Two documents concerning the Nottingham reform riots of 1831, comprising affidavit regarding damage to the property of Dr A. Manson, and warrant to the Sheriffs of the town and county of Nottingham, 1831

Scope and Content

The collection contains two items:

Affidavit of Alexander Manson of Nottingham, doctor of physic, sworn at the Police Office in Nottingham on 15 October 1831 before J.H. Barber, Mayor of Nottingham, stating that the damage caused to his house on 9 October by the mob's breaking of windows and window frames and attacks on the door, stonework and shutters, amounted to the sum of £39 7s 6½d. Manson also states that he did not know any of the assembled people who caused the damage. A memorandum on the facing page, signed by Barber, states that before making his statement Dr Manson became bound by recognizance before Barber to prosecute the offenders when apprehended. (MS 827/1).

Warrant in the name of King William IV issued to the Sheriffs of the town and county of Nottingham, instructing them to summon the population of the town of Nottingham to face interrogation for the rioting on the complaint of Alexander Manson, who claims £500 damage to his house, and £100-worth of destroyed pieces of furniture. Dated at Westminster, 25 November [1831]. The document is a hybrid made of two copies in different hands, stitched together one on top of the other. The top copy lacks the final line, and the bottom copy lacks the first few lines. The bulk of the warrant is therefore repeated twice. (MS 827/2).

Administrative / Biographical History

Following the rejection of the second Reform Bill in the House of Lords on 8 October 1831, serious rioting and systematic destruction took place in Nottingham. On 9 October the property of prominent opponents of reform was attacked in the town. On 10 October a public protest meeting turned violent. The mob marched out to Colwick and sacked Colwick Hall, the home of John Musters. Towards evening they surrounded the Castle, which was the town house of the 4th Duke of Newcastle, and burned it down. On 11 October the crowd marched to Beeston and set fire to Lowe's silk mill. The riots were quelled later that day. 26 men were eventually arrested for taking part in the riots. A Special Commission opened on 4 January 1832 to try the men. Only eight were found guilty, three of whom were hanged on 25 January 1832.

Alexander Manson (1744-1840) was a physician at Nottingham General Hospital from 1813 to 1832. On the afternoon of 9 October, Dr Manson wrote to the Mayor, Mr Barber, informing him that up to one hundred people were roaming the streets 'in a riotous and disorderly manner'; that they had abused him while he was on his rounds that morning, and thrown a brick bat at him, which injured his servant; and that he feared further attack if he went out in public. Manson believed that the hostility was caused by his signing a petition against the Reform Bill. As the affidavit in this collection reveals, later that day the mob attacked Manson's house in Stoney Street and partially destroyed it by breaking windows and window frames and attacking the door, stonework and shutters.


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Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright in the description belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

The documents were purchased by Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham, in August 2008. Their previous custodial history is not known.

Related Material

Copy of letter sent by Manson to the Mayor on 9 Oct. 1831 requesting protection of his person and property from the riots (Ne C 4998). This letter, together with many other documents relating to the Reform riots, has been digitised and appears on the 'Working Class Unrest' part of the electronic resource 'Politics of the 4th Duke of Newcastle: Diaries and Documents from the Age of Reform' (