Bibliography - Crime and punishment: Swing Riots
Bibliography Home

Publications

The Agricultural Labourers' Revolt of 1830 in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, by Monju Dutt, 1967 at University of London (Ph.D. thesis)

Captain Swing, by E. J. Hobsbawm and George Rud&eacuute;, published 1969 (384 pp., London: Lawrence and Wishart) accessible at: The Keep [LIB/502124] & West Sussex Libraries & East Sussex Libraries

Riots in Westbourne [1830], by Peter M. Wilkinsin, published Autumn 1976 in West Sussex History, the Journal of West Sussex Archives Society (no. 6, article, p.2) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 16404/6] & The Keep [LIB/500479]

Swing Riots in West Sussex 1830-31, by Peter Brickley, published September 1980 in Sussex Genealogist and Family Historian (vol. 2 no. 2, article, pp.53-62) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 8671] & The Keep [LIB/501188] & CD SXGS from S.F.H.G.

Captain Swing, East Preston, Edmund Bushby and East Preston in 1830, by R. W. Standing, published 1989 (published by the author) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries

Captain Swing's Village School, by R.W. Standing, published October 1993 in West Sussex History, the Journal of West Sussex Archives Society (no. 52, article, p.17) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 16404/52] & The Keep [LIB/500483]

Isaac Hammond and the Steyning Riot of 1835, by Kevin Hammond, published March 1997 in Sussex Family Historian (vol. 12 no. 5, article, pp.193-195) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 14879] & The Keep [LIB/508812] & CD SFH40 from S.F.H.G.
Preview:
Isaac Hammond was born in 1787 and married Tabitha Connock at Preston Plucknett in Somerset. Under Poor Law Relief he and his family were removed to Steyning in 1812. Description of events leading to the Steyning riot in 1835 and Isaac's roll in it are described for which he was imprisoned at Petworth for three months.

Captain Swing Riots, 1830, by R. L. Burgess, published September 1998 in Sussex Family Historian (vol. 13 no. 3, article, p.99) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 14880] & The Keep [LIB/508818] & CD SFH40 from S.F.H.G.

Riots and Unrest, by Andrew Charlesworth, Brian Short and Roger Wells, published 1 January 1999 in An Historical Atlas of Sussex (pp.74-75, Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd, ISBN-10: 1860771122 & ISBN-13: 9781860771125) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 14026][Lib 18777] & The Keep [LIB/501686][LIB/508903] & West Sussex Libraries & East Sussex Libraries

Captain Swing Riots, 1830, by R. L. Burgess, published April 1999 in West Sussex History, the Journal of West Sussex Archives Society (no. 63, article, p.20) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 16404/63] & The Keep [LIB/500487]

Captain Swing, by Eric Hobsbawm and George Rud&eacuute;, published 15 February 2001 (new edition, originally published 1969, 384 pp., Phoenix, ISBN-10: 1842122355 & ISBN-13: 9781842122358) accessible at: West Sussex Libraries
Abstract:
For generation upon generation, the English farm labourer lived a life of poverty and degradation. Centuries came and went, but the lives of the rural poor remained essentially unaltered. With the onset of the industrial revolution, however, new forces came into play, which were to lead to profound change across society, including the world of the poor farm labourer and yeoman farmer. As capitalism penetrated ever deeper into the countryside, tension reached breaking point. From 1830 onwards, rural England was shaken by a series of uprisings known as the "Swing". There were riots across the counties of southern and eastern England, machinery was wrecked, and farm buildings set alight. Captain Swing is the history of these uprisings, the people who made them and what subsequently became of them. It is the history of the rural poor of England and of lives without trace. And, in charting the rise and fall of the "Swing" uprisings, it is also a compelling account of the triumph of rural capitalism in the early nineteenth century. First published in 1969, Captain Swing has long been regarded as a classic work of English history.

