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ParishRecords

Chartism in Monmouthshire

1820s Disquiet in the industrial north of the County

Trouble was now brewing amongst workers in the foundries and mines. The KEEPER'S BOOK of Usk House of Correction records several men arrested on suspicion of being part of groups who were conspiring to dissuade workers from accepting the low wages fixed by their Iron and Coal Masters.

1823 Feb'ry 28th - Received the Body of Thomas Williams (Pudler), Committed by John H. Moggridge Esq, charged upon the Oath of Mr. John Jones (agent) to Messrs Homfray & Co, Iron Masters, and Co-Partners of Tredegar Iron Works, with having left his work and Iron in the Furnace, by which much Injury accrued to his said employers, and that he was a party concerned in a combination, or conspiracy among other Pudlers, and also hath in the employ of his said Masters been guilty of divers Miscarriages, Misdemeanors and Misconduct. To be Imprisoned and held to hard labour for the spacer of two Calendar Months. Discharged April 26th 1823. He having performed the limited time of his imprisonment.

1827 May 14th - Received the body of Thomas Jones, Committed by John H. Moggridge Esqr., charg'd upon Oath with having threatened certain Workmen in the Collieries with bodily injury, for working at their Masters Prices, and upon suspicion of having been concerned with others calling themselves Scotch Cattle, in disturbing the Peace of the Country in the Night time. To be Imprisoned until discharg'd by due course of the Law. Liberated May 20th, he having found Surety for his appearance at the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace - the above Named Thomas Jones did not appear.

Chartists - The Newport Rising

On 3–4 November 1839, John Frost led a Chartist march on the Westgate Hotel in Newport. The rationale for the set piece confrontation remains opaque, although it may have its origins in Frost's ambivalence towards the more violent attitudes of some of the Chartists, and the personal animosity he bore towards some of the Newport establishment who were ensconced in the hotel along with sixty armed soldiers. The Chartist movement in south east Wales was chaotic in this period, after the arrest of Henry Vincent a leading agitator, who was imprisoned nearby in Monmouth Gaol and the feelings of the workers were running extremely high, too high for Frost to reason with and control. One of his contemporaries, William Price described Frost's stance at the time of the Newport Rising as being akin to "putting a sword in my hand and a rope around my neck."

The march, which had been gathering momentum over the course of the whole weekend as Frost and his associates led the protestors down from the valley towns above Newport, numbered some 3,000 when it entered the town. According to the plan, three columns from three directions were to march upon Newport and take the town before dawn. The contingent starting from Blackwood was commanded by Frost, the detachment coming from Nantyglo by Williams and the main body of Pontypool by Jones. The three columns were to meet at Risca, but this did not come to pass; owing to a storm raging in the night, all of them arrived late, and the worst trouble was that the delay gave the Newport authorities ample time to get wind of what was afoot and make ready to confront the coming armed Chartists. Special constables were sworn in hastily, the known Chartists of Newport were arrested and shut up in the Westgate Hotel where the mayor held thirty soldiers in reserve. The Chartist troops led by Frost, proceeding to the hotel at 9:30 am and demanding the surrender of the Chartist prisoners, advanced to the door. When the soldiers posted in the hotel started firing, ten to fifteen Chartists died instantly, about fifty were wounded. The bloody event was over in twenty minutes. The Chartists miners were in a very bad strategic position, and the firing took them by surprise. When they withdrew, they met the contingent of Williams and outside the town, the column of Jones. The Times newspaper estimated that the strength of the Chartists army at 8,000 and Gammage at 20,000.

Overall the battle of the Westgate lasted only about 25 minutes, but at its close some 22 people lay dead or dying and upwards of 50 had been injured. An eyewitness report spoke of one man, wounded with gunshot, lying on the ground, pleading for help until he died an hour later. Bullet holes remain in the masonry of the hotel entrance porch to this day.

The reprisal by the local council followed immediately. The three "leaders" of the Newport Riot were quickly captured together with nine other men and imprisoned at Monmouth Gaol whilst awaiting their trials.

