Saturday, 29 October 2016

29th October 1816: Luddites break 4 wide frames in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire

At around 1.30 a.m. on Tuesday 29th October 1816, a group of Luddites raided properties in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, and broke several wide knitting frames.

Reports in the regional newspapers were brief, but one of the targets of the raid, Thomas Carnell, later gave a deposition to the authorities, which is below. Carnell was a frameworknitter & gamekeeper who appears to have let out frames that he owned:
Thomas Carnell of Bulwell Frameworkknitter—About half past one yesterday morning I was alarmed by the Dogs barking in the Stable—I jumped out of bed directly and took up my Gun which was by my bed side, and went to the Window & took the Window Curtain down and endeavoured to raise my Gun in a direction to fire upon the persons in the Yard—It was very dark and I could not see the persons—but I could hear them under the Wwindow, saying “Damn your eyes, come along"—Whilst I stood at the Window which was but for a very short time there were 3 or 4 pieces flashed in the pan from the persons below.—I drew to one corner of the Window and immediately two pieces were fired loaded with Shot, into the Window—The Window was broken & the Shot lodged in the Window Frame and in the room also.—As soon as they had done that, they struck the house door twice as appeared to me with a Big hammer or Hatchet—The door was thereby immediately forced open.—and they ran up Stairs crying come along, bring a light, and they turned to the Shop—and some of them said "Damn his eyes, go and kill him, shoot him", and one of them immediately forced my room door, having a Candle in one hand and a Pistol in the other—and a Handkerchief tied over his mouth and Nose—he never Spoke—he came about half a yard into the room and seeing me he drew back again immediately and drew the door to with his hand, I told him there was nothing there for him, and the first man that came in I would shoot him—he appeared a Broad set man about 5 ft 6 or 7 dressed in a dark colored Coat and light Waistcoat & Hat—I was sitting upon my bed with my Gun presented when he came in—It was primed and loaded but I did not fire, for I was afraid of my life—After the man went out of the room, 3 or 4 of them seemed to be standing at the door, others were in the Shop breaking the Frames, & others were down stairs out of Doors saying "All’s well"—"Those in the Shop were shouting "Damn it break all Wide Frames, don't break Narrow Frames"—None of them spoke to me—I do suspect Summers of Arnold to be one from Voice—but I could not swear to him—They might be 20 minutes in the house & all went away together & at the yard end one of the party called over the numbers, saying 5, 10, 15 &c &c—I suppose this was done instead of calling the names—and that the men answered to the numbers—one piece was then fired off and several others flashed—They went into another part of the Village and broke into an unoccupied house and broke 2 wide Frames, one working to me—They then tried to break into the house of one John Keys—but the door was very strong and did not give way—I left my house with my Gun & went with my uncle & Thomas Marriott towards that part of the Village where the men were gone & I fired off both my Barrels* and shouted and halloed to give the alarm & I believe that this alarmed them and that they went away on that account—My uncle next morning traced the marks of many feet towards Arnold—I went yesterday to Mr. Rolleston a Magistrate to give him Notice— 
The Frames broken in my house were 4 wide Frames, value £40—they Frames were very much destroyed—There were several other wide Frames of mine in Bulwell.— 
30th October 1816.. 
*Carnell is a Game keeper

Thomas Carnell's deposition can be found at HO 42/154.

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