Pentrich uprising 1817

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Pentrich uprising

Pentrich uprising1817

Pentrich rising summaryOn June 8th 1817, the local yeomanry a term used at this time to describe wealthy working farmers below the rank of gentlemen; they had moderate wealth suppressed a disturbance in Huddersfield. The next day, the focal point of the uprisings was the East Midlands, a heartland of post-war radicalism. Around 500 workers from a variety of occupations and roles set out with the intention of attacking Nottingham Castle, as a run-up to a wider national rising, moving south towards London.The rising was a failure due to the ease of which the government managed to supress it, particularly as a result of the government spies. The local authorities responded severely, and Jeremiah Brandreth, one of the leaders. Was executed on November 7th that year for his involvement.

Why did the uprising take place?It can be suggested that the radical Luddite uprising in 1811-1812, attacking industrial machinery, became influential with regards to following uprisings. In some parts of the Midlands, every village had a club where meetings ended with revolutionary songs following speeches which were destructive of the social order, recommending the equalisation of property. (Report of a House of Lords committee of enquiry.) The causes of the uprising are mixed, stemming not only from the leadership and activities of influential radical leaders, but also from the introduction of government legislation, other (somewhat natural) factors and also social issues.

Why did the uprising take place?The abolition of Income Tax in 1815 led to revolutionary values, due to the increased indirect taxation placed on goods. This caused a huge amount of discontent within society, consequently increasing the possibility of revolution. The introduction of the Game Laws in 1816 also led to the possibility for uprising. These laws punished those who were caught poaching, a common practice of the poor. The enactment of The Corn Laws in 1815 kept out foreign grain and kept up prices to the consumer. Imported grain was prohibited if the price of domestic grain fell below 4 per quarter ton. The effect was to make the cost of bread prohibitive to the general population. Clearly this led to dissatisfaction, particularly amongst the poor, as corn / bread was a staple food source for these people at this time.

Why did the uprising take place?Bad harvests and a rise in food prices, particularly in 1816, meant that crops were poor, proving insufficient and overpriced corn, which would not feed the poor.The industrial revolution resulted in a major shift from domestic to factory industries. This led to rural-urban migration, causing a population rise and exploitation of workers by the capitalist ruling classes. Post war issues put pressure on the ironworks businesses, who reduced their coal output. There were around 300,000 demobilised troops returning from war, who found employment unobtainable. The demand for works soared and exploitation increased, with lower wages and harsher conditions. Inadequate parish relief failed, causing many of the workers thrown out of employment to suffer, becoming paupers.The French Revolution can be said to have spread revolutionary ideas and beliefs to Britain. Revolutionary principles had the possibility of violence, as witnessed in France at the height of the revolution. They reacted with severely repressive legislation.

Failure of the revolution Lack of co-ordinated leadership.Lack of will of the people.Government control of the situation as a result of a network of spies, which ensured that all revolutionary activity was known and action taken before any serious situation could develop

ConsequencesThe leaders of the Pentrich Rebellion together with several of their followers were tried for High Treason in October 1817.The three leaders were sentenced to hanging while some 14 were sentenced to transportation to a penal colony in Australia.


This is an announcement/report on the execution of the convicted leaders, Jeremiah Brandreth; William Turner; and Isaac Ludlam, who were executed by hanging on November 7th 1817.