Monday, 22 October 2012

22nd October 1812: A new informer appears & Jonathan Dean confesses to being at the 'Rawfolds Fight'

By Thursday 22nd October 1812, two more statements were sworn before Joseph Radcliffe at Milnsbridge House.

The first was from William Hall, a cropper from Yews near Lockwood. Like Benjamin Walker, he had decided to turn King's Evidence and become an informer for the State. He gave a long statement of his involvement in many of the West Yorkshire Luddites activities, including the attack on Francis Vickerman's and William Cartwright's premises. He also gave evidence about George Mellor and William Thorpe, implicating them in the assassination of Horsfall. Other names of Luddites were provided by Hall, many of whom were subsequently taken up by the authorities.

One  of those already in custody, for the second time, who was trapped by Hall's evidence was Jonathan Dean. Dean was suspected of being involved at the 'Rawfolds Fight', and had fled into Lancashire on the 12th April, only returning home some months later when he thought he was safer. By June 26th, he had been arrested and swore a statement before Joseph Radcliffe that an injury to his hand had been caused by an accident in his workplace: two of his colleagues, Richard Brook & John Priestley, supported his story of an injury at work.

But following William Hall's evidence that he had been involved with the Luddites at Rawfolds Mill, and other raids, Dean crumbled. The best he could do now was to blame his involvement at Rawfolds on Hall - his short statement said it was Hall that had ordered him on Friday 10th April to be at the Dumb Steeple the following night. In one sentence, he admitted to being at Rawfolds on that Saturday night and receiving an injury to his hand, and subsequently fleeing.

An extract from Hall's statement is at HO 42/129, whilst Jonathan Dean's statement, as well as those of Brook & Priestly, are at HO 42/128.

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