Posted on Leave a comment

19th Century Welsh insurrection

Between 1830 and 1844 unrest amongst the industrial workers and farmers in Wales tipped over into riot and uprising. Nineteenth Century South Wales was a tinderbox of revolt. Industrialists were making fortunes in coal and steel but their workers were treated terribly. Living conditions were inhospitable and a breeding ground for cholera and other killer diseases.

High rents and low pay (not in cash but issued in tokens which could only be spent in the shops owned by their employers) made these people little more than slaves. And the introduction of credit and debt bound the working people still further to their employers and land owners.

Outside the industrialised areas things were no better. Welsh farmers and people living in rural areas were being bled by taxes and tythes and on the back of several poor harvests they found themselves on the brink of starvation. Something had to give. And the birth of new political ideas fuelled a number of uprisings.

The Merthyr Rising in 1831, the Rebecca Riots and the Newport Chartist Rising both starting in 1839. But what caused the rebellions? How did they start? Who was behind them? How did the establishment react? What has been their legacy?

In conversation, Graham Loveluck-Edwards and Mark Lawson-Jones pull back the layers of these events and their consequences. And as ever, especially for viewers in the Vale of Glamorgan, there is a tenuous local link. Watch below to find out what it is.

First broadcast June 2023 on Bro Radio.

The Merthyr Rising, The Rebecca Riots and The Chartists March on Newport all took place in the 1830s in Wales

Leave a Reply