The Turnpike Riots in Ledbury, 1735
 

Numb. 7482

The London Gazette

Published by Authority

From Tuesday February 10. to Saturday February 14. 1735 [Old Style date]

[ Price Two Pence ]

By the KING,

A PROCLAMATION,

For putting in Execution the Laws made to prevent Tumults and riotous Assemblies, and for the more effectual punishing wicked and evil-disposed Persons going armed in disguises and for punishing such Persons as shall willfully and maliciously pull down or destroy Turnpikes for repairing Highways erected by Authority of Parliament, and for apprehending and bringing to Justice the Persons, who in September last were concerned in pulling down and destroying the Turnpikes so erected at Ledbury, in the County of Hereford, and in attacking the House of John Skipp, Esquire, one of the Justices of the Peace for the said County; and those who have been since Guilty of other notorious Outrages and Disturbances: in the said County of Hereford.

GEORGE R.

WHEREAS it hath been represented to us, that several ill designing and disorderly Persons, having their Faces blacked, and being disguised, and being armed with Fire Arms, and other offensive Weapons, did, upon the Twentieth and Twenty first Days of September last, assemble themselves together in a riotous and tumultuous Manner at Ledbury, in our County of Hereford, and cut down and destroyed several of the Turnpikes for repairing the Highways erected by Authority of Parliament, in or near the said Town of Ledbury, and made Publick and open Declaration, that they would not suffer any Turnpikes to be erected in or near the said Town of Ledbury, and that if any of the Commissioners should attempt to set up the Turnpikes again, they would pull down their Houses, and would cut down the Turnpikes, as often as they should be set up: And whereas great Numbers of the said Rioters and disorderly Persons did afterwards, on the said Twenty first Day of September, make an attack upon the House of John Skipp, Esquire, one of our Justices of the Peace for our said County of Hereford, who had secured in his House two of the said Rioters taken in the Fact and disguised, in order to bring them to Justice, and threatned to pull down or fire his House, if the said two Rioters were not immediately delivered up to them: And whereas several Guns were fired by the said Rioters against the Persons defending the said House, and in the said Attack several Persons were wounded on both Sides, and one of the Rioters was actually killed:

And whereas it hath been likewise represented to us, That the Persons concerned in the said Riots, and several others of their Abettors, have at several times since assembled themselves together in a riotous and disorderly Manner in our said County of Hereford, and have threatned to burn and destroy the Houses, and to take away the Lives of the said Mr. Skipp, and such others of our Justices of the Peace, as should dare to put the Laws in Execution against them; and that upon the first Day of December last great Numbers of the said Rioters made an attack upon Thomas Ireland, the Keeper of the County Goal of Hereford, treated him in a very barbarous Manner, and compelled him by blows and threats, in order to save his Life, to sign a Discharge to the Turnkey of the said County Goal, to set the two Rioters at Liberty, who were so taken into Custody as aforesaid, and afterwards robbed him of his Money:

And whereas such Attempts to remove and destroy Turnpikes in general are by the Laws of this Kingdom High Treason; and those who are guilty of such other outragious and riotous Practices as are herein before specified, and who set themselves up in Defiance of the Publick justice of the Nation, and who threaten to kill and destroy all Magistrates, and others, who shall endeavour to put the Laws in Execution against them, are liable by the Common Law of this Kingdom to very great and severe Punishments.

And whereas by an Act of Parliament made in the First Year of the Reign of our Royal Father his late Majesty King George the First, of glorious Memory, intituled, An Act for preventing Tumults and riotous Assemblies, and for the more speedy and effectual punishing the Rioters, It is enacted, That if any Persons, to the Number of Twelve or more, being unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuosly assembled together to the Disturbance of the Publick Peace, and being required or commanded by any one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace, or by any of the Officers therein mentioned, by Proclamation be made in the King’s Name, in the Form by the said Act directed to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their Habitations, shall, to the Number of Twelve or more, remain and continue together for the space of one Hour after such Proclamation made, then such continuing together shall be adjudged Felony without Benefit of the Clergy; and the Offenders shall suffer Death without Benefit of Clergy: And whereas by another Act passed in the Ninth Year of the Reign of his said late Majesty King George the First, intitled, An Act for the more effectual punishing wicked and evil disposed Persons going armed in Disguise, and doing Injuries and Violences to the Persons and Properties of his Majesty’s Subjects, and for the more speedy bringing the Offenders to justice, It is enacted amongst other things, That if any Person or Persons being armed with Swords, Fire Arms, or other offensive Weapons, and having his or their Faces blacked, or being otherwise disguised, shall appear in any Forest, Chase, Park, &c, or in any high Road, open Heath, Common, or Down, or shall cut down and destroy any Trees planted in any Avenue, or growing in any Garden, Orchard, or Plantation, for Ornament, Shelter, or Profit, or shall set Fire to any House, Barn, or Out-house, or to any Hovel, Cock, Mow, or Stack of Corn, Straw, Hay, or Wood, or shall wilfully and maliciously shoot at any Person in any Dwelling-house, or other Place, or shall forcibly rescue any Person, being lawfully in Custody of any Officer, or other Person, for any of the Offences aforesaid, every Person so offending, being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be adjudged guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death without Benefit of Clergy; which said last mentioned Act is continued, and now in Force:

