Saturday, 31 December 2011

31st December 1811: A hosier's windows are broken in Nottingham

In the week 30th December 1811 - 3rd January 1812, a Hosier called William Trentham had some of his windows smashed by stones at least twice. For Trentham, this inconvenience was no doubt annoying, but he would have done well to heed the clear warnings as to his unpopularity with the people of Nottingham. The coming year was to bring much worse for him.

31st December 1811: Lace frame destroyed in Nottingham

On New Years Eve, the owner of a Lace frame in Nottingham left his house on Milk Street to undertake his duties as a Special Constable for the evening. During his shift, his frame was destroyed by Luddites, who clearly knew his movements that evening.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

29th December 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Decr. 29 1811


As nothing material has occurred relative to the disturbances in this County since I last had the honor of addressing you, I have not thought it necessary to trouble you on the subject.

It is very much hoped that the public tranquillity will now be very soon restored, every thing is certainly more quiet and but few frames have lately been broken altho’ I understood that on the Thursday in last week two or three frames were broken in Nottingham Appearances are undoubtedly in favor of the near conclusion of the very disgraceful proceedings which have for too long a period been carried on in this County.

Opinions differ from each other so widely in every thing which concerns these disturbances, that it is almost impossible to form a just idea of the real state of the case; that however which now appears to me to be the most rational and best founded on fact is that the original cause is the distress of the workmen who have unquestionably been most hardly treated by their employers; urged by absolute necessity to require a better treatment from their Masters they endeavoured to obtain better terms for themselves; on such occasion, as you too well know, there are always mischievous people who are ever ready to foment discord, the suggestions of such people were unfortunately too much attended to and thence the disorders which followed.

In the neighbourhood of Mansfield every thing has been arranged in the best manner between the masters and workmen and at Nottingham only and immediately around it do any appearances of discontent now prevail, it is said by some that in this quarter things remain in as bad a state as ever, from what I learn from others, and this I hope to be the real state of the case, an adjustment of the differences appears fast approaching and that already every thing is much quieter.

It will indeed be a cause of most sincere gratification to me to be able to inform you of the entire restoration of order in the County.

I have [etc.]


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

28th December 1811: Nottingham delegates at secret meetings in Stockport

On Saturday 28th December, Viscount Warren-Bulkeley wrote to the Home Secretary, Richard Ryder. He had received intelligence from an agent that 'delegates from Nottingham' had been in Stockport and had held a meeting with delegates from the local weavers on Saturday 21st December in Union Street. He had no other information about the content of the meeting, other than to add that the Nottingham men had returned the next day and also that a meeting of some kind was due to take place on a hill in the area on the 30th December.

28th December 1811: One frame broken at Old Radford

On Saturday 28th December 1811 a wide frame employed to make cut-ups was destroyed at Old Radford.

28th December 1811: Coal Waggon destroyed at Bulwell

On Saturday 28th December 1811, a waggon full of coal was set alight at Bulwell, being entirely destroyed in the process. The waggon belonged to a Mr Falconbridge, a local publican.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

27th December 1811: The spy 'B' reports about a planned strike in Stockport and of travelling delegates

Colonel Fletcher's agent, 'B', compiled another report for his employer, commencing the 23rd December.

He reported that on the 24th December he had met a committee delegate from Mottram, who said their local committee had heard from the delegate they had sent into Yorkshire, specifically Doncaster, Rotherham & Sheffield. The report from there stated they were in need of leadership, and their shortcomings in that department had led them to turn down requests for help from Nottingham.

'B' had himself been to Stockport the same day, and reported that there was pressure for a strike from the weavers, to gain an increase in wages - "Even the single man Cannot Live on his Earnings Let alone men with famileys". 'B' noted that their poverty was so dire that they could not afford to make contributions towards the committee.

On Friday 27th December, 'B' had run into his Irish contact Cannovan. He had been as far South as Bristol where the "business" was "flat", but reported that the underground in Birmingham wanted to procure arms. He also remarked that although he wanted to visit Nottingham, it was "dangerous to do so", commenting that he thought the Luddites there "had taken a rong step should have waited a proper time".

Once again, Cannovan was disappointed with what Bent told him about progress in Manchester.

Cannovan was headed for Dublin, via Liverpool, although he said he may have to go to Scotland soon, but did not know when he would be in Manchester again. He rebuffed 'Bs' offer to send him news to his address in Dublin, saying "danger might atend such Corryspondance".

'B' completed his report with the news that the Manchester committee had not met in the last week, and was unaware when they would again, noting the disquiet that the more radical countryside delegates felt about this inactivity.

27th December 1811: One lace frame broken in Nottingham

In a house near Meadow Platts, Nottingham, stood 3 plain silk frames, all of considerable value. On Friday 27th December, the house was broken into, but only one of the frames was destroyed - the owner of the other two frames had not offended the Luddites with the prices he had offered to the workmen.

27th December 1811: Address of the Framework Knitters of Melbourne

Melbourne, December 23, 1811

THE Framework-Knitters of this peaceable and hitherto undisturbed Town were very much rejoiced to hear that the Gentlemen Hosiers were taking into their consideration to redress the Grievances the Workmen labour under; and to establish a respectable, regular, and permanent Price, for the making of the different Articles belonging to that extensive and respectable Branch of ENGLISH COMMERCE: In consequence of which, the Framework-Knitters of this Town it indispensably necessary to hold a Meeting, for the purpose of stating the Prices they wish to have for the different Sorts of Work that are making at this Place. And it is hoped that the Gentlemen Hosiers will not think the Statement unreasonable, as we do not wish for any addition to the Price that was settled by One Hundred and Thirty-nine honorable Hosiers, on the 7th of May, 1805, and published in the Nottingham Review, on the 6th of December, 1811. And as there are different Sorts of Work making in this Neighbourhood at the present Time not known at the above Date of 1805, it has been thought necessary to state a Price to those Sorts of Work, and it is hoped that the Gentlemen Hosiers will readily agree to the Statement, when it is considered that it is Sixpence per Yard lower than it was Two Years ago, in the Derby Ribbed Double-looped Piece Work.

24 Gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1s. 9d.
26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2s. 0d.
28 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2s. 0d.
21 Gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1s. 9d.
24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2s. 0d.
                White Worsted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2s. 0d. per Yard. 
Light Drab. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2s. 2d.
Dark Drab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2s. 3d.
Dark Blue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2s. 4d.

The Journeyman’s Price for making the Berlin Pieces, at this place, is 1s. 6d. per Yard, as the Yard in taken in and measured at the Warehouse; and the whole of the extra Price we have, from the Warehouse, for Colours.

Monday, 26 December 2011

26th December 1811: Reward notices for burglaries at Locko Grange & Ockbrook Mill

December 23, 1811.

A most violent Attack was made about 8 o'clock last Night, on the House of Mr. JOHN BRENTNALL, at LOCKO GRANGE, in the county of Derby, by Eight or more Persons, two of whom with their Faces blacked and armed with Pistols, entered the House, but in consequence of the spirited Resistance of the Family, retired without effecting their villainous purposes.

One of the Men about five feet nine inches high and broad set, Is supposed to have his Head, Face, and Neck muck injured in a struggle; and another Man about six feet high is supposed to be wounded by a Bill Hook; the other Men who did not enter the House, as far as could be distinguished from the darkness of the night, appeared to be above the common size.


Has been offered by his Royal Highness the Prince Regent on the Conviction of


Concerned in any Outrages of the above nature, and a free Pardon in case the Person giving such information as may lead to the Conviction, shall be liable to be prosecuted for the same.


ABOUT Three o'clock on the Morning of Monday the 23d of December, 1811, a number of Persons supposed to amount to Twenty or more, attacked and broke into the House of Mr. HUNT, at OCKBROOK MILL, in the county of Derby, and forcibly took from thence Thirty-five Notes, out of which Twenty or more were Of One Guinea value, the other of One Pound each; they also took a quantity of Copper Coin, two ruffled Shirts, a loaded Gun and a Powder Flask.

