1792 : a vintage year

The details that I found for the year 1792 come from a source that I have used quite frequently before, namely “The Date Book of Remarkable Memorable Events Connected With Nottingham and Its Neighbourhood”.

The year started in spectacular fashion on February 25th:

“Between the hours of eight and nine this evening an alarming shock of an earthquake was felt in the Midland counties, but particularly at Nottingham, many of the inhabitants running out of their houses, expecting them to fall upon their heads. The shock was preceded by a rumbling noise like the rolling of a cannon ball upon a boarded floor.”

A bit like this, then:

At this time, there was, of course, no real sport in the city…no Nottingham Forest, no Notts County, no Nottingham Panthers, no Nottingham Outlaws, no Nottingham Rugby Club. And so people had no choice but to busy themselves by showing enormous interest in council planning applications:

May 9th . “On the arrival of the intelligence that the bill authorising the formation of the Nottingham Canal had received the royal assent, the bells of both churches were set a-ringing, and other congratulatory manifestations indulged in.”

Thank the Lord. We’re going to build a canal. Canals are wonderful :

If you look after them, and remember, like pot plants, to water them regularly:

I think by now people’s nerves were already on edge after over indulging in their personal celebrations of the success of the planning application for building the new canal. They were a little like small children who get fractious and behave badly after their routine is disturbed:

May 12th.  “A number of people assembled in a riotous manner in the Market-place, on account of the high price of butchers’ meat:

The Market-place did look quite different then:

The account continues:

After a stout endeavour to retain possession of their property, when further resistance might have proved dangerous, the butchers retreated from the Shambles, and left the mob in undisturbed possession. It being Saturday, the stock of meat was large and in a few moments the whole of it disappeared.

The magistrates at once called out the military, and by the expostulations of the Mayor, and the firing of the soldiers in the air, the mob dispersed, and the military returned to their quarters.”

Here come the military. They do look a little bit regimented, I suppose, but they are a lot easier to draw this way:

“Very unexpectedly, in the course of the evening the depredators reassembled, and bearing down upon the Shambles with renewed force, destroyed and conveyed away every door, shutter, implement, and book they could find in the shops, and made a great bonfire of them in the Market-place, yelling and shouting round it like  savages. The fire was burning from eleven at night till one in the morning, when the military succeeded in extinguishing it, and tranquillity was restored.”

For a moment there, it must have been touch and go:

I would think that for the second military intervention, they used the soldiers with the silly hats. Most people, when faced by these picked German troops, just ran away clutching their stolen sausages:

“For several days after, symptoms of a recurrence of the disorder were apparent, but the vigilance of the authorities at length finally suppressed them.”

Nobody nowadays ever thinks of England as ever being on the edge of revolution, but it had already happened once during the reign of King Charles I when the king was executed. The end of the 18th century saw a fair few Englishmen holding up the French Revolution as an example of good practice. They were pushed into that by a royal family who were perhaps the least charismatic of the many Germans who have ruled over our country. Parliament was no better. It was a place where rich landowners were vastly over represented. Their excessive number of MPs kept the price of the food their estates produced artificially and permanently high.

Many revolutions around the world have started with hungry people robbing shops full of food they wanted to eat but could not afford.



Filed under Criminology, France, History, Nottingham, Politics

22 responses to “1792 : a vintage year

  1. Only those who know what hunger is will know what a terrible situation it is. Others will never be able to understand. Thank you for a very interesting post. Yes, those hats do look so silly. Regards

    • You are absolutely right, Modern people in the west cannot have the faintest idea of life in the third world, It’s such a great pity that the products of the earth cannot be divided up a little more fairly.

  2. Surely there was archery?
    We are close to rebellion and revolution!

    • I’m fairly certain that archery practice died out around 1500-1600 because of the invention of the gun. At Leeds Armouries we were told that an average man could be taught to fire a musket reasonably accurately in a couple of days or so. This was a lot faster than the longbowman who would need years of practice.
      I don’t know about rebellion and revolution but from watching TV on and off for the last couple of days, people seem really, really disgusted with the self seeking attitudes of the politicians, of all parties.

      • All motivated by blatant self interest.

      • Chris Waller

        I once handled a replica of a medieval English longbow. With all the strength I could muster I managed to draw the bowstring back about 9 inches. Those archers at Agincourt must have had shoulders like Arnold Schwarznegger.

        REPLY: Apparently the strength involved was such that archaeologists can recognise a bowman’s skeleton by his curved spine and the deformities to other bones. That kind of dedication to training and practice became rarer and rarer so guns, (easy to learn, idiots could use them etc) soon replaced the longbow. Crossbows, incidentally, were in the same category. On a TV programme I saw it took Rory Bremner only two hours to learn enough technique with a crossbow to hit a fridge at 100 yards, more often than he missed it. Even after all that, though, I still wonder what two or three hundred longbowmen, magically brought from Agincourt, might have done at Waterloo!

    • That sound’s my kind of event! I keep meaning to see when “Peterloo” is available as a DVD. In Nottingham there was an incident called “The Battle of Mapperley Plains” which I may well do a blog post about one day, if I can find enough material. I find the whole period quite fascinating, as he rich got richer and the poor tried to fight back!

  3. An interesting window to Nottingham 1792. How little we’ve learned since then!

    • Absolutely. We just go round and round in our pursuit of wealth and power with, if anything, less and less regard for the welfare of the people poorer than ourselves, and little genuine concern for the welfare of the planet.

  4. Politicians never learn form history. Riots and uprisings of varying degrees have plagued them for years. People seem to be getting more and more restless, especially in the current uneasy climate!

    • I really do think that the politicians may live to regret all this shameful squabbling about Brexit. We had a vote, a decision was taken but it seems to have been the wrong one, so Democracy is just abandoned. Or even worse, the decision was wrong so let’s have another referendum and this time, make sure you get it right.

  5. Now I imagine I should write a post on the Eureka uprising in Ballarat.

  6. A fascinating account with humorous touches, John

  7. Jan

    Well they are Russian soldiers with their enormous колбаса. Almost as Ruritanian as Marshall Zhukov’s chest full of medals; they may have been Communists but they still liked their Czarist bling.


    • If you say they are Russian, then I will bow to your greater expertise. My memory is that they were originally captioned in Google Pictures as German, but perhaps I am mistaken.

  8. Chris Waller

    It is a salutary thought that revolutions are not initiated by fine oratory, skilful rhetoric or intellectual pamphleteering but by a rise in the price of bread or some other staple. The French Revolution was a prime example, though these days its the price of petrol that galvanises les sans culottes.

    • Yes, the French government are playing with fire when it comes to rises in the petrol prices. It’s always foolish to alienate the nation’s Molotov cocktail throwers. The Russian Revolution is supposed to have started in a very fractious dispute in a bread queue in St Petersburg. It was apparently an old woman speaking up about “It’s one thing after another” that was ultimately the baguette that broke the Romanovs’ backs. A bit like Rosa Parks except that she was cold and hungry as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.