

[Bottom portion of letter is torn away]

[On reverse “Mr.V. 21st Sept 1812” in Acland's/Acland's Clerk's handwriting]

Thursday 20 September 2012

20th September 1812: James Stevens sends the Home Secretary an encrypted Luddite communication

Mansfield Septr 20th, 1812

My Lord

I have the Honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordships communication of the 18th Instant—and Hewitt has no objection to enter into any Corps. which his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief may be pleased to direct

Several of the Luddites letters which I am in possession of have been unintelligible untill this week owing to the following ingenious plan—Their letter paper is all cut to one size, and every correspondent is in possession of what they term a Key, a specimen of which I have inclosed—and which being placed upon the letter shews at once what they wish to disclose—the remainder of the letter is a Cloak in case it should fall into the Hands of the Police

The Canal scheme is not to be carried into effect untill next month, when the nights will be more favourable for their plans—some of the Luddites oppose it on the ground that it is not calculated to produce that terror, which it appears to be there object to inspire, and are for more desperate measures

I have [etc]
James Stevens

[To] The Rt Honb Lord Sidmouth &c
Secretary of State

The unencrypted letter says "Sir - The Committee for the relief of the Poor meet on Wednesday night at 8 o'Clock when the case of the woman who lives on Bulwell Common will be taken into consideration. Yours &c &c. Bulwell Sep 13th 1812"

When the 'key' is applied to it, it says "The Committee meet on Wednesday night at 8 o'Clock on Bulwell Common"

Wednesday 19 September 2012

19th September 1812: A spy reports from Saddleworth

Dobcross 19th. Septr. 1812.


Agreeable to Your Orders of the 17th I arrived here at 4 oClock in the evening but did not think it prudent to enquire immediately after Kenworthy the fear of any suspicion, but about 7 oClock the same evening I had the opportunity of hearing his name mentioned several times amongst the company in the Swan Inn where I took up my quarters and likewise got to know that he was in the habbit of buying and selling old cards at the different factories and mills round the country, but it is the opinion of the people here that that is only to screen his rogery—I immediately assumed the character of a Hatter, and wanted to buy a quantity of Old cards and by that means got introduced to him. I have had a deal of Conversation with him and made him believe that I was of the same opinion he is himself but the fellow is so very reserved that there is no taking proper hold of him it is the General opinion here that he is a chief planner of the disturbances in the different parts of the Country and the inhabitants here would give a great deal if there could be any thing proved against him so as to convict him but he acts in that kind of way that no hold can be taken of him at present. I am informed that the chief rendevous for him and his associates is at long Royal bridge, the better class of people here seems very well disposed but the lower class seems ripe for all kinds of mischief. I am going to Oldham this Morning in company with Kenworthy and shall do every thing in my power to get every information from him, and likewise to know the minds of the people in what ever part of the Country you may think proper to Order me—

You will please to direct for me at Oldham to be left at the post office till called for

John Knight

[To] General Ackland
&c &c &c

19th September 1812: An Officer reports the Star Inn, Roberttown, for being open after hours

The Star Inn, Roberttown. Image copyright Humphrey Bolton. (geograph profile)

Mill bridge Sept 19th. 1812.


I have the honor of reporting to you that while patroling on Thursday Evening I observed the Land lord of the Star publick House serving out Liquor to two Men after ½ past nine oclock—The men appeared very drunk & inclined to be riotous—The publick House is situated at Roberton— I have the Honor to be

Your obt. H. &c &c
Edw Barrett Lieut.
15th (King’s) Hussars

19th September 1812: The Stockport solicitor, John Lloyd, tells the Home Office he has a suspect for the killing of William Horsfall


I have to request you assistance. Information has been obtained this Morning that a Soldier of the 51st Regt is one of the Murderers of Mr. Horsfall. His name is Joshua Haigh — was inlisted in this Town by Serjeant Marshall — and, prior to April Sessions, he was detected of lead stealing for ‘Lud purposes but discharged about the 7th or 8th of April from Pontefract Sessions, being no prosecution. Mr. Horsfall was shot about the 28th of that month. Haigh fled over to Ireland, where he was apprehended by a party of the 84th Regiment, as a Deserter from the 51st, and escorted to the Army depot at Brabourne Lees, Kent. Capt. Thwaites command there, and will cause him to be detained – and perhaps sent down his — The Capt might may be authorized to shew him the proclamation in order that if he is in a situation to avail himself of the Royal Clemency he may impeach his accomplices.

You shall be furnished with all particulars for private satisfaction, but I conceive it will not be necessary to state more than the above to the commanding Officer; and tomorrow I will procure a Warrant from Justice Radcliffe which can succeed the communication you may be please to make to that Officer.

I have thought it best, General, to make this communication in writing that you may, if you think proper, forward it with any letter you may write to have the matter properly attended to—

I have [etc]

J Lloyd

Huddersfield 19 Sept 1812

[To General Acland]

19th September 1812: The Leeds Mercury reports good harvests & the falling price of staple foodstuffs

The Leeds Mercury of Saturday 19th September carried various items reporting the declining cost of staple food items and also abundant harvests:
A letter dated the 16th inst. from one of the first landed proprietors in Norfolk, was shewn to us yesterday, from which we make the following very grateful and interesting extract:—“Corn is falling with us; new wheat is £5. a quarter, or 12s. 6d. a bushel, and I have no doubt will soon be lower. My own crops yield more than double what they did last year.”

We congratulate our readers on the great decline in the price of corn in every part of the kingdom. So great was the influx of new wheat in our market on Saturday, that a reduction of 18s. per load took place; and meal was reduced, on the same day, from 6s. 4d. per stone to 4s. 8d. A further reduction of 8d. has since taken place.—Doncaster Gazette.

CORN HARVEST.—There is every prospect of the harvest, throughout this country, being got in extremely well, and proving very productive.—Last year there was a considerable failure in the crops throughout Europe; this year the case is entirely the reverse, for in addition to the pleasing prospect in this country, accounts have been received from various parts of the continent (Russia, Prussia, Sicily, the shores of the Mediterranean, &c.) which leads to expect an unusually productive harvest in every quarter. If, therefore, we consider the goodness of our crops; the opening of our trade with the Baltic; and the strong probability of a pacification with America: we think we may rationally anticipate a speedy and very material reduction in the price of corn.

From the 3d to the 10th of September, there were imported into the Port of London, 19,896 quarters of Wheat, 1140 quarters of Rye, 600 quarters of Oats, and 10,000 quarters of Barley.

It is said that 7,500 barrels of flour have lately been brought into Plymouth, in American bottoms. A contract has been made there, with the Navy Board, for 500 sacks of flour, at the reduced price of 84s. per sack; plus contract was at 111s. per sack

Tuesday 18 September 2012

18th September 1812: The Home Office is advised to watch Shelley's movements by the Solicitor to theTreasury

Mr Litchfield present his Compliments to Mr. Addington, and beg leave to acquaint him, that he had some conversations with Mr. Beckett upon the subject of the inclosed Letters from the Town Clerk of Barnstaple and that it did not appear either to Mr. Beckett or himself that any Steps could with propriety be taken with respect to Mr. Shelley in consequence of his very Extraordinary & [unaccountable] Conduct, but that it would be proper to instruct some person to observe his future Behaviour and to transmit the Information that may be obtained respecting him.

