Swing Riots

(978 words)
  • Simon Debourcier (Anglia Ruskin University)

Historical Context Essay

In 1830 civil unrest swept through the rural parts of southern and eastern England. Groups of agricultural labourers marched from village to village demanding money and beer from farmers. Farm stock was set on fire. Threshing machines were destroyed. Landowners, clergymen and farmers received threatening letters demanding better wages and living conditions for the rural poor, many signed with the name by which the uprising came to be known: "Captain Swing" or simply "Swing". On 16th December John Saville, a merchant, was arrested at Stradishall, Suffolk, in possession of a large number of notices inveighing against the clergy and threatening farmers who would not pay better wages, all signed "Swing". Many people came to …

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Debourcier, Simon. "Swing Riots". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 August 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1080, accessed 28 September 2016.]