Chartist Timeline

A Timeline depicting key moments in the Chartist movement from The American War of Independence in 1775 to The UK Representation of the People Act 1969.


Poverty Wages which forced them to send their children out to work, Poor Working Conditions, Slum Housing Conditions, The Truck Shop System, , High Taxation, Turnpike Tolls, Tithe TAX, The Workhouse, Corrupt M.P.’s Corrupt Employers, Corrupt Landowners, Corrupt Bankers, Corruption at Elections, the Establishment, Bankers, Spies, the unfair Election System and the powerlessness of the people to elect MP’s to change any of these things.

Many of these issues remain with us today but in a different guise.


Justice, Free Speech, Liberty, Equality, Fair taxation, A return to the green land of the countryside, Fair working conditions, Fair housing conditions, Social Justice, Political freedom.

To change these things they wanted to be able to vote to elect MP’s favourable to their cause.

The People’s Charter was a petition to Parliament in 1839 signed by 1,280,958 people asking for voting reforms.  But Parliament ignored the People’s Charter.
1775-83 American War of Independence
1775 The symbolic Tree of Liberty in Boston was cut down by British troops
1789-99 French Revolution
1792 La Marseillaise written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg.  The Chartists used this tune in their Chartist anthems.
1798 June Battle of Vinegar Hill, The People’s Rising, Wexford, Ireland
1815 Corn Laws ( Importation Act 1815) protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages.
1806 Sir Charles Morgan inherits Tredegar House and his title and his wealth.
1807 Sir Charles Morgan and Samuel Homfrey create the Tredegar Wharf Company to build new warehouses and docks at Newport and Pillgwenlly.
1811 John Frost returns to Newport and opens a draper’s shop in Mill Street
Thomas Prothero is appointed as Agent to Sir Charles Morgan
1815 Stamp Tax increased to 4d per copy of each newspaper.  In the 1830s men such as Henry Hetherington, James Watson, John Cleave, George Julian Harney andJames O’Brien joined Richard Carlile in the fight against what they called a Tax on Knowledge.
1820-38 Other revolutions in Spain 1820, Naples 1820, Greece 1821, Russia 1825, France 1830, Canada 1837 & 38
1821 John Frost writes to Sir Charles Morgan complaining about the Turnpike system’
1821 Thomas Prothero sues John Frost for libel over a will, so starting a long-term feud
1821 John Frost imprisoned for 6 months because of Prothero’s legal action
1821 John Frost writes a stinging letter to Thomas Prothero
1823 Feb Thomas Williams (pudler at Tredegar Ironworks) imprisoned with hard labour for combination and conspiracy among other pudlers
1826 John Frost writes to Sir Charles Morgan complaining about Thomas Prothero
1827 May Thomas Jones imprisoned for threatening taking part in the Scoth Cattle protest against Turnpikes
1829 May The British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge was founded in London
1829 Dec The Birmingham Political Union was founded
1830 The wages of a well-off working man were £50 per year.

Sir Charles Morgan’s income was over £40,000 per annum, due in part to the ‘Golden Mile’, whereby he received fees for every ton of coal or iron crossing Tredegar Park.

1831 Mar The Metropolitan Trades Union was founded
1831 May The National Union of the Working Classes was set up.
1831 Jun The Merthyr Rising
1831 April Thomas Prothero, now very rich and influential,  quarrels publically with Sir Charles Morgan by not supporting Sir Charles’ candidate at the General Election.

Prothero is dismissed as Agent

1831 Thomas Prothero has Malpas Court built
Zephaniah Williams writes from Sirhowy to Rev. Benjamin Williams about Rationalism and various philosophical issues
1832 June The Great Reform Act became law
1832 Dec First general election under the Great Reform Act was held
1833??? Thomas Prothero and Thomas Powell, a Newport timber merchant, persuaded a number of colliery proprietors to sell them coal at eight shillings a ton over a number of years. Once contracts had been drawn up they immediately raised the price to eleven shillings a ton, thus ensuring for themselves a large fortune.
1833 Aug Althorp’s Factory Act was passed
1834 Oct – 37 John Redman appointed the first policeman in Newport, salary £ 90 per annum
1834 Feb The Grand National Consolidated Trade Union was founded.
1834 Mar The Tolpuddle Martyrs were prosecuted
1834 July The New Poor Law Amendment Act set up Union Workhouses (spikes) to combat unemployment.  Life in the workhouse was intended to be harsh to deter the able-bodied and to ensure that only the truly destitute would apply.
1835 Newport Dock Act passed by Parliament allowing Charles Morgan to build a new Town Dock.  Work starts immediately and lasts 7 years.
1835 Sept The Municipal Reform Act was passed giving the Vote to occupants of houses worth £10 a year.
1835 John Frost was appointed as a magistrate (Justice of the Peace)
1836 John Frost elected Mayor of Newport and began an investigation into the activities of Thomas Prothero.  Frost proved that Prothero, the Town Clerk, had failed to pass on to the County Treasurer  39 fines of £10 each which he had levied on ship’s captains.  But prothero escapes sanction.
1836 Carmarthen Workingmen’s Association founded
1836 Apr The start of the financial crisis
1836 May The newspaper duty was reduced and ended the “War of the Unstamped”
1836 June The London Working Men’s Association was founded  by Henry Hetherington, William Lovett, James Watson and other radicals.