Lincolns Inn
18. Septr 1812

[To] The Right Honbl
J. A. Addington
&c &c &c

[Note in margin: "write to the Mayor of Barnstaple accordingly"]

Monday 17 September 2012

17th September 1812: The Stockport solicitor, John Lloyd, updates the Home Office on the prosecutions

17 Sepr. 1812


On my way from Wakefield yesterday visited the different places in the neighbd of Horbury & Ossett where robberies had taken place as stated in the Examns of Earl Parkin which have been copied & transmitted to you by Mr Allison of this place, and I found the circumstances quite correct as had been stated by him—I took the Examinations not only of those he mentions but of others affecting the same Gang of Depredators, and I found that a number of suspected characters had fled—Unfortunately the ring leader Josh. Norton has not been yet taken; but as he hides himself in the neighbourhood and there appears now a spirit to have arisen amongst the better sort of people to do some good, he is pretty sure to be taken

You have not the complete body of Proofs agt this gang yet but shall have as soon as I can possibly complete the necessary Examinations.

One of the Gang, Thomas Green, has been this day committed by Mr. Radcliffe to York upon the Evidence of Parkin whom we will get supported by corroborative circumstances. The commitmt. is for a Burglary on Abraham Moor whom I yesterday examined, but I shall be able to prove him one of those that have stolen arms at other places

With respect to the Halifax case I cannot procure the Exams. of McDonald and Gossling until tomorrow or next day owing to these men having been sent for to Manchester to give Evidence in an Excise prosecution there—there are many circums. to state in order to a confirmation of them by persons more credible than these men will appear to be. The Informs. on which the warrant was grounded in all the Examins. we at present have. The Exams. were taken by me Halifax of the persons losing finding & replacing the Lead and that will stand good & well confirmed—so that two must be convicted of that Offence (transportable under the Statute)—

With respect to the oath none but McDonald & the committed persons present, but some of those afterwds admitted the fact to Gossling—who will not appear implicated as to the oath—And John McDonald going for the purpose of taking it, will be in better credit than being connected with them in all matters. He gave information of it immediately. The only thing I dislike is his Character—He has done too much in the like sort of manner—But I hope to God he is not been base enough to swear a lie. The other man appears to be a very decent respectable man, & I shall be happy to find upon an Examination of both that there is confirmation such as will dissipate every doubt—

5. P. M. This moment I have some Information brought, which, with managemt. may open to anor. Gang—Being desirous of taking advantage of it—I will set off to the place 6 miles hence—The next mail I hope will convey intelligence of success—from

Your very faithful
& obedt.

J Lloyd

J. Beckett Esq—

I inclose a further Examn. relative to the Dob-Cross case & one of Moxon to prove the Burglary which I have taken since the accomplice was examd.

17th September 1812: The Huddersfield solicitor, John Allison, reports the arrest of Thomas Green to the Home Secretary

My Lord

I have the honor to acquaint your Lordship by order of Mr. Ratcliffe our Magistrate that he has this Morning committed Thomas Green to York Castle for Burglary on the Information of Earl Parkin a Copy of whose Examination I had the honor to send to your Lordship yesterday, & I beg to observe that we can confirm Parkins Evidence out of the Mouth of two other Witnesses—

I lament that Norton the leader of the gang is not yet taken, though he has been seen looking about and is very strictly watched

I beg to acquaint your Lordhsip that I gave Mr. Lloyd the Examinations against old Baines & the 5. others for Administering unlawful Oath & assisting therein, & he promised to transmit copies to your Lordship.

I have [etc]
Jno. Allison
Huddersfield 17 Septr ‘12

[To] Rt Honble Lord Sidmouth &c. &c.

17th September 1812: Cases for seditious language brought by Joseph Radcliffe are rejected by the Government's lawyers


The Secretary of State has transmitted the accompanying Depositions to the Solicitor of the Treasury to be laid before the Attorney & Solicitor General viz

For uttering seditious and inflammatory words.—

James Todd against Samuel Rhodes
Hugh Tomlinson against John Burgess
James Todd agt the Same
Robert Parish agt Charles Horrabin, Joshua Byron and John Rathwell

For threatening the lives of the special Constables—

David Harrison agt John Sykes, Benjamin Scholefield

Joshua Byron is in custody and the others have been bound over for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions—

Copies of all Mr. Radcliffe's and Mr Lloyd’s letters forwarding the same are also left herewith—

The Opinion of the Attorney & Solicitor General is requested—

‘As to what course it will be most adviseable to pursue in the several Cases above-mentioned?—

The confessions which the Depositions ascribe to these Persons are certainly very mischievous and naturally tend to excite strong suspicions against the persons uttering them, but considering all the circumstances we rather think it more advisable not to make any of them the subject of criminal prosecution.

Thos. Plumer
W Garrow Lincolns Inn
17 Sep: 1812.

17th September 1812: Attack on the premises of Colonel Moore at Brockwell, near Sowerby

On Monday 14th September 1812, the Mill of a Colonel Moore at Brockwell, near Sowerby had been visited by a thief who had taken 20 yards of cloth from tenterhooks within 20 yards of his house, despite there being 3 sentries on alert.

At 4.00 a.m. on Thursday 17th September, his premises were attacked on a wet and rainy night. The two sentries from the Stirlingshire Militia had been provided with muskets by Moore himself, in order to save their own being exposed to the weather. In the dark, one of the sentries saw a man approaching and challenged him - the answer came back "a friend". The man continued on, without giving the expected countersign, and the sentry pulled the trigger on his musket - nothing happened, the rifle mis-fired. By now, the man was very close and opened his long coat to draw out a cutlass - he lunged at the sentry, the sword striking the barrel of the sentry's gun and severing his thumb.

The man immediately turned and ran, jumping over a fence into the darkness. The other sentry, now alterted, tried to shoot, but his musket also mis-fired. The man got away.

Sunday 16 September 2012

16th September 1812: Captain Raynes informs General Acland of a new informer and a suspected Luddite in Cheshire

Hightown 16th Sepr 1812


The enclosed is a Letter I have written to Mr. Ratcliffe the Magistrate, which if you approve, may I beg you will do me the Honor to forward

James Crowther, the man I mentioned in my Letter of yesterday, has been with me; he has given me a good deal of information, particularly about a man of the name of Joseph Oldham, who headed the mob at the destroying of the Rhodes’s Machinery at Tintwistle and the same person who assisted in rescuing the man from the Coal Pitt at Newton when the Watch & Ward were so ill treated, Oldham has also declared to my informant every particular of Crabtree's death. Crowther is not twisted in, he has frequently been asked by People at Leeds, Huddersfield, and this Neighbourhood, I have recommended him Sir, to be done immediately, he knows all the persons I have information against here. I have given him a little money and I do not doubt he will be a most useful fellow.

I shall take steps to apprehend Oldham as soon as I can obtain sufficient evidence to convict him, this I hope I shall soon be able to do, as I know where he is to be met with.

I have [etc]

Francis Raynes Capt
Stirling Militia

[To] Major General Acland
&c. &c. &c.

