Henry Law (1781-1862) was Vicar of Standon, Herts, 1811-56, Rector of Stretham, Cambs, 1812-18, and Rector of Downham, Cambs, 1818-62, and a Justice of the Peace for Hertfordshire and the Isle of Ely.
The Littleport riots of 1816 were the product of discontent created by the problems of poverty resulting from the conflict with Napoleon. These tensions led to the outbreak of rioting on 22 May 1816, beginning at the Globe Inn in Littleport. The rioters swept on to Ely the following day. There they forced the magistrates (including many clergymen) to promise relief and an amnesty. Henry Law, dissented, and was instrumental in alerting the Government to the disturbance. His actions brought Sir Henry Bate Dudley, a Canon of Ely, and the militia, to Ely and then to Littleport where the rioters had barricaded themselves in the George and Dragon Inn. The rioters were eventually defeated and twenty-four were subsequently hung or transported. Law found that he was unfairly blamed, along with the other JPs, for capitulating to the rioters.
Copies by the Revd Henry Law of letters justifying his part in events surrounding the riots at Littleport. Includes letters sent and received: Peploe Ward to Law, John Vachell to Law, Sir Henry Bate
Dudley and Law, Viscount Sidmouth (Home Secretary) to William Plumer, Law and Viscount Sidmouth.
Presented by J.E. Foster, 1910.
Please cite as Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Henry Law: vindication of his conduct in Ely and Littleport Riots, 1816., MS Add.4492
For a full account, in which this MS was used, see A.J. Peacock, Bread or blood. A study of the agrarian riots in East Anglia in 1816 (London, 1965).