The Gordon Riots, 1780

Appalled by the legislation of 1778 permitting Catholic worship, on 2 June 1780 Lord George Gordon, an MP and president of a Protestant association, led a 50,000-strong mob to Westminster, where they presented a strident anti-Catholic petition to Parliament. Five days of rioting ensued, during which Catholic homes and chapels, Newgate prison, and the house of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, were attacked. Gordon was accused of inciting the riots and tried for treason, but was acquitted.

Reproduced here is part of the charge sheet from Gordon's trial, plus an advertisement announcing the forthcoming publication of The Thunderer, demanding the release of the rioters (139 were arrested and 21 sentenced to death) and calling for an end to Popish plots.
Catalogue reference: KB 33/5/12 (July 1780)
Catalogue reference: SP 37/20, Part 2, f. 128a (c.1780)


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