LWMA aimed “to seek by every legal means to place all classes of society in possession of their equal, political, and social rights.”

1836 Aug 1 Newport Poor Law Union Workhouse opens – Woolaston House (on the site of the current St. Woolos Hospital)
1837 Jan The Poor Law Commissioners started to implement the legislation
1837 Feb The LWMA held its first public meeting Charter demands set out at Crown and Anchor public house. William Lovett, working on behalf of the London Working Men’s Association, is the principal author.
1837 Mar Birmingham petitions on ‘industrial distress’
1837 Apr The Glasgow cotton spinners went on strike
1837 May – June Conferences were held between MPs and the LWMA about parliamentary reform
1837 July General Election. Many radical MPs were defeated
1837 Oct – 1848 Edward Hopkins (from Bristol) appointed first Police Superintendent in Newport

with four men under him.

1837 Nov Feargus O’Connor launches the Northern Star newspaper in Leeds
1837 Great Northern Union founded in Leeds (April).
1837 Chartist branch WMA founded in Pontypool
1838 May The People’s Charter was launched in Glasgow at a meeting attended by 150,000.. six-point Charter, all of which had been advocated before. These were (1) a vote for all men (over 21); (2) a secret ballot; (3) electoral districts of equal size; (4) no property qualification to become an MP; (5) payment for MPs; and (6) annual elections for Parliament.
1838 Jul (Chartist) Working Men’s  Association branch founded in Newport by baker William Edwards and veteran radical and printer Samuel Etheridge. Soon afterwards, the draper and magistrate, John Frost was also involved in its meetings.  A characteristic of the membership of the WMAs in their early days was the prevalence of artisans and tradesmen.
1838 summer Tens of thousands attend Birmingham rallies (Aug)  Manchester (Sept)
1838 Anti-Corn Law League founded by Richard Cobden and John Bright. Cobden was the chief strategist; Bright was its great orator.
1838 Aug Tree of Taxation published in the Northern Liberator newspaper
1838 Oct John Frost publishes a broadsheet to the Burgesses of the West Ward of Newport
1838 Thomas Prothero moves to Malpas Court
1838 Oct First Chartist rally held in Newtown Montgomery
1838 Welsh translation of The People’s Charter published
1838 Nov John Frost chosen as Chartist Convention Representative for Newport, Pontypool and the newly formed Caerleon lodge of the WMA
Early 1839


Newport Chartists led by John Frost

Heads of the Valleys Chartists are led by Zephaniah Willliams, the new landlord of the Royal Oak Inn near Blaina, having just left his job as master collier at the Sirhowy Ironworks (“Zeph” was born in Argoed.

Tredegar is led by John Rees (Jack the Fifer)

Blackwood Chartists dominated by William Edwards, a Newport baker.

Pontypool Chartists are led by William Lloyd Jones, former strolling player, now a watchmaker in Pontypool and keeper of the Bristol House beershop.

Merthyr Chartists were dominated by Morgan Williams.

Dr. William Price (Pontypridd) spreads Thomas Paine’s philosophy.

Henry Vincent – “one of the most intelligent men it has been my good fortune to meet” (Zeph W.)

