Confession of Thomas Farrimond (HO 40/16 fol. 146)
Who saith I am in the fifty second year of my age. I was born Lamber-head-green near Wigan in Lancashire where I lived with my parents until I married and then I took a house and lived there till I was about forty years old – I am by trade a weaver which I learned at my father’s when I was about forty years old I came to Barnsley where I resided till the eleventh day of April last the night of the general rising – I was chosen Secretary to the Barnsley Union Society about four years ago and William Sena and Hoyland came to my house one Sunday afternoon and told me that Hoyland had been with squire Payne for instructions how to act and he had advised to write to Major Cartwright and they came for me to write to him – I did write to Major Cartwright for instructions saying it was by the advice of squire Payne and he wrote for answer that squire Payne was as well qualified to give instructions as he was and he sent with the letter the Rules of the Union Societies in London and a quantity of books – One was called the Appeal to the Nation – they were distributed amongst the members and lent to other people – I acted as secretary to the Union Society till public meetings were stopped by government and then the Society broke up – the Society was governed by printed rules which I got from Delf [Delph] – when what was called the gagging bill was taken off another society was formed exactly on the same principles as the first but governed by a different committee and rules – the rules of the second society were verbal and were to meet for reading political pamphlets and papers and encouraging public meetings for Reform – the contributions of the first Society were one penny each member per month and of the second society one penny each member per week each member which was deposited a short time in George Watson’s hands and afterwards in Thomas Ashurst’s hands – the Money was paid for the pamphlets and newspapers first and then for Delegates upon any business ordered by the committee – the meetings were first held at Redman’s public house then at John Winter’s and afterwards at my house – The pamphlets generally came to my son in law James Lawe from Mr. Wild of Wakefield who got them from Mr. Mann of Leeds – we took the Manchester Observer and Wooler’s paper and sometimes Baine’s Mercury – the pamphlets and newspapers were read in the meetings and discussed upon – every person had liberty to hand up and give his opinion on what was read – the Meetings were held at my house every Monday night to deliver out the pamphlets to the section men or class men who took them to their sections or classes to be read there which were held in various parts of the town and country – this was carried on till the rising in April last – the secret acting Committee were
who had the management of the whole business and each of the class leaders was a general committee man – I was secretary and Thomas Ashurst was treasurer – about Christmas 1819 William Logell came from Wakefield and called the committee together and read a letter from Manchester saying there would be a meeting of Delegates at Nottingham from different counties and that Yorkshire was to send two delegates and that he had been approved of by Leeds and Wakefield and if we approved of him we must give him a few lines which we did – he said the object of the meeting was to join all the Union Societies into one that they might all act in such way as might be most effectual – the meeting was held at Nottingham and he came through Barnsley and received three pounds for his expenses and said Wakefield had given him three pounds also – he read a letter from Manchester – I don’t know who was the other delegate – the meeting at Nottingham was private and in order that they might not be discovered there was only few delegates who had great power – he said one delegate acted for both Cheshire and Lancashire, that there was one from Leicester and that there were eight counties concerned in it – he went on Sunday and returned the Sunday following and told us it was finally agreed that all the different societies throughout the Radicals should have a public meeting all on one day which was to be the Monday fortnight – the Committee ordered me to advertise which I did in the Leeds Mercury but the meeting did not take place because no other place advertised I was charge with wanting to be a Radical but did not know how and I gave up being secretary at Christmas 1819 and only wrote one letter afterwards to Mr. Wild which was an answer to one which came from Huddersfield from Peter Lever saying the meetings were removed from Leeds to Huddersfield and wished me and Me. Wild to go over to his house as he was very ill and had some little property to leave but I did not go – I wrote a defence to the charge against me and went to Leeds to know why it was not published and met Peter Lever, Kershaw and several others and Kershaw told me they did not wish to have any public disputes amongst the Radicals – I was at a meeting at the Spang Bull public house near Wakefield with Oliver Mr. Liddall from Birmingham and about ten others a short time before the meeting at Thornhill Lees – I was delegate twice to Leeds and once to Stockport and Manchester – at Stockport I was held two days and two nights as a spy – It was when Birch laid bad of his wounds – they suspected me – I wished to go up stairs to Mr. Hunt who I said would know me but they would not let me go – I then referred to Robert Robinson who came from Barnsley and he came forward and knew me and they sent William Wood who was Secretary to the Union Society at Stockport with me to Manchester where we met with Mr. Hunt and Mr. Johnson at Smedley Cottage and Mr. Hunt knew me – this was the week before Manchester Meeting – I never