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A SNIPPET from The Globe 6 Nov 1839
PETER STRONG explores the pages of The Globe 6 Nov 1839
and reveals that one of its correspondents was embedded with the Special Constables at the Parrott Inn
1839 copies of The Globe, a generally pro-Whig London daily newspaper, have recently gone online through the British Newspaper Archive. The newspaper gave extensive coverage to the Chartist Rising and appears to have had a correspondent in Newport at the time. The following letter, seemingly written in the Parrott Inn, Newport on the morning of 4th November, received in Liverpool the following day and published in The Globe newspaper on 6th November. While the content has to be treated with extreme caution, it gives a clear idea of the confusion and panic that reigned at the time.
“The colliers and iron people are coming down in thousands from the hills to the town. Yesterday all the responsible inhabitants were sworn in as special constables, and have been on duty all night until this hour, 9 a.m.
It is stated that the rioters are in three divisions of 6,000 to 8,000 each, within a few miles of the town, but only one division is positively know to be at Tydee, within two miles of us.
No one can imagine the cause of the people rising and coming here, unless it is to annoy and destroy some of the property of those magistrates who were so active in suppressing the Chartist meetings
The Westgate and King’s Head are both barricaded, as well as the Parrot Inn, from whence I now write, with magistrates in each house.
The landlord of the Parrott Inn was sent out my magistrates at seven o’clock last night to reconnoitre. He was fired at twice and most severely cut across the thighs, and is now laid up in his bed.
About 6,000 men entered the town at half-past ten this morning, and armed with guns, pistols, swords, cutlasses etc, but mostly with a long pole six to nine feet in length with a pike twelve to fifteen inches at the end. They marched through to the Westgate Inn, and there took possession of the lower part of the house, owing to the special constables stationed there not shutting the doors, and remaining upstairs to obtain the protection of the military, of which there were about thirty in all.
The Chartists deliberately loaded their guns and pistols before the Westgate inn, gave three cheers, and then fired into the house, and slightly wounded the mayor and three constables who were reading the riot act. The soldiers then fired in return and killed several Chartists, and wounded many more. This alarmed them, and they began to disperse in all directions, and in an hour or two we shall, no doubt, be scouring the country in pursuit of them.
Another body of about 6,000 is outside the town on another road, where they have halted, and unless assistance comes from Bristol today, we greatly apprehend that a serious destruction of life and property will take place tonight. I will write you tomorrow if I am alive and well.”
The correspondent remains anonymous
Thomas Walker, special constable, was the landlord of the Parrot. He was in charge of twenty vedettes patrolling the northern outskirts of Newport. Late in the evening of Sunday 3rd November, accompanied by another rider, Mr. Ridley, Walker galloped towards a group of Chartists who were erecting a barricade across the Risca road, near the Welsh Oak. Despite being stabbed in the thigh, he stayed in the saddle and returned to Newport. As compensation for the injuries he sustained, Walker was awarded a £20 per annum pension.