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Riots at Notthingham, 15th February 1812


It is with very great pleasure we state, that the destruction of frames this week has been much less than that of the last.

On Monday evening one frame was broken at Bobber’s Mill, and carried clean away; and one on Tuesday night, at the same place. On the last mentioned evening, one frame was broken at Basford, and the same evening two were broken at Taghill, in the vicinity of Heanor, in Derbyshire, and five at Burton Joice.

On Tuesday the Royal Nottinghamshire Militia arrived here, in 38 waggons, they having left Woodbridge barracks, in Suffolk, at 7 o’clock on Friday evening last. Yesterday two field pieces arrived, which belong to the regiment. On Wednesday two more troops of the Huzzars likewise entered this town. We understand that the two London Magistrates have been using their utmost endeavours to learn whether politics have any connexion with the present troubles in this neighbourhood; and we likewise understand they are convinced of the contrary.

Committed since our last, for trial at the Assizes, William Barnes, of Basford, charged with having , in company with divers other persons at present unknown, wilfully, maliciously, and feloniously, broken, destroyed and damaged two frames.

LETTER FROM LUDD – The following is a literal copy of a letter stated to have accompanied the returned articles which had been stolen at the time when the frames were broken at Clifton.

Unknown Stranger, I have intrusted these Articles into your Care and I do insist that you will see that they are Restored to their respective oners it is with extream Regrat that I inform yow hau thay Came into my hans when I came out with my men their weir sum joind us that I Never had ad with me before and it wear these Villinds that plundered but ass we wear goin out of Clifton one of my Men came and told me that he Believd that those Men ad got some thinck that they had no Business with I therefore gave horders that they should be searched and what we found on them we left the things at the Lown End and I hope that the oners has got agen we were gust agoen to have hang’d one of the Villends when we were informed that the Solders weir at hand and we thot it Right to Retreat.

N.B. The Men that had the things weir entire strangers to my horders or they Never dworst not have tuch’d one thinck but they have been punished for their vileny for one of them have been hangd for 3 Menct and then Let down agane I hom a friend to the pore and Distrest and a enemy to the oppressors thron. (Signed) GENERAL LUDD

Source: Leeds Mercury, 15 February 1812, p.4.

*Note: Here the Mercury is again reprinting an item that had appeared in an another newspaper, possibly Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties, which began publication in 1808.


A letter from General Ludd, 8th February 1812

No depredations have been committed in Nottinghamshire, by the Frame-breakers for several days past, and it is said the Mayor of Nottingham has received a letter from General Ludd stating, “that no more frames will be destroyed while the Restrictions on the Prince Regent remain in force, which expires on the 19th inst. When it is hoped his Royal Highness will take the distressed situation of trade into his most serious consideration; and if he fails in this, the last hope of redress, the Luddites will destroy every frame they can find in the country.
Source: Leeds Mercury, 8 February 1812, p.3.

Riots in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1st February 1812

(From the Review of Friday last)*

In recording the depredations of the frame breakers, we have been led to hope each succeeding week would terminate these ever-to-be-lamented transactions. In this, however, we have been mistaken; for each succeeding week has hitherto been accompanied by succeeding crimes, and our present records present a scene not less lamentable than the one given in our last; and prove that neither the vigilance of police-officers, the terror of the military, not even the impending penalties of the law, are sufficient to suppress this spirit of revolt. It is with pleasure we state, that one reputable house in this town [Nottingham] have publicly announced that they have taken off all the frame rent, and are giving the full prices. This conduct, if followed by other manufacturers, will, we trust, soon restore peace and harmony in the town and neighbourhood.