1839-40 The CHARTIST TRIALS

held at The Monmouth Assizes:

19th November 1839

A Special Commission of Oyer and Terminer issued under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to inquire of certain High Treasons and Misprisions of Treason, committed within the county of Monmouth; and a Special Commission of Gaol Delivery as to all persons who were or should be in custody for such offences on or before the 11th day of December following.

10th December, at 10 o'clock, the Special Commissions were opened in the Crown Court at Monmouth.

Those present:

The Right honourable Lord Chief Justice Tindal

The Right honourable Mr. Baron Parke

The Honourable Mr. Justice Williams

The Lord Lieutenant Capel Hanbury Leigh Esq.

Sheriff Colthurst Bateman Esq. delivered in the panel, which was called over, and the following Gentlemen were sworn in:

Grand Jurors:

Foreman: The Right honourable Granville Charles Henry Somerset

The Honourable William Rodney

Sir Benjamin Hall, Bart.

William Addams Williams, Esq.

Reginald James Blewitt, Esq.

Richard Amphlett, Esq.

Joseph Bailey, Esq.

Richard Blakemore, Esq.

Francis Chambre, Esq.

William Curre, Esq.

Philip John Ducare, Esq.

Joseph Davies, Esq.

John Gisborne, Esq.

Samuel Homfray, Esq.

John Francis Vaughan, Esq.

John Jenkins, Esq.

Thomas Lewis, Esq.

Charles Octavius Swinnerton Morgan, Esq.

Charles Marrlott, Esq.

Francis M'Donnell, Esq.

William Needham, Esq.

Charles Harrison Powell, Esq.

John Etherington Welsh Rolls, Esq.

Counsel for the Crown:

The Attorney-General

The Solicitor-General

Mr Serjeant Ludlow

Mr Serjeant Talfourd

Mr Wightman

The Honourable JC Talbot

Solicitor:

George Maule, Esq., Solicitor for the Affairs of Her Majesty's Treasury

Counsel for the Prisoner:

Sir Frederick Pollock

Mr. Kelly

Assistant Counsel:

Mr. Thomas

Solicitor:

Mr. WF Geach

"True Bills" for High Treason were found against 14 men and more than 40 counts for sedition, conspiracy, riot and burglary.

The 14 men committed for Trial were:

John Frost, age 54, a draper, Newport

Zephaniah Williams, age 44, an inn keeper, of Blaina

William Jones, age 30, a watchmaker & beer house keeper, of Pontypool

Charles Waters, age 26, a ship's carpenter, of Newport (formerly Chepstow)

John Lovell, age 41, a gardener, of Newport

Jenkin Morgan, age 40, a milkman, of Pillgwenlly

Richard Benfield, age 20, a miner, of Sirhowy

John Rees, age 40, a miner, of Tredegar

James Aust, age 25, a gardener, of Malpas (formerly of Caerleon)

Solomon Britton, age 23, a collier, of Garndiffaith

George Turner, age 37, a collier, of Blackwood

Edmund Edmunds, age 34, a mine agent, of Pontllanfraith

and, to be tried in their absence:

John Rees, (Jack 'the Fifer'), a stonemason, of Tredegar

David Jones, (Dai 'the Tinker'), of Tredegar

- but the two were never captured

The Trials commenced on 31st December 1839 - and all fourteen men faced the Death Penalty.

The Jury:

John Daniel, of Abergavenny, haberdasher

Thomas Davis, of Abergavenny, butcher

Richard Lewis, of Llanvair Discoed, farmer

Edward Brittle, of Mitchell Troy, farmer

James Hollings, of Monmouth, ironmonger

Thomas Jones, of Great House, Nash, farmer

Edward Reese, of Llanmartin, miller

Edward Smith, of Chepstow, coachmaker

Christopher John, of Redwick, farmer

William Williams, of Llangattock-nigh-Usk, farmer

John Richards, of Chepstow, baker

John Capel Smith, of Chepstow, grocer

John Frost's trial was heard first and this ended on the 8th JanuaryZephaniah Williams, on the 13th January and William Jones, on the 14th January. All three were found "guilty, with mercy".[This meant that although they were sentenced to death, the final decision to allow mercy was with Her Majesty and her Government]

johnfrostpicJohn Frost at the trial

John Lovell, Charles Waters, Jenkin Morgan, Richard Benfield and John Rees - on the advice of their counsels, Messrs, Stone & Skinner, were urged to plead guilty in the hopes that the Crown prosecutors could prevail upon the Judges to set the death penalty aside in their cases and on the 15th January 1840, they appeared together in court and pleaded guilty. The remaining four Chartists in Monmouth gaol - James Aust, Solomon Britton, George Turner, Edmund Edmunds - were brought before the bar and to everyone's amazement, the Attorney General withdrew all charges against them and they were freed with a verbal admonishment.