Swing rioters 'down under', by R. C. Grant, published December 2003 in Sussex Family Historian (vol. 15 no. 8, article, p.357) accessible at: W.S.R.O. [Lib 15249] & The Keep [LIB/508827] & CD SFH40 from S.F.H.G.
Preview:
Swing rioters were transported to Australia in 1831, 1832 and 1833. A list is given of those transported who had Sussex connections - name, year of birth, residence, whether married, whether children, death, destination and name of ship.

Captain Swing in Sussex and Kent: Rural Rebellion in 1830, by Mike Matthews, published 2006 (viii + 116 pp., Hastings Press, ISBN-10: 1904109136 & ISBN-13: 9781904109136) accessible at: British Library & West Sussex Libraries & East Sussex Libraries
Abstract:
The Untold Story of Rural Class War in the South-East of England.
In?1830, after the prolonged agricultural recession that followed the close of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, a series of riots swept across England's southern counties. The outbreaks went on to spread, largely unchecked, into East Anglia, the Midlands and several northern counties, eventually to reach Carlisle. The economic hardship of the long-suffering, wretchedly oppressed and half-starved labourers had become so acute that their usual forbearance finally snapped. This agrarian rebellion was fuelled by an unprecedented level of class hatred and bitterness. Driven by a blind desire for revenge and reprisal against the farmers and their wealthy friends, the farmhands were set on a course of violent, direct retaliatory action, regardless of the consequences.
Mike Matthews, the author charts Swing's progress through just two southern counties, Kent and Sussex, which suffered the greatest levels of incendiarism and destruction of machinery, but this is not a comprehensive regional study of the riots, since to list in chronological order one lawless episode after another would soon become very tedious for the reader: the destruction of farm premises and machinery in Kent and Sussex was on an immense scale, as will become abundantly clear in this narrative. Wherever possible he has tried to avoid duplicating existing published material on Swing, and, whenever feasible, has attempted to combine all the previous historical information on the riots into detailed case-studies of various size. Two chapters contain subject matter relating to the outbreaks that has never before been seen in print and readers interested in the emergence of agricultural trade unionism will learn something new.
Captain Swing explores, closely, what county and national reporters in 1830 were calling a 'war of poverty against property', a civil strife of 'destitution against possession', and breathes new life and colour into the criminal exploits and violent resistance of the Captain Swing insurgents, to endeavour to understand what their contemporaries described apprehensively as 'their dark mischief' and 'state of reckless insubordination'.
Review by Sarah Hanna in Sussex Past and Present no. 118, August 2009:
Subtitled Rural Rebellion in 1830, the book traces the story of these widespread riots, which flared briefly through southern England in the early 1830s. This was a time of depressed grain prices following the Napoleonic wars, when agricultural unemployment was growing and farm labourers believed their jobs were threatened by mechanisation; hence the destruction of new farm machinery, especially horse operated 'thrashing' (or threshing) machines. The rural unrest led to near panic among the landed classes, and was perhaps the start of rural depopulation which continued through the nineteenth century.
A comprehensive history of the riots, Captain Swing by Eric Hobsbawm and George Rudé appeared in 1969, and Mike Matthews complements this story with a detailed study of the process operating locally, for instance he has pinpointed possibly the first incident at Ripple, near Deal in Kent on August 5 1830, earlier than was previously known. This absorbing story is well-referenced and brings to light fascinating details, such as the sad stories of individuals executed as scapegoats, one of whom was probably convicted by the witness testimony of the real perpetrator of the crime.
The illustrations are rather limited, consisting of various commercially available threshing machines and public notices of the period and this is an account of mainly local interest, which does not dwell on the major themes of nineteenth century social change.

The violent Captain Swing ?, by Carl J. Griffin, published November 2010 in Past and Present (No. 209, article, pp.149-180)
Partly on events in Sussex.

The Rural War: Captain Swing and the Politics of Protest, by Brian Short, published October 2013 in The Journal of Historical Geography (vol. 42, article, p.22)   View Online