' RIOTS OF 1830.
The months of November and December, in the year 1830, were a time of great alarm in Warminster. Trade for some time had suffered severe depression; wages were very low, there was but scant employment for the working classes, and the agricultural labourers, especially, felt the pressure very heavily. Large mobs of riotous persons assembled in different towns of Wilts and the adjoining counties, and led by seditious men, not of the labouring class, burnt ricks, destroyed machinery, and plundered houses in all directions For some days no force could be mustered in sufficient strength to arrest them. The storm rolled on towards Warminster as near as Heytesbury. There the Warminster Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry, under the command of Captain Walter Long, of Chalcot House, and accompanied by Colonel a'Court, Mr. Kavenhill, and other magistrates, met the rioters, engaged them, took twenty prisoners, and escorted them to Devizes Gaol. No further danger threatened Warminster in that direction.
At Hindon, ten miles southward of Warminster, the outbreak partook of a much more serious character, and extended over a wider area. The Hindon men had fixed an hour when they intended to pass through the villages of the Deverillg, and the Deverill malcontents had agreed to join them, and after gathering up the disaffected at the Common, to attack Warminster. This united mob, armed with scythes, reap-hooks, axes, sledge-hammers, prongs, &c., would probably have mustered a thousand men.
The Bench of Magistrates, with the Marquis of Bath as Chairman, sat continuously in the Old Town-hall; but they had no sufficient force at command. So severe was the strain, and so pressing the calls on the Government for military aid on all sides, that the Horse Soldiers, Eegulars or Yeomanry, had scarcely any rest, and were in saddle almost day and night, either guarding the gaols, or galloping off to disperse mobs, before their numbers became great. Only one troop of Lancers could be spared for service in the neighbourhood. They were stationed at Trowbridge, ready for any call, when they were summoned to proceed immediately to Hindon. They passed through Warminster en route, having received orders from Head-quarters to take no more prisoners, as the gaols were full, but to ride down every man without mercy who was found with weapons in hand.
Almost all the able-bodied men of the town, of all classes, were enrolled as Special Constables; some were armed with guns, others only with staves; and for a considerable time they patrolled the streets all night. The Yeomanry Cavalry were on permanent duty, billeted at the Public Houses. All had orders to be ready for action at a moment's notice. Late on a Sunday night an express arrived from Devizes, summoning the Yeomanry for immediate aid, as the mob of that town were preparing to make an assault on the County Gaol. The bugle sounded, and the people of Warminster were startled under the fearful apprehension that the rioters had actually arrived. In the dark December morning, at three o'clock, the troop mustered in the Market Place..... '
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