On the 16th January 1840, John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones were sentenced by the Lord Chief Justice Sir Nicholas Tindal:

"After the most anxious and careful investigation of your respective cases, before juries of great intelligence and almost unexampled patience, you stand at the bar of this court to receive the last sentence of the law for the commission of a crime which, beyond all others, is the most pernicious in example, and the most injurious in its consequences, to the peace and happiness of human society - the crime of High Treason against your Sovereign. You can have no just ground of complaint that your several cases have not met with the most full consideration, both from the jury and from the court. But as the jury have, in each of those cases, pronounced you guilty of the crime with which you have been charges, I should be wanting in justice to them if I did not openly declare, that the verdicts which they have found meet with the entire concurrence of my learned brethren and myself.

zephwilliamspicZephaniah Williams at the trial

In the case of all ordinary breaches of the law, the mischief of the offence does, for the most part, terminate with the immediate injury sustained by the individual against whom it is levelled. The man who plunders the property, or lifts his hand against the life of his neighbour, does by his guilty act inflict, in that particular instance, and to that extent, a loss or injury on the sufferer or his surviving friends. But they who, by armed numbers, or by violence, or terror, endeavour to put down established institutions, and to introduce in their stead a new order of things, open wide the flood-gates of rapine and bloodshed, destroy all security of property and life, and do their utmost to involve a whole nation in anarchy and ruin.

It has been proved, in your case, that you combined together to lead from the hills, at the dead hour of night, into the town of Newport many thousands of men, armed, in many instances, with weapons of a dangerous description, in order that they might take possession of the town, and supersede the lawful authority of the Queen, as a preliminary step to a more general insurrection throughout the kingdom.

It is owing to the interposition of Providence alone that your wicked designs were frustrated. Your followers arrive by day-light, and after firing upon the civil power, and upon the Queen's troops, are, by the firmness of the magistrates, and the cool and determined bravery of a small body of soldiers, defeated and dispersed. What would have been the fate of the peaceful and unoffending inhabitants of that town, if success had attended your rebellious designs, it is impossible to say. The invasion of a foreign foe would, in all probability, have been less destructive to property and life.

williamjones2William Jones at the trial

It is for the crime of High Treason, committed under these circumstances, that you are now called upon yourselves to answer; and by the penalty which you are about to suffer, you hold out a warning to all your fellow-subjects, that the law of your country is strong enough to repress and to punish all attempts to alter the established order of things by insurrection and armed force; and that those who are found guilty of such treasonable attempts must expiate their crime by an ignominious death.

I therefore most earnestly exhort you to employ the little time that remains to you in preparing for the great change that awaits you, by sincere penitence and by fervent prayer. For although we do not fail to forward to the proper quarter that recommendation which the jury have intrusted to us, we cannot hold out to you any hope of mercy on this side of the grave.

And now, nothing more remains than the duty imposed upon the court - to all of us a most painful duty - to declare the last sentence of the law, which is that you, John Frost, and you, Zephaniah Williams, and you, William Jones, be taken hence to the place from whence you came, and be thence drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, and that each of you be there hanged by the neck until you be dead, and that afterwards the head of each of you shall be severed from his body, and the body of each, divided into four quarters, shall be disposed of as Her Majesty shall think fit, and may Almighty God have mercy upon your souls."

Below is a dramatisation of the Judge’s summing up
& sentencing of the three Chartists leaders

Video © Michael Booth / via Wikimedia Commons / (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

There are six more video clips of the trial available to view - just click on this text to go to the Wikipedia page. The videos can be found half way down that page . . .

