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Luddites 9

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York Castle Prison

York Castle prison where the Luuddite prisoners were held prior to execution, it is now the Castle Museum.

William Hall who had held his weekly meeting at the Shears Inn along with King Ludd (George Mellor) found themselves clapped in irons at York's Castle Prison. They along with another local man, Benjamin Walker, were charged with the murder of Horsfall.
The government was determined to reassert its  authority; an example needed to be made and it was.
On 8th January 1813 the three men convicted of Horsfall's murder were hanged. Just over a week later, on the 16th of January, fourteen other condemned Luddite's were executed for their parts in the raid on Cartwright's Mill, in what was to be York's biggest ever hanging. Five of them were condemned for riot, six for burglary and three for robbery, having been convicted under the Frame Breaking Act that came into force the previous year. They were put to death in two groups by the executioner John Curry - seven at 11.00 a.m. and seven at 1.30 p.m. A "vast concourse" of people assembled on St George's Field, York to see this mass "launch into eternity" as hangings were then known.


17 Luddites went to the gallows. Judge Baron Thompson told them: "It is of infinite importance to society that no mercy should be shown to you. It is important that your sentence should be speedily carried out and it is but right to tell you that you have but a short time to remain in this world. I trust not only those who now hear me but all without these walls to whom the tiding of your fall may come, will be warned of your fate"

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