In the Aftermath of the Rebecca Riots

When I was digging up old articles about the Rebecca Riots at Welsh Newspapers Online, some of what I found comes from after the main period of the Riots (). Today I’ll share some of what I found from newspapers in .

First, an update on John Jones, from the issue of The Cambrian:

A Rebecca Informer

John Jones, who rendered himself so notorious during the Rebecca disturbances, by informing against several respectable parties, who were committed upon his evidence, after which the Attorney-General entered a nolle prosequi, is now in the custody of the police of this town on a charge of felony. He was taken before the Magistrates, and remanded to a future day.

The Cambrian had a followup in its edition:

The Rebecca Informer

John Jones, the informer during the period of the Rebecca disturbances, whose apprehension by our police on a charge of stealing a brass pan at Pontardulais, we announced in our paper , was tried at the Carmarthenshire Quarter Sessions, held last week, and acquitted by the jury, the evidence being defective. Jones admitted his guilt to Sergeant Bennett, of the Swansea police force, who apprehended him on suspicion, having detected him while offering the article for sale to a marine store-dealer in this town. Through some oversight Mr. Bennett was not subpœned as a witness.


The Cambrian of included a lengthy letter from Cantab Cadwallader concerning the need to reeducate the ignorant population of Wales. In the course of the letter, he quoted from the testimony of Rev. R.B. Jones, vicar of Killymaenllwyd, at a committee of inquiry into the troubles in Wales:

“Are the bastardy clauses very unpopular?” — “Yes; there was a man taken up at Narberth; he is a parishioner of ours; he has been writing a Rebecca letter; I asked him how he came to write this letter. ‘He thought,’ he said, ‘it would do good; here was a poor woman starving; and here was this Mr. ——, who was very well off, and he ought to give something to this poor girl to help her to nurse the child she had by him.’

Then says Mr. Jones– “This poor man though he was doing God service when he sat down to write this letter. He was a schoolmaster of a chapel in the neighbourhood.”

The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian of gave this news of some of the convicts who were transported for their Rebeccaite activity:

The Rebecca Riots

Letters have been received from John Hughes, one of the men who was sentenced to transportation at the Special Commission held at Cardiff in , for the attack on Pontardulais Gate, during the Rebecca Riots. He and some others sailed in the London convict-ship for his destination in . Amongst other matters, the writer says— “As God has been so good, sparing my life and continuing my comforts, although I am not deserving of the least of his benefits, yet, in the events of his providence, he has taught me the uncertainty of life, by the death of one of my fellow-sufferers, David Jones, Cliwnwg Fach, Llanelly, who departed this life on the 19th of the said month, in Ober Town. I think the cause of his death was the wounds he received by the slugs. Oh! that our feed may be firm on the rock of salvation before we depart out of this transitory world!” — Hughes is deeply penitent for his criminal conduct. We understand that it is in contemplation to petition the Queen in favour of him and his companions.

And finally, The Cambrian gave a followup on another Rebeccaite convict in its edition:

Discharge of a Rebecca Rioter from Prison.

Henry Evans, tried in , as one of the Rebecca rioters, was discharged from his incarceration in the county gaol of Carmarthen, on . When the poor fellow was committed, he could neither read nor write. Through the exertions of Mr. Westlake, the Governor of the prison, assisted by the Chaplain, the young man repeated, by rote, the third chapter of St. Matthew, on the morning of his discharge. Too much commendation cannot be awarded to the Governor of the gaol, when we state that he diligently superintends the education of all well-disposed prisoners, allowing, as far as lay in his power, the same advantages to others which he himself possesses.