16th September 1812: The Home Secretary rebukes Judge Dallas for continually respiting prisoners sentenced to death at Chester Special Commission

Whitehall 16. Sept: 1812

My dear Sir,

Every recommendation contained in your Letter of 29th of August respecting the Convicts are Chester, has been carried into effect, excepting that which relates to Greenhough, Lowndes, and Heywood; concerning whose cases I feel a considerable degree of difficulty.—They were capitally convicted, but their sentences have been commuted for that Species of Punishment, namely Transportation, which was inflicted upon Persons found guilty of Offences of the same description & Character, tho’ attended with Circumstances of less Aggravation.—Against these Persons the Sentence of the Law has been actually carried into execution, and towards them I think it could not be said that strict justice had been done if others who have been convicted of a higher Crime should now be placed in a more advantageous situation than themselves, without any other Circumstance having been stated in their favour than that of having conducted themselves in Prison with Decency & Propriety. I cannot therefore see any ground upon which a further mitigation of the Punishment of these unfortunate men can be justified.

Your Letter arrived whilst I was enjoying a very short recess, and was not put into my hands till this morning.

Believe me to be
&c &c &c

[To] Robert Dallas Esqr.
&c &c &c

Despite Sidmouth's letter, Greenhough Lowndes & Heywood's death sentences were respited and they were transported to Australia.

16th September 1812: James Stevens informs the Home Secretary that Luddites plan to attack Canals in Nottinghamshire

The 'Luddite Arms' Stevens enclosed with his letter: the motto is 'Taisez Vous', which means 'Keep Quiet'
Mansfield Sep. 16th 1812

My Lord

Having reason to suppose the Luddites in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield are arranging a similar plan to one form’d in this County — which has for its object the destroying of the Canals has induced me to write to your Lordship, to inquire who is the acting person in the Police for that part of the County of York—in case I get information worth communicating

The first Canal to be destroy’d in this County is the Nottingham and Cromford, their plan is for five different parties to make the attempt at the same time upon the different Locks and afterwards court the Reservoir

—I am sorry to inform your Lordship that the Luddites in this County are gaining Ground every week—they are forming themselves into Classes and divisions—and the inclosed Schedule will convey to your Lordship the manner in which they make their returns—The Secretary’s of Divisions are changed every Quarter—

Besides different Riots which took place last week, we had an attempt at assassination and two Houses enter’d for the purpose of stealing arms—and unless some different regulations are adopted in this County I see no possibility of an end being put to their depredations

I have [etc]
James Stevens

The Rt Honb: Lord Sidmouth


I have the Honor to inform your Lordship—since writing the above I have waited upon Major Gen’ Hawker – to concert measures for the protection of the Canals

Saturday 15 September 2012

15th September 1812: General Acland receives a report of Luddite activity near Rastrick, West Yorkshire


On Sunday evening about ½ past 10 Oclock, a Gun was fired in the neighbourhood of Rastrick, the Ball from which struck against a House in the Town, & rebounding from the House hit a man in the back, the person very soon afterwards call’d upon Lt. Allen & brought the Ball—Mr Allen immediately went over with a part of the men, but could not meet with any Suspicious Characters—

Last night the whole of my Detachment were out from 10 Oclock to 3 Oclock this Morning – I heard the Report of a Gun about ½ past 10 clock, & directly after a Light was held up, for nearly ½ a minute in a Wood, about a Mile from Brighouse Bridge, where I was stationed with a Part of the Piquet—The Dragoons were Patroling in that Direction, likewise a Division of my Piquet, but they did not see or hear any person in the Wood—

I have had repeated Conversations with the Special Constables, who have at different times been on Duty with me, they are all decidedly of Opinion at a General search for Arms, in the following Towns & Villages would be attended with a good effect, & they have no Doubt a great Many Arms would be discovered—

The Acting Constable for the Town ship of Brighouse was with me last night, & he has given me the following List of places, which exactly answers to the plans of all the Constables—

The general Search to commence at Elland Edge, Linley, Fixby, & Fixby Ridge, Rastrick & Bradley—

I therefore beg to submit this plan, for your consideration, & shall feel much honor’d by its meeting your approbation—

I have [etc]

W Wilde Capt
N Suffolk Regt—

15 Septr

[To] M. Genl. Acland
&c &c &c

15th September 1812: The Huddersfield solicitor, John Allison, informs the Home Secretary of arrests in the West Riding

My Lord

By the directions of Mr. Ratcliffe our Magistrate and to save him the trouble of writing, as his hand trembles so much, I have the honor to inform you that he has this Morning committed Batley Fisher & Lumb three more of the Men who were concerned with Swallow in the robbery at Moxon's and who were apprehended on the Information of Earl Parkin whose Examination I had the honor to transmit you yesterday — These Men appear to have kept the neighbourhood where they resided, in a state of continual alarm, and seem to have been nothing but a set of desperate Housebreakers who have taken advantage of the times—. The persons robbed are so terrified as not to be at all inclined to exert themselves or to take any active part in the apprehension or detection of such Villains. I am sorry to inform your Lordship that Norton the Leader of these Banditti is not yet taken, but Green one of his most daring accomplices is taken, and is remanded till Thursday next when he is sure to be committed as we have a very strong case against him—

I am directed by Mr. Ratcliffe further to acquaint your Lordship that John Baines Senior John Baines Junr. Zachariah Baines George Duckworth Charles Milnes alias Gledhill & William Blakebrough all of Halifax were also this Morning committed by Mr. Ratcliffe — Old Baines for administering, & the others for being present at and aiding in the administering an illegal Oath to John McDonald (a person sent there by General Maitland or General Acland) and the two last named Prisoners were also charged with stealing Lead to make Bullets—

I have the honor to transmit to your Lordship herewith, copies of Examinations taken on those occasions and back to say that Mr. Lloyd from Stockport is with me; and we are and have been for some time past doing all in our power to detect the disturbers of the peace in this neighbourhood and hope to succeed—. I fear there are many nests of Thieves yet to be broke into as well some secret Institutions amongst the Croppers dangerous to the peace of the County, if not to the kingdom

I have [etc]
Jno. Allison
Huddersfield 14. September 1812

N.B. Since writing the above last night after post time, Mr. Ratcliffe has taken the inclosed Examination against John Crosland for abusing the Royal family & declaring he was twisted in — I attended his Examination both yesterday & to day in hopes I should be able to get some thing out of him, but have not succeeded — Mr. Ratcliffe as therefore taken Recognizances for his Appearance at York in case His Majesty's government should deem the matter worthy of further notice from any salutary motives, and for examples sake—


15th Sep. ‘12

[To] The Rt. Honble Lord Sidmouth &c. &c.—

Friday 14 September 2012

14th September 1812: The 'Luddite' burglars seal their fate before Joseph Radcliffe

The remaining 'Luddite' burglars that had been implicated by Earl Parkin in his deposition of 12th September, had been arrested, examined and were brought before Joseph Radcliffe to make a statement. Rather than keeping John Swallow's line of denying everything and saying nothing, some of them had cracked, sealing all their fates.

Earl Parkin himself swore another deposition with more detail about the attack on Abraham Moore, and implicated a new person - Thomas Green. More detail was added about the items stolen as well - 36 Guineas and a gold ring.

Earl Parkin's brother, Samuel, also swore a deposition which implicated several of the gang. He alleged that John Swallow had persuaded him to join them with promises of work, and when it became clear to Samuel what the real purpose was, threatened to kill him if he backed out. Samuel had accompanied the gang to the raid on Samuel Moxon's house on 4th July 1812, but claimed to be not directly involved and had not seen them since. He was bound over to give evidence at the trial.