Two out of the above number there is every reason to suppose were begging in Ockbrook and its Neighbourhood on Saturday the 7th instant, under the pretence of relieving the distress'd Framework-knitters.


Has been offered by his Royal Highness the Prince Regent on the Conviction of


Concerned in any Outrages of the above nature, and a free Pardon in case the Person giving such information as may lead to the Conviction, shall be liable to be prosecuted for the same.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

25th December 1811: Frame-breaking in the Nottinghamshire villages

On the evening of Wednesday 25th December, at least one stocking frame was broken at Carlton, 3 at Sneinton and 2 in the town of Nottingham itself (North Street according to Conant & Baker).

25th December 1811: Burglary at South Wingfield Park

Late into the evening of Wednesday 25th December, a Derbyshire Hosier - Mr Topham of South Wingfield Park - got a surprise he hadn't bargained for.

Several men entered his house that night, all in disguise. They demanded to examine his stocking frames. Having done so, they then proceeded to search the house for money, eventually taking away £62. Topham was also the Poor Law overseer for the Parish, and the men took away the poor records with them.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

24th December 1811: Clashes at Lord Middleton's Estate at Wollaton

Late on Tuesday 24th December, a group of 18 men deliberately trespassed onto the land of Lord Middleton, near Wollaton in Nottinghamshire. For Middleton and his class, the end of the year was to be no less affluent than any other year, but for thousands of people in the lands bordering his estate, an empty belly was a certainty and starvation not too distant a prospect.

The men found their way to a game nursery at Shortwood, near Trowell on his estate, and set about killing his game stock of pheasants. But 4 of Middleton's gamekeepers interrupted them and a fight ensued, at the end of which one of the gamekeepers was left unconscious and badly beaten. One of the gamekeepers had managed to escape back to Wollaton Hall and raise the alarm, and the considerable guard set out to check all of the roads in the vicinity. The assumption was that the intruders were Luddites from nearby Radford, but no-one was to be found.

The intruders had made their escape with some of the dead pheasants.

24th December 1811: One frame broken at Arnold.

On Tuesday, 24th December, one stocking frame was broken at Arnold.

Friday, 23 December 2011

23rd December 1811: Frames broken in various Nottinghamshire villages

In the evening of Monday the 23rd December, 2 to 3 stocking frames were broken at Radford, 1 warp lace frame 'of great value' was destroyed at New Radford, and the ironworks of 3 stocking frames were stolen from a house at Hucknall Torkard. The Nottingham Review pointed out that the ironworks constituted nine-tenths of the frames value.

23rd December 1811: Locko Grange Burglary Reward Notice

23rd December 1811: Ned Lud's Proclamation

23 Dec. 1811

I do hereby discharge, all manner of Persons, who has been employ’d by me, in giveing any information, of breaking Frames, to the Town Clerk, or to the Corporation Silley Committee ~ any Person found out, in so doing or attempting to give out any information, will be Punish’d with death, or any Constable found out making any enquiries, so has to hurt the Cause of Ned, or any of his army, D E A T H (by order of King Lud)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

22nd December 1811: Burglaries by "Lud's Men" in Derbyshire

In the week prior to the evening of Sunday 22nd December 1811, there had a been a raid on a farmhouse at Stanley in Derbyshire by a group of armed men. They took all the money in the property, as well all the linen they could carry.

The same pattern would be followed that night, and in the same neighbourhood, but with an increased level of violence.

By 8 p.m. that night, the family of a farmer, John Brentnall, at Locko Grange had retired for bed, all except their son, when two men with blackened faces and armed with pistols broke in. Outside were at least eight other men, keeping watch. One of the men pointed his pistol at the head of Brentnall's son who reacted quickly and snatched the barrel - the other man also aimed his pistol at the son, but pulling the trigger only resulted in a mis-fire. A general brawl ensued between the three, and by this time, the farmer Brentnall himself had got out of bed and rushed down the stairs, and even the serving maid now pitched into the tussle. A savage fight ensued, with one of the raiders taking wounds to his head, face and neck, and the other being wounded by a Billhook. Being outnumbered, the raiders eventually fled.

Five hours later, at 3 a.m. the following morning, at least 20 armed men gathered at the farmhouse of a Mr Hunt at Ockbrook, near to Hopwell Hall. Hunt was a Miller as well as a farmer, and the men knocked on his door, asking him to come downstairs to address their concerns about the price of his corn. They seemed to want him to sign an agreement to lower the price since their families were starving, but Hunt refused to come out. Growing increasingly frustrated, the men forced the door open. Hunt used a gun to fire down the staircase, while his wife tried to raise the alarm from an upstairs window. Some of the men outside threw stones at Hunt's wife, and one caught her in the face. Between reloading his weapons, Hunt was overpowered by some of the men, who were inclined to kill him, but they eventually agreed to spare him. The rest of the men searched the house for all the money they could find - £37 in notes, some copper coins, two ruffled shirts, a loaded gun and a gunpowder flask. The men called themselves "Lud's men", and promised that what had taken place that night "was only a beginning".

22nd December 1811: William Milnes writes of the Luddite system in South Derbyshire

Ashover 22nd. Dec. 1811
Right Honble Sir

I am extremely sorry to inform you that the Stocking frame breaking system which has caused so much alarm and disturbance in the neighbourhood of Nottingham, has extended its baneful effects, into this Neighbourhood, at Pentridge about six miles from hence

A Person of the name of Topham, has had frames distroyed to the amount of £500, the whole of his property, at Wessington, they distroyed at two Houses 1 frame each, and took money for preservation of the [illegible]—on Monday two men came to this place who called them selves inspectors from the Committee they went to every stockingers house and discharged them from working under such prices as they gave them a list of and said they they should come again in a few days and in case any of them were found working without having a ticket from their Masters saying that he was willing to give the price stated in their list—They should break these frames. They summoned all the Stockingers about 12 or 14 in number of Master Men to a Publick House with as much consequence and as if they had a mandate from the Prince Regent. When they got them thither all I can learn at present, was for for the purpose of collecting money from them for the support of the families who where deprived of getting their bread by having their Frames broken—Where they found a frame worked by a person who had not served a regular apprenticeship, or by a woman, they discharged them from working and if they promised to do so, they stuck a paper upon the frame with these words written upon it “let this Frame stand, the colts removed”—Colt is the Name given to all those who have not served a regular apprenticeship—there is no military at Chesterfield, we are therefore doing all we can to protect ourselves, & neighbor by the civil power. Mr. Jebb has been here to day and swore in upwards of 40 stout young Men as Special constables—We are all upon the alert for we have some bad men who are stockingers among us & we are determined if possible to be a match for them. I am afraid their intentions are evil and that some are concerned whose designs are so awful as to require great vigilance to detect.

I hope in my next I shall have to say that all is become peaceable and quiet & remain

Sir: Your most obedient & faithful Humble servant

Willm. Milnes

The Right Honourable Sir Joseph Banks Bart. K.B.
Soho Square, London

22nd December 1811: Burglary at Lewcote Gate, West Hallam

At 1 a.m. on 22nd December, the home and grocery shop premises belonging to Elizabeth Handley at Lewcote Gate, West Hallam, were broken into by a number of men, whose faces were covered with handkerchiefs. Gaining entry through the shop, 2 of the men confronted Handley in her bedroom, holding a pistol to her head, while the third went through her belongings, taking all of her money as well as a diamond ring. They warned her not to raise the alarm, and then joined the other raiders in the shop downstairs. The burglars set about helping themselves to the contents of the shop, including all of Handley's cowslip wine and even cooked bacon on the fire. After spending an hour eating and drinking, they took a horse from a neighbouring field and made off. The horse, which belonged to a neighbour of Handley, a Mr Chouler, was found the following morning a mile away, near to the toll bar at Ilkeston. The only trace of the raiders was an empty bottle of cowslip wine, which was found half a mile from Handley's house.

