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In 1811, workers in textile factories in Nottingham who were upset by wage reductions and the employment of unapprenticed workmen began to break into factories at night and smash recently introduced machinery. The dissidents were called Luddites after their leader Ned Ludd. The unrest gradually spread to Yorkshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. In Yorkshire in early 1812, groups of highly skilled cloth finishers called croppers attacked new shearing frames which they saw as threats to their jobs in Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield, and Leeds.
At midnight on 11 April 1812, about 100 croppers assembled at a monument called the Dumb Steeple near Brighouse in West Yorkshire before marching 2 miles over fields to attack Rawfolds Mill where new shearing frames had been installed. They failed to get entry into the mill, being repulsed by the armed mill owner and some guarding soldiers. Shots were fired and the Luddites withdrew taking two of their fatally wounded members with them.
The incumbent of St Peters church at Hartshead, about a mile from the mill, was the Rev. Patrick Bronte who later related the incident to his children. One of these children, Charlotte, wove the account into a successful novel called Shirley. Charlotte, writing under the pen name Currer Bell, used real places and people that she knew in the area about Rawfolds mill, but gave them different names in the story.
This outing will visit some of the places associated with Charlotte Bronte and her friends and the Luddite uprising. There will be stops at Dewsbury Minster, Oakwell Hall and the Red House Museum in Gomersal, and the Ravensknowle museum at Huddersfield, and some other relevant landmarks will be pointed out as we drive past.
Dewsbury Minster was where the Rev. Patrick Bronte began his curacy before moving to Hartshead. The Minster is an unusual and interesting place in its own right, having been founded by Paulinus in 627. Elizabethan Oakwell Hall (1583), presently set out as it would have been in the 1690s, was visited by Charlotte as a governess and restyled as Fieldhead, the home of the heroine in Shirley. Red House (1660) was home to Charlottes lifelong friend, Mary Taylor an exceptional woman. It features in Shirley as Briarmains, the home of a character called Rose Yorke. Ravensknowle museum has an interesting collection of exhibits including some associated with Luddites. It may also be possible visit the interesting church of St Peter, Birstall, where Charlotte and her friends worshipped.
Transport, admission charges, gratuities, and a simple 2 course pub lunch are included in the cost. Menu choices from which to select a meal will be sent to those attending. If you wish to join this visit, please complete and return the form overleaf and enclose a cheque and S.A.E. or email address for reply. Cheques payable to YPS please.
Departure will be 8.30 a.m. from Memorial Gardens, Leeman Road, York. Return to York around 6.45 p.m.
Group Tours Organiser
The Yorkshire Philosophical Society accepts no responsibility for any loss or injury suffered while taking part in one of its visits. Participants are advised to consider appropriate insurance cover.
|STOP PRESS! Improved quotations received since preparing this prospectus mean that mid-morning refreshments are now included in the tour price.|
Luddites and Literature Tour
To :- Alan Owen, Yorkshire Philosophical Society, The LodgeMuseum Gardens, York Y01 7DR
Please reserve . places for me / us on this tour – (price £38/person)
I enclose a cheque (made out to Yorkshire Philosophical Society) for
Please enclose a S.A.E. or email address for reply