Alexander Littlewood, a clothier from Flockton, gave evidence that Swallow had boasted to him about the raid on Moxon and gone on to talk about a plan to raid Wilson's Bank at Mirfield. He said they had suggested meeting further to discuss it, but Littlewood later passed it off as a drunken joke, but soon realised it was not later when he met Swallow & Earl Parkin a few days later: they were displeased he had not been to the meeting and threatened him to keep quiet.

Lastly, the three other members of the gang swore a deposition before Radcliffe. Their evidence varied, but was contradictory enough to make a future defence at a trial all but impossible.

John Batley, a clothier from Thornhill Edge denied being inside Moxon's house on 4th July, and also denied having a gun, but admitted he was there.

Joseph Fisher, a coalminer from Briestwistle said he went to Moxon's at the request of Earl Parkin & Swallow, and said he had been threatened with being killed if he did not go.

John Lumb, a coalminer from Thornhill Edge, similarly said that he was asked to go to Moxon's by Parkin & Swallow, but stopped away at a distance while the raid took place.

All three men would face trial at a future Assizes.

14th September 1812: The Stockport solicitor, John Lloyd, reports a breakthrough in arrests in the West Riding

14 Sepr. 1812


Your two Letters of the 2d & 3d Inst I got Stockport yesterday only — they shall now be in every respect punctually attended to.

Altho’ I have not duly reported the progress we are making here to have no doubt you are not without authentic Information as to every thing that occurs of consequence—Indeed that has been the reason for my silence.

Some days ago a man was taken up by patrol at Flockton for merely being found out of his House at an unreasonable hour — but as it was known he had been in the Company of a person of bad character Capt. Thornhill & myself went over to examine him – the result of which fixed some suspicion on this Companion & we examined him to good effect also — for he gave such Information as was sufficient to obtain a Warrant against two men the one for Burglary (in pursuit of the Ludding system) and the other for inciting the Informant to join in Burglary These men were taken before the Justice and the one of them *Earl Parkin guilty of the lesser offence impeached many others of capital offences 3 of whom had been taken and are this day committed to York and others are in custody here for further Examination.

On Friday night Capt. Thornhill & myself set off to Halifax with 6 or 7 warrants agt persons charged with administering & aiding and assisting in administering an unlawful oath and with having stolen lead to make bullets for their use as Luddites—The warrants were agt 6 persons all of whom we succeeded in taking during the night, and sent them to Huddersfield from which they have been this day committed (all six) to York. The Exams are not by any means complete but as soon as taken shall be transmitted. It was my wish to have this done prior to commits taking place, but I was absent, and the Justice was satisfied of their guilt—and therefore committed them. I do hope we have been making a series impression, such as may induce a material change in the disposition of the people—Several have been taken up for words—I wish we could get at the knowledge of their deeds—A man of the name of James Starkie has been committed to York for endeavoring to incite two persons to felonious outrages & not being able to get bail was committed to York—

I shall collect all the Evidence in the different offences to send up for you or rather Mr. Litchfield or Mr. Hobhouse to lay before the Law Officers of the Crown

I have inclosed the Paper from Ireland you desired to have returned and have sent a Copy to Mr Fletcher and shall write to Mr. Hobhouse by this mail

I have [etc]

J Lloyd

[To] J. Beckett Esq
Under Secy of State &c

*christian name

14th September 1812: Shelley's 'Declaration of Rights' is found floating in a bottle near Milford Haven

Speedwell Revenue Cutter off St. Ives,
September 14th 1812

My Lord,

I have conceived it my duty under the particular circumstance of the case to lay before you the enclosed Paper with its envelope, having found the same in a Sealed Wine Bottle floating near the Entrance of Milford Haven on the 10th Inst. and I have to regret that the dampness of the paper when taken out, should be the cause of its present tattered state, tho every care was taken to preserve it.

I am more particularly induced to transmit it to Your Lordship, from understanding that a similar paper was taken up in a similar manner a few weeks since near Lymouth on the North Coast of Devonshire by the Preventive Revenue Boat Stationed at Porlock within the Port of Minehead.—This marks the circumstance more strongly; for as the Envelope points to a person of the name of Shelley living thereat, it may, if thought of sufficient importance, lead to discovery of the Parties concerned in this novel mode of disseminating their pernicious opinions, and which appear to me intended to fall into the hands of the Seafaring part of the People, many hundreds of which may thus reach that Class, and do incalculable mischief among them.

I have [etc]

John Hopkins.

Inspecting Commander
of Revenue Cruisers
Western District
Port of Milford

[To] The Right. Hon. The Lord Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Thursday 13 September 2012

13th September 1812: Arms raid & robbery on a tax collector at Sowerby

At 11.00 p.m. on Sunday 13th September, a 7 armed men broke into the house of a William Barker, a collector of Taxes, at Sowerby. They announced their arrival by firing 2 shots & when Barker was in front of them, demanded his guns, which were given to them. The men then demanded money and were given £20 in Halifax bank notes and valuables such as silver plate.

But the Luddites were not finished: Barker's house was ransacked, and his furniture destroyed. The men also made a pile on the floor from some of his clothing and set it on fire.

Before the men left, Barker was warned they would return again soon for more money.

13th September 1812: A Huddersfield man is duped by an undercover soldier

James Robertson, the private in the Stirlingshire Militia who worked undercover in the Huddersfield area, was at the Yew Tree Inn on Sunday 13th September.

Between 8.00 and 10.00 p.m. that night, Robertson observed a man walk into the pub with a bundle under his arm - he ordered some ale and said to the barman he had been at Leeds. Robertson immediately regarded this as suspicious, believing the man might be a delegate. When the man left, Robertson followed him out and engaged him in conversation, asking him if he was going to Huddersfield - he said he was - and they walked together. He learned his name - John Crosland. Robertson spun Crosland a yarn, that he was wanted by the soldiers for being involved at Rawfolds Mill - he asked if Crosland had been there, but Crosland replied he hadn't. But Crosland went on to say that he knew men who were: some who were wounded but got away and were not found out; he also said he knew James Haigh, who had recently faced an abortive trial at York; he knew another who had been shot through the hand, but would not name him; and another who had been unhurt, despite being shot through the tailflap of his coat.

Robertson asked for Crosland's views on the Royal Family - he said he wished were in hell. Crosland explained that he was "true, and will spend my last drop of blood for the Croppers". And whilst Crosland initially said he had not been twisted-in, he later said this had happened "at Cartwright's".

Within 24 hours, Crosland was arrested. When he caught sight of Robertson, he called him "damned rogue and villain" to have taken advantage of him.

13th September 1812: General Maitland updates the Home Office about arrests made in the West Riding

13th September

My dear Sir

Since I wrote you yesterday I have seen all the People connected with the Men taken up in this Neighbourhood, and I have no hesitation in stating, that my Opinion is, we have got completely into a Set, consisting of about 18 of Vagabonds, who will pay heavily for their Conduct, before any Tribunal to which they may be sent, and I have little doubt indeed, that under the Evidence as I understand it, every Man will be capitally convicted, though at present there is only four seized, to whom this fatal penalty will probably attach.

The Number seized altogether is Seven, of these the List is as follows, with my Opinion relative to each—

Swallow, Committed to York Gaol for Burglary.

Lumb Fisher Batley: Against whom I have no doubt, there is that Species of Evidence, that left no option to a Magistrate to commit them, for any thing but a Capital Offence, and I have as little doubt of their Conviction

Rushworth will probably stand in the same Situation.—

Naylor, & Clegg, I think it doubtful.

