Merthyr Riots

Merthyr June 15, 1831

We are happy to say, that the greater part of the Ringleaders in the Merthyr Riots have, through the unabated exertions of the Civil Authorities been secured. Since our last accounts, David Hugh and David Richard, have been committed, and on the 15th David Thomas, known at Merthyr as Dai Llaw-harn (David with the Iron Hand) was apprehended at Swansea he is charged with being the most conspicuous in the demolition of Mr. Coffin’s property. John the Racer and Richard Evans, Hirwain puddler’s, have also been committed. The latter has a wife and three children, and we heard him inform the Magistrates that he was getting twenty shillings a week, and his eldest boy fifteen shillings. David Richards, Cyfarthfa miner, a single man, told a passenger in his way to Cardiff, that he earned three pounds a month! These men truly had not any wages, to complain of. An express arrived at Swansea this day, from Merthyr to fetch the Coroner.

The Late Riots at Merthyr June 18, 1831

On Friday the 10th inst. after a very laborious investigation before Evan Thomas, Esq. Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, J. B. Bruce, and Walter Coffin, Esqrs. and the Rev. George Thomas, Magistrates acting for the “Hundred of Caerphilly,” ten prisoners (many of them principal Ringleaders, all deeply implicated, in the late disgraceful Riots) were sent in coaches to the County Gaol at Cardiff, escorted by parties of foot-soldiers, and the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

Among the ring-leaders were Lewis Lewis (the Huntsman) David Jones alias Dai Solomon, Richard Lewis alias Dick Penderrin, William Thomas Williams, flag-bearer, Phelps (a pensioner!) David Richards, well known at Merthyr as the person with whom the notorious Betsy Paul lived, &c. &c.

On Saturday the Chairman and Mr. Bruce were engaged in investigating the Hirwain and Aberdare cases, which will be followed up in the ensuing week. In many cases at Hirwain, we understand, as many as 15 or 20 men all armed with guns drew up in line opposite the shops, demanding gunpowder, and openly avowed the uses to which they meant to apply it! Can anything in Ireland exceed the lawless audacity of such proceedings?

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