‘Fife, Drum and Flag’: The Sherborne ‘reform riots’ of October 1831

Event Details
Date: , 2022
Price: £5/free for members of Sherborne Museum
With: Roger Ball
Note: This event was not organised by BRHG.
Page Details
Section: Events
Subjects: Riots & Disturbances
Tags: , , ,
Posted: Modified:

Venue: Digby Memorial Church Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne DT9 3NL

In early October 1831, the defeat of the Second Reform Bill in the House of Lords led to a wave of pro-reform public protests and disturbances across Britain and Ireland. Concurrently in Dorset, a microcosm of the national struggle over electoral reform was being fought out in a county by-election which posed Lord Ashley an anti-reformer against the pro-reform candidate William Ponsonby. In a close fought race, marked by widespread claims of corruption, Ashley was victorious. In the immediate aftermath of the result, disturbances broke out first in Dorchester followed by Wareham, Poole, Blandford, Sherborne and Yeovil and several other locations. The latter three ‘reform’ riots were serious events with significant damage to property and involved the intervention of Yeomanry and regular Cavalry units.

This talk will consider the three days of rioting in Sherborne in detail, with particular emphasis on the targets of the rioters, who the rioters were and their interactions with the authorities. From this evidence an attempt will be made to understand the motivations of the rioters, the majority of whom were not going to be enfranchised by the Great Reform Act of the following year.

This public lecture is part of a the ESRC funded project Intergroup Dynamics within the 1831 reform riots led by the University of West of England. Please take part in our public survey What do you know about crowds and riots?

This event was organised by Sherborne Museum.

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