In addition to those who are already in Custody, Norton, that we are now searching for, and a Principle in the whole Thing, is to be added.—

We are also looking after a man of the Name of Green, and another of the Name of Sedgwick, but these two last may be also doubtful.

I flatter myself however, if any Management is observed, we will get at all the rest, and should we fortunately so do, it will be a great relief to this part of the Country.

In regard to the Halifax People, I am not able to give you any decided Opinion. I have long known of them, before I came into this Part of the Country, but I have reason to believe too, from what I have heard to day, that the probability is out of this, a fatal result will follow to some of them.—

I cannot state what the effect of all this may be upon the Riding, but I am sure it must be salutary, though the Degree can only be judged of by the Experience of its Effects.—

I shall not intrude at present with any observations, as I hope to see Lord Sidmouth, and yourself so soon, but I can assure you, all this is not done, without a considerable responsibility.

Happily that responsibility, has not hitherto been called in question, from no act of Violence having occurred. But there is no doubt, much of it is not of the strict letter of the Law, though I believe perfectly, in the Spirit both of the Law, and of the Constitution, when fairly understood—

It does not appear, that the Gang here have ever taken the Oath regularly, and I rather think it will turn out, what I heard for the first time three days ago, that an accumulation of Villains, had come into this part of the Country, finding that the Terror, and the Timidity was such, that by knocking at a Door, and stating themselves to be Luddites, they could obtain the same Evils, in a much more quiet manner, than they had heretofore done, by House breaking or any such Practice.

I am [etc]
T Maitland
[To] John Beckett Esqr.
&c &c &c

13th September 1812: Mancunian Luddites start to take the oath of Allegiance to the King

Didsbury near Manchester
Septr. 13th 1812

My Lord

I have to report your Lordship that 56 men living in Manchester, have in the course of Friday and yesterday, attended, & taken the oath of Allegiance before me. I have the more pleasure in giving your Lordship this Information, because until now, no persons within the Town have taken the benefit of the wise, salutary, & humane act of Parliament passed for this purpose. Various reports have been circulated, (perhaps by evil designing persons) calculated to claim the minds of those who had taken the illegal oath, & were desirous of tab during it. Means have been taken to dissipate their Fears, & I hope the example now set, & which shall be generally known, will have the effect of inducing many to profit by it.

I have gained very little Information from these men. They express Sorrow & complain heavily of the misery they have endured in their minds, since they took the Oath in April or May last. They profess that in some cases, motives of curiosity to know the Secret attached to it, in many Fear & Terror from the threatenings made use of, & in others persuasion, have cause them to err, but in all no information was given to them, as to what must be done but they were told, “to be ready when called upon”. It appears that the men who administered the Oath to these people, Weaver Strangers or men who have left this part of the Country.

I think the Numbers twisted in are very considerable, however we are all quiet at present, & the principal agitators have either removed from hence, or suspended their operations.

I am [etc]
R. A. Farrington.

[To] Rt Honble Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Wednesday 12 September 2012

12th September 1812: "The people are violently enraged against us and swear vengeance"

Mill bridge 12th Septr. 1812.


I had the Honor to receive your Letter with its enclosure last night at 7 o'clock. After apprehending James Starkey, Lieutenant Buckley of the 15th Dragoons and myself with a Party proceeded to the places described in Dr. Colthurst Letter — we took a Mr. Robinson a Clergyman with us who knew the exact [streets] we did not succeed in finding any arms tho’ we made a very strict search

The People are violently enraged at us and swear vengeance against Robinson, and Ashworth, for giving information against Starkey—I have the Honor Sir, to enclose a Copy of an Oath, or engagement, used by the disaffected in this part of the Country. The Original was printed, and found in the road near the Constables House of Millbridge—

I shall have the Honor to send a Report to morrow, of the [progress] of the Parties I detached into the Country

The People exclaim against Soldiers going about, such a secret manner but say they will soon put a stop to it. Strapper has been with me this morning he thinks he shall get a number of Ludds to attend his [daring] school

I have [etc]
Francis Raynes Capt
Stirling Militia

Major Genl. Ackland
&c &c &c

12th September 1812: General Maitland reports arrests in the West Riding to the Home Office

12 Sept. 1812
1 oClock PM.

My dear Sir

Since I wrote you this Morning, I have received the enclosed, which I send in the original. It is from Lawson. The Date must be [illegible] & you will be able to find out in fact if the Post Mark is Dublin.

I shall send to Liverpool tomorrow to watch him.

I have the satisfaction too, to inform you, that in the course of last night, in consequence of Information given at Huddersfield, we seized in this Neighbourhood three men, but a fourth escaped.

This seems to me to be a fair opening to get into the Nest of Villains, and presents by much the best chance I have hitherto seen of getting into the Thing here.

They do not appear however to be Luddites, but a mere Gang of Plunderers.

I have further the satisfaction of stating, that we last night seized 6 Men at Halifax against whom I have had information for a length of time, I think this too, will end in much good, for you may rely upon it that nothing but this kind of Work will clear the Augean Stable.

T Maitland

Enclosed is the summary of the Proceedings upon which the men in this neighbourhood have been taken up.

J: Becket Esqr
&c &c &c

12th September 1812: A 'Luddite' burglar confesses to Joseph Radcliffe

Earl Parkin & John Swallow were two coalminers, who were out after dark near Flockton in the West Riding when they were taken up by a military patrol on 7th September for being unable to give a good reason for being out at that hour.

They were both kept in custody by Joseph Radcliffe and were interrogated at some point over the next 5 days by the Stockport solicitor John Lloyd and General Maitland's aide-de-camp, Captain Thornhill. Whatever Lloyd did or said had a greater bearing on Parkin than Swallow. By Saturday 12th September 1812, while Swallow denied everything in a deposition taken by Radcliffe, Parkin provided several pages of information.

Parkin told a tale in which Swallow had initiated him into a gang of housebreakers, led by another man called Joseph Norton, from Horbury. They had first acted together at the home of Benjamin Tolson in early June, demanding a gun and then money when none was offered, taking away a Guinea note. They spent the money on ale the same night at the Cross Keys in Horbury Bridge, and were joined by John Batley. By 11.00 p.m. they had no money left and decided to sleep out in a barn.

The next day, they were joined by the gang leader, Joseph Norton. They decided to use Parkin's watch as collateral against more ale from the Cross Keys and drank all day.

The next robbery that Parkin took part in was at the home of Abraham Moore near Netherton in mid to late June. After taking Moore's gun, they demanded and were given money, and proceeded to plunder the house of a pie and some ale in a pitcher. Parkin's watch was still behind the bar at Cross Keys, and although the stolen money was supposed to be used to release it, it didn't happen at this time.

Parkin next took part in the robbery of a man called William Moxon at Whitley Upper, along with Swallow, Batley and two other men, Joseph Fisher and John Lumb. In the way of Luddites, they wore their shirts over their other clothes and blackened their faces with ash. Arriving at Moxon's, they demanded a gun, and when this was declined, proceeded to rob Moxon, issuing death threats. They took a Guinea note, 8 lbs of butter, some beef and some of the clothes of Moxon and his wife. This time, some of the money was used to release Parkin's watch from the Cross Keys.

