Swing Riots

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The Swing Riots were an uprising by the rural workers of the arable south and east of England in 1830. They sought higher wages and to halt to the introduction of threshing machines which threatened their livelihoods. They reinforced their demands with rick-burning, the destruction of threshing machines and cattle-maiming among other things. Mystery surrounds the leader of the riots, Captain Swing, who is supposed to have written several of the letters sent to farmers and others. These were first mentioned by The Times on the 21 October. Captain Swing has never been identified, although many people believe that he never existed and was created by the workers as a figurehead and fictional target for their opponents.

The Swing Riots were an agricultural phenomenon. Following years of war, high taxes and low wages, farm labourers finally snapped in 1830. These farm labourers had faced unemployment for a number of years due to the widespread introduction of the threshing machine and the policy of enclosing fields. No longer were thousands of people needed to tend the crops, a few would suffice. With fewer jobs, lower wages and no prospects of things improving for these workers the threshing machine was the final straw, the object that was to place them on the brink of starvation. The Swing Rioters smashed the threshing machines and threatened farmers who had them.

The riots were dealt with harshly. Nine of the rioters were hanged and a further 450 were transported to Australia.

These riots added to the strong social, political and agricultural unrest in the 1830's. The 'Swing' riots were a big influence on the Whig Government, leading to the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834.

On 20 Nov 2009, at 19:39, Julie Goddard wrote:


I am reading through "Berkshire Machine Breakers" all above the "Captain Swing" riots" of 1830 by Jill Chambers checking out the various Richard Goddards of the time. There were three, a schoolmaster at Brimpton, a landowner at Brimpton and a farmer at Kintbury. Try and sort them out!!

Anyway,* Robert Brind* gave evidence at the trials. He was "Bailiff to Mr Richard Harben at Wickfield". On 23 November 1830 he bravely refused to give the mob, who had come to break up his master's machinery, any money. When they left, saying others would be along in a minute to sort him out, he followed them to another farm where they again broke up machinery. When they spotted him and again asked for money he handed over 8/-.


In "Wiltshire Machine Breakers" Author Jill (Chambers) & refers to Job HATHERALL, Bap 7 Aug 1808, Broad Hinton, son of Job & Mary nee Westmacott, he married & left issue here, prior to Transportation To Aus as a result of Swing Riots, where he re-married twice, he died Scone, NSW.

His grand-daughter Margaret Hatherall married Thomas Brind at Wargrave in 1878, who was the grandson of Robert Brind born 1792. According to my info Robert was a shepherd but a shepherd was quite a responsible job and may have been described as a bailiff.

Of course it could have been a different Robert Brind but it would have been interesting if there was that connection.

(NOTE: This is another possible Robert Brind).

By the way the Brinds usually took the side of the agitators. One of the Topuddle Martyrs was James Brine, who is very likely a distant relative of a Brind.(JEB)
A Thomas Brind who was the servant of Mr Richard Church gave evidence in court proceeding following the agricultural riots on Nov 23, 1830 (the Swing Riots). See convicts to read about Thomas James, alias Carter, alias Brind who was transported to Australia.