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Blanketeers, March of the

Blanketeers, March of the, 1817. This was another episode in the troubled post-war period. After the Spa Fields riots of November 1816, the government suspended habeas corpus and banned meetings of more than 50 people unless authorized by a magistrate. A large gathering of some 5,000 weavers met in St Peter's Fields (Manchester), on 10 March 1817, intending to march to London to petition the prince regent for redress. They carried blankets and rugs with them. After the Riot Act had been read, most were dispersed by the cavalry, but 300 reached the bridge at Stockport, where almost all were turned back. A handful reached Leek. The episode is described by Samuel Bamford in Passages in the Life of a Radical.

J. A. Cannon

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