Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
The Rebecca riots
  3. A stormy September  

Early attacks by Rebecca and her daughters were in south and west Wales, and the news caused excitement in the Rhayader area, Rumours were flying, and the town must have been buzzing with gossip on market day.

  This must have increased dramatically when on Friday 22nd September 1843 the Pen-y-pistyll tollgate on the North Road from Rhayader was attacked.
In his letter to Thomas Lewis Lloyd, John Davies describes this attack as a "slight attempt" so it is not clear how much damage was done.
This gate was on a relatively new turnpike road built along the Wye valley to the north.
The map (right) shows the tollgate at the roadside. The blue dotted line is the parish boundary.
Map of Pen-y-Pistyll tollgates
Drawing by
Rob Davies
Two days later a more determined attack destroyed the Llangurig gates and terrified the gatekeeper.

Sir John Benn Walsh was in Rhayader the following day and wrote,
"There was considerable excitement in the town from the news that a gate at Llangerig about 9 miles from Rhayader on the Aberystwyth road had been levelled last night by a party of Rebbecaites".


Sir John joined other landowners in offering a reward for the arrest of the rioters, but local people were very sympathetic to the Rebecca rioters and nobody was given away. See what happened later on the next page...

Broke to atoms ! ...

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