The last robbery Parkin admitted to was of a man called Richard Crossley at Thornhill. He was joined by Swallow, Batley & Lumb. The pattern was the same - demand a gun and then rob the house, only this time, a window had to be broken and a burglary happened as Crossley and his family would not let the men in. They took a Guinea note, two pound notes, two shillings and a penknife. Before the plunder was divided up, Lumb got cold feet and ran away.

Parkin also confessed that there had been discussions about the possibility of robbing Wilson's bank at Mirfield, but the plan was rejected as it would require at least 20 men.

The authorities struck a bargain with Parkin - admit evidence for the Crown and receive immunity from prosecution. He accepted the deal.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

11th September 1812: John Baines senior, his sons and friends are arrested at Halifax

On Friday night, 11th September 1812, the Stockport solicitor John Lloyd, and General Maitland's aide-de-camp, Captain Thornhill arrived in Halifax. They had obtained warrants for the arrest of several suspects, whom the authorities had known about for 2 months, and arguably set them up.

John Baines senior, and his sons John junior and Zachariah, along with George Duckworth, Charles Milnes (alias Gledhill) and William Blakeborough were all arrested, charged with administering and/or being present at and aiding in the administering of an illegal oath. Milnes and Blakeborough were also charged with stealing lead in order to make bullets.

The authorities in the West Riding had now started to close the net on suspects connected with Luddism.

11th September 1812: Seditious words lead to an arrest in Huddersfield

Richard Farrington was a book-keeper at Huddersfield, and at 9.20 p.m. on Friday 11th September 1812 he had had enough - both to drink and of the soldiers in the Horse Shoes pub. He shouted at them "Damn the soldiers, they are damned scamps - damn the General, he's a rogue & rascal for bringing you here". He was arrested by three members of the Norfolk Militia present - Mark Custance, Thomas Spink & Robert Fortune, all privates - and brought before Joseph Radcliffe. A day later, he had paid £100 (being two sureties of £50 each) for his appearance at York Assizes in due course. Radcliffe would not brook any dissent.

11th September 1812: Song by Charles Milnes "You Heroes of England", Halifax

Charles Milnes, "You Heroes of England", Halifax

You Heroes of England who wish to have a trade
Be true to each other and be not afraid
Tho' the Bayonet is fixed they can do no good
As long as we keep up the Rules of General Ludd

As we have begun we are like to proceed
Till from all those Tvrants we do get freed
For this heavy yoke no longer can we bear
And those who have not felt it ought to have a share.

And then they can feel for anothers woe
For he that never knew sorrow, sorrow doth not know
But there is Cartwright and Atkinson also
And to shew them justice sorrow they shall know.

Though he does boast of the deeds he has done
Yet out of our presence like a Thief he Does run
It is the Laws of England to stand in our defence
If he comes in our presence him we’ll recompence.

On Friday 11th September 1812, a West Riding Special Constable, Joseph Taylor, was working undercover as a spy in Halifax, and was handed the lyrics to a song written by a man called Charles Milnes. Taylor was trying to gain the confidence of Milnes and another man, William Blakeborough, who he knew had stolen lead around the town, for use in casting bullets.

11th September 1812: Captain Raynes writes about a plot to blow up Rawfolds Mill

Mill bridge 11th Sepr. 1812


I have the Honor to enclose the Copy of a Letter I yesterday received Lieutenant General Maitland. In compliance with his Orders, I have sent the following Officers with Detachments from the West Suffolk and Stirlingshire to proceed by Rout and carry into effect the Instructions I had the Honor to receive.

A man of the name of Starkey of Mill bridge got acquainted with George Ashworth & James Robinson, he proposed to them a plan of blowing up Mr. Cartwrights Mill and took them down to the spot where they mean to commence their operations, he also shewd them some Houses where there are Arms, and wish’d they would engage with him to take them in consiquence of Starkey discovering Robinson and Ashworth I made known circumstance to Sir George Armytage. Sir George has examined Robinson and Ashworth, and issued a Warrant to apprehend Starkey. My Party with a Constable will secure him this night if possible, he will appear before Mr. Radcliffe tomorrow with the two evidences. They are a very turbulent set here, and speak their sentiments freely, even before the Soldiers. In all the Towns I since visited they have neither Associations, or Watch and Ward; I shall have the Honor Sir, of sending a Report of every Township, as soon as I have made the necessary enquiries. Sir George Armytage has beg’d I will always apply to him when I have occasion.

I fear Sir, it will be some time before we can break into this Lawless band

I yesterday desired Dearnely to wait upon you, he informed he had got acquainted with two or three Luds at Huddersfield. he says he cannot get Work near that Town, I shall endeavour to look out for him in this neighbourhood. The other Special Constables are going but slowly on

I have [etc]
Francis Raynes Capt
Stirling M

Major Genl. Acland
&c &c &c

Monday 10 September 2012

10th September 1812: General Maitland shares his fears with General Acland

10th Sept. 1812

Dear Acland

Nothing can be so clear as two Things, first, that the whole Country is in that State of Fear, as to induce every Man to open his Door to any body that Means to plunder it, and Secondly, that every thing that has hitherto been done, in regard to Associations is [useless].

I do not want so much from Rayne & the other Officers, a Report of what they think the Associations are doing, as a fair report of what they see them do for two or three Nights successively without their interfering with them at all, in this I will write to Rayne myself.

I want this to convince the Lieutenancy on Monday, what is the real State of the Case, in regard to their Associations

We must make up our Minds for all kinds of Disappointments, and all kinds of Accidents I fear, unless America opens of which I see no immediate prospect.

I sent the Opinion of the Attorney & Solicitor General to Mr Prescott yesterday.

They are writing out the Instructions which I shall send to Rayne & Galloway, but you may send these to your Quarter, making them exactly what was originally given to Rayne

T Maitland

Major Genl. Acland
&c &c &c

Sunday 9 September 2012

9th September 1812: The Town Clerk of Barnstaple sends more information to the Home Office about the poet Shelley

Barnstaple Septr. 9th. 1812.

My Lord

Referring your Lordship to my Letter of 20th Ulto., and in addition to the Information therein contained, I beg to inform your Lordship that, not being enabled to obtain here sufficient Information respecting Mr. Shelley, I went Lymouth where he resided, and returned Yesterday — On my arrival there I found he with his Family, after attempting in vain to cross the Channel to Swansea from that Place, had lately left Lymouth for Ilfracombe, and on my following him there, found he had gone to Swansea, where I imagine it present is.—

The Day after his Servant Daniel Hill was apprehended in Barnstaple, Mr. Shelley came here to apply for his discharge, and on visiting him in Gaol, did not, I apprehend, express any Astonishment at his Situation, or reprove him for his Conduct, which appears rather extraordinary.—

In my letter of 20th Ulto. I mentioned that Mr. Shelley had been observed to drop a Bottle into the Sea, which on being picked up and broken, was found to contain a seditious Paper; on enquiring into this Circumstance at Lymouth, I found that that Paper was a Copy of one which I sent to your Lordship intitled the “Devil’s walk”, and which was taken from Daniel Hill on his Apprehension:—I have also learnt that Mr. Shelley has been often observed on the Beach in Company with a Female Servant (supposed a Foreigner) and that he frequently in her Presence only, has been observed to push out to Sea — from the Rocks, some small Boxes, and one Day being observed by a Man more curious than the rest, to put one of these small Boxes to Sea, the Man went out in a Boat and brought it in, and on opening it, he discovered a Copy of the other Paper which I sent to your Lordship intitled “Declaration of Rights”—This little Box I have seen, and observed it was carefully covered over with Bladder, and well resined and waxed to keep out the water, and in order to attract Attention at Sea there was a little upright Stick fastened to it, at each End, and a little Sail fastened to them, as well as some Lead at the Bottom to keep it upright.—This Box I have ordered to be safely taken care of.—From these Circumstances there can be no Room for Doubt but that the Papers found on Daniel Hill were given him by his Master.— I also learnt at Lymouth that Mr. Shelley had with him large Chests which were so heavy that scarcely three Men could lift them, which were supposed to contain Papers.—

Mr. Shelley is rather thin, and very young, indeed his Appearance is I understand almost that of a boy.—

Any further Intelligence which your Lordship wishes me to procure, I will immediately attend to, on hearing from your Lordship.

