Within the Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG), we are constantly pressing for more history from below. Researching, writing and celebrating our history. The history of those who have built, fed, and run Bristol through the ages, and those who have just lived by their wits. Therefore, we were quite excited to see this book. However, the book is priced at £70. Yes, that’s right, this is not a typo. Seventy pounds sterling. Whilst most of the present day working classes are struggling, with […]
This 1.5 hour walk in the centre of Bristol takes us through a century of working class history, charting the path of the 'crowd' from the 'moral economy' of the 1700s, through the effects of the French Revolution to the 'Reform Riots' of 1831/2. So come and find out: Why Bristol merchants trembled if the Kingswood Colliers were in town How best to do 'collective bargaining by riot' What happened during the infamous Bristol Bridge massacre What a silver coin, some stolen hammers and a tricolour […]
This map from 1750 is of the 'Liberties' around Kingswood and the parish of Bitton. The dotted line running out through Warmly is the London Road (now the A420). The Cock Road, not marked, is just above where “Gee Moor” is written in “Mr Bond’s Liberty”. The houses are labelled with many of the family names that are associated with the Cock Road Gang. It contains many of the family names which are associated with the Cock Road Gang such as (with various spellings) Britton, Wilmot, Ilses, Bryant, […]
Home to the notorious Kingswood Miners and infamous Cock Road Gang this is what Kingswood, North of Bristol, looked like in 1610. 'London Waye' is now the A420 and Bath Waye is the A431. A full version of The History of The Parish of Bitton in the County of Glousceter. by Rev. H. T. Ellacombe can be found on Archive.org.
Cock Road was, in the 18th Century, a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Bristol, within the lawless Kingswood Forest. Though a small area, the exploits of the inhabitants brought it to the attention of the authorities of Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset. It was claimed that a criminal gang, unmatched in notoriety, came from Cock Road. In reality, anyone committing a criminal act who lived in the forest was tarnished as a member of the gang. They were engaged in horse stealing, burglary, […]
The Crown And The Commons: Holding Monarchy To Account In 18th Century England - Steve Poole Eighteenth century English men and women understood their allegiance to the Crown in contractual terms. Their allegiance to the King, in other words, was conditional upon the King looking after the interests of the Commons and defending Constitutional liberty. In theory then, their allegiance was dissolved if the King failed to perform. And in these circumstances, radical constitutionalists might make it […]
The Watchman: Coleridge, Beddoes and the radical 1790s in Bristol - Mike Jay During 1795-6, Bristol's popular protests against Pitt's 'Reign of Terror' were led by two remarkable figures, both recent arrivals in the city: the radical doctor Thomas Beddoes and the young lecturer and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Together they campaigned against the government's crackdown on free speech and public assembly, and collaborated on The Watchman, a journal which risked prosecutions for sedition by […]
"A barbarous and ungovernable people" is a bit of a strong condemnation of a community. Especially considering that at the time the community in question was situated on the outskirts of a vibrant city in Britain. The people of Kingswood Forest supplied the south west of England and the industries of Bristol with coal, and it is fair to say that without the Kingswood Forest coal Bristol would not be the city it is today. However, the relationship between the two communities was strained to say […]
Bristol Radical Pamphleteer number 11 has now been published. A Barbarous And Ungovernable People by Steve Mills is a look at the often uneasy relationship between the miners of Kingswood Forest and the people and authorities of Bristol. Expect riots, turnpik abuse and the death of an innocent parrot. Find out about our full range of pamphlets on the Pamphlet Page.