The Lancashire Weavers Riots

of April 1826 were one of the most dramatic events in the history of the English cotton industry. For four days, the area bordered by Chorley, Clitheroe, Bacup and Bury was convulsed as desperate crowds attacked local weaving sheds and smashed over 1100 of the hated power looms. Six people were killed, ten people transported for life and thirty sentenced to prison terms for their part in the distrurbances. There was a John HARTLEY of Blackburn involved ... 

Improvements in the efficiency of powerlooms meant that the process which had been the primary source of wealth and income for handloom weavers began to relocate from the cottage to the factory. This led to high rates of unemployment: according to figures published in March 1826, some 60% of all handloom weavers in Blackburn and nearby Rishton, Lower Darwen and Oswaldtwistle were unemployed. In response to these high levels of unemloyment, the Lancashire weavers' riots took place.
At 3:00 pm on 24 April 1826 a mob arrived in Blackburn after travelling from nearby Accrington, where they had already attacked powerlooms; proceeding to Bannister Eccles' Jubilee Factory on Jubilee Street in Blackburn town centre, the mob destroyed 212 powerlooms in the space of 35 minutes. The rioters then went to the nearby John Houghton and Sons' Park Place factory and destroyed another 25 looms, before moving on in search of more machinery to attack. The crowd began to disperse at around 6:00 pm, troops having arrived as early as 3:30 pm to try to quell the rioting.

Newspaper account at the time

The Rioters and their sentences: [Name [men]: Age: Known to be present at: Sentence Commuted to:]

Josiah Baldwin 22 W,X,Y,Z Death Transported for life James Chambers 55 E,F,G,H,a Death Transported for life Joseph Clayton 29 Y,Z Death Transported for life Thomas Emmet 22 N,O,W,X,Y,Z Death Transported for life Lawrence Hardman 37 W Death Transported for life Isaac Hindle 35 E,F,G,H Death Transported for life John Hoyle 27 Z Death Transported for life Simeon Wright 27 F,G,H Death Transported for life Thomas Dickenson 19 F,G,H Death 18 months imprisonment Thomas Leaver 26 G Death 18 months imprisonment William Winder 27 F,G Death 18 months imprisonment George Ashworth 21 W,Y,Z Death 12 months imprisonment John Ashworth 22 Y Death 12 months imprisonment Robert Butterworth 30 a Death 12 months imprisonment Mark Cockerill 29 W,Y,Z Death 12 months imprisonment John Howarth [1] 27 F Death 12 months imprisonment William Sutcliffe 22 F Death 12 months imprisonment Michael Tomlinson 28 E 12 months imprisonment ( not commuted) Thomas Ashworth [2] 27 O Death 6 months imprisonment James Aspden 23 N, H, a Death 6 months imprisonment James Crawshaw 19 T Death 6 months imprisonment Richard Entwistle 18 E, F, G, N Death 6 months imprisonment Edward Houghton [3] G Death 6 months imprisonment Richard Kay 17 F Death 6 months imprisonment James Latham 18 F Death 6 months imprisonment James Leaver [4] 20 F, G Death 6 months imprisonment James Ormerod 18 F Death 6 months imprisonment James Shorrock 23 L,M,N Death 6 months imprisonment Thomas Greenhalgh 20 T Death 3 months imprisonment James Howarth 25 F Death 3 months imprisonment Thomas Lomax 30 T Death 3 months imprisonment Henry Melling 21 U Death 3 months imprisonment Alexander Norris 17 E, N Death 3 months imprisonment John Orrell 25 N Death 3 months imprisonment James Riding 29 F Death 3 months imprisonment 

Acquitted

William Almond 25 N Acquitted Thomas Bolton 27 F, I Acquitted James Buskey 16 U Acquitted William Charnley [5] 29 F Acquitted William Cockerill 23 W, X, Y, Z Acquitted Patrick Gibbons 35 W,X,Y,Z Acquitted Aaron Gregson 17 R Acquitted James Grundy 27 F, G Acquitted Anthony Harrison 17 R Acquitted John Holt 20 W,X,Y,Z Acquitted John Ingham 19 P,Q Acquitted Richard Rawsthorne 20 W,X,Y,Z Acquitted James Rostron 21 P,Q Acquitted Richard Tattersall 30 W,X,Y,Z Acquitted James Taylor 29 W,X,Y,Z Acquitted William Taylor 20 N Acquitted Edward Yates 18 U Acquitted

[Additional notes on above] [1] Wounded in shoulder at Jubilee Street ... [2] Died in Lancaster Castle, 26th December 1826 ... [3] Wounded in Neck and Mouth at Park Place ... [4] Wounded at Park Place ... [5] Wounded in Arm at Jubilee Street [Arm removed]

[Name [women]: Age: Known to be present at: Sentence Commuted to:]

Ann Entwistle 46 N,S Death Transported for life Mary Hindle 27 N Death Transported for life Betty Cunliffe 25 W,X,Y,Z Death 12 months imprisonment Johanna Oldham 20 E 12 months imprisonment (not commuted) Phoebe Tomlinson 27 E 12 months imprisonment (not commuted) Betty Marsden 35 N Death 6 months imprisonment Alice Grimshaw 18 E 12 months 3 months imprisonment Betty Howorth 17 F,N Death 3 months imprisonment Ann Ingham 29 R,W Death 3 months imprisonment Margaret Yates 17 N 3 months imprisonment (not commuted) Alice Lord 19 O acquitted Peggy Lord 20 O acquitted


The Following were tried at the March 1827 assizes at Lancaster Castle.

