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Monday, May 26, 2008

Insurrection in Suffolk

from the Bury and Norwich Post 1830

A meeting of the Aldermen and Magistrates was held last night in Bury Guildhall in this borough yesterday se’nnight when resolutions were passed declaring that there was no cause of the apprehension for the peace of the town existed but that vigorous measures would be taken in the event disturbances in the town or neighbourhood, in case of which the inhabitants were invited to attend immediately to be sworn in as Special Constables. On Wednesday however it was thought to be desirable to be prepared for any possible tumult and a large number of Special Constables were sworn on that and the following day.

On Monday se’nnight at about nine in the morning, a large body of labourers of the parish of Stanningfield entered the village of Whepstead and proceeding to the house of Rev T.Image who is Rector of both parishes, they told him the farmers were willing to raise their wages provided that he would reduce their tithes. Mr Image promised that he would make a reduction if the labourers had the benefit of it; the men then asked for some refreshment and obtained the sum of £2 of which they gave 10s to a party of the Whepstead people and they then returned home. In the afternoon the Whepstead people, stimulated by this example; proceeded to the farm of Mr N.Winfield and insisted that his workmen, 21 in number should go with them, compelling those who were at plough to leave the horses in the field and only leaving one man at Mr Winfield’s earnest entreaty to finish up dressing a load of corn. They next proceeded to Mr Denny’s and took away his labourers and from thence to Sir T.Hammond who gave them ten shillings, they then called upon Mr Image and obtained £2 from him, subsequently to which Mr Winfield gave them 10s to protect his own property, and another farmer gave a smaller sum. With this money they made themselves merry for the night and returned to work the next day. On Saturday a parish meeting was held when it was agreed to make an addition to the wages of the parish. This statement was made at the request of Mr Winfield in consequence of an unfounded charge having been preferred against him having instigated the proceedings of the labourers.

Similar assemblages to the above have taken place in other parishes to the West of this town. On Saturday night four men were apprehended at Chevington (some of them being taken from their beds) and brought before the magistrates who sat during the whole Sunday at the Shirehall in this town and finally committed them for trial at the ensuing Sessions on the charge of having riotously and tumultuously assembled for the purpose of obtaining a rise in wages and having taken men away from their employment. Five more were apprehended on that day and committed on Monday, warrants have been issued against others concerned in these illegal proceedings. We trust this will be a warning to others who may be ignorant of the unlawfulness of such assemblages, for which every person who is present is equally liable to punishment even though no acts of violence should be committed. The magistrates hold meetings at the Shirehall daily for the dispatch of business

On Monday se’nnight the labouring men working on the roads in the neighbourhood Hadleigh refused to commence work unless an advance was made in their pay which has hitherto been at the rate of 1s 6d a day they now claim 2s a day pay. A select vestry was held on Thursday to take labourer’s propositions into consideration, and they were refused but the farmers offered to take them to work on their land at 10s a week and beer which the men refused, consequently they remained the week without work or money. On Wednesday a number of special constables were sworn in and a night patrol was established.

After the meeting of the Lord Lieutenant and Magistrates on the 2nd inst, Sir Wm Middleton and other gentlemen in the Boamera and Claydon Hundred called a meeting on the following day which was very numerous and respectfully attended, after the arrangements for a constabulary force had been explained, the Chairman expressed his anxiety to relieve the distresses of the poor in the Hundred, particularly as they had at the time exhibited no symptoms of a riotous nature. He therefore declared his intention to reduce his rents in order to enable his tenantry to pay better wages and employ a greater number of hands; but he made this abatement upon the express understanding that the poor were to be benefited by it. Several other gentlemen having expressed similar opinions, the meeting was postponed till Wednesday last when the Directors and other Landed Proprietors met for the purpose of agreeing upon some plans to relieve and pay the poor. It was attended by most of the Directors and other Gentlemen who had property in the Hundred. There appeared to be but one opinion as to the existing distress and upon a calculation being made as to the number of men compared with the number of acres in the Hundred; it appeared that if one man was employed to every thirty acres of land throughout the Hundred, every able-bodied man belonging to different parishes would be fully employed and the Occupiers of land by receiving benefit from the labour for which they would pay out a trifle more than in paying to the poor rate. The meeting also thought that less than 1s 8d per day was not a fair price to a able bodied man for his labour. And it was stated that the farmer was over burdened with expenses and was totally unable to meet these additional expenses, it was agreed by most of the gentlemen present to reduce their rents and tithes upon the express understanding mentioned by the Chairman at the previous meeting and that agreed to urge every land and tithe holder to do the same. It also appeared to the meeting that it would be right that men with families should receive some additional relief and they agreed that there should be allowed weekly to families of three children under the age of twelve years of age, 6d, and for the fourth child, ninepence, and the same for every such child above four. Amongst the suggestions for the employment of the poor and their families, it appeared to be thought that knitting schools would be very beneficial if generally adopted in the parishes, and it was strongly recommended to be done. One has been already instituted in the parish of Barham and has succeeded very well. They are attended with a trifling expense and the governor stated the he could readily dispose of all the stockings made throughout the Hundred. The meeting strongly urged their suggestions and recommendations to be adopted.