Over the next 2 weeks, South Derbyshire would be beset by a series of burglaries, of which the raid at Handley's home and shop would be the first.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

21st December 1811: Stocking frames broken at Arnold

On Saturday 21st December, and the day after the issuing on rewards for information by Nottingham Corporation, 2 stocking frames were broken in Arnold, including what the Nottingham Review called "the finest and completest frame ever built, for the weaving of cotton stockings".

21st December 1811: Troop movements

On Saturday 21st December, following the removal of the Scotch Greys to Lichfield the same morning, a troop of the 15th Light Dragoons marched from Nottingham to Derby to replace them.

21st December 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Dec. 21 1811


The day before yesterday I had the honor of receiving a letter from you enclosing copies of a Proclamation offering rewards for the conviction of any of the rioters. I instantly gave orders for the general and immediate distribution of the Proclamation and by this time it is universally known.

As you probably already know, the Hosier’s are coming into the terms required by the workmen and it is very probable that this may be the cause of concluding the business, added to this the rioters certainly begin to be very much alarmed, and what is very desirable their fear arises from distrust.

It has happened that frequently of late the Special Constables, whose active services I have often mentioned to you, have entered the houses of the offenders and taken them away out of their beds in the middle of the night, and have several times been fortunate in securing some of them in their own homes on the first night of their return there, after having slept at different houses since the first commission of their offences in order to elude the search of the constables. This had a very great effect upon them, as I am informed, not only because they begin to find that they cannot commit their accustomed outrages with impunity but because they suspect from the fortunate combination of circumstances, that they have been informed against by their own friends whom they now begin to distrust; if this can be kept up amongst them we may expect much good to result from such a dissention.

According to what I can learn, affairs appear to have taken a better turn and it is hoped that in the course of another fortnight the public peace may be restored. Of course in these cases much must depend upon appearances as no just conclusion can be formed from a knowledge of facts, which cannot be obtained.

In a few days I hope I shall be able to give you an account of our success in the apprehension of some of the most leading people who compose the committees etc.

You may rely upon it that money shall be used with the utmost delicacy, I am told by those who are employed on this service in question that instances will be very rare in which they will require it.

I have [etc.]


21st December 1811: Another prisoner apprehended in Nottinghamshire

Joseph Peck was committed to Nottingham Gaol for the next Assizes, accused of broken one of Francis Betts' Frames at Sutton-in-Ashfield on 13th November.

21st December 1811: Suicide at Mansfield

For reasons that remain obscure, but which may relate to the tasks they were being ordered to undertake in Nottinghamshire, on the morning of 21st December 1811, a private soldier in the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons stationed at Mansfield placed a loaded pistol next to head and proceeded to pull the trigger, ending his life.

21st December 1811: Letter from 'Ned Ludd' at Nottingham to the Corporation


I prosum you are desireus of A sitiation hin the fugoffis and you may Rest ashured nothing shall be wonting hon My part to procure you the sitiations you Apply for but I doubt I shall not be able to provide for you all in the fugoffice, as som of you willnot alltogather be wiling To stop there hon A Count of the dangeours Desorder you seem to Laber hunder, it aperes from the simtoms of youre desorder that another full moon or two will make som of you fit objects for the Hous in snenton Fields, but if it shud plese devin provedenc to render any of you unfit to discharg the dutys Which Mr. Coldham has imposed hon youre Commitey befor the 12th of february 1812 I will get Docr. Willis to atend hon you but At the A bove date Mr. Willis will be wanted at Saint Lukes as it may be Expected he wil have Ocation to meet King Percevell and the rest of youre Coleges there.

I am yours faithfuly
Ned Lud――

December the 21 1811 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

20th December 1811: Address of the Plain Silk Hands of Derby

“The Labourer is worthy of his Hire.”

At a General Meeting of Plain Silk Framework-knitters, held at the Fox Owl Inn, Derby, December 9th, 1811, to take into consideration the Grievances under which they labour, it was unanimously Resolved, that every means in their power should be employed to stop the progress of future Impositions upon their Manufacture, and that a Statement of their Case be once submitted to their Employers, with an application for immediate Redress.


GALLED by the pressure of unprecedented times, we cannot any longer main indifferent to our common interest as men. As a body of ingenious artizans employed on materials of great value; pent up in a close shop fourteen or hours a day; (a confinement prejudicial to many constitutions), having under our constant care a machine confessedly difficult, from the construction of its principles, to preserve in good condition, and allowed to be one of the first productions of British genius; devoting our time and abilities alone, to adorn the rich and great, we conceive ourselves entitled to a higher station in society; and that in point of emolument, we ought to rank with mechanics of the first eminence. If the position be admitted that one calling is more respectable than another, surely the making of Silk Stockings is an employment, both in point of value and elegance of the article, highly respectable; and considering our manufacture is consumed alone by the opulent, it ought to produce a competence adequate to the just wants of our families.

About thirty years ago, a Silk Stocking-maker obtained a decent subsistence; but since that time we have had to contend with two great drawbacks upon our necessary comforts, the one is imposition upon our manufacture, the other a tripled augmentation in the price of nearly every article we consume. That has crept upon us by a slow and imperceptible motion; this by bold and rapid strides; each at once aiming the blow that has laid us prostrate beneath every other mechanic in this part of the empire.

To prove that we have imposition upon our manufacture, we must advert to its originally established order, that has, till now, stood inviolate for nearly two centuries. By its established order, we mean the gauges of our frames: by these alone we ascertain the quality of a silk stocking, and in proportion to the number of gauges, our wages have been regulated for nearly two hundred years; these always remaining sacred between the employer and his workmen. In most articles of plain silk, one shilling for two extra gauges was generally given; that is to say, from a 24 to a 26 gauge, one shilling extra; from a 26 to a 28 gauge, one shilling extra, and so on in proportion. Is it not an imposition then to be compelled to make 24 work on a 26 gauge, for the price of a 24 gauge? Is it not a still greater imposition to be compelled to make 24 work on a 27 or 28 gauge, without a remuneration? As the price stands at present, we are losing from nine-pence to one shilling and nine-pence per pair, the quality of the work being nearly equal to the gauge. That these impositions exist we presume no Hosier will take upon him to deny; neither do we pretend to charge any individual amongst them as being the author of them. We are at a loss to know where to fix the stigma (too much blame being due to ourselves for not watching better over the trade) as each striving to manufacture on the lowest terms, makes us little better than mere engines to support a jealous competition in the market. The average earnings of plain silk hands are indeed too well known to you, to be a very small pittance for the maintenance of a wife and two or three children; they do not exceed 10s. 6d. per week: if some average 15s. per week, this will do very little for a family. Three shillings at least must go for house-rent and taxes—one shilling for coal—one shilling and sixpence for soap and candles, for himself and family; and if he has a wife and three children he must have one stone and a half of flour, which is at least six shillings more; here we see the poor fellow has left three shillings and sixpence to provide all other necessaries of life.

