The Pentrich Revolution : 1817

This revolution started at Pentrich, near Ripley in Derbyshire, on the 9th. June 1817, and was
in protest at unemployment, poor working conditions, and low wages,
with many men working a 14 hour day, and hardly earning enough to feed their families.

Four men, Isaac Ludlam, Thomas Bacon, William Turner,
and William Oliver, were the ringleaders, and they recruited Jeremiah Brandreth
to lead them. Unbeknown to the others, William Oliver was a government
spy, and was acting as an agent provocateur, travelling around
the country and inciting the uprisings, telling the reformers that
70,000 radicals in London were also planning a revolution on June 9th.

The Pentrich men first planned to march on Nottingham, and then continue
on to London, hoping to meet up with, and recruit others on the way.
About 50 men set off from South Wingfield, they travelled through Ripley,
Codnor, Langley Mill, and Eastwood, calling at, and drinking in, various
pubs along the way, (including the Sun Inn at Eastwood, pictured below).

The Sun Inn : Eastwood

Sun Inn : Eastwood

Brandreth demanded weapons and men as they passed through the villages, in
order to help fight the revolution. He had also shot and killed a servant,
Robert Walters, at the farm of a Mr. Hepworth, for not complying with his requests,
and later used this killing to intimidate others who disobeyed
his orders, or refused to join the revolution.

On reaching Giltbrook, they were now over 300 strong, but they were then
confronted by a troop of the 15th. Hussars Cavalry, who had been
despatched from Nottingham, after being informed of the impending
revolution by a magistrate, Lancelot Rolleston, who had himself
ridden to Nottingham, ahead of the rowdy mob.
The now drunken rabble, were no match for the Hussars, and were
quickly dispersed. Some fled, and others were arrested. 35 men including
Brandreth, Turner, and Ludlam, were later charged with high treason.

Brandreth, Turner, and Ludlam, were sentenced to be hung, drawn
and quartered, after being convicted of high treason. The sentence
was carried out on the 7th. November 1817, at Derby. The men
were first hung for half an hour, and then beheaded, the drawing
and quartering part of the sentence was not carried out.
14 others were transported for life to Australia.

Brandreth loses his head.

Brandreth, looking remarkably like Dennis, from Eastwood.

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Copyright 2003 Gavin Gillespie