On Saturday night one frame was broken in this town; and the following evening four were destroyed at New Radford, one of which was supposed to be the completest silk frame in existence; and, we understand, was then employed in making an order of stockings for the Prince Regent. On this case we are desired by the holder of these frames to state that he had worked in the finest of these frames for twenty years; during which time he has continued to receive the same price, and marked the stockings with the proper marks. On the same night two or three frames were broken at Ruddington, nine of the warp lace kind at Lemby, all of great value, and all employed in making the two-course-hole net. At the last mentioned place the people had an expectation that a visit would be paid them, and a number had agreed to watch for the approach of these nocturnal visitors, which they did till midnight, at which time, imagining all the danger was over, they dispersed, and went to their respective homes. This was no sooner done, than the frame-breakers made their appearance: fourteen of them entered the house of Mr Shipley, and in ten minutes completed their work. The damage is estimated at 200 l. and upwards. On the same night, seven plain cotton frames at Colmanhay, in the parish of Ilkiston; and, if our information be correct, eleven of the latter description were destroyed at Swanwick: the two latter towns are in Derbyshire.

At ten o’clock this morning we received the disagreeable intelligence, that 22 frames were last night broken at Lenton. About 50 men entered the village, armed in various ways; and while the mischief was going on, every pass in the village was guarded. One man, who was passing with a loaf of bread, was stopped by them, and compelled to stand sentry himself, with a bar of iron in his hand, with an order to give the alarm if anyone approached, or otherwise to have his brains blown out. The man who ran to Nottingham to inform the soldiers, had a narrow escape; one of the frame-breakers running after him, vociferating the most horrid vengeance if he caught him. The man escaped, and so did the depredators. The names of the persons at whose houses the frames are broken are as follows: – Five at G.Ball’s, four of which, he has informed us, were his own property, and were working at full price; eight at Thos. Selby’s; one at Wm. Selby’s, and pulled the jack-wires out of another; two at Jos. Shepherd’s; one at – Taylor’s; one at John Barnes’s; one at Ann Taylor’s; and two at Wm. Burton’s. After they had done, they fired three pistols. What adds to the audacity of this affair is that Lenton is only about a quarter of a mile from the barracks, and one from Nottingham.

Source: Leeds Mercury, 1 February 1812, p.3.

*Note: Here the Mercury – certain that its Yorkshire readers would take a keen interest in Midlands frame breaking – is reprinting an item that had appeared in an another newspaper, possibly Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties, which began publication in 1808. It was standard practice for newspapers to “cut and paste” material from each other.

The Late Fire, 25th January, 1812

We stated in our Paper of last week, that a conspiracy had been formed in this place for the purpose of destroying certain Machinery obnoxious to the Shearmen; and that an assemblage of the conspirators, with their faces blacked and armed with offensive weapons, had taken place in the night of Wednesday the 15th instant, but that by the energy of the Civil Power, who had been apprised of their designs, the conspirators had been prevented from executing their purpose, and one of them, of the name of James Shaw, apprehended and committed top York castle under the provision of the Black Act, by which this offence is made felony; and it is proper to add, that according to the information given to the Magistrates, not only the property but the lives of the Proprietors of the Machinery were marked out for destruction. Read more…

Assembly to destroy machinery, 18th January 1812

On Wednesday night, information upon oath was given to the Magistrates of this Borough, of a conspiracy to destroy the Machinery of certain Mills in this town and neighbourhood, employed in the dressing of Cloth, for this purpose the members of this confederacy was to assemble in a certain place to be agreed upon, and from thence to divide themselves into strong parties, and proceed to the work of destruction, provided with the proper implements for effecting their purpose. The Magistrates upon receiving this information immediately assembled at the Town Clerk’s Office, and having arranged their plans, proceeded in person immediately to carry them into effect.

Near the Bridge, a number of persons were found assembled, many of them with their faces blacked who dispersed on the appearance of the Magistrates, seeking their safety in flight, one of these persons of the name of James Shaw, was taken into custody by a Magistrate, and on the following day he was examined before the Magistrates at the Rotation office, and committed to York Castle, under what is called the Black Act charged with disguising his person, and having in his possession several offensive weapons, we believe a hammer and chisel; he was escorted to the Castle by a party of the Scot’s Greys stationed in this town.

Source: Leeds Mercury, 18 January 1812, p.3.