It is not very discouraging to us to know that the shoe-maker has doubled his wages within the last twenty years, that the tailor has done nearly the same, and the labourer who had about that time six shillings per week has now eighteen shillings? Whenever any other class of mechanics turn out for an advance of wages, so far as we are concerned in the consumption of their particular manufacture, it has a direct tendency to diminish our’s; while at the same time the price of our labour, to our great mortification, is fatally doomed to be stationary. If a mechanic in any branch of business either increases his hours of labour, or takes a piece of work extra to what he has been accustomed to do, justice, reason, and honor, demand an adequate remuneration. But alas! how far different this with a Silk Stocking-maker! Instead of our wages increasing with the price of provision (which ought to be the case under every civil government) we are generally making stockings one shilling under their real quality. The time is now when it is impossible for us to go any longer in a contented condition, under present circumstances. The imperious dictates of human nature impel us to raise up a manly voice in our own behalf: governed by every principle of right towards you, acknowledging that due deference to your superior station, yet loudly calling your attention to our present case. Much encouraged by the late address to the trade, from the Gentlemen Hosiers in Nottingham, we avail ourselves of this auspicious moment, fully believing that you see the necessity of an amelioration of our wretched condition. Hedged in by a combination act, we cannot say to you as a public body, that we demand an advance of wages, but we can say JUSTICE DEMANDS that we should receive a remuneration for extra labour: this is all we want, and until it is obtained, nothing but complaints will be found to exist amongst us.

It cannot reasonably be expected that we shall obtain a full remuneration for the impositions on our manufacture AT ONCE; probably this will be a work of some time: therefore we have fixed upon SIXPENCE per pair on all sorts of silk hose; at the same time observing that we consider this a very paltry consideration indeed, compared with the alarming high price of provisions, and the repeated advances all other mechanics have received in their wages. This partial remuneration for extra labour, as we may justly call it, we have every reason to believe may on your part with great ease be ceded; knowing some little of men and things, we certainly conclude that not one pair less of silk stockings will be worn. If a poor man is obliged now to give three shillings and sixpence more for a pair of shoes than he did in time past, is it unreasonable that a gentleman out of his fortune should give sixpence extra for a pair of silk stockings, when at the same time there is a shilling extra in labour upon them? Instead of complaining, we might suppose he would rather say, ‘Let the ingenious live.’

During the last twenty years, while provision has been so rapidly advancing, we have seen it our duty frequently to petition you for an advance in wages. In 1805, we attained twopence per pair: although you certainly granted us a favour, we were very much disgusted with the smallness of the advance. You told us if you raised the price of our labour, (and you always tell us so) the French would undersell us in the market. Considering the high repute of British manufacture, we have reason to hope this would not be the case; an allowed preference always being given to it. And we observe that a branch of commerce that must be spun out of our very bowels, to support a competition with the trash produced by the French manufacture, rather than its being an ornament to our national glory, is to us as individuals; and makes us regret the day that ever doomed us to be Plain Silk Stocking-makers.

Gentlemen, there is every reason in the world to prove that a remuneration ought and must take place. Several Hosiers in this town have openly avowed its necessity. The high price of provision is on our side, reason, honer, morality, philanthropy, necessity, justice, your own interest, as being accountable to the Almighty, the practicability of the case, the combination act, and the general sufferage of mankind; all declare that we ought to be remunerated for extra labour.

Gentlemen, being invited by some of you to state our grievances, we have used great plainness on the subject; well knowing that this will prevail, when acts of violence would render us detestable to mankind.

In order to prevent any future imposition on our manufacture, we have drawn up the following Statement, by which we mean to abide.

RESOLVED— That all Hose shall be marked with the Figures in the Welt according to what they are.

Jacks .


Price of Women’s.
Price Men’s.


24 narrowed down 1 plain, 14 jacks in women’s, 16 in men’s, 14 bindings in in women’s heels, 5 in men’s, 5 bindings in in women’s bottoms, 6 in men’s.

26 narrowed down 1 plain, 15 jacks in women's, 17 in men's, 5 bindings in in women's heels, 6 in men's, 6 binding's in in women's bottoms, 7 in men's.

28 narrowed down 2 plain, 17 jacks in women's, 19 in men's, 6 bindings in in women's heels, 7 in men’s, 7 bindings in in women's bottoms, 8 in men's.

30 narrowed down 2 plain, 19 jacks in women's, 21 in men's, 7 bindings in in women's heels, 8 in men’s, 8 bindings in in women's bottoms, 9 in men's.

32 narrowed down 2 plain, 21 jacks in women's, 23 in men's, 8 bindings in in women's heels, 9 in men's, 9 bindings in in women's bottoms, 10 in men's.

34 narrowed down 2 plain, 23 jacks in women's, 27 in men's, 10 bindings in in women's heels, 11 in men's, 1 bindings in in women's bottoms, 11 in men's.

36 narrowed down 2 plain, 25 jacks in women's, 27 in men's, 10 bindings in in women's heels, 11 in men's, 1 bindings in in women's bottoms, 12 in men's.

24 and 26 half size, 4 jacks--28 and upwards 6 jacks.

Any alteration in the above width to be paid for accordingly.

We expect and trust the above remuneration for extra labour, together with these regulations, take place on the 1st of January, 1812.

From the Derby Committee of Plain Silk Hands.

20th December 1811: "The Committee of the Corporation" of Nottingham

THE COMMITTEE appointed by the above Resolutions of the Common Hall, or Meeting of the Mayor and Common Council for the said Town of Nottingham, do hereby, in pursuance of the Power and Authority given to them by the said Resolutions, offer the reward of


as mentioned in the Resolutions, to any Person or Persons, (except the Writer or Writers of the anonymous Letter and Papers therein mentioned,) who shall give such Information as may lead to the Conviction of the Writers, Authors, Publishers, or Senders thereof; such Reward to be paid on the Conviction of the Parties, and to be apportioned wholly or partly, according to the Extent or Nature of Information given, as the said Committee, through the Medium of the said Town Clerk, shall direct.

And the said Committee hereby inform the Public, and all Persons of every Description concerned in, or affected by the illegal and felonious Proceedings, in the said Resolution referred to, of their firm and determined Resolution to employ all Means in their Power towards bringing the misguided and wicked Men concerned in the said illegal and felonious Proceedings, to Justice, and to prevent any further Progress being made.

And they feel it their duty to give the Public the Information that they have submitted the above Resolutions to the Consideration of His Majesty's Government, and that independently of the Powers with which they are invested by the above Resolutions, they have the Sanction of the Government.

Communications to this Committee, of every Description, are to be made to Mr Coldham, the Town Clerk, and such as are made, by written Documents, are to be addressed to “The Committee of the Corporation,” under Cover to the said Town Clerk.

The Committee feel it to be of the utmost Importance, but the greatest Secrecy should be observed, as well for the Prosecuting with more Effect, any Enquiries that may be necessary, in consequence of Information given, as the Security of the Parties rendering such information; and they hereby pledge themselves most sacredly not to divulge the Names of Parties of any description, who may give them such Information. With the above solemn assurance of Secrecy, the Committee feel it their duty to call upon Hosiers, (the destruction of whose Property is the present and immediate object of the deluded Rioters) to render to them through the before-mentioned medium, every degree of information in their power, to which the Committee pledge themselves to give immediate attention, whether such Information shall relate to the discovering the Authors or Abettors of any of the above Proceedings, or to the Prevention of any intended mischief. The Committee also, not only pledge themselves to observe the same degree of Secrecy, respecting all other Persons, who may think proper to give them Information of any description, which may tend towards the attaining the object for which they have been appointed, but they hereby promise to pay and distribute the Sum of TWO THOUSAND POUNDS, mentioned in the said Resolutions, to be vested at their disposal, in very liberal Rewards, to and amongst any Persons who may bring them Information, according to the extent and nature thereof, and which, from the complete control they possess of the application of the said Sum of £2000, (they not being compelled to account for the same,) they are enabled to do with the greater Secrecy and effect, as well as Security to the Party, giving the Information. And they hereby specifically offer a Reward of TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS, in addition to the £50 offered by his Majesty's Proclamation, to any person or Persons who shall give them such information, as may lead to the Conviction of any of the Parties actually concerned in the illegal and felonious Proceedings, which now agitate the Town and Neighbourhood; such Reward to be paid on Conviction of the Party.

