The Peel Web

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.

Clumber House in a State of Defence

The Duke of Newcastle's Diary, 13-14 October 1831, from J. Martineau, "Life of Henry Pelham, Fifth Duke of Newcastle" (1908), pp. 33-4

Taken from Norman Gash, The Age of Peel (London, Edward Arnold, 1973), with the kind permission of Professor Gash. Copyright of this document, of course, remains with him.

The fourth Duke of Newcastle was a strong Tory and prominent opponent of the reform bill, who had already suffered from the attentions of the mob in London. When the news of the rejection of the bill by the House of Lords reached Nottingham, where there was much economic distress among the domestic handloom weavers in the stocking-making industry, rioting began and soon spread in the absence of any effective police-force or substantial body of military. Nottingham Castle, the property of the duke, though almost derelict and never inhabited by him, was ransacked and burnt down. The rioters then proceeded to further destruction and pillage in the surrounding countryside. The news reached the duke late on 12 October and he started out early the next morning for his great country-house at Clumber in north Nottinghamshire. Of the sons mentioned in the account who had taken charge of the defence measures, Lord Lincoln (the future politician and cabinet minister) was then aged twenty, Charles and Thomas, his twin younger brothers, were eighteen.

Clumber House (now demolished)

I reached Clumber about eleven o'clock, having met videttes of yeomanry patrolling within two miles of the house. On my arrival at the house the garrison expressed their rejoicing and welcome by loud and long-continued cheers. In the house I found my dear Lincoln, Charles, and Thomas, with the officers of the troop stationed here.… I could not believe that I was at Clumber; the whole was changed, everything removed that was valuable, such as pictures, ornaments, furniture, statues, etc., etc., and nothing but bare walls, and the house filled with men in all the rooms, with cannons (of which I have ten three-pounders and fourteen little ship guns), fire-arms, musket and pistols and sabres, planted in their proper positions and in all the windows.... The preparations are indeed formidable.… In the house there are two hundred men, and out of it a great many more, including a troop of yeomanry of seventy men and horses.…

I would not give any orders last night, not wishing without full deliberation to alter anything that Lincoln had done; but this morning I determined to make a change in our mode of defence. I therefore settled that the yeomanry should be dismissed, all but a sergeant and twelve men, whom I kept until the next morning. I reduced the number of men to twenty picked men, who have been nearly all old soldiers. I admit none of them into the house. I have made a barrack for them in the offices adjoining, where they sleep and mess, and I mount a chain of sentries in a ring round the house.… At night I went to see that all my arrangements were carried properly into execution, and found them well done. On my return home, from not knowing the counter-sign, I was taken prisoner by one of my own sentries. We shall soon be altogether and comfortable again. I have heard of no fresh aggressions.

Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 4 March, 2016

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind