27th December 1830 - Salisbury court convenes to try 830 Swing Rioters

Swingletter.jpgOn 27th December 1830 a special court was convened to try the Swing Rioters[1].

The Swing Movement was a mass movement against the social conditions of the times. It was a popular movement - the reason a special court had to be convened was that there were eight hundred and thirty people being brought before the court.

At the time, the population of Salisbury was only about 9000[2]. The accused came from all over the area - not just Salisbury itself, but given that not all of the ‘Rioters’ would have actually been arrested there must have been many people involved.

Two of the 830 - Peter Withers and James Lush - were sentenced to death by hanging. A petition was organised and ‘signed by no less than 1,100 of the most respectable inhabitants of the county, including those who had been injured by the rioters and nearly all the jurymen who convicted[3].’ The death sentence was commuted to transportation to a penal colony for life.

A further 26 were transported for life, and various other punishments were handed out.

The King subsequently thanked the Wiltshire Yeomanry for their efforts.

Image credit

The signature is from a photo of sent during the Swing Riots. Wikimedia Commons says that it’s in the Public Domain because it’s a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government and taken prior to 1 June 1957. See via Wikimedia Commons

Footnotes

[1] The Popular History Of Old & New Sarum. T. J. Northy, Published by the Wiltshire County Mirror & Express Co. Ltd., 1897. Available digitally on the Internet Archive - URL: https://archive.org/stream/popularhistoryof00nort/popularhistoryof00nort_djvu.txt.

[2] Wiltshire Council - Wiltshire Community History Get Population/Census Information

[3] The Popular History Of Old & New Sarum. T. J. Northy, Page 378. Published by the Wiltshire County Mirror & Express Co. Ltd., 1897. Available digitally on the Internet Archive - URL: https://archive.org/stream/popularhistoryof00nort/popularhistoryof00nort_djvu.txt.

Last Post Next Post