I have [etc]

Henry Drake
Town Clerk

Saturday 8 September 2012

8th September 1812: A spy undercover at Saddleworth files his report


I was in Company with John [Savile] alias Sigley Tailer in Delph, on monday the 31st Augt. when he said the time was at Hand the Cause would be Settled for England was Sold by most of our Nobility at London and that he would lose his life in the countrys cause he also said that our parliment men were a [parole] of damnd Roags for there would never be peace in the Country untill there was afair overturn

I was also in company with Jamie [Joanies] alias Samuel Rhoads Cloath dealer Harap Green Near Dobcross on the night of Tuesday the 1st September when he damned the King and all the Royal Family likewise the present Government said they were a set of Tyrants all together, and the Soldiers were sent as Spies to deceive the country but hopped they were not all of one Opinion as he was shure they felt the [Harsness] of the times as were the Inhabitants—

I was also in company with Mr. James Scofield Cotton Manufacture in Delph when he Expressed himself as [under]. he said that he had the Name of a Jacobin the the Numbers of years and Never was ashamed to Declair it in any company, and that he had never more reason to speak than Now as the country was ruined by a set of Tyrants carrying on an unnecessarie war to the destruction of the country that both Houses of Parliment were to be compaired [dens] of robers between them and our fine Prince thy were determined to totaly ruin the country, he also said that thy kept the Soldiers Marching from Town to Town that the might not get acquainted with the Inhabitants but he hoped in a short time the Soldiers would know there Friends

John Burgess shoe Maker at New Delph Spoke to the same Effect as Samuel Rhoads Captain Raynes has what he said entered in his Memerandem Book

Joseph Burkly Henry Burkly & James Lawton appear to be Disaffected but was very Cautious in what the said it was whispered round the room that we were Spies

The [General] part of the inhabitants here are very much dissatisfied and [obscured] [illegible] are walking the Streets of [obscured] thy are assembled in diferant parts of [obscured] Street and Hoses and Laugh at [illegible] Begins a whisper amongst themselves [obscured] Have nothing more at present to [illegible] to your Honor

Your obedient and Humble
James Todd sergt
Stirlingshire Militia

Delph 8th Sept

[To: "Lieut General Ackland"]

8th September 1812: General Acland tells General Maitland he is ready to arrest John Baines at Halifax

Huddersfield 8th September 1812

My dear Sir

I send you the particulars of the breaking of Mr. Lindsey’s Shears on the night of the 6th & 7th inst. at Gildershem as transmitted by Mr Roberson

I have this moment a report from Lt Colonel Nelthorpe that a man was taken up at Flockton last night by the Norfolk Patrol attended by a Constable - Thornhill, Lloyd & Nelthorpe are gone out to enquire into it, & see what can be done — Another man was sent in by the Sergeants party at Lindley, and will be brought before Mr. Radcliffe this day — I think we can take up old Baynes & five others at Halifax in a few days: & make a good Case of it from the Informations of Smith & Downes, two of them for stealing Lead in company with Downes, old Baynes for twisting in Smith, when all the others were present — who have since acknowledged to have been present at the Business, when Downes has been in their Company — it appears to me it will be worthwhile to strike at them, & I can arrange to take them all in the same night, if they are still in Halifax — If you have any objection, let me know by return of Dragoon, as I mean to send them over this Evening to renew their Acquaintance & see where they are — Mr. Scott has just called to tell me, that George Howarth of High Burton came before him last night, & took the Oath of Allegiance — You have I believe heard of this man, in Whitaker's Confession — I send some Papers I found on my Table yesterday, which I conceive must belong either to Lord Milton or Mr. Wortley; as you will see them on Friday or Saturday, you will perhaps have the goodness to enquire & return them—

I remain [etc]
[To] Lt. Genl
The Rt. Honble
T. Maitland

8th September 1812: General Maitland writes to the Home Office with his concerns about the West Riding

8th September

My dear Sir

I attended at a Meeting of the Lieutenancy yesterday, when they came to the Resolution, of enforcing the Ward and Watch Bill, where Voluntary Associations had not taken place, and this Measure is to be finally adopted Wednesday Sen’ night at a Special Meeting to be called for the purpose.

Several instances of the old System, of taking Arms, and destroying Machinery, have taken place within the last fortnight, and what makes this truly alarming is, that such is the State of Fear in the Country, that the People will not only, not come in, and tell, but even when you send to them they are afraid to state what has passed.—

I cannot flatter you, with stating that I think the evil Spirit here is broke in upon in the smallest Degree, and an universal system of Terror prevails with regard to the result of the Long Nights, set originally agoing and sedulously supported by the Threats, and the Boasts, of the disaffected, of what they will then accomplish.—

I have now got Parties out, all over the Country, but the result of this will not be known, or felt, for at least a time, no pains however shall be omitted on my part, in endeavouring to get rid of it.

The last Return I saw from Cheshire, gives upwards of a Thousand, who had actually taken the Oaths, and they were still coming in, but in no other part of the Country, far less in this Riding have they shewn the smallest disposition.—

I am [etc]
T Maitland
[To] John Becket Esqr.
&c &c &c

8th September 1812: An informer from Liverpool warns Lord Fitzwilliam about an arms raid in Halifax

My Lord

On the 19th Ulto I took the liberty of addressing a Letter from Leeds to Mr. Litchfield (Solicitor to the Treasury) on the subject of the disturbances in part of Yorkshire and Lancashire and the depredations committed by the Luddites there, and on the 21st I was favored by a letter from Mr. Hobhouse acquainting me that he had laid my Letter before your Lordship.—First I must beg leave to refer your Lordship to that Letter, and to acquaint you that from information I have received, I am certain the Luddites intend (when the Nights get a little more dark) attempting to take the Depot at Halifax by surprise in order to get possession of the Arms and Ammunition—For the better information of your Lordship I have endeavoured on the other side to give your Lordship a sketch of the depot—your Lordship will observe that there is a cottage described the occupied by an old woman (which cottage forms part of the square upon which stands the Depot)—with a large window opening into the Depot yard, this window has not a single bar or any thing else to prevent any person going into the Depot.—The plan of the Luddites is to get this old woman sent out of her cottage under some trifling pretext and when she is out to detain her and then for a party of the Luddites to take possession of the Cottage armed and enter the Depot by the cottage window and take the Guard (which never consists of more than five or six Soldiers constantly sitting over a good Fire in the Store Room) by surprise and secure them, and to carry of such of the Arms and Ball cartridges as they can and destroy the remainder—this plan of those Fellows can very easily be prevented by the Depot taking possession of the Cottage (which can be had at any time) and converted it into a Guard Room—the Rent is only 3£ a year and it would be no inconvenience to the old woman who would only want to be provided with another Tenement—would it not also be better my Lord if the Stoor-keeper had a Bell at the top of his House, in case of attack it would immediately bring to his assistance the Soldiers in the Town.—As your Lordship has not done me the honor to notice my first Letter I will not trouble your Lordship with further particulars, conceiving your Lordship may probably consider it officious in one, but if I may be permitted I would strongly recommend making some alteration as to the security of this Depot, for though those Fellows appear pretty peaceable at the present moment, be assured my Lord they are far very far from being tranquilly disposed—I much fear they'll waiting only to be favored by dark nights—

