‘Policy on the hoof’: Sir Robert Peel, Sir Edward Knatchbull and the trial of the Elham machine breakers, 1830

Griffin, Carl J (2004) ‘Policy on the hoof’: Sir Robert Peel, Sir Edward Knatchbull and the trial of the Elham machine breakers, 1830. Rural History, 15 (2). pp. 127-148. ISSN 0956-7933

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Abstract

On 22nd October 1830 Sir Edward Knatchbull passed sentence on seven men for threshing-machine breaking in the Elham Valley area of East Kent. The four day sentence enraged both local farmers and Home Secretary Peel alike, and was seized upon by other labourers and artisans hostile to threshing-machines who believed that Knatchbull had legitimised such acts of rural Luddism. The trial sparked an intensification of ‘Swing’ in East Kent and for the first time acts of overt protest beyond. Knatchbull, upon being pressed by George Maule, the Treasury Solicitor, admitted that the sentences could not have been otherwise under circumstances he was not at liberty to disclose. This paper examines these circumstances and uncovers a bizarre chain of events which shed new light on both the genesis of ‘Swing’ and also upon local-central government relations regarding policy implementation and creation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Depositing User: Carl Griffin
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2014 11:08
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2014 11:09
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47457
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