Rebecca and Her Daughters Destroy the Porthyrhyd Toll House

From the Monmouthshire Merlin:

Destruction of Porthyrhyd Toll Gate and House.

On , a large body of Rebeccaites, in number between 300 and 400, assembled at the Porthyrhyd Gate, which they proceeded to demolish without delay. A number of special constables had been stationed there to defend the gate, but they, as well as the keeper of the gate, decamped on the approach of the redoubtable lady and her family. Having thus the field to themselves, they proceeded in the work of demolition, and before one o’clock, had succeeded in their project of destroying the gate, bar, and house. They also threw down a portion of a wall opposite the Nelson public-house, and obliged Mrs. Powell, the landlady, to get up and serve them with beer, for which they duly paid. They next visited the house of a person, named Davies, who deals in powder, and having obtained from him a supply of that article, and also some percussion caps, offered him no farther molestation. They afterwards demolished some of the windows of the Coburgh Inn, at Porthyrhyd, for which, however, we understand they have since sent a letter of apology, together with some remuneration.

On , they came to Gower Tybach, and fired two or three shots at the dwelling-house of a man, named John Evans, a smith and small farmer, one of Colonel Cameron’s tenants. The reports awoke Evans and his family, consisting of his mother, aunt, and sister. Having the fear of Rebecca’s children before his eyes, Evans prudently remained in the house until he thought they had dispersed. He then went out for the purpose of ascertaining what damage had been done to his property. He found the gate of the court, leading to his house taken off its hinges; the gate, engering his field of wheat and potatoes from Fairwood Common, destroyed — likewise a considerable portion of the hedge; about an acre of unripe wheat cut down, and about half an acre of potatoes pulled up by the haulms. On returning to his house he was met by Sergeant Jenkins, of the County Constabulary, who, taking him for a Rebeccaite, very properly apprehended him, and forwarded him to the Pumfald turnpike-gate. The military having by this time arrived, in consequence of arrangements made by Captain Napier, founded upon private information, that the said gate, situate near the spot, was again to be levelled to the ground, at two o’clock in the morning. The force, consisting of a detachment of the fourth Light Dragoons, and a number of policeman, arrived just in time to save the devoted turnpike, for, as soon as Becca’s daughters, learnt their proximity, (no difficult matter, by the way, from the illumination of each carriage conveying the foot force giving a friendly warning of their approach,) the Beccas dispersed like a flock of sheep, leaving their work of demolition unfinished, wisely considering the whereabouts of the Bold Dragoons too near to be pleasant, and bearing in mind the following passage:–

“He who fights and runs away
Will live to fight another day;
But he who fights and gets him slain,
Will never live to fight again.”

This effectively preventive force, accompanied by a Magistrate of Swansea, John Grove, Esq., with the Riot Act in his breeches pocket, then returned with their captured supposed Becca to Swansea, where he was safely lodged in the station-house, until brought before the authorities in the afternoon who, upon hearing the man’s tale, which carried truth upon the face of it, very properly liberated him from durance. It appears the poor man’s offence against Rebecca was his having taken the contract for re-erecting the Pumfald gate, despite the commands of our Lady Rebecca and Miss Cromwell.

It is said another detachment of the 4th Light Dragoons are dispatched back to the said neighbourhood, for the purpose of aiding the local force in putting into execution certain warrants issued for the apprehension of some suspected persons.

Two of the Rebeccaites who were engaged in the demolition of Pontarllechan gate, have been apprehended, and are in custody in Llandovery.

On night a gate, called Plamdealuss, near Narbeth, was pulled down by some persons, who demanded to pass through with their carts and horses without paying the toll. Their demand being refused, the attached the traces of the horses to the gate, and speedily pulled it to pieces. Some special constables having arrived before they had retreated, supported by a troop of yeomanry, two of the men were captured, and are now in custody.