Sunday, 5 June 2016

5th June 1816: A Norfolk magistrate writes to the press about his role in suppressing disturbances at Brandon



Tofts Hall, June 2d, 1816.

AS the conduct of the Magistrates at Brandon has been censured by some of the public Newspapers, you will much oblige me by inserting in your next paper my letter to the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Suffolk; wherein are narrated all the transactions at Brandon, so far as they implicate the conduct of your obedient servant,



Mr. Borton yesterday shewed your Grace’s Letter to me; and, as it refers to the reported conduct of the Magistrates, acting for Brandon, where my assistance, as a Magistrate for the county of Suffolk, is occasionally required; I here state all that was done by me towards suppressing the riot there on Thursday the 16th instant, till five o'clock on the following morning.—On Thursday evening, between 8 and 9 o'clock, a constable of Brandon arrived in a chaise at Tofts, in order to convey Mr. Burch to the former place, to suppress a riot: which the constables were unable to subdue. I accompanied Mr. Burch to Brandon: on our arrival we swore in all the inhabitants, that we could collect, special constables; they (to the amount of about 25) reported themselves quite insufficient to quell the tumult, or to detain any rioter in custody. We went into the mob; read the King’s Proclamation, and explained the penalty; upon which the people dispersed.—At 10 o'clock we sent an express to Thetford for military aid; a Cornet and 11 men arrived about 5 or 6 hours afterwards. The town remained quiet; and between 5 and 6 o'clock of the morning I left it to return home, and to act for my own Hundred of Grimshoe, in which I am the only resident Magistrate; and where various disturbances have prevented my offering any further assistance to Mr. Burch; except by signing a letter, which Mr. Burch wrote on Saturday evening (18th inst.) at Tofts (by desire of the inhabitants of Brandon) to request that Lord Sidmouth would afford immediately a military force to support the Magistrates in Brandon and its vicinity. As the Hundred, which is peculiarly under my direction, is in Norfolk, it is unnecessary to trouble your Grace with the transactions therein; however it may be agreeable to you to learn, that with the assistance of the Yeomanry, tumult is for the present suppressed.

I have the honour to subscribe myself,
Your Grace’s most obedient and very humble servant,

To His Grace the Duke of Grafton, Lord
Lieutenant of the county of Suffolk, &c.

This letter was published in the Bury & Norwich Post of 5th June 1816.

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