I am also acquainted with two or three Houses in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield to which these Fellows constantly resort and hold their meetings, and I conceive if the information I already possess and could acquire (with the aid of a confidential person) was properly managed, it might reasonably be expected to lead to the detection and apprehension of some of the most notorious of these Depredators—for the reason I have already assigned I shall forbear entering into further particulars and can only assure your Lordship that I should feel great satisfaction in being at all instrumental and lending my aid towards putting a stop to these wicked and disgraceful transactions—If your Lordship should feel at all inclined to know who I am, I beg leave to acquaint you that I reside in Renshaw Street Liverpool and also to refer your Lordship to Mr. Hanson in Chancery Lane (Solicitor to the Stamp-offices) a Gentleman of great respectability and well known to Mr Litchfield—

& I have [etc]

J. Johnston

Renshaw St.
Liverpool—8th Sept. 1812

[To: Lord Fitzwilliam]

8th September 1812: Food rioting continues in Nottingham

The Morning Chronicle of 11th September carried a report of the food riots that continued in Nottingham on Tuesday 8th September 1812:
On Tuesday morning the scenes of tumult were renewed with increased violence: carts loaded with potatoes were stopped in the streets and sold at reduced prices: a corn warehouse was attacked with great fury, as well as many bakers’ shops, without any mischief being done, except the breaking of windows, and some other trifling affairs. What added to the tumult was, the bread served out to the soldiers was found to be short of weight; and many of them were, on Monday, seen active in the mob. A peace officer and a party of the West Kent Militia are now stationed in every house or warehouse considered in danger, while parties of hussars constantly parade the streets.

The Nottingham Journal of 12th September carried report of the measures taken by the authorities, and further disturbances into the evening: at length became necessary to call in gave the military, small parties of which were station in some of the bakers houses for the protection of their property. Hitherto the proceedings were principally confined to the women; but on Tuesday evening a large mob collected in Hockley, who insulted the Magistrates, and threw stones at the Hussars, who were at length ordered to clear the streets, and several pistols having been fired by way of intimidations the whole speedily dispersed without further mischief. The town has since remained perfectly tranquil.

Friday 7 September 2012

7th September 1812: Arms raids in Nottinghamshire

The Morning Chronicle of 11th September 1812 carried a report of arms raids that had taken place in the evening of Monday 7th September, following the food riots that had occurred in the town that day:
During the night, party of men went to Alderman Bates’s farm, about two miles hence, and, after regaling themselves with such fare as the house afforded, they took away a blunderbuss and a gun. They likewise went to the house of one of Lord Chesterfield's keepers, and took away his firearms and some hams.

7th September 1812: James Starkey confronts the spy, James Robertson

In the morning of Monday 7th September 1812, the member of the Stirlingshire Militia and undercover spy, James Robertson, decided to go with his fellow spy and Special Constable George Ashworth to find James Starkey, the would-be Luddite. They found him in his usual haunt, the Globe Inn at Millbridge.

Robertson went in to see him alone, while Ashworth hung around outside. Robertson bought him a drink and sat down, saying Ashworth was outside. Starkey stared straight at Robertson and said he had learned that Ashworth had arrested some men in the Globe after he had left last night - Robertson left to fetch Ashworth, but when he brought him back, Starkey stood up, drained his tankard of beer and without looking at either of them, left.

4 days later, at the Yew Tree Inn, Roberttown, Ashworth and Robertson swore a deposition about all that had happened between them and Starkey before Sir George Armitage.

7th September 1812: The Reverend Hammond Roberson reports the Luddite attack at Gildersome to the authorities

On the morning of Monday 7th September, the Reverend Hammond Roberson of Liversedge exchanged notes with Mr Lindsey, whose shearing frames had been attacked earlier that morning by Luddites at his mill at Gildersome. Roberson forwarded his reply to General Acland:

Respecd Frnd

In answer to a few lines received by a boy of yours have to say that I was awakened this morning about one Oclock by a dreadful noise has if a number of men were breaking into our premises but on looking out of the window I was convinced the Luddites were come upon us has I soon heard them very distinctly breaking the Shears and in about ten or fifteen minutes all were again silent I heard no shouting or fireing of guns whatever consequently I concluded they were but few in number I soon got a light and walked out into the Mill and found our Shears and dressing Machinery very much broken apparently with hammers and pickaxes—we are now almost at a loss what to do as there are no Soldiers in this neighbourhood and it appears evident that nothing but force of arms will secure our property

And remain
W Lindsey

[Note by Hammond Roberson: “The note on the other pages of this is written by Mr. W. Lindsey of Gilderham. in answer to my note to him of this day’s date.”

H: Roberson
Healds Hall
7. Sepr 1812—]

7th September 1812: 'Madam Ludd' joins 'Lady Ludd' in food riots in Nottingham

On Monday 7th September, the food riots that had affected Sheffield and Leeds in Yorkshire spread to Nottinghamshire, and the town of Nottingham itself. The Nottingham Journal of 12th September gave the background to the disturbances:
It having been ascertained that a considerable reduction took place in the price of wheat in our market on Saturday last, (but which, it appears, did not exceed from 10 to 15 shillings per quarter on corn that was in a fit state to grind), the people naturally conceived that as the bakers and dealers in flour had profited by the rise in every instance, on their stock in hand they ought, on a principle of fair dealing, to concede the advantage of a fall in the prices of corn in the market to the public. They were therefore, persuaded, that flour would be sold on the Monday following at a proportionable reduced rate; but the dealers had bought in their stock at the highest possible price, they could not, without sustaining very material loss, lower it to the price so confidently expected, and so anxiously desired, and in consequence, a strong ferment was created in the public mind, which led to the commission of much mischief.

The Morning Chronicle of 11th September took up the story of what happened next:
On Monday morning, a baker in Nottingham had the temerity to advance his flour two-pence a stone, in the face of a falling market, which so enraged the women, that several got a fishing-rod, and fixed a halfpenny loaf upon it, which they coloured over with reddle, in imitation of its being dipt in blood, and likewise adorned it with a piece of crape. With this they then began to parade the streets, and soon collected a very large mob, among which were two women with hand-bills, who were dignified with the titles of Madam and Lady Ludd. The first object of their vengeance was the Baker who had advanced the price of his flour; they broke his windows, and compelled him to drop his flour sixpence a stone. The mob then divided into several parties, and treated nearly every baker and flour-seller in the same manner; not sparing their windows till they had promised to drop flour sixpence per stone.

The Journal reported an occurrence that must have been worrying for the authorities:
What added to the tumult was, the bread served out to the soldiers was found to be short of weight; and many of them were, on Monday, seen active in the mob. 
Other parts of the military were called out, and the Riot Act was read, and the crowd eventually dispersed.