Pentrich Uprising remembered

The Pentrich Uprising of 1817 was commemorated with a special event organised by the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Labour History Society.

Around 80 people attended Ashes Field, off Park Lane, between Pentrich and South Wingfield, on Saturday.

Nottingham Clarion Choir sang songs from the period, there was a guided walk of the historic sites and author Chris Weir gave a talk.

Society member Gwyneth France said: “We felt that it is an historical event that’s not really recognised.

“Other things like the Peterloo Massacre is very famous and is taught in school. They have a big festival for the Tolpuddle Martyrs in Dorset. We thought Pentrich was overlooked.

“It wasn’t an isolated event where a lot of ignorant people were doing something unrelated to what was happening nationally. It ought to take its place as part of the long ongoing struggle for universal sufferage. We wanted it to give it some recognition.

“It was really good. The weather was briliant - which is the main thing - and about 80 people came for all sorts of different reasons.”

In 1817 over 200 armed men led by Jeremiah Brandreth set out to march to Nottingham with revolutionary demands, including the wiping out of the National Debt, but the rebellion was betrayed and brutally suppressed.

Chris Weir, the principal archivist at Nottinghamshire County Council, gave a talk entitled Framers, Felons, Luddites and Pentrich, which put the uprising in the context of 19th century British history.

Gwyneth researched the rebellion in the 1970s when she studied history at Culham College and later wrote a children’s book entitled Rebel’s Way: Pentrich 1817: a Tale of Hope, Hunger and Heroism.

She said: “I came across John Stevens’ book England’s Last Revolution. There was so much information in it I thought I would write it as a childrens’ story for my dissertation and updated it.”

As part of the celebrations, a song entitled Jeremiah Brandreth was sung around a camp fire. Gwyneth says she found the lyrics, by Keith Jones and John Young, in Alfreton Library and they include this verse: “The fire that Brandreth kindled/Today still burns as bright/That working men should organise/And fight to get their rights.”

Gwyneth, 60, said: “This verse inspired us to have a fire to symbolise the fire that Brandreth kindled.”

The society plans to repeat the event next year.