And also, in order to strike at the Root of the Evil, the said Committee offer a Reward of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, in Addition to His Majesty's Proclamation, to any Persons who shall give the said Committee such information as may lead to the Conviction of the Parties who are organizing, arranging, conducting, and managing the System adopted by the Parties concerned in these dreadful and shocking Proceedings; such Reward of One Hundred Pounds to be paid on the Conviction of the last-mentioned Parties, and to be apportioned wholly or partly, according to the Extent and Nature of the Information given by each Person, as the Committee, through the Medium of the said Town Clerk, shall direct.

The Committee take this opportunity of intimating to the Magistrates acting for the said Town of Nottingham and Neighbourhood, that any Information and all Suggestions they may think it proper to communicate to them, and which they are requested to do through the Medium of the Town Clerk, shall have every possible Degree of Attention paid to them, and that they have directed the Town Clerk to communicate with them upon all occasions that may appear proper for the Preservation of the Peace of the Town and Neighbourhood; and all Constables and Persons of every Description employed by, or in aid of the Civil Power, our most urgently requested to communicate, with all possible dispatch, to the said Town Clerk, suspicious Circumstances of every Description, which may happen to come to their knowledge, that no loss of time may take place in an immediate investigation thereof.

The Committee have made Arrangements which are most effectual for the Attainment of the Objects to which they have been appointed; and to enable them to meet the wicked and misguided Men above alluded to, in a Manner they are not aware of; and they cannot close these Observations without very seriously and solemnly stating it to be the Duty of all Persons who value themselves as good and useful Members of Society, to render them every Degree of Assistance and Information in their Power; and more especially, as they can, from the System of Secrecy and Security adopted by the Committee, do so without the least Degree of Risk to themselves.

By Order of the Committee,
GEO. COLDHAM, Town Clerk.

Nottingham, Dec. 20, 1811.

20th December 1811: The Origin of Ned Ludd


There are few persons in this part of England who know any thing of the History of the Stocking Frame, and who probably have not heard that it was the invention of William Lee, of Calverton, in this county, a student in the University of Cambridge. This gentleman, it is said, being in love with a young lady, found that her incessant occupation in knitting, left her no leisure to receive his addresses; and that resentment for slighted love, prompted him to invent a machine, which should supersede the necessity of knitting.

At present, a person named NED LUDD, is become more famous, by the destruction of this machine, than William Lee, by its invention. Ned Ludd is not, as many people suppose, an ideal personage; but is, or lately was, an inhabitant of Anstey, near Leicester, where he was apprenticed to learn the art of framework-knitting. Ned being rather averse to the confinement of the frame, did not exert himself to the satisfaction of his master, who complained of him to the Magistrate. As a remedy for Ned’s disorder, the Magistrate, it is said, recommended a little whipping. This, however, was so far from curing the patient, that he took the first opportunity of getting a great hammer, and entirely demolishing the machine, which he considered as the occasion of his punishment.

Hence the persons who have lately repeated Ned’s operation, on a very extended scale, in this and the neighbouring Counties, have thought proper to assume his name, and conceal their own.

20th December 1811: A 'London Manufacturer' writes to the Nottingham Review

A Person who styles himself ‘a London Manufacturer,’ has requested us to insert the following; and as impartiality is our professed principle, we can do no less than admit it, though the arguments it contains, we are of opinion, are not sterling, and will not hear the test of sound criticism: of this, however, our readers will judge.



“It is well worthy of being impressed on the minds of Artizans and Manufacturers, that they have uniformly found increased employment, as improvements in the mechanism of factories have rendered the commodities manufactured cheaper; and the increased consumption, a result of the decreased price, has uniformly furnished employ to greater numbers, instead of throwing numbers out of employment. This is a truth which cannot be too strongly inculcated and explained to the comprehension of the manufacturing poor, who, blinded by the privations to which they are occasionally subject, from a stagnation of trade, become willing dupes to the designs of the ill disposed.”


Monday, 19 December 2011

19th December 1811: The Rector of Loughborough asks the Home Office for advice, as female workers organise

Loughbro’ Decr. 19. 1811


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 100 Copies of a Proclamation by Government offering Reward for Persons offending against the Laws, & applicable to the recent disturbances in this & the neighbouring Counties. As the Constables of the different Parishes in this Hundred were attending the Magistrates at the time your Letter arrived, to report the state of their respective Parishes, & to receive necessary directions for their future Conduct: these Proclamations have been already circulated to the extent of the Hundred for which we usually act.

We still remain tranquil, & I hope that every day’s exertion will tend to restore good Order. We have been several days employed in examining two Persons apprehending upon charges of collecting Money by threats for the support of the Rioters.–but we find the class of men to whom we are obliged to look for information in general very unwilling to give it. The loss of their time, & the dread they have of the vengeance of the ill-disposed among their own class, operate together against their speaking the Truth, & it is not without summonses, & great pressing, from the magistrates that any truth can be extracted.

We have however this day committed the two Men for a felony, in extorting small sums from brother Stockingers by threats – I trust we are justified in doing so, though it would be satisfactory to us to know from some high Legal Authority that we are so. Probably a Copy of the Depositions would be requisite to obtain such information, which my Clerk will of course furnish: And there is still another point upon which the Magistrates would be glad to be instructed. In committing the Persons above mentioned we have been obliged to consider the Witnesses from whom money had been extorted as the Prosecutors & have bound them to prefer bills of Indictment at the next General Gaol delivery: but as these are unwilling Prosecutors, & of the poorest Class of Manufacturers, it is not likely that Prosecutions in their Hands can be properly conducted—It would be desirable therefore to know how far Government can or will interfere in bringing to Justice the Persons we came to be apprehended; & whom we commit for Trial?

A spirit of Combination to dictate to their Employers & to raise the price of their Wages has within these few days shewn itself among the Women, who are employed in what we call running Lace. Meetings have been called, & emissaries sent into all the neighbouring Towns & Villages to unite, & to collect Money for this Purpose: I have thought proper to issue a hand Bill to warn Persons against such illegal Meetings. I have reason to hope that the impression I've made upon this Town, will soon spread abroad so as to us to put a stop to their proceedings in this way in places adjoining. The numbers employed in this branch of manufacturing may amount to several thousands in this County.

I have the honor to be Sir

your most obedt Servt

Ric Hardy

Right Honble Secretary of State for the Home Department &c. &c. &c.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

18th December 1811: Derbyshire man charged

Derby Magistrates had already issued an arrest warrant for Samuel Sellors of Swanwick. They believed he had taken part in frame-breaking in that village on the 7th December. But on Wednesday 18th December, he handed himself in and was charged with taking part in the frame-breaking.

18th December 1811: A Royal Proclamation

REGENT of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 
in the Name and on the Behalf of HIS MAJESTY.



WHEREAS it has been represented that a considerable Number of disorderly Persons, chiefly composed of Stockingers, or Persons employed in the Stocking Manufactories, have for some Time past assembled themselves together in a riotous and tumultuous Manner, in the Town and County of the Town of Nottingham, and likewise in several parts of the Counties of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester; and, for the Purpose of compelling their Employers to comply with certain Regulations prescribed by themselves, with respect to Work, and the Wages to be paid for the same, have had Recourse to Measures of Force and Violence, and have actually committed various Acts of Outrage in different Parts of the Counties above-mentioned, whereby the Property of many of His Majesty's good Subjects has, in several Instances, been wholly destroyed, and their Lives and Properties are still greatly endangered: We, therefore, acting in the Name and on behalf of His Majesty, being duly sensible of the mischievous Consequences which must inevitably ensue, as well to the Peace of the Kingdom as to the Lives and Properties of His Majesty's Subjects, from such wicked and illegal Practices if they go unpunished, and being firmly resolved to cause the Laws to be put in Execution for the Punishment of such Offenders, have thought fit, by the Advice of the Privy Council, to issue this Proclamation, hereby strictly commanding all Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Under-Sheriffs, and all other Civil Officers whatsoever, within the said Town and County of the Town of Nottingham, and the said Counties of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester respectively, but they do use their utmost Endeavours to discover, apprehend, and bring to Justice the Persons concerned in the Riotous Proceedings above mentioned: And as a further Inducement to discover the said Offenders, We do hereby, acting as aforesaid, promise and declare, that any Person or Persons who shall discover and apprehend, or cause to be discovered and apprehended, the Authors, Abettors, or Perpetrators of any of the Outrages above-mentioned, so that they, or any of them, may be duly convicted thereof, shall be entitled to the Sum of FIFTY POUNDS for each and every Person who shall be so convicted, and shall also receive His Majesty's most Gracious Pardon for the said Offence, in case the Person making such Discovery as aforesaid shall be liable to be prosecuted for the same: And the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury are hereby required to make Payments accordingly of the said Reward.