Yesterday sennight in compliance with the resolutions passed by the Magistrates at Ipswich, those acting in the Hundred of Blything attended at Walpole for the purpose of swearing in the respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood as a special constable; on this proceeding considerable agitation manifested itself among the labourers who had exclaimed “we are starving”. Col.Bence, on hearing of these exclamations, went up to the men and having remonstrated in vain, upon their showing symptoms of insubordinations, seized one man who was very conspicuous and attempted to carry him before the Magistrates who were in the Justice room. A cry of “Rescue” was made by the labourers and Col Bence was thrown down; Lord Huntingfield was also roughly handled. This took place amidst loud cries of “down with the rents and tithes”. About 7-8 o’clock in the evening of the same day a fire broke out in the stackyard of Mr Stanford of Westleton, no doubt the work of an incendiary.

A fire broke out on Thursday evening of the 7th inst between 7-8 o’clock in the stackyard of Mr O.Palmer at Ramsey about 4 miles form Harwich. As soon as the alarm was given Sir G.Hoste, Bart. Ordered the Ordinance fire engine and a file of soldiers from Harwich to the spot and accompanied by Capt Kitchen, R.N. Anthony Cox, Esq, Mayor, and several of the inhabitants immediately followed, by whose exertions the flames were subdued. The fire commenced in a pea stack which was totally consumed and communicated to a wheat stack adjoining which was nearly destroyed. There were several other stacks in the direction of the wind but they were happily preserved. There is little doubt but this fire was caused by an incendiary and that his malice was directed against Mr Palmer, from the circumstances of his having hired a threshing-machine which was to have been set to work on Wednesday. No sooner were the flames extinguished and the soldiers departed than a number of agricultural labourers seized upon the machine which was on the premises and broke it to pieces. Nine men have been apprehended for this act and committed to Chelmsford gaol and two men are apprehended on suspicion of setting fire to the stacks.

On Saturday evening at about half past 5 o’clock a fire was discovered in a haystack standing in a meadow on Goose Green, Beccles, belonging to Mr Geo. Fenn of that town. Very fortunately it was discovered in time to be put out without doing much damage to the stack, no doubt but it was the work of some incendiary as there is no house or other property near it except another haystack.

On the same night a stack of marsh hay standing in the marsh on Gilligham Dam, the property of Mr Goat of Beccles was set on fire and entirely consumed.

On Monday morning last a partial rising of the labourers of the parish of Melford took place for an advance of their wages but by the prompt assistance of the neighbouring Magistrates and special constables, five of the ringleaders were taken into custody and committed to Bury gaol which prevented any further disturbances.

Last week upwards of 150 special constables were sworn in at Boxford and adjoining parishes.

Last week several farmers and others were summoned before a Magistrate at Bradfield in order to be sworn in as special constables, but when they assembled there was some dissatisfaction appearing amongst them as to serving

Those who did not wish to be sworn were ordered to leave the room which they did and left the Magistrate alone.

(WHY ?)
His Majesty’s free pardon has been received here at Bury Gaol for Isaac Jeffries and Thomas Wakeling who were severally convicted of the felony at a Sessions holden by the Recorder and Magistrates in and for the Borough of Sudbury in October last. We understand that the above pardons were granted in consequence of the Law Officers of the Crown being of the opinion that the Charter only gives the Sessions jurisdiction to try misdemeanours and not cases of felony. Jeffries was sentenced to be transported for 7 years and Wakeling to 3 months imprisonment.

On Wednesday last, five male convicts were removed from Bury gaol to be put on board the Leviathan Hulk lying at Portsmouth, viz. William Savage, John Savage, Peter Aylward, John Oakley and Robert Kemp to be severally transported for 7 years. Mary Ann Fobister, a female convict, was also to be removed at the same time to be put aboard the ship America lying at Woolwich, to be transported for 14 years.

Commited to Bury Gaol—John Evered, Robert Flack, Abraham Hammond and Thomas Nunn (by J. Bejafield, R.Dalton and O.R. Oakes, Esqrs.) charged with having with divers other persons on the 10th inst riotously assembled at the parish of Chevington with intent by force to obtain an increase of wages and to instigate other persons to join them for the illegal destruction of threshing machines.—Samuel Jolly, Joseph Rawlinson and William Diss, (by B.B.Sayer and W.Mayd, Clerks) charged with having been extremely active in exciting a riotous mob which was assembled in the street of the parish of Great Thurlow on the 6th inst and likewise on their way there were forcing men to leave their ploughs and their work in the barns and go with them—John Harlock, (by B.B.Syer and Wm Mayd, Clerks) charged with attempting to rescue Isaac Hargrave who was taken into custody for being one of the principal instigators of the mob at Great Thurlow—Richard Green, (by B.B Sayer and Wm Mayd, Clerks) charged on the oath of Mary Farrants the wife of George Farrants, of Stoke next Clare, labourer, with having on the 8th inst come with many other persons in a riotous and tumultuous manner to the house of her husband and violently assaulting her and compelled her husband to join the mob—William Norman, (by G.Gataker, Esq) convicted of wandering about the parish of Eriswell and using threats concerning the firing of the said parish and otherwise to the great fear of Elizabeth, the wife of Robt. Manning and others and refusing to find sureties to keep the peace for three calendar months.

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