John Lovell, Charles Waters, Jenkin Morgan, Richard Benfield, John Rees - were sentenced to life transportation. (This punishment was reduced to imprisonment). Jack 'the Fifer' and Dai 'the Tinker' were sentenced to death 'in absentio'.

Below is the complete CALENDAR OF PRISONERS which lists all 60 CHARTIST PRISONERS who were to appear before the Special Sessions Court to be held at MONMOUTH SHIRE HALL on December 10th 1839, with eventual verdicts and sentences:

1. John FROST age 54, committed Nov 5th 1839; for having on the 4th day of November instant, at the Borough of Newport, committed High Treason against our sovereign Lady the Queen, her crown and dignity. (Found Guilty. Received the Death sentence which was later commuted to transportation for life. After spending 14 years in Tasmania he received a full pardon)

2. Charles WALTERS age 26, committed Nov 5th; for High Treason at Borough of Newport. (Pleaded guilty and was sentenced to transportation for life which was commuted to 5 years imprisonment in Millbank Prison)

3. John PARTRIDGE age 44, committed Nov 7th; for High Treason at Borough of Newport. (Pleaded Guilty. 6 months hard labour)

4 . James AUST age 25, committed Nov 6th; for High Treason at Borough of Newport. (Acquitted)

5. Thomas DAVIES age 33, committed Nov 7th; for High Treason, at Borough of Newport. (Acquitted)

6. John REES age 40, committed Nov 7th; for High Treason at Borough of Newport. (Pleaded guilty and was sentenced to transportation for life - later commuted to 7 years transportation)

7. Richard BENFIELD age 20, committed Nov 7th; for High Treason at Borough of Newport. (Pleaded guilty and was sentenced to transportation for life - later commuted to 2 years imprisonment)

8. William JONES age 30, committed Nov 8th; for High Treason at Borough of Newport. (Received the Death sentence which was later commuted to transportation for life. After spending 14 years in Tasmania he received a full pardon)

9. Amy MEREDITH age 45 (along with prisoners 10 & 11 for the same offence), committed Nov 11th; for having on the night of the 3rd of November instant, at the parish of Trevethin, burglariously and feloniously broken open the dwelling house of John James and stolen therein a quantity of bread and cheese, and one cask, containing six gallons of beer. (Acquitted)

10. James MEREDITH age 11, committed Nov 11th; for burglary with prisoners 9 & 11 at Trevethin. (Acquitted)

11. Thomas KEYS age 29, committed Nov 11th; for burglary with prisoners 9 & 10 at Trevethin. (Acquitted)

12. Solomon BRITON age 23, committed Nov 11th; for High Treason & Sedition at Borough of Newport. (Acquitted)

13. William WILLIAMS age 29, committed Nov 11th; for having the night of Sunday, 3rd Nov instant, together with divers other persons unknown, members of an unlawful combination and conspiracy, burglariously and feloniously broken open and entered the dwelling house of one John LLOYD, at the parish of Bedwellty and then and there being armed with spears and other offensive weapons, and with threats putting Ann Walter in bodily fear, demanded and took from her a quantity of rum, gin and beer. (discharged by proclamation)

14. George GEORGE age 37, committed Nov 12th; for High Treason & Sedition at Borough of Newport. (6 months hard labour for burglary)

15. Thomas DAVIES age 28, committed Nov 13th; for having been on the 4th day of November instant, illegally armed with a pike, and having been riotously assembled at Aberbeeg and Abercarne with other persons unknown, did threaten one George HITCHINGS to do him some grievious bodily harm, and with force and arms compelled him to join and go with them for an illegal purpose. (18 months imprisonment)

16. George TURNER (otherwise George COLE) age 37, committed Nov 15th; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Acquitted)

17. William SHELLARD age 36, committed Nov 18th; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (traversed - later sentenced at the March Assizes to 18 months hard labour)

18. Edmund EDMUNDS age 34, committed Nov 18th; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Acquitted)

19. Samuel ETHERIDGE age 61, committed Nov 19th; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Acquitted)

20. John Lewis LLEWELLIN age 49, committed Nov 19th; for Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (traversed - later sentenced to 12 months imprisonment)

