Tuesday, 22 December 2015

22nd December 1815: The Nottingham Review exposes the Mary Stainsby 'Luddism' hoax to the public

Hoax extraordinary.—It is known to our readers, that an advertisement appeared in our last, offering a reward of two hundred pounds to any one that should be instrumental in convicting one or both of the persons who shot at, severely wounded, and thus attempted to murder Mary, the wife of Thomas Stainsby, of Mansfield, in a street called Blind-lane, in the evening the 12th Instant. The conclusion was, that Ned Ludd had re-commenced his depredations; and fear, for a moment, induced the most unpleasant expectations; but why a woman should be the object, or what the cause of the vengeance, no one could conjecture. In confirmation of the daring outrage, one celebrated character, who wishes to the King’s letters patent for permission to assume that name of Fielding, who is very great in his own eyes, and in other people's when known, declared that he had picked a quantity of shot out of a wall near to whence the woman was said to have been wounded, which probably might have been exhibited in a court of justice as confirmatory evidence, if any one had been found to impeach a suspicious character. Thus the thing appeared conclusive; when behold, the following Hand-bill made its appearance on Saturday, and a number of them were immediately sent to Nottingham.


The Public are informed it is most clearly ascertained, that Mrs. Stainsby was NOT SHOT AT MALICIOUSLY, or from motives connected with LUDDISM.

By Order of the Magistrates,

Mansfield, Dec. 16, 1815.  W.M. LANG.

We, with great pleasure, offer our tribute of thanks to the Magistrates concerned in this business, for their prompt exertions in setting the public opinion at rest on so foul and false a charge; the truth of which is, as we have been informed, that the woman had retired, for conveniency’s sake, with an enamoured captive, into the fields during the shade of evening, at least a mile from Blind-lane, where they were seen by two persons returning from a shooting excursion, when, for the sake of a little fun, though very improperly and censurably, one of them drew his charging of shot, and discharged the powder at the loving pair; but it appears that a few shot-corns remained in the piece, which severely wounded the lady. And for reasons which we need not explain, a conspiracy was formed, which, if not detected, might have been attended with very unpleasant consequences to Mansfield and its neighbourhood.

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