And whereas by an Act of Parliament made in the Eighth Year of our Reign, intituled, An Act for rendering the Laws more effectual for punishing such Persons as shall wilfully and maliciously pull down or destroy Turnpikes for repairing Highways, or Locks, or other Works, erected by Act of Parliament, for making Rivers navigable, and for other Purposes therein mentioned, it is amongst other things enacted, That if any Person or Persons whatsoever, from and after the Fifteenth Day of May, in the Year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and thirty five, shall, either by Day or Night, wilfully or maliciously pull down, cut down, pluck up, throw down, level or otherwise destroy any Turnpike Gate or Turnpike Gates, or any Post or Posts, Rail or Rails, Wall or Walls, or any Chain, Bar, or other Fence or Fences belonging to any such Turnpike Gate or Turnpike Gates; or an other Chain, Bar, or Fence of any Kind whatsoever, set up or erected, or hereafter to be set up or erected, to prevent Passengers from passing by without paying any Toll laid and directed to be paid by any Act or Acts of Parliament already made, or hereafter to be made, for that Purpose, or any House or Houses, erected or to be erected for the Use of any Turnpike Gate or Turnpike Gates, or forcibly rescue any Person or Persons, being lawfully in Custody of any Officer or other Person, for any of the Offences before mentioned; that then, and in any of the said Cases, every Person so offending, being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be adjudged guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death as in Cases of Felony, without Benefit of Clergy:

We therefore, being deeply sensible of the many mischievous Consequences which must inevitably ensue to the Peace of this our Kingdom, and the Properties of our loving Subjects, from such wicked and detestable Practices as have been of late committed in our said County of Hereford, are firmly resolved to cause the said Laws to be effectually put in Execution; and being desirous, out of our fatherly Tenderness to our People, that none of them should be ignorant of the same, nor unwarily subject themselves to the very heavy Penalties thereby inflicted: We have thought fit, with the Advice of our Privy Council, to issue this our Royal Proclamation, and do hereby strictly command, that no Person or Persons whatsoever do presume to commit or attempt any Act, Matter, or Thing whatsoever, contrary to the said Laws, and the true Intent and Meaning thereof: And that the said Laws be punctually observed and kept, upon Pain of the several Penalties by the said Laws inflicted upon Offenders against the same. And whereas the Names of several of the Persons concerned in the aforesaid wicked and detestable Practices have been already discovered, in order that they and the rest of the Persons therein concerned may receive such exemplary Punishment as their Crimes justly deserve; we do further strictly command and require all our Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Under Sheriffs, and Civil Officers whatsoever, and all other our Subjects, that they do use their utmost Endeavours to discover and apprehend all such Persons as have been or shall be guilty of, or any wise concerned in, any of the Offences before mentioned, and that they do effectually put the said Laws in Execution. And in order to put a Stop to such wicked and abominable Practices, We do hereby promise and declare, that if any Person or Persons concerned in any of the Offences before mentioned which are capital, shall, before the Tenth Day of March next, discover any other Person or Persons who hath or have been guilty of any of the said capital Offences, upon or since the said Twentieth Day of September last, or if any Person or Persons concerned in any of the Offences before mentioned which are not capital, shall, before the said Tenth Day of March next, discover any other Person or Persons who hath or have been guilty of any of the Offences herein before mentioned (whether capital or not) upon or since the said Twentieth Day of September last, so as the Person or Persons so discovered, may be apprehended and convicted of the said Offences, such Discoverer or Discoverers shall have our most gracious Pardon;

and as a further Encouragement to the Discovery of such notorious Offenders, We do hereby promise and declare, That any Person or Persons, who shall, before the said Tenth Day of March next, discover and apprehend, or cause to be discovered and apprehended, William Bithell, of Ledbury, Labourer, Elizabeth Walters, Servant to William Jones of the Noverings, in the Parish of Bosbury, in the said County of Hereford, Richard Price of Ledbury aforesaid, Carpenter, Thomas Bunting, late Servant to William Smith of Ash, near Ross, Thomas Arnold and William Carrier, two other Servants, who are said to have lived with William Smith of Wilton, near Ross, — Jones, a Servant of Mrs. Abrahall of lngeston, John Powell, a Husbandman, who used to work for the late Mrs. Vaughan of Baysham in King’s Caple, Thomas Phillips, a Welchman, said to be a Bailiff in Husbandry to Thomas Symonds, Esq; and Thomas Wellings, supposed to be a Bargeman, or any other Person or Persons who was or were guilty of pulling down or destroying the said Turnpikes, or any of them, so erected by Authority of Parliament, or who was or were concerned in the said Attack made on the said Mr. Skipp’s House, in order to rescue the Persons therein secured, or who was or were concerned in the said Attack made upon the Goaler of our said County of Hereford, or who hath or have threatened to burn and destroy any Houses or Buildings in our said County of Hereford, or who hath or have threatned to take away the Lives, or to do any other bodily Harm to the said Mr. Skipp, or any other of our Justices of the Peace for the said County of Hereford, upon or since the said Twentieth Day of September last, so as he, she, or they may be convicted thereof, shall have and receive for every Person so discovered, apprehended, and convicted, the Sum of One hundred Pounds, over and above all other Rewards to which the said Person or Persons may by any Act of Parliament be entitled; which said respective Sums the Commissioners of our Treasury, or our High Treasurer of Great Britain for the Time being, are hereby directed and required to pay accordingly, without any other or further Warrant in that Behalf.

And lastly, We do hereby strictly charge and command all our loving Subjects, that they do use their utmost Diligence and Endeavours, in their several Places and Stations, to find out, discover, and apprehend all such Offenders as aforesaid, upon Pain of our highest Displeasure.

Given at our Court at St. ]ames’s, the
Fifth Day of February, 1735, in the
Ninth Year of our Reign,
GOD Save the KING.

Typeface: Caslon, 1724.

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