went as a Delegate after I gave up being Secretary – I heard that Cookson Craven and Stephen Kitcheman had been at Huddersfield and got back the night before the rising – Kitcheman told me he never was better satisfied in his life and that he believed everything was genuine – several were present – they told me there would be writers – they gave me a quire of paper which I took to Grange Moor – the rising was to be the following night and we were to be in Grange Moor not exceeding ten minutes past five o’clock in the morning of the twelfth of April last- where we were to be joined by all parties from Huddersfield – Bradford Wakefield Leeds and the vicinities round about – we were to march from Grange Moor to Wakefield, Barnsley and Sheffield to demand our rights – no harm was to be done to any person or property – I objected to go but they said it was useless I was fixed upon and must go and I durst not refuse – we assembled at Bank Top and marched to Grange Moor – there were between four and five hundred mostly armed – William Comstive and Richard Addy gave the command and were the the two leading men – they stopped at different places and took guns etc when we got near Grange Moor all was still and quiet and many of them began to doubt – when we got on Grange Moor Comstive began to form us into ranks – I said it is useless to make any attempt for we are all sold – this caused confusion – I said lads we are all sold make your escape as fast as possible where you think you can be the most safe – the man from Huddersfield and several other strangers wished us to stop half an hour and said they were sure the people from Huddersfield would come to join us – I run away with James Kelly to Royton near Oldham then to Whitfield afterwards to Liverpool then to Kendal and Ulverston and afterwards to Whitehaven where I was taken on the sixteenth of September last – the Radicals at Barnsley began to provide arms principally after the Manchester Meeting on the sixteenth of August 1819 – Arthur Collins brought a pamphlet which was read about a good deal stating the liberty of the people formerly to have arms at their houses and that they had a right to have arms and recommending arms be procured.
About a month before the meeting on Grange Moor three men came to me from Sheffield or that neighbourhood and wished me to engage in promoting a plot for killing the magistrates – they said the other plans were too merciful and would never answer – I said I had given all up and my conscience would not let me join in any such thing – they said about half an hour and said I might consider of it – in about a fortnight after the same three men and another came again and asked me if I had considered to engage – I said I really could not for I was not the man they took me to be – they said I was very popular and people would receive me and have confidence in me and they were sorry I would not join – they still wished me to consider of it and on the tenth of April last (the day before the rising) the same four men and another came again – they said the Grange Moor plan would never answer – that it would turn out to be a Derby job and that no plan would answer but forming into a secret body as widely as possible and all rising in one night and destroying the magistrates and that bloody stroke would throw the country into confusion and turn and frighten people to join them for there would be no justices to turn to – they said that all gentlemen characters that were enemies must also be assassinated – one of them said he had been an old one in the business and had observed that there was always some Oliver or spy plans laid and something better must be done – he said we shall go with music to Dr. Corbett and play loyal tunes and get him to the window or door and then shoot him but they would not do another should and if be would not come to the door or window or come out they would fall upon him in the house and that they would do the same with Mr. Wortley – that men must be picked out for the purpose who would do the job effectually who neither cared for God nor man – when I was at Whitfield a man came and shook me by the hand and said well Ferrymond I hope you do not believe there is a God – I said my friend I believe there is a God and a just one too and a heaven and hell – he said I hope your are a true Radical there is a meeting for the purpose of founding a new plan for falling upon the great nobs and wished me to go to the meeting – I said my situation is such that I beg to be excused – in about half an hour he came back again and said Dr. Healy had called at the meeting and told them that if any strangers came and proposed taking up arms to take such strangers up immediately and that they must keep their secrets to themselves – when I was at Ulverson a man came from Leeds and said he had seen a delegate at Leeds who was going upon that business and who said it was time to do things better and a man from Blackburn said he was going to Carlisle – that things were getting well reconciled and were doing well – I asked him to tell me some of the heads at Blackburn but he would not – I believe this conspiracy is still going on and that meetings are chiefly held in outside country places – that they don’t meet in regular hours but will walk out in different directions and talk as they go – I have no doubt but all up and down Lancashire and Yorkshire and many other places there are arms of different kinds but I don’t know where they are often shifted about – I don’t know the names of any persons concerned in the plot though I know them personally very well not do I know any places where they meet not the times of meeting – I do not know anything of the kind in Barnsley.
Taken at the Castle of York aforesaid
the eighth day of March one thousand
eight hundred and twenty one.