Merthyr Riots (Lewis Lewis)

In 1829, there was a general depression in the iron Industry in Merthyr and there were cuts in wages this reverberated to Hirwaun and by then it was quite possible that Lewis Lewis (Lewsyn yr Heliwr) was involved in the mining industry or the iron industry, he was partied to the terrible depression that followed 1829. As the depression hit Hirwaun many people there had to appear in Court of request in Merthyr, where they were then fined and the fine was usually paid by the removal of goods to the person who was in debt.

On 31st May 1831 bailiffs from the Court of Requests attempted to seize goods from the home of Lewis Lewis but he refused to let them to take his property and the Magistrate, J.B.Bruce, was called to defuse the situation. He arranged a compromise between Lewis and the bailiffs which allowed the latter to remove a trunk belonging to Lewis.

The chest was taken to a shop in Hirwaun. When the riot started, Hirwaun was one of the first places attacked and Lewis was naturally involved, emotionally involved because a piece of furniture possible descended from his parents had been taken from him. He led a crowd to the house of the shopkeeper who was in possession of the trunk and took the trunk back by force. It’s a small thing that triggers off a sequence of events and Lewis was involved there.

Lewis was prominent from then on in the Merthyr Riots. On June 2nd he was of the party that ransacked many shops in Merthyr and seizing any goods which the Court of Requests had taken, and returned them to their rightful owners

You can read press cuttings from the aftermath of the Merthyr rising here

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