The Burning of Westhoughton Mill 1812


2012 marked the bi-centenary of the Luddite Burning of the Mill in Westhoughton when 4 men were hanged for the burning of the mill and eleven others were sentenced to be transported to Australia for seven years for the act of taking or administering an illegal oath. The Westhoughton Local History Group created a series of events to mark the bi-centenary, one of them being on the site of the mill where they put on a play about the Luddite action culminating in the burning of a replica mill. There was also a display in Westhoughton Library of the findings of the research undertaken by the group.


As part of these events, on Tuesday 24 April, One Accord performed a piece in Westhoughton Library, exactly 200 years to the day since the mill was burned down. In 1882, the Bolton Weekly Journal published a long poem by John Clough that told the story of the burning of the mill. In the previous year the same paper had published court reports from the time of the trials.


The piece put together by One Accord used this poem and split it up into readings and songs using local folk and hymn tunes, and also used excerpts from the trial reports as published in the Bolton Weekly Journal.


For more details of the burning of the mill, and the Local History Group, see: www.westhoughtonhistorygroup.org.uk and www.theluddites.org.uk


During 2012 One Accord performed the piece at numerous venues including folk clubs, Westhoughton Library and The People’s History Museum. Even though the 200th year anniversary is now past, we would still love to perform it elsewhere. The performance lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for local history groups, WIs or folk clubs. If anyone is interested in booking us to perform this project please contact us using the button below or phoning 01942 816569.

Following on from our performance of The Burning of Westhoughton Mill 1812 in November 2012 at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, a live track from the event was included on ‘Mr Lud’s Song’.

The CD is a compilation of traditional and modern Luddite music. We feature alongside such well known performers as Steeleye Span, Ruth and Sadie Price, Chumbawamba and Robert Calvert (ex Hawkwind).

Further details of ‘Mr Lud’s Song’ can be found on the Luddites200 website. It can be purchased from that website or directly from us.

We have also produced a recording of our whole performance at the People’s History Museum event in DVD format. This includes all the words of the original 1882 poem written by John Clough of Westhoughton.

We are only charging £5.00 (+p&p) to cover the costs of producing the DVD, and they will only only produced to order. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the DVD please click here.