Given at the Court of York House, the Eighteenth Day of December, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eleven, in the Fifty-second Year of His Majesty's Reign.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

17th December 1811: Beggars in Nottingham rounded up by the authorities

On the 17th & 18th of December, the County Magistrates for Nottinghamshire rounded up a number of men who had been publicly soliciting contributions for those suffering hardship due to unemployment. The Magistrates had formed the conclusion that the money was being used the fund and sustain the Luddites and their activities. In total, 8 men were arrested from Nottingham and the neighbouring villages and sent to the Southwell House of Correction on the 19th December where they would remain until the next Quarter Sessions, when they would be tried as vagrants. At the same time, there were several imprisoned in Nottingham gaol on similar charges.

17th December 1811: Mayor & Common Council of the Town of Nottingham adopt new measures



AT a Common Hall or meeting of the Mayor and Common Council of the said Town, held at the Guildhall, in and for the said Town, on Tuesday the 17th day of December, 1811, for the special Purpose of taking into Consideration some Anonymous papers, addressed to the Magistrates and Corporate Body, since the Commencement of the present Disturbances, and relating thereto, and adopting such Resolutions thereupon, as may seem expedient to them: –

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY—That this Corporation do agree to pay a Sum not exceeding £500, to be advanced by the Chamberlains, to any Person or Persons, who may give such Information of the Authors, Writers, Publishers or Senders, of the two Papers hereafter described, or either of them, as he or they may be Convicted thereof, viz: A certain threatening Anonymous Paper, addressed the Mayor, and received by him on Sunday the 8th of December instant, intimating to him, that unless he complied with certain wishes expressed by the Author or Writer, it was intended on the part of the Author or Writer, to commit Murder upon some Person or Persons therein described; and also a wicked and Inflammatory paper, addressed by way of Notice to the Corporation, under the fictitious Name of Ned Lud, delivered at the Police Office on the Evening of the 16th of December Instant: Such Reward to be paid on the Conviction of the Parties, to such Persons, and in such proportion, as the Committee hereafter appointed shall, through the medium of the Town Clerk, direct.

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY—That a Committee be appointed, and which Committee was appointed accordingly, for the purposes hereafter named: And that the Signature of the Mayor to any Act or Proceedings of that Committee, countersigned by the Town Clerk as Clerk to such Committee, shall be deemed by this Hall to be conclusive Evidence that such Acts or Proceedings were done by, and had the Sanction of the Committee.

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY—That a Sum not exceeding Two Thousand Pounds, be paid by the Chamberlains of this Corporation to the Order and Direction of the Committee, towards obtaining such Information as may be needful in suppressing the present illegal and felonious Proceedings in the Town, and in bringing the Instigators and Abettors thereof to Punishment, and for assisting the Magistrates, or otherwise, as the Committee may think proper, for the Preservation of the Peace of the said Town and Neighbourhood, and the Protection of the Property thereof. And that the Receipt of the Mayor shall be a sufficient Discharge to the Chamberlains for all Sums of Money paid by them to the Order of the said Committee.

And for the purpose of enabling the said Committee to conduct their Operations with more efficacy and secresy, it was further Unanimously Resolved, that they shall have full Power and Authority to apply and dispose of the said Sum of Two Thousand Pounds to such Person or Persons, and in such Manner and Form as they may think requisite, without being compelled to render any Account thereof.

RESOLVED—That these Proceedings be drawn up by the Town Clerk, and entered into the Mayor's Books, and that the same be signed by him, and published in such Manner as the said Committee may direct.

By Order of the Committee,
GEO. COLDHAM, Town Clerk.

Friday, 16 December 2011

16th December 1811: Rick burning at Basford

A small rick of hay belonging to a farmer was set alight, near to Basford paper mill.

16th December 1811: The Rector of Loughborough writes to the Home Secretary

Loughborough Decr. 16. 1811


I have the honor, as one of the Magistrates of the County of Leicester, to address myself to you with respect to the disturbances which, from it’s contiguity to Nottinghamshire, & a considerable part of the Inhabitants being Frame-work knitters, have broken out in this part of the County where I reside.

I have the satisfaction to say that the activity of the Magistrates, by swearing many of the Inhabitants of the different Parishes as special Constables, & collecting as many of the Yeomanry Cavalry (who were very alert upon the occasion) have prevented any considerable damage from being done in this County; & the presence of the Military force, which his Majesty's Government have provided for us, will, of course, tend greatly to secure the public Peace: but the systematic proceedings of these Banditti, & the more than hints thrown out that the prices of Corn & Meat &c, must be regulated according to their ideas, will make it necessary to be very watchful of their motions at least thro’ the present Winter. The Magistrates with whom I have the honor to act, are very sensible of this, & have taken every [illegible] to reach the offenders; hitherto indeed without effect, except in one case, when Mr Dawson & I, have committed a man under the Black Act for extorting money to support Ned Ludd’s Army. The difficulty of procuring information is very great, & the willingness of parties to give evidence, from an universal fear of private injury to their persons or property, is so prevalent, that it is almost impossible to substantiate any charges.—The County Magistrates have no ground upon which they can draw, either to gain information, or to reward it, or to satisfy Persons for their loss of time, or the hazard they run, in attending, upon them, or acting under their directions. How far any of these difficulties could be removed by his Majesty's Government, I do not presume to say: but I venture to throw out these observations for consideration, & should be happy to find them listened.

I have [etc]

Ric Hardy
Rector of Loughbro’

Right Honble the Secretary of State for the Home Department &c &c &c

16th December 1811: Troop movements

Major Smith brought 250 men from the Cumberland regiment of Miltia into Derby, having travelled from Wellasey in Essex in waggons. They were to be stationed in the town over the Winter.

16th December 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Decr. 16 1811


By intelligence which I have received this day I learn that the party of the dissafected daily gains ground; this l have from authority on which I have every reason to rely. Nothing will do but the apprehension and punishment of some of the ringleaders and if possible to obtain possession of their papers should they have any, as in all probability they must have - Some clue might then be had by which to trace out the real designs of these people; at present we are working entirely in the dark Before long I anxiously hope that we may succeed in our endeavours, but as yet nothing has been done in the way of gaining secret intelligence as there have been no funds at the disposal of those you could obtain it. I have however authorized a person at my own expense to do this; no time should be lost in endeavouring to get to the bottom of this business, for conducting which the plans I am now convinced are laid much deeper than persons in general imagine.

Foreign agency is strongly suspected to be the support and mover of the whole, and it must be confessed that every thing on their part is conducted with very great ability. God grant that we may frustrate their intentions; whatever I can do I shall perform to the utmost of my power; as I have before mentioned, if I only knew what to do I should have no hesitation in carrying it into effect let it be what it would.

If you have any instructions to give or any suggestions to make I shall receive them with great pleasure.

I think I can do more good with a very intelligent, active and determined set of men in the middle class of life than with those who are in a higher situation, these people have already rendered essential service and I sanguinely hope will yet do something still more essential.

I have [etc.]


P.S. Major Cartwright is lately come down here, his relations and connections are in this County but we much fear that his object is not to see them.


