Sunday, 29 May 2016

29th May 1816: Riots continue at Halstead, Essex

Following the liberation of 4 prisoners at Halstead, Essex and the riot that had ensued the day before, more rioting occurred in the evening of Wednesday 29th May 1816. Once again, the Kentish Weekly Post of 14th June 1816 took up the story:
The next evening they collected in greater numbers, many parties having been observed to join them from the neighbouring villages, armed with bludgeons, &c. In order to prevent a recurrence of the excesses of the preceding evening, the Halsted cavalry were under arms; who, after the Riot Act had been read, made several charges on the mob, but without effect, as the insurgents retreated into the church-yard, which rendered their efforts to disperse them fruitless; and having been violently assailed by stones, &c they found it necessary to retreat; upon which the scene of breaking windows ensued, to the great annoyance of the inhabitants, to the amount of 60 or 70 came forward, and offered themselves in aid of the civil power, by being sworn in as additional constables; and in the evening divided themselves into companies, in order to guard the avenues of the town, and prevent any suspicious persons from entering it; by which judicious measure no assemblage took place—all was quiet and tranquil, and from that time there has not been the slightest appearance of tumult or disorder. In justice to the inhabitants of Halsted, says the Chelmsford Paper, it ought to be observed, that very few of them, and these of the very lowest order, and consisting chiefly of women and children, were at all concerned in these disgraceful excesses, the mischief having principally arisen from some misguided person collected from the neighbourhood.

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