21. Jenkin MORGAN age 40, committed Nov 20th; for Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Pleaded guilty and was sentenced to transportation for life commuted to 5 years imprisonment at Millbank Prison)

22. Evan EDWARDS age 24, committed Nov 21st; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (one months imprisonment, for making bullets)

23. Benjamin RICHARDS age 41, committed Nov 21st; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (6 months imprisonment)

24. Thomas LLEWELLIN age 44, committed Nov 26th; for Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (6 months hard labour)

25. Thomas MORGAN age 20, committed Nov 23rd charged upon the oaths of Thomas WILLIAMS and others; for having on the night of the 3rd of November instant, together with divers other persons armed with guns, spears, and other offensive weapons, entered the dwelling house of William ADAMS of Ebber Vale, in this county, and did then and there with threats put the said Thomas WILLIAMS in bodily fear, and compelled him to join them in an unlawful combination and confederacy. (3 months imprisonment)

26. Zephaniah WILLIAMS age 44, committed Nov 27th charged upon the oaths of John PARSONS and others; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Received the Death sentence which was later commuted to transportation for life. After spending 14 years in Tasmania he received a full pardon)

27. Moses HORNER age 21 (along with prisoners 28 & 29 for the same offence), committed Nov 26th charged upon the oaths of Mary THOMAS and others; for having on the 3rd day of November instant, at the parish of Monythusloyne, stolen, taken, and carried away one shot belt, three pounds weight of shot, and one dagger, the property of William THOMAS. (traversed - verdict not known)

28. William HORNER age 18, committed Nov 26th with prisoners 27 & 29. (traversed - verdict not known)

29. Thomas DAVIES age 25, committed Nov 26th with prisoners 27 & 28. (traversed - verdict not known)

30. Thomas EDWARDS age 28, committed Nov 28th (along with prisoners 31, 32 & 33 for the same offence); for having on the 3rd day of November instant, at the parish of Bedwellty, feloniously and burglariously broken and entered the dwelling house of John WALTERS, and did then and there violently and unlawfully assault the said John WALTERS. (6 months hard labour)

31. William John LLEWELLIN age 20, committed Nov 28th; with prisoners 30, 32 & 33 for burglary & assault at Bedwellty. (one year imprisonment)

32. John (Job) HARRIES age 28, committed Nov 28th; with prisoners 30, 31 & 33 for burglary & assault at Bedwellty. (2 months hard labour)

33. Joseph COALES age 24, committed Nov 28th; with prisoners 30, 31 & 32 for burglary & assault at Bedwellty. (2 months hard labour)

34. Lewis ROWLAND age 37, committed Nov 28th charged on the oaths of Jacob THOMAS and others; with having, on the 1st day of November instant, at the parish of Bedwas, committed Sedition. (one year imprisonment)

35. John OWEN age 28, committed Nov 29th charged on the oaths of John THOMAS and others; with having, on the 3rd day of November instant, at the parish of Aberystruth committed High Treason. (6 months imprisonment)

36. John LOVELL age 41, committed Nov 9th; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Pleaded guilty and was sentenced to transportation for life which was commuted to 5 years imprisonment at Millbank Prison)

37. John BATTEN the younger age 18, committed Nov 30th; for High Treason and Sedition at the Borough of Newport. (Discharged)

38. Isaac PHILLIPS age 18, committed Dec 7th; for having on the 4th day of November instant at the parish of Machen, stolen one cleaver, of the value of ten shillings, the property of Charles HARRIS. (Discharged)

39. William JONES age 25, committed Dec 11th; charged upon oath with conspiracy and riot at Newport on the 4th day of November last. (Discharged)

40. John GIBBY age 30, committed Dec 12th; charged upon oath with having at Newport on the 9th of November last; committed High Treason. (one year imprisonment)

41. Edward FROST, admitted to bail for having on the 4th day of November 1839 at the Borough of Newport; for conspiracy. (Bound over in sureties to appear to any indictment - discharged)

42. John FISHER, admitted to bail for having on the 4th day of November 1839 at the Borough of Newport; for conspiracy. (Discharged)

43. William DAVIES, admitted to bail having on the 4th day of November 1839 at the parish of Bedwellty;, for conspiracy. (Discharged)