16th December 1811: Proclamation "Ned Lud Gives Notic, to the Coperation,"

Ned Lud Gives Notic, to the

If the Coperation does not take means to Call A
Meeting with the Hoseiars about the prices Being—
Droped Ned will asemble 20000 Menn together in a few Days
and will Destroy the town in Spite of the Soldiers―
no King―

Thursday, 15 December 2011

15th December 1811: Mass unemployment, insurrection & military occupation

There are 20,000 stocking-makers out of employment. Six regiments of soldiers from different parts of the country have been sent into this town; and 300 new constables have been sworn to keep the peace. But all this is of no avail as the practice of setting fire to corn and hay stacks, and breaking open houses still continues. Nine Hundred Lace Frames have been broken, which cost £140 each; from twenty to thirty of them are destroyed in a night. The whole country, for twenty miles round, is full of these ruinous proceedings, nor can they be checked. Nottingham gaol is full of debtors; and the country is equally distressed. No trade; no money. This has been the case for two months. This town is now a garrison, and strictly under martial law. God only knows what will be the end of it; nothing but ruin.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

14th December 1811: More frame-breaking in Nottinghamshire

On the evening of Saturday 14th December, and after a comparative lull in activity for several days, Luddites became active in Nottinghamshire again.

3 frames were broken in Nottingham itself: 2 at Beck Barn (now Beck Street), and 1 in the 'field house'. Another 6 frames were broken at Bulwell and 4 at Arnold.

15th December 1811: Frame-breaking continues in the town of Nottingham

On the traditional Nottinghamshire Ludding day of Sunday, Luddites struck again in the town of Nottingham before 7 p.m. 2 lace frame were broken in Navigation Row and one lace frame in Broad Marsh, with another being carried away. The Nottingham Review gave a flavour of the response of the authorities:
"The daringness of these two night’s proceedings caused the magistrates to have recourse to very prompt and determined measures; they increased the number of special constables, and seized the men at whose houses the frames had been broken, under an impression that they were either accessory to, or connived at, the outrages. It has been proved since, however, that the men were all from home at the time."

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

13th December 1811: An insurrection "with no parallel in history"

The insurrectional state to which this county has been reduced for the last month, has no parallel in history, since the troubled days of Charles the First, against which misguided Monarch it took so decided a part. Day after day have the Magistrates, both of the town and county, used every possible endeavour to restore tranquillity; day after day have they added to the strength and activity of the civil powers, and called in additional aid of the military; but hitherto, their exertions have been but of little avail; a mysterious organization has been brought into existence, which baffles every ordinary effort to suppress it.―The rioters appear suddenly, in armed parties, under regular commanders; the chief of whom, be he whomsoever he may, is (called) General Ludd, and his orders are as implicitly obeyed as if he had received his authority from the hands of a Monarch. Indeed it is well understood, that disobedience to his commands is punishable with death, according to a solemn oath administered to all the party; and any that gives information against any of them, subjects himself to the vengeance of the whole organized band, both in person and property; some dreadful examples in the latter instance having already been inflicted, by the burning of haystacks, &c.; hence it is that so few impeachments are made, and so few of the depredators apprehended.

13th December 1811: Hosiers meet again in Nottingham

On Friday the 13th of December, Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers met again, this time at Thurland Hall to discuss a response to the disturbances. The meeting agreed to publish a list of prices for work that was very close to the requests of the framework-knitters.

Monday, 12 December 2011

12th December 1811: Arson at Basford

On the evening of Thursday 12th December, two stacks - one of hay & one of seeds - belonging to a Mr Pepper, a Miller, were set on fire at Basford.

12th December 1811: Lord Middleton to Home Office

Leamington near Warwick
12 Decr. 1811

My Lord,

The Riots at Nottingham and the vicinity as your Lordship will readily believe, call’d me promptly to my house at Wollaton, as they had threatened to take possession of 200 stand of arms I have there. I was anxious to be upon the spot to inquire and observe, the causes and the consequences of the Dispositions that have been so alarming and disgraceful.

I returnd from thence this morning, and consider it my especial duty from every point of consideration, to communicate to Your Lordship my view of these circumstances without delay.

I can form no judgements upon the question the ostensible cause of dissatisfaction between the Hoziers and the Knitters Declarations and assertions are so various. But the dissatisfied, have now gained such an ascendancy & system, that unless prompt and powerful measures are applied, I think the season of winter and the want to which they have reduced themselves, by the extensive destruction of the implements necessary to earn their support threatens the most serious results.

More than a thousand persons are now without their usual means of subsistance, and many persons are entirely ruined.

The Town appears within these few days only, to be so organised as to promise tolerable security, but I do not think that an adequate system has been adopted around the neighbourhood, where the greatest injury is sustained.

Many Constables have been sworn in especially and I believe they are disposed to act firmly, but these men living many in detatched houses, and many in straggling villages, would easily be prevented from uniting together in cases of alarm, which makes it particularly pressing in my humble opinion, that small Military Escorts, should be so stationed, as to enable the well desposed to get together for general co-operation.

I should judge that a very small intermixed force of cavalry and Infantry quartered in neighbouring villages, would do this effectually, and then I think the inhabitants so uniting, would do for themselves all that might be required, But it is a practice the Rioters rely most upon, to threaten and appal those who shew hostility to their proceedings, - and it is not to be wondered at that it should succeed with the class upon their own level, or those but little above it.

Indeed from thirty years residence in the neighbourhood, and my particular knowledge of the Town of Nottingham and itsMagistrates, I am warranted in being of opinion, that it should never be without a Regiment of Five Hundred Infantry. and a strong Squadron of Cavalry. Had such means been within the reach of the County Magistrates when the first act of open violence took place, the subsequent consequences would not I am confidently disposed to believe, have occur’d.

The Town of Nottingham is extensive, has many Inns, and numberless public houses, and could well support a necessary force without feeling oppressd, even should they derive no relief from the Establish’d Barracks, and altho I should not be disposed to risk any suggestion of offence to the Military Commander of a District, l really feel that I am but in the execution of an important Duty when I submit to you My Lords an opinion, which has always influenced me with equal force, namely, that a very small body of Troops in comparison, consisting of Horse and foot, stationed also in small
intermixed parties, upon the Arch of Circles concentre to the populous Manufacturing Towns, would afford promptly a very considerable and effectual force for the immediate suppression of popular tumult in any direction.

Upon a subject so serious, I am persuaded your Lordship will pardon my intrusion, it must now become a subject for Parliamentary consideration, a repetition of outrage within six months, and the disaffected so organized, calls for executive measures. The confidence of the populace from having done great mischief in the presence of a few Dismounted Dragoons has occasioned the ruin of many, and the forced contributions prolongs the danger.

I have 30 armed men night and day in Wollaton House which it is my determination to defend at whatever risk and having fulfilled my duty I have the Honor to be My Lord your Lordships

Most faithful servant


12th December 1811: Town Clerk of Nottingham to Home Office

[Undated but written before 12 Dec. 1811]


It was on the 21st of November that I last addressed you by the direction of the Magistrates except my letter of yesterday on the subject of the Committee for Offences relating hereto which have lately taken place in the Town. I now write because I think it my duty for the information of his Majestys Ministers to apprize you of such Circumstances as have taken place in my Observation as may enable you to judge of the real character of the present disturbances. I am sorry to say they have not assumed in my eyes a more favorable aspect from my long attention to them. It has been the duty of the Magistrates to maintain the peace and protect the property of their fellow Townsmen and the Corporate Body and Corporate Magistrates have been active and Zealous in the Execution of this duty but it is necessary that Government should acquire as accurate Ideas as possible of the origin nature and extent of the mischief.

