Following the Poor Law Amendment Act , the newly formed Board of Guardians made its first demand for money in 1838 – when £50 was required from the Todmorden tax payers – and the township refused to pay.
On 14th November 1838, hundreds of local men, armed with clubs and other weapons, assembled at Mankinholes and proceeded to visit the homes of the men who served on the Board of Guardians and other prominent supporters of the Act. The mob attacked the houses, breaking windows, doors and furniture. William Greenwood, at Watty Place in Dulesgate, and his brother John Greenwood, were two of the people singled out by rioters seeking vengeance.
On 16th November 1838, there were further violent scenes in the Mankinholes/Lumbutts area of Todmorden, when a mob of 2000 people attacked 2 constables – Constable Feather and Sergeant King – who were attempting to arrest William Ingham for refusing to pay fines.
On 21st November 1838, another riot was sparked off by a rumour that police were about to attempt to seize Ingham's property. When the rumour was found to be false, the mob visited the homes of those who supported the new Poor Law, including Todmorden Hall.
On 24th November 1838, a company of Dragoons [from Manchester], soldiers and police arrested all the men at Lumbutts Mill and two buses took 14 men to York Castle:
John Fielden offered to stand the men's bail, but this was refused, although the 4 Fielden Brothers were later accepted as sureties for all the prisoners [10th January 1839]. The men were released on bail in January 1839.
The men were tried at York on 21st March 1839, along with
Following the riots, the government sent a group to investigate whether John Fielden had incited, encouraged or supported the rioters.
Other people mentioned in reports on the riots included
In April 1839, George Turner and James Lord were indicted for a riot and for demolishing the doors and windows of Helliwell's house. Lord was found not guilty, and Turner was found guilty
has become obnoxious by her advocacy of the new Poor Law
had the windows and property in her shop broken and damaged
Page Ref: MMM109
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