44. Ebenezer WILLIAMS, admitted to bail for having on the 4th day of November 1839 at the Borough of Newport; for conspiracy. (Discharged)

45. Thomas LEWIS age 33, committed Nov 18th 1839; charged along with prisoners 46 & 47, with riotously assembling together with a number of other persons, armed with offensive weapons, in the parish of Trevethin on the 4th day of November instant, to the great terror and alarm of Her Majesty's liege subjects (3 months imprisonment)

46. Edmund RICHARDS age 39, committed Nov 18th 1839; charged along with prisoners 45 & 47 with the same offence (3 months imprisonment)

47. James MOORE age 20, committed Nov 18th 1839; charged along with prisoners 45 & 46 with the same offence (12 months imprisonment)

48. Edward PILLENGER age 28, committed Dec 21st 1839; charged on the oaths of Benjamin STRICKLAND and others with having on the 4th of November last, at the parish of Risca, been guilty of riot and conspiracy. (Discharged)

49. George TOMLINS (or THOMPSON), admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (Discharged)

50. Thomas DAVIES, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (4 months imprisonment)

51. Charles BUCKNELL, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (Acquitted)

52. Frederic TURNER, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (recognizances forfeited, afterwards discharged)

53. Isaac DAVIES, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (Acquitted)

54. Henry HARRIS, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (Discharged)

55. Thomas BOLTON, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (Acquitted)

56. John BRITTON, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (Verdict not known)

57. David WILLIAMS, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (recognizances estreated)

58. John CHARLES, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (3 months imprisonment)

59. William HAVARD, admitted to bail Nov 11th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin. (2 months imprisonment)

60. Thomas BALL, admitted to bail Nov 18th 1839; charged with riotously assembling in the parish of Trevethin on 3rd day of November instant. (Acquitted)

SOME CHARTISTS WHO DIED on the day of the Riots

John CODD

David DAVIES of Waunhelygen, Brynmawr

Evan DAVIES, collier

John DAVIS of Pontnewynydd, carpenter

William EVANS of Tredegar, miner

William FARRADAY of Blackwood, collier

John JONATHAN of Blaina (uncertain)

William GRIFFITHS of Merthyr

Robert LANSDOWN

Reece MEREDITH of Tredegar

David MORGAN of Tredegar, tinker

John MORRIS, miner

George SHELL of Pontypool, carpenter

Abraham THOMAS of Blaina, collier

Isaac THOMAS of Nantyglo

[unknown] WILLIAMS, deserter from the 29th Regiment of Foot

William WILLIAMS of Cwmtillery

William, Aberdare

John, "the Roller" of Nantyglo

(names taken from www.chartists.net)

THE FATE OF THE THREE LEADERS AFTER THE TRIAL

John Frost, Zephaniah Williams, William Jones - were returned to Monmouth Gaol to await public execution.  The Government had decided that an example should be made of three members of the lower middle classes for having misled thousands of workmen into taking insurrectionary action against Queen and State.

A campaign for clemency swept the country and under pressure from mass meetings and petitions Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and his Cabinet finally relented on the 31st January 1840. The reprieve from execution however, was accompanied by an order for the immediate removal of the three prisoners to the hulks; and a military escort having been procured, at half-past one o'clock on Monday morning, the three prisoners were roused from their beds, informed for the first time of their altered fortunes, and ordered instantly to prepare themselves for their removal. They were supplied with refreshments and at two o'clock were hurried into the prison van, and, escorted by a troop of lancers, were conveyed to Chepstow, and there put on board the "Usk" steamer. From Chepstow the "Usk" proceeded to Kings Road, and took in coals and provisions; and subsequently, owing to bad weather, she put into Ilfracombe for 48 hours. On the 7th she put into Padstow. After 13 days voyage they arrived at Portsmouth on Saturday, the 10th, and the prisoners were immediately transferred to the "York" hulk.

DESTINATION OF THE PRISONERS

On February 24th, Frost, Williams, and Jones embarked on board the convict ship "The Mandarin", at Spithead, with 210 other convicts. On the 26th the vessel put into Falmouth, with loss of topmast in a storm. From this place Frost wrote to his wife, begging her not to leave England to follow him, but to remain at home and care for their children.

