Source 3

Letter about the destruction of threshing machines in Kent, 22 September, 1830. Catalogue ref: HO 52/8


A ‘thrashing machine’ was invented in the later years of the eighteenth century to separate grain from the stalks and husks of corn- threshing machine in modern spelling.


Canterbury 22nd September 1830




I am directed by the magistrates of the County of Kent residing near Canterbury to state to you that the destruction of thrashing machines has been carried on to a most alarming extent in this part of the county.


These offences appear to have been committed at midnight by a desperate gang amounting to upwards of 200 persons.


The magistrates are using every exertion to discover the offenders, but owing to intimidation they find great difficulty in procuring [getting] any evidence on which they can proceed against the parties.


A general meeting of county magistrates acting in East Kent will be held at Canterbury on Saturday next, when they will be happy to receive any communication or advice which you may think proper to offer them.


I have the honor to be,
Your most humble servant
Charles Sandys
Clerk to the Magistrates


The Right Honorable
The Secretary of State
Home Department.



« Return to What caused the ‘Swing Riots’ in the 1830s?
  • Why did the Clerk to the Magistrates write to the Secretary of State?
  • How does the writer describe the disturbances?
  • Why was it difficult to find out who was involved in these activities?
  • What impression does this letter give you about the situation in East Kent?