Luddite attack on the mill of Francis Vickerman 1812













Luddite Attacks

Newspaper report of the attack on the premises of Francis Vickerman

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March 1812
Published in a Leeds newspaper


The accounts from the neighbourhood of Huddersfield are this week very alarming:-

About 8 o’clock on Sunday evening, a number of armed men with their faces disfigured, assembled upon the premises of Mr Francis VICKERMAN of Tayor-Hill, and announced their arrival by the discharge of a gun; two of the party rushed into the house and inquired for Mr. Vickerman, and as soon as he presented himself, one of the men said "Ned Ludd of Nottingham has ordered me to break this clock" and without further ceremony, forced the muzzle of his blunderbus into the clock face.

Alarmed by the outrageous conduct and language of the depredators, Mr. Vickerman withdrew into a room above stairs, and a party of the snappers, as they are called, was placed as guard over the family, while a number of other proceeded to the work of destruction in the work-shops, and broke from 20 to 30 pairs of shears.

Having effected their purpose, a volley from the fire arms was discharged into the parlour window, and a cupboard in the room, near which Mr. Vickerman was accustomed to sit, was perforated in several places by the balls, which on examination, were found to consist of the leaden seals or stamps usually placed at the ends of woollen pieces, made into a kind of slugs. Providentially, Mrs. Vickerman was placed with her affrighted children in such a situation in the room as to escape unhurt, and the men from within the house calling to them without, for God’s sake to desist, the firing ceased. As soon as the shears were broken, the cry of "Out," "Out," proceeded by several voices; they then retired into a field, and their numbers, to which they answered, being called over, they dispersed about half an hour before the arrival of the Military Guard, which it was known would be placed at nine o’clock.

On entering the work-shops after the rioters had retired, it was found that not content with breaking the shears, they had wantonly laid a sheet of wool and two pieces* of fine cloth upon the stove, which were nearly consumed, and in a few minutes the premises, it is apprehended, would have been in a flame.

Tuesday’s Gazette contains a Proclamation, offering a reward of two hundred guineas for the discovery and conviction of the persons concerned in the late outrages committed in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield, in this county.

* piece – standard length of cloth