Littleport’s Bread or Blood Riot Begins

BOOK CAMBRIDGESHIRE HOTELS

History on 22nd May


Burgess and Maclean Defect

Abbeystead Disaster

Littleport’s Bread or Blood Riot Begins

Littleport, Cambridgeshire The 22nd of May 1816 AD

The end of the Napoleonic Wars with victory at Waterloo led not to a golden age of peace and prosperity, but harsh economic conditions and no political gains for the vast majority of the population. Discontent continued for years, most famously evidenced in the events that concluded with the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. Three years previously a less well-known demonstration of resentment occurred in the Cambridgeshire town of Littleport, notable for the severe reaction of the authorities afterwards.
A mutual aid club meeting fatefully at a local inn, The Globe, found that rather than a few members needing support, nearly all did. Wages were low, food prices rising rapidly, and unemployment growing. The beer doubtless fuelled hot-heads: they drummed up more support and proceeded on a rampage round the town’s wealthier homes, demanding money with the threat of violence and where not thus placated smashing goods and stealing cash anyway. The next day they moved on to Ely , repeating the performance until a troop of Dragoons brought from Bury-St-Edmunds arrived.
The rioters returned to Littleport and prepared for a stand in The George and Dragon there. A gun battle ensued before the rebels were captured, though some hid in the fens for weeks, and some fled not to return for years. One trying to bolt was shot dead.
At the June trial of the culprits 24 were sentenced to death, but the magistrates feared reprisals so commuted all but five sentences to a year in Ely gaol or transportation to Botany Bay for seven years (then changed their minds again, those facing a year in prison joining their comrades in the journey to Australia). The unlucky five were hanged just outside Ely on June 28 1816.

More famous dates here

4966 views since 10th January 2011

Brit Quote:
I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. - Sir John Mortimer
More Quotes

On this day:
Sacking of Berwick upon Tweed - 1296, End of the Crimean War - 1856, Airey Neave assasinated - 1979, John Major gets on his Soapbox - 1992, 1st Broadcast of Channel 5 - 1997, Queen Mother Dies - 2002
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages

//