The Swing Riots
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 men 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 very harshly. Nine of the rioters were hung and a further 450 were transported to Australia.
Protesthistory – academic look at the Swing Riots and rural conditions.
The Peel Web – detailed overview of the Swing Riots.
BBC Family History – useful information for those wanting to research their family history and any ties it has to the Swing Riots.
National Archives – source material from the archives presented for use as an educational resource.