Friday, 5 October 2012

5th October 1812: Arms raid & robbery in Kirkheaton

Between 2 and 3 a.m. on Monday 5th October 1812, the home of a clothier, Benjamin Strickland, was raided by several armed Luddites.

The first he knew was banging on his front door & voices demanding entry, threatening to break it open. He heard someone calling out for 'Enoch', so he got up quickly and went to open the door. As soon as he did this, 3 disguised men came in, and another demanded his gun. Strickland said his gun had been sent to the guardhouse and one of the men replied "then we must have your money" pushing a pistol into his chest. Someone called to others apparently outside "number 13, come and plunder the house". Strickland didn't hesitate and gave the men keys to his desk - someone unlocked this and took out 30-40 shillings in silver and copper coins. The men demanded his silver pocket watch, which he gave to them. Throughout his ordeal, there were numerous threats issue to Strickland that he would be killed if he did not find them some gold. The threats weren't realised because he didn't have any.

Quarter of an hour later, the raid was over and the Luddites left.

This is from the deposition of Benjamin Strickland which can be found at HO 40/2/3.

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