Content can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes, such as for personal use or in educational resources.
For commercial purposes please contact the copyright holder directly.
Read more about the The Creative Archive Licence.


The examination of William Davies, at the trial of the Chartist leaders, following the Rising at Newport, November 1839.

William Davies was a shopkeeper's son from Blackwood. He had been a member of the local Chartist lodge since May 1839, and had therefore been present at a number of secret meetings when arrangements for the Chartist attack on Newport were discussed. Under cross-examination, Davies talked about the organisational structure of the Chartist movement and explained how each of the various lodges were to play a particular role in the rising. Despite his involvement in the movement, Davies did not take part in the uprising himself and on Monday, 4 November 1839, the day of the Chartist assault on Newport, he decided to stay at home in Blackwood until mid-day - it was said that he was later ridiculed by the local women for his cowardice. Davies's decision to give evidence at the Chartist Trials was regarded as an important turning-point in the investigation, as he had been privy to a great deal of confidential information in the secret meetings. However, he later decided to jump bail.

Source: David J. V. Jones, 'The Last Rising: The Newport Insurrection of 1839' (Oxford, 1985).

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to leave a comment