25 October 2010

THE AMLWCH TROUBLES 1817 'FOUR WEEKS OF LAWLESSNESS' A Popular Revolt More Deserving Of Our Attention, It Is Time To Remember Peasants, Paupers and Peoples Protests For FREEDOM and JUSTICE, LAND and LIBERTY!


Placid and Peaceful Today

However, in 1817 matters were very different and far from placid and peaceful, as the town was seized by the common folk in the main but not only they for record indicates the poor had wide support from trades people but not so much the Copper Miners in a most signifigant Corn Riot. Signifigant because of the fact that once it had began there were ''Four Weeks of Lawlessness'' and what was described then as ''Mob Rule'', but that ''mob'' was in fact the poor fearing starvation. Far from ''Lawlessness'', the people aka the ''Crowd'' were very well organised in what they were attempting to do, that being stopping the export of corn to Liverpool. The people had gone through an hard winter and as the poor throughout Wales reduced to eating nettles but, it was the fear of famine that motivated them to arise and fight for justice. Cyfiawnder!

Their enemy here were the farmers and their agents/factors responsible for the  export of the corn by vessels out of Amlwch Harbour, it was however the fear of greater famine which caused the people to a revolt that began on a Tuesday 28 January 1817. That day in a very organised way the poor proceeded to the harbour and removed the rudder from the vessel 'Wellington' and  deposited it in the Church Yard. The  Vessel already loaded with Oats and Oatmeal could not thus sail away, there is no record in my source which says that the people removed the Oats and Oatmeal and distributed amongst temselves but this is what usually occurred in other corn riots in various parts of Wales in these times.

On the 3 February the local magistrates swore in thirty special constables who took the rudder back to the ship with great difficulty as the crowd threatened and abused them including local constables, women and children were to the fore in hurling abuse and rubbish at the 'Specials'. However, later 'ringleaders' were arrested and imprisoned but because of a very dangerous mood developing amongst the 'Crowd' two prisoners were released but one the Magistrates eventually managed to have conveyed to Biwmaris gaol but not without 'the rabble' attempting to free him twice. Meanwhile back in Amlwch the people had made it impossible for the 'Wellington' to sail out of the Harbour, the town now was firmly in the hands of the people and the magistrates had  to recourse to calling for Soldiers to be sent to quell the 'disturbence'. A 'disturbence' that had taken on a life of it's own as the common folk establised their own form of 'self government', not quite a 'Red Commune' but certainly such that they had began planning to march on Biwmaris to release prisoners and had began negotiations with the 'Powers that be'.

Soldiers from the mainland were slow to come and relieve Amlwch and the local Militia were reluctant to become involved and thus, it was to Dublin that the Island's establishment looked for aid. Soon 164  men of the 45th Regiment set sail and arrived in Holyhead on the 18 February and soon occupied Amlwch allowing for the rudder to be fixed back on the Wellington and for her to sail away on the 23 February. Then on 1 March the Magistrates with the Soldiers were able to turn their attention to the return of 'Law and Order' to Amlwch. The Houses of the 'respectable' were put under guard and there were nightly patrols in and around Amlwch, more 'ringleaders' were arrested and imprisoned. Main development was the establishment of a local 'Loyal Association', it's purpose to replace the soldiers who were themselves troublesome and costly to local rate payers. The  45th were  to finally depart in full by the 26 March, the consequence being that not so long after attention turned to reorganisation and enlargment of the local Militia. A further consequence as result of popular protest and 'Civil Disobedience' on such a large scale was that much greater effort was made to hence take care of the poor and bring relief in times of famine and general hardship.

However, there is an not too happy ending for several 'ringleaders' of the 'Four Weeks of Lawlessness' who were tried at the Spring Assizes', three were convicted, two acquited and some escaped trial due to lack of evidence. To summerise there are a number of reasons why the Amlwch Riots occurred and most certainly neither are the causes or the riots a simple matter of 'Them and Us' but more a matter of fear of starvation and motivating most of all the need to obtain 'Justice'. To this end and as consequence of 'Popular Protest' the local Authority and Establishment in general were keener to take action to aid and assist the poor; disadvantaged and under privellaged. Those involved in this 'Amlwch Insurrection' were not simply an 'under class' but also consisted of Tradesmen, Publicans, Shop Keepers, Butchers, Carpenters  and Coopers also returning Soldiers and Sailors no longer required to defend Britannia  from the French. Interestingly the Copper Miners did not participate greatly other than on one day but on the whole remained 'Sympathetic Spectators' throughout. 

Amlwch Popular Revolt 1817 Plaque here?
Althought the miners contributed well to the bail fund of the arrested 'ringleaders', as to why and for example why the Local Militia were so reluctant to get involved do read a much fuller account  of the 'Amlwch Riots' in the  excellent book BEFORE  REBECCA Popular Protest in Wales 1793 - 1835 by David Jones published by Penquin. Certainly, there is need for greater local interest being taken in this event, more research and why not a memorial near the Harbour of the Protesters carrying off the Rudder of the 'Wellington'. Not  least why not an annual Saturday School be held in Amlwch do consider Popular Protest and Rural Revolt in Wales with talks and discussions, maybe something Llafur should look into or a 'Cofiwn Goch', a Radical Commemorative Group is needed to get such done. 

Amlwch Popular Revolt 'Life & Times Folk March Festival Here?
That I will leave to others but I feel in these times such is an idea worth considering but please  no 'anonymous' Face Book Nonsense, it's got to be real or otherwise I will criticise and condemn. Awful, I have  to make such statements but there are 'Idjeets' out there aka 'Facebook Fusiliers' who hi - jack ideas to boost their egos and vainglory to no good purpose or indeed the wrong purpose. Quite simply have nothing to do with any 'Anonymous' presentations and any group/organisatiions to be founded need to be up front, transparent and inclusive plus democratically set up in well announced meetings. I am generally moving towards a kind of retirement but will before closing down completly put forward more stuff suitable for those with an interest in a 'Cofiwn Coch' as lets face it, in these coming times we  will learn more of use from the history of Peasants, Paupers also Popular Revolt and Protest than the history of Princes, yes!

Basic Idea: 
Remove and Replace Red Flag  (also fella holding it and bowl )
With Ships Rudder.
Some one out there work on this as idea for Memorial /Mural/Plaque
to Commemorate the Amlwch Popular Revolt.
Send me copy of your ideas to post up or work with the
 local Heritage Centre now under development.
If anyone gets anything re above moving forward, inc the suggested Saturday School do let me know  and I will post up information in my blogs, see links below:


19 Sep 2010 ... RED REMEMBRANCER. A Welsh Radical PLatform: containing information on history of peoples .... Rural Revolt" Initiated at Ruthin spreads ...redremembrancer.blogspot.com/.../welsh-socialist-history-gwynedd-four.html - Cached
16 Sep 2010 ... ADFYWIAD GOCH CYMRU. Red Resurgence Cymru advocates and promotes... A NEW WELSH HISTORY: ABOUT TIME WE HAD A WELSH SOCIALIST HISTORY, YES! ...adfywiadgoch.blogspot.com/.../new-welsh-history-about-time-we-had.html - Cached


21 Sep 2010 ... Welcome to Coed Cymru, the woodland management charity in Wales. ....GWERSYLL POBL CYMRU/Wales Peoples Camp - VYRNWY . ...
ymgyrch.blogspot.com/ - Cached

CERDDED YMLAEN 2010 - 2016.The Long Walk For Wales.

cerddedymlaen2010-16.blogspot.com/ - Cached

  1. Gethin Gruffydd.