Ever since the 21st of November the Magistrates for the Town have kept up a nightly watch of thirty six Constables and placed Guards of the Military in different parts of the Town. Active peace Officers have been kept Night and Day at a place of which public Notice has been given so as that a Military Guard could be moved at any Moment to any part of their district which was in danger and a report in writing has been required by the Magistrates every morning both from the regular and special constables of the state of the Town for the preceeding night. The good Effects of these precautions have been strongly evinced by their Consequences; for we have not witnessed in the Town any Public Outrage or attempt to raise a Tumult. The whole property destroyed therein has not exceeded ten Frames. For destroying Five of these two of the culprits were apprehended by the Nightly Patrole of Constables immediately after the Fact and part of the Frames were found upon them. With respect to one other of the Frames destroyed, so vigilant were the Police that they arrived at the House before the work of destruction was completed and the Frame Breakers escaped out of a two pair of Stair Window at the Back of the House, one of whom is supposed to be very much hurt in effecting his Escape.

The great body of the present Mischief arises from the endeavours of the labouring Classes by terror to compell their Employers to increase the price of their labour and otherwise conduct the Manufactory in a manner more agreeable to the Interests or prejudice of the Artizan and this System must be kept down by Force before we can expect the restoration of Public Tranquility.

It must not be forgotten that the want of Demand for the Goods manufactured is one of the main springs of the distresses of the People which it is out of power of their employers to remedy Besides this I believe it is the Opinion of the well informed among the Manufacturers that the quantity of Frames and of persons engaged in the Manufactory was even in prosperous times more than commensurate to the demands; and therefore in these times of diminished consumption of Hosiery this circumstance magnifies the distress occasioned by the failure of the Trade But I am very much afraid that this distress has been made to bear with double force upon the Artizan by several of the Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers endeavouring to force a demand for their Goods by diminishing their price in the Market which they have contrived to effect by diminishing the wages paid to the Workman All these Causes have combined to throw numbers of the Labouring class out of Employment or to diminish the produce of their Labours and excited amongst them a deep feeling of discontent and an union amongst those Manufacturers who are spread in every direction thro’ a wide extent of country. This spirit of discontent has so long existed that it has led to a system of co-operation and to systematic plans of forcing upon the Hosiers or the public some decisive measures for relief. These give the present disturbances a most serious aspect the more especially as it is in vain to conceal from ourselves that whilst these efforts of the people are adding additional force and strength and extent to the distresses under which they labour they have been in the Country productive of a sense of terror which has enabled the emissaries of the people who conduct them to collect considerable sums of Money of the Farmers, and of such of the Frameworkknitters and Lace Hands as are in employment we have no doubt voluntarily contribute weekly to support them. This again has a tendency to extend the mischief by suffering numbers to acquire habits of supporting themselves this way without labour and it is difficult to say to what length this conduct and these habits connected with deep discontent may lead them. Already we have seen in the Country numbers of these people armed and acting by signal by Guns fired from village to village. Anonymous threats and incendiary letters have been addressed to Manufacturers in the Town and I am sorry to say that these proceedings of the People have produced considerable alarm among their Employers and daily dispose Individuals amongst them more or less to conform their modes of conducting their Business to the will of the People. This cannot happen without its being the productive parent of further evil. Since the first origin of these disturbances which have now existed more or less Six or Seven Months the great Engine of Terror with the people has been to destroy the Stocking Frames of those Manufacturers who have been most odious to their Eyes and it is supposed that in the whole about Eight hundred Frames have been destroyed of the value of Eight thousand Pounds depreciated as this species of Property is by the dreadful state of the Manufactory — but of more than double that value if the Trade was in a prosperous state.

At present there seems to be a pause in the work of Mischief; but from all the Information I can collect there appears little tendency in the people to be satisfied. On the contrary I think the spirit of discontent is as deeply spread as ever and I am afraid is only making such arrangements as may be necessary to keep up the system of Terror under the difficulties which are created to it by the large Military Force which the Magistrates have called to their aid in the district I most sincerely hope that that aid will be Effectual to the protection of the Public Peace and that it may be able to accomplish what is still more difficult, the entire protection of the property of Individuals, but after what has occurred here it is impossible not to suspect that the great bulk of the Workmen are confederate with the Frame-breakers and that most of them are so desirous of rendering their Employers subservient to their wishes that they would invite the destruction of the Frames of their Masters rather than protect

— Under such Circumstances it is very difficult for the Magistrates to provide for the Security of this property and this had occasioned the removal of large portions of it into the Town of Nottingham for Security which again has a tendency to increase the number of people unable to support themselves by their usual labour.

I am afraid you will think me tedious and am apprehensive that you may have heard the nature of these disturbances detailed to you in a more able manner by other persons, but I could not satisfy myself without a full communication of the view in which they have appeared to me because I am truly apprehensive that they are every day increasing and must if they remain sow the seeds, of more extensive mischief. If the People are once taught that they can accomplish the objects of their wishes by a system of Terror I feel assured that they will proceed further than breaking Frames and it is Difficult to say who may be the next Objects of their Vengeance.

I have [etc.]

Geo. Coldham, Town Clerk

Sunday, 11 December 2011

11th December 1811: More frame-breaking in Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire

On the evening of Wednesday the 11th December, 'several' frames were broken at Ripley in Derbyshire and 1 at Burton Joyce in Nottinghamshire.

The Derby Mercury of 12th December reported that many frames had been broken during the week at Ilkeston (30 frames), Makeney, Heage, Holbrook, Crich, Swanwick & Riddings.

11th December 1811: The spy 'B' reports on a Sheffield contact and delegates heading to Yorkshire

Colonel Fletcher's spy 'B' sent another report headed the 9th December about his activities in the political underground of Lancashire and Cheshire's secret committees. On that day, he was called upon by a contact from Sheffield, Wilkinson. Wilkinson told 'B' about the secret committee there, who were very cautious about who they admitted to their meetings but had a large fund for expenses. Wilkinson's estimate of the men available for any kind of uprising was 'twelve to fourteen thousand'. Wilkinson told 'B' that Nottinghamshire folk resented people in Sheffield for not acting in concert with them over the past month since disturbances commenced.

'B' went on to relate Wilkinson's words about the strong levels of discontent in the Northern counties, saying that even "their Children not forteen years of eage Reals against this present Government".

Wilkinson wished to know the state of the Manchester committees but, like one of 'B's Irish contacts Cannovan, was frustrated at their failure to 'exert them selves'. He left 'B' the following day, Tuesday 10th December, promising to relate information about goings on in the Manchester area.

On the 10th, 'B' had been to attend a committee at Mottram in Cheshire. The meeting agreed to send a delegate into Yorkshire, to ascertain how things were there, but also to make clear that Manchester was not as 'ready' as they may think. The delegate would leave on Monday 16th December, would report back every 4 days, and have 10 shillings per day for expenses, payable upon his return.

On 11.00 a.m. Wednesday 11th December, 'B' attended a 'very respectable' meeting at the Exchange Buildings in Manchester. attended by 270 gentlemen and clergy, with 'B' being particularly complementary about a clergyman, Ethelston. Though 'B' is vague about the purpose of the meeting, it clearly was not secret and indicates the differing social circles he moved in.

Lastly, 'B' reported he had visited the Stockport committee, who still met despite the theft of their funds, but no longer collected contributions. He related that Cannovan had been in touch with them to find out what he could, but gave little information in return, saying he was headed for London.

11th December 1811: Three more men committed to Trial in Nottingham

On Wednesday 11th December, three more men were committed for trial at the next Assizes.

William Parkes & George Shaw were committed to the County gaol, charged with entering a house with force and breaking five stocking frames on 25th November 1811 in the St Mary's Parish of the town of Nottingham.

Meanwhile, John Ingham was charged with writing and sending a threatening letter signed 'Ned Lud & Co' letters to his employer, William Nunn & Co., on 15th November 1811.

They were to stand trial at the next Assizes, in March 1812.