The Rebecca riots 2
Sources of evidence

Architect's dawing of a tollhouse for the Radnorshire Turnpike Trust

Radnorshire tollhouseThe actual outbreak of attacks by groups dressed as Rebecca and her daughters began in South Wales with attacks in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. In autumn 1843 however the outbreak of attacks reached the Rhayader district. An idea of what occured can be pieced together from different sources. 

Image by kind permission of the Hereford Record Office
The Lord Lieutenant and a man of business
Sir John Benn Walsh was the MP for the county and its Lord Lieutenant at the time of the riots around Rhayader. He had served as the county's Sheriff also in 1825. He lived on the Herefordshire border at Knill Court but owned the Llanddewi Hall estate as well as estates in England. As he very much represented the establishment and rule of law in the county he was called to give evidence to the Commission of Enquiry which was asked to look into the affair after the outbreak of violence. This evidence tells us much of what happened.


John Davies of the farm of Gwardolau was nowhere near such an exalted figure as the baronet. In 1843 however he acted as agent to Thomas Lewis Lloyd, owner of the nearby Nantgwyllt estate and an influential man locally and throughout the county. While the squire and his family took an extended holiday in Boulogne regular letters from Mr Davies kept him abreast of local events. These letters are another valuable source of evidence for what happened.

Extract from one of John Davies "Gwardole Letters". The word Rebeccaites can be made out at the left hand end of the second line

By kind permission of the National Library of Wales 

There are 6 pages on the Rebecca riots. Use the box links below to view the other pages.