[Name: Age: Known to be present at: Sentence Commuted to:]

George Heys 28 N,O 3 months imprisonment (not commuted) William Barnes 57 S Acquitted John Fairbrother 23 U Acquitted Lawrence Rostron 30 O Acquitted 

[NB Some prisoners were acquitted of offences at one factory, and found guilty for offences at another.] 


People arrested but not proceeded against. 

Arrested for rioting at Grange lane, Accrington. (B)

John Bentley. 

Arrested for rioting at White Ash, Oswaldtwistle. (E)

Jacob Balmer; Joseph Barnes; Benjamin Fish; Joseph Harwood; John Preston; Ellen Grimshaw;

Arrested for rioting at Jubilee Street, Blackburn (F) [see below for factory involved]

John Cook; John Crompton; James Duckworth; Thomas Entwistle; John HARTLEY; Thomas Leaver; John Lewis; Christopher Norris; Richard Pearson; 

Arrested for rioting at Middle Mill, Helmshore (N)

Thomas Almond; William Almond (the Elder); Henry Baron; Henry Cook; Thomas Duckworth; Christopher Duckworth; Benjamin Fish (see also E); John Gibson; Jabez Green; John Hirst; William Hurst; Henry Orrell; Thomas Sutcliffe; Abraham Wade; John Yates; Margaret Hadcroft; Nancy Marsden; Lydia Taylor; 

Arrested for rioting at Chatterton (S)

William Ratcliffe; William Rawcliffe; William Rishton; 


East Lancashire factories and their owners involved in the riots.

Ref. No.Situated at Owned/Occupied by Date visited Looms Destroyed

A Low Moor, Clitheroe Garrett & Horsfall 24th April Not attacked

B Grange Lane, Accrington R & T Sykes 24th April 60

C Woodnook, Accrington J Marquis24th April4

D Fern Gore, Accrington B & R Walmsley24th April20

E White Ash, Oswaldtwistle J & W Bury 24th April 94

F Jubilee Factory [Dandy Factory] Darwen Street, Jubilee Street, Blackburn: Bannister Eccles and Co. 24th April 212
later burned down in 1842 !

G Park Place, Blackburn J Houghton 24th April 25

H King Street, Blackburn W Throp 24th April None sub total 415

I Low Moor, Clitheroe Garrett & Horsfall 25th April Not attacked

J Bowling Green, Darwen W. H & G Carr 25th April 16

K Bowling Green, Darwen J Garsden 25th April 6

L Bobbin Hall, Darwen J Garsden 25th April 16

M House, Hoddlesden J Garsden 25th April 14

N Middle Mill, Helmshore W & R Turner 25th April 106 sub total1 58

O Lower Booth, Rawtenstall D Whitehead 26th April 96

P Longholme, Rawtenstall T Kay 26th April 20

Q New Hall Hey, Rawtenstall Hoyle & Ashworth 26th April 3

R Dearden Clough L& J Rostron26th April 56

S Chatterton Aitken & Lord 26th April 46

T Summerseat R & D Hamer 26th April 38

U Woodhill, Elton J Hutchinson 26th April 49

V Holt Mill, Waterfoot J & D Ashworth26th April 20

W Waterbarn, Stacksteads G & J Ormerod 26th April 50

X Tunstead, Stacksteads G & J Ormerod 26th April 28

Y Irwell Mill, Bacup Hargreaves & Hardman 26th April 28

Z Old Clough, Bacup R & J Munn 26th April 52

sub total 486

a Water Street, Chorley Lightoller & Harrison27th April80

sub total80

Total looms destroyed1139


Persons killed at Chatterton, Wednesday 26th April 1826

Name Age Occupation Home town Date buried Place buried Remarks

*John Ashworth 27 Handloom Weaver Haslingden 30th April St. James' C of E, Haslingden Shot in Abdomen

James Lord 26 Fulling Miller Mill End, Newchurch - in - Rossendale 30th April St. Nicholas's C of E, Haslingden Shot in Body and Head

*Richard Lund 23 Blacksmith Haslingden 29th April St. James' C of E, Haslingden Shot in Abdomen

*James Rothwell 22 Handloom Weaver Hutch Bank, Haslingden 30th April St. James' C of E, Haslingden Shot in Heart

*Mary Simpson 23 Handloom Weaver Clough End, Haslingden 30th April St. James' C of E, Haslingden Shot in Thigh (verdict: Accidental death)

James Waddicar [or Whatacre] 40 Dresser (powerloom) Ramsbottom 30th April Emmanuel C of E, Chapelry of Holcombe Shot in Abdomen (verdict: Murder by rifleman unknown)

* Annotated in Register : 'Shot in a mob'


see: Lancashire Cotton Mill 'Queen Street Mill, Burnley' steam engine and weavers shed 'in action' at:
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