The prisoners were conveyed to Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania). Frost was employed for a number of years as a schoolmaster; Jones continued in his occupation of a watchmaker; and Williams became a prosperous coal owner.

Fourteen years later, in 1854, Frost was given a conditional pardon that he must never return to Britain, and so he left Tasmania for America, and whilst there worked as a schoolteacher.

An unconditional pardon was finally granted in 1856 and Frost returned to Britain from America. Frost lost no time in demanding the restitution of his rights as a freeman of the Borough of Newport; and the persistency of his demand led the Town Council to a consideration of his claim, when they decided that, although Her Majesty's free pardon restored him his rights formerly possessed by him, he was not a burgess in occupation, through non-residence, and therefore not entitled to have his name published in the list of freemen.

Frost had taken up residence at Stapleton, near Bristol, where he had found Mary, his wife, living on his return to England. She died in 1857, and the old man resolved to die there too. A daughter remained to him whom he regarded as the only solace of his life. He was simple in his habits, and for many years lived as a total abstainer from intoxicating drinks. After years of great seclusion, John Frost passed away in his cottage in Stapleton, on Saturday, July 28th 1877 at the great age of 93 years. He was buried in the churchyard of the Holy Trinity with St Edmund, Horfield, Bristol in accordance with his will.

(In the 1980s Richard Frame found Frost's lost grave site and organised for a new headstone to be created and re-erected on the site, with the aid of a grant from Newport Council)

After the three Chartist Leaders finally received full pardons - William Jones and Zephaniah Williams decided to remain in Australia. William Jones died in poverty in December, 1873, in Tasmania. Zephaniah Williams died on the 8th May, 1874, at Launceston, Tasmania.

[These three chartist leaders were the last men in Britain sentenced to be "hanged, drawn and quartered"]

 

Click here to download the free 1889 ebook/pdf from www.archive.org

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"House of Commons Papers, Vol. 24. The Tenth Report of Inspectors - Southern and Western District: Monmouthshire - Abergavenny Lock-up House" - Google Books

"The Fifteenth Report of the Inspectors. 1850 - Prisons of Gt Britain, Southern & Western Division - Monmouthshire (Monmouth & Usk)" Google Books

"Reports from the Commissioners, Vol. 16, 1854" (Monmouth & Usk) - Google Books

"Reports from Commissioners, Vol. 16, 1871" (Usk) - Google Books

"The Corporations of England and Wales, 1854 Vol.1" - Google Books

The Usk Prison Keepers Book 1821-1834 - Gwent Archives {Ref. Q/CG 41]

"Newport Past" - Website

"Down Through the Trap Door - A History of Monmouth and Usk Gaols" by Peter J.R. Goodall

"Hangings and Hangmen at Usk Prison" by Godfrey Brangham

"Through Seven Reigns - A History of Newport Police Force 1836-1959"

"Usk Past & Present" by James Henry Clark, 1891 - Description of Prison and list of prison staff - Archive.org

"The Chronicles of Crime - The Newgate Calendar, Vol. 2, p529 (The Trial of the Monmouthshire Chartists)" - Google Books

"The Trial of John Frost for High Treason 1840, by Joseph & Thomas Gurney" - Google Books

“The Chartist Riots at Newport, November 1839”, published by W. N. Johns, 1889 - Archive.org

Calendar of Prisoners (Chartist Trial 1840) - Gwent Archives

Memorial to Her Majesty - John Frosts Pardon - Gwent Archives

Usk Keepers Book & Usk Prisoners Release Books - Gwent Archives

Details for the Newport Chartists sentencing: www.chartists.net/Chartist-Riots-at-Newport.htm

and www.chartists.net/Political-prisoners-1841.htm

 

 

More information can be found at: Wikipedia John Frost & the Chartist Trial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images unless otherwise credited are © MonGenes and may not be reproduced without permission

© MonGenes 2013

The Chartists attack on the
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Zephaniah Williams, John Frost &
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Chartist Leader - John Frost
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Trial of John Frost for High Treason by Joseph & Thomas Gurney

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 Zephaniah Williams
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