Tiverton riots

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The Tiverton riots refers to riots which broke out in Tiverton, Devon in May 1738 and again in 1749.

Tiverton, Devon town in Devon, England

Tiverton is a town and civil parish in the English county of Devon and the main commercial and administrative centre of the Mid Devon district. It has also become a dormitory town for commuters to Exeter and Taunton. The built-up area had a population of 19,544 in 2011 and the parish had 21,335.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, which was formerly its common and official name, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.


1738 riot

Labourers employed in woollen manufacture rioted in May 1738, in protest at a publican's undercutting of prices for serge. The publican, Grimes, bought serges which had been returned from the merchants to the serge makers, and resold them to the same merchants at a lower price. This practice, which the merchants encouraged in order to increase their profit, was thought to be very unfair towards the manufacturers. [1]

Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms, suits, great coats and trench coats. Its counterpart, silk serge, is used for linings. French serge is a softer, finer variety. The word is also used for a high quality woolen woven fabric.

The labourers assembled in Tiverton, and were joined by those of Uffculme, Bampton, Silverton, Collumpton, Bradninch and Culmstock. [1] They attacked Grimes' house, the Red Lion Inn in Gold Street and broke into it. Having found a great number of serges, they threw them out and dragged them through the streets, hanged some upon his sign post and tore others in pieces. Grimes was found in the oven of a bake house, at the bottom of Poundhill, a few doors below his house. The rioters sat him astride a staff borne on their shoulders. They carried him through the streets and at last set him down before the house of the Mayor, Robert Dunsford, in St. Peter's Street. [1] The mayor had him taken away. A great number of constables were sworn in to resist the rioters, many of whom were taken and put into prison for a few hours only. This much enraged the rest and occasioned a great battle between them and the constables, before whom the rioters retreated to the top of Exeter Hill, a short distance from the town. Another skirmish took place there, when one man was killed and many were wounded, which put an end to the riot. [1]

Uffculme English village

Uffculme is a village and civil parish located in the Mid Devon district, of Devon, England. Situated in the Blackdown Hills on the B3440, close to the M5 motorway and the Bristol–Exeter railway line, near Cullompton, Uffculme is on the upper reaches of the River Culm. The 2001 census recorded the population of the parish as 2,631. It is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the parishes of Culmstock, Hemyock, Sheldon, Kentisbeare, Cullompton, Willand, Halberton and Burlescombe.

Bampton, Devon town in Devon, England

Bampton is a small town and parish in northeast Devon, England, on the River Batherm, a tributary of the River Exe. It is about 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Tiverton, 19 miles north of Exeter and the parish borders Somerset on its north-east and north-west sides. Bampton is a major part of the electoral ward of Clare and Shuttern. The ward population at the 2011 Census was 3,412.

Silverton, Devon village and civil parish in Mid Devon, Devon, England

Silverton is a large village and civil parish, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Exeter, in the English county of Devon. It is one of the oldest villages in Devon and dates from the first years of the Saxon occupation.

1749 riot

In the 1740s, difficulties with the wool trade led to another outbreak of rioting in 1749. Workmen assembled to attack the house of Thomas Beedle, who was accused of acting as Grimes had done. [1] They met in the Castle yard, drank a hogshead of cider and proceeded to Beedle's house, at the end of Waterlane. The rioters remained in and about the house for five hours, smashing his goods, dragging his chains of wool and worsted about the streets, and letting his beer run about the house more than ankle deep. They emptied his house entirely, and would have burnt it, but for the presence of his child lying in a cradle. Failing to find Beedle (who lay concealed at the Crown and Comb Inn, on the opposite side of the street) the rioters seized Moses Quick, one of his woolcombers. [1] Quick was set astride a staff and carried around the town. He was dragged through several pools and the mill leat. The rioters endeavoured to break his thumbs to disable him from combing, and at length conveyed him to their club house; having there revived him with liquor, they sent him home nearly dead, and then retired to their respective habitations. [1]

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Martin Dunsford (1744–1807) of Tiverton in Devon, was an English merchant and Dissenter, known as an antiquarian and radical politician. His work Memoirs of the Town and Parish of Tiverton is noted as an attempt to write of the town as a whole community.

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PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Martin Dunsford 's Historical Memoirs of the Town and Parish of Tiverton (1836)