‘The Labourers’ Revolt in the Andover area was more ferocious than anywhere else in the south

The labourers’ revolt was very ferocious in Andover but no more than some other places in the south. I agree that the Swing Riots were more ferocious in Andover because there is evidence in source A that parties of rioters would burn all the stacks and barns at Barton Stacey near Andover. Also in villages near Andover a crowd of 300 men destroyed threshing machines and other farming equipment. Shops and houses had to be shuttered and barred due to the fear of being robbed as the rioters moved around Andover demanding liquor and money from pedestrians.

Taskers Iron Foundry was also attacked in Abbots Ann because threshing machines were produced there this is also mentioned in Source J men had to be laid off work due to the mass damage of the machines. 2000 worth of damage was done. We know that these things happened because the labourers were revolting for better wages. The source may also be reliable as it was written by an historian writing about the swing Riots in the Hampshire Review.

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I agree that the Swing Riots may have been more ferocious than anywhere else in the South as source B shows than Hampshire as a whole had over one hundred disturbances over a period of two years, which is the highest amount of riots in the south. This source is also likely to be reliable because it was written for a textbook for schools in 1985 so the source is very likely to be unbiased also the source contains facts as numbers so this makes the source more reliable. Source D is evidence given by a family that was threatened by the rioters In St Mary Bourne.

A Reverend saw a mob of 200 people or more with sticks, bludgeons, pickaxes and a chain were coming to their house. They forced the door open and demanded money and threatened them by saying ‘We’ll have money or blood’. This helps prove that the swing riots were very ferocious in and around Andover. Source I states that the Andover district had more damage done to machinery than in any other part of Hampshire. This source I consider reliable because it contains facts such as that there were 35 cases of buildings and machinery being demolished in Andover.

I agree that the Swing Riots were more ferocious in Andover than anywhere else in the south due to the number of people involved. In source A it states that around three hundred men smashed the threshing machinery and farm equipment. This shows that a great number of people were involved in the Swing Riots in Andover. The mobs were called a hostile rabble in Source A, and hostility leads to ferocious actions so this proves that the Swing Riots were probably more ferocious in Andover than anywhere else in the south.

In source B it shows that Hampshire had the largest number of riots and more riots may mean more people, which in turn may make the Swing Riots in Andover more ferocious than anywhere else in the south. Source D gives evidence that, ‘a mob of 200 persons or more,’ were going to a house in St. Mary Bourne demanding money. The fact that there were 200 people in the mob helps to prove that the Swing Riots may have been more ferocious in Andover than anywhere else in the South. During the Swing Riots the demands were great in Andover so to get these demands there may have been ferocious riots.

Farmers could rarely pay wages to labourers after harvest in Winchester because there was no work being done and therefore no money being made. In source D there is evidence given to suggest threatening demands in St. Mary Bourne. The mob kept repeating ‘Blood or money,’ which suggests violence and bloodsheds if their demands weren’t met. This suggests that the Swing Riots were more ferocious in Andover than anywhere else in the south. It wasn’t just St. Mary Bourne; rioters would demand money and goods from any unlucky pedestrian.

We know that the demands mainly made by the rioters were for higher wages and the riots must have been effective because the wages were raised to 12s per week for able-bodied men of 20 and 9s for men over 16. Other proof that the Swing Riots were more ferocious in Andover than anywhere else in the south is the harshness of the punishments given. The violence must have been great because in source F it shows that five men were originally sentenced to death. This harsh punishment reflects on the violence in and around Andover.

This source is probably reliable because it contains facts and was written as a factual history book. Source F also states that 30 rioters who lived close to Andover were originally sentenced to death this proves that the riots were considered more serious in Andover than anywhere else in the south. However in other ways I disagree that the swing riots in Andover were the more ferocious than anywhere else in the South. Source A states that fire also occurred in Hamble, Droxford and places near Portsmouth. Tollgates were also destroyed in West dean and Tytherly near romsey.

The tollgates were like a road tax. People had to pay to use them which the labourers didn’t like especially as they couldn’t even afford to eat. There was also trouble in Basingstoke, this was described as fierce which shows that it was quite ferocious here as well as in Southampton where more threshing machines were destroyed. Source A may even be exaggerating when it talks about the swing riots in Andover as it uses words like ‘Smashing’ and ‘hostilities’. Source B shows that there were more than 100 disturbances in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Sussex and Kent.

This shows that Andover may not have been more ferocious than anywhere else in the south. As there were a similar number of disturbance in those counties also. Even source G shows rioters setting fire to hay ricks in Kent There were violent actions in Wiltshire, for example in source C a farmer who believed he was reasonable in the wages he gave out, was turned against by his labourers and they destroyed his threshing machines. A hammer was thrown at him and he was knocked out which goes to prove that Andover may not have been more ferocious than anywhere else in the south.

More of the violent actions took place in Winchester for example in source H at bishopstoke machines had been destroyed and a magistrate had his teeth knocked out by a stone thrown by a ring leader. Other reasons why the swing riots in Andover may not have been more ferocious than anywhere else in the south is due to the number of people involved in other places. For example source F states that out of the 99 sentenced to death 30 lived close to Andover. So another 69 had to have come from elsewhere.

Also in source H 38 men were caught destroying machinery in Wiltshire which goes towards proving that the swing riots were also ferocious elsewhere in the south. In source A it uses words like ‘mob,’ which suggests that there were many rioters in villages near Romsey. The Swing riots in the south broke out with rioters demanding money mainly because farmers could rarely pay wages to labourers after harvest in Winchester because there was no work being done and therefore no money being made. Farmers were paying the poor rate also, which meant that they had less money to pay their labourers.

Throughout Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex there were too many workers for the jobs so there were a lot of unemployed labourers and a lot of underpaid labourers. We know that Andover may not have been quite so ferocious because there are lots of words in the sources to suggest that they were exaggerated. For example ‘smashed,’ ‘forced,’ and ‘demolishing’. Also the numbers of rioters may have been exaggerated as in sources A and D as many as 200 to 300 rioters were said to be threatening in the same place. So Andover may not be more ferocious than anywhere else in the south.

Also the swing riots in Andover may not be as ferocious as we are led to believe because the five men due to be hung to begin with in source F were then instead sent to Australia for seven years, so if the punishment became milder then the riots may not have been any worse than anywhere else in the south. I do agree that the Swing riots in Andover were quite violent but I don’t agree that the riots in Andover were more ferocious than anywhere else in the south. I think that the violence in some other places was as great as the violence in Andover.

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