Royston and the Swing Riots of 1830
In 1830 nationwide protests erupted as agricultural labourers struck for a living wage. The countryside was in flames.
Ashwell was in ashes and the townsfolk of Royston were refusing to take the oath to become Special Constables because ‘they would be marked Men and objects of Vengeance to the ill affected.’
Terrified of agent provocateurs, the government was taking extraordinary measures.
One such man was spotted just across the Cambridgeshire border at Litlington, heading for Baldock. The stranger boasted that if the government did not concede, a revolution would follow the current sitting of parliament. The labourers would be safe for he was certain that ‘the soldiers would not fight against the People.’
On 22 December Henry Hawkins (a Justice of the Peace who lived at the Priory in Royston) set out from the town with a warrant and thirty special constables tasked with crushing a riot in Fowlmere…
Find out what happened next by visiting Revolting Royston (Part 1).