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James Towle (d 1816; Luddite)

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Aged 36 in 1816, Towle was from Basford near Nottingham. He was a member of the Luddite gang which carried out an attack on Heathcoat and Boden's lace mill in Loughborough on June 28th 1816. 55 frames were broken and some lace fabric stolen. During the course of the raid, a number of guards and workmen were forced at gunpoint to lie on the floor, and one guard, John Asher, was shot and wounded. Towle had been recognised, and was arrested a few days later.

In early August 1816 he was tried at the Leicester Assizes for aiding and abetting the raid, It was accepted that he had not fired at Asher. His alleged accomplice John Slater was acquitted, but Towle was convicted and sentenced to death.

An unsuccessful appeal was heard in November, and he was publicly hanged at Leicester on 20 November 1816. A further six members of the gang were hanged the following year, and two others transported for life.

 

 

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