reply to post by Dr Conspire
For those that want to research the topic further, the Captain Swing or the Swing Riots took place in 1830/1831 the riots started in Kent, and spread
quickly to Sussex.. from there it spread through-out the South of England.
The issues where under-employment due to new tech (threshing machines) return of Soldiers from the Napoleonic wars, and the previous mass migration of
the Huguenot's (said to be the largest migration in Britain's history)
So by the 1830's many of the villages in Kent and East Sussex were filled with people living on the edge of starvation. The poor relief that had been
started in previous centuries could not keep pace with the growing demand, and the corruption of officials only added to the dissatisfaction.
e.g To illustrate the problems a labourer from Henfield, Sussex, showed his itemised expenses and income. His food and rent came to 14 shillings and
one and a halfpenny (about 70.5 pence in current coinage) his income was 12 shillings and thrupence (about 61.5 pence) for seven working days in the
summer, the parish added 1 shilling and six pence (about 7.5 pence) relief per week which bought his total to 13 shillings and 9 pence (about 69
pence) for the week. The cost of clothing, footware and heating added on meant that he was getting deeper in debt with no way out. (sounds to much
like today, does it not)
The leader of the riots was the pseudonym, Captain Swing.. and plenty of letters where written threatening the landed gentry..
Your name is down amongst the Black hearts in the Black Book and this is to advise you and the like of you, who are Parson Justasses, to make your
wills. Ye have been the Blackguard Enemies of the People on all occasions,
Ye have not yet done as ye ought,....
Given the high numbers of ex-soldiers the riots where quite bloodless, tho thousands where rounded up and tried by the heavy hand of the British Gov..
Hundreds of death sentences where handed down, but only 19 of the sentences where carried out as examples, while hundreds more where sentenced to gaol
time in Britain, and nearly 500 sentenced to transportation.
Linky to the Transportation ships Proteus, Eliza and others
Includes a full names list of those rioters transported to Tasmania and their home counties in England.
About 475 of whom, convicted for ARSON, MACHINE BREAKING, RECEIVING, or RIOTING, were transported to Van Diemen's Land (VDL, now Tasmania) or New
South Wales from 18 Counties of south east England 1831-33. The VDL contingent of 329 arrived in Hobart on Eliza (224 male), Mary (1 female) and
Proteus (98 male) in 1831; Gilmore, Lord William Bentinck (1 male each), York (2 male) in 1832 and Lotus (2 male) in 1833. Three swing rioters, first
transported to NSW per Eleanor, eventually became temporary or permanent Tasmanians bringing the total number of known VDL ex-Swing rioters to
One of the better links that sum up some of the details can be found on
I'm trying to dig up the Tasmanian link I have somewhere that calculated the percentage of Tasmanian first families that where related to the
In 1832 the Great Reform Act
passed it way through Parliament, Interestingly, Nick Clegg
(LibDem Deputy PM) is trying to sell his great repeal bill as the greatest enfranchisement of Britain since 1832.
It is interesting, that just 2 years later we see the Tolpuddle Martyrs (again sentenced to Transportation to Tasmania) but when you dig into the
Tolpuddle Martyrs the link between the events is quite obvious, yet infrequently mentioned..