1839 Jan Launch of “The Charter” newspaper in London
1839 Mar Home Secretary Lord John Russell dismisses John Frost as a magistrate
1839 Mar John Frost’s letter to Home Secretary Lord John Russell
1839 Feb First Chartist Convention meets in London
1839 Feb Western Vindicator Chartist newspaper published by Henry Vincent in Bristol
1839 March Western Vindicator explains “The People’s Charter in the cause of Truth, Justice, and Liberty. Explanation of “The National Rent”
1839 Mar 25 Henry Vincent returned to Newport on the packet steamer from Bristol warning of “the growing snowball of Chartism… oppressors to beware lest it should roll down and crush them”
1839 April The Chartist Spring gives many speeches to Chartist gatherings
1839 April Henry Vincent’s publishes a broadsheet poster to the Men & Women of Newport urging them to meet him at Pentonville and to “Keep the Peace”
1839 April 25 Large scale street protests occur in Newport. Mayor estimates crowd of 1000, Vincent claims 4000. Vincent speaks challenging the Mayor’s injunction.
1839 Apr26 Henry Vincent addresses a crowd of supporters from an upstairs window of John Frost’s drapery shop, 55 High Street, next door to what was Yate’s bar (once Lloyds Bank and originally the Tredegar Arms).  Still owned by Frost til 1868.
1839 April 120 soldiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot arrive in Newport at Mayor Thomas Phillip’s request – later 13 of them deserted and became Chartists
1839 Apr 29 anti-Chartist meeting at Coalbrookvale organised by local ironmasters and clergy.  Crawshay Bailey was in the chair and George Brewer (owner of the Coalbrookvale Ironworks) and John Brown (Cwmcelyn and Blaina Ironworks) also attended. Crawshay Bailey made an impassioned speech attacking the Chartists.
1839 May 1 Huge Chartist rally 5,000 people on the Star Field, Dukestown (now the Twyn Star Housing Estate). Bands played and banners fluttered, the chief speakers arrived in a four-wheeled chaise decorated with flags.
1839 May Henry Vincent travels to the west country on a campaign tour
1839 May The Home Secretary issues a royal proclamation against the use of arms.  He also wrote to various Lord Lieutenants urging them to set up associations for the protection of life and property at government expense.
1839 May Chartist Convention meets in Birmingham. William Lovett (Secretary) arrested after the Bullring Riots
1839 May First Chartist petition of more than 1,280,000 names presented to Parliament
1839 May News that warrants had been issued for the Arrest of Henry Vincent, William Anselm Townsend, William Edwards, John Dickenson reached the Chartist Convention in London
1839 May 9 Vincent, Edwards and others were arrested and taken to Newport. A riot broke out, and the men were subsequently imprisoned at Monmouth Gaol.
1839 May 10 Frost returns to Newport urgently in order to calm the local leaders
1839 May 20 On Whit Monday, 30,000 people attended a huge rally at Blackwood and a petition was set up for Vincent’s release.
1839 May 27 Pte John McDonald was urged to desert – He returned to his barracks.  But another deserter “Williams” was one of those shot dead at the Westgate Hotel.
1839 May The Anti-Corn-Law League was established as a national organisation
1839 May No known Chartists be be employed by Capel Hanbury Leigh, Crawshay Bailey and Thomas Powell.
1839 May Royal Oak at Coalbrookvale declared out of bounds to all of Crawshay Bailey’s workers
1839 May The Rebecca Riots began in Wales
1839 May Anti-Chartist sermon preached by Rev James Francis in St. Pauls Church Newport
1839 June on The “Chartist Lights”, lanterns and torches moving across the mountains, were seen and hardly a night went by without fiery speeches and illegal gatherings.
1839 June 4 Frost writes open letter to Magistrate Sir Digby Mackworth complaining of the injustice of the arrest and imprisonment of Vincent, Edwards, Dickinson and Townsend
1839 Jul 1 At Coalbrookvale 10,000 Chartists rallied, and by July 12th, when a petition was presented to Parliament, over a million signatures had been gathered. The petition was rejected.
1839 July 12 Rejection of first National Petition by the House of Commons by 235 votes to 46 and the Chartists began to discuss ‘ulterior measures’
1839 July The Bull Ring Riots took place in Birmingham. Chartist leaders were arrested and the Convention returned to London.
1839 July The Chartist Cave (originaly called ‘Tylles Fawr’ or Great Hole) on Mynydd Llangynidr above Tredegar was used by the Chartists of Sirhowy and Tredegar as a secret smithy for the making of pikes and other weapons.
1839 Aug August 1839  The grand jury at Monmouth Assizes found Henry Vincent, William Anselm Townsend, William Edwards, John Dickenson guilty (true bills) for attending illegal meetings and were imprisoned in Monmouth gaol; they were acquitted of conspiracy, and the defendants Vincent and Edwards were found guilty of uttering violent and seditious language. (John Frost’s trial on the same charges was postponed til the next Assizes)
1839 Aug Great meeting of Scottish delegates in Glasgow forms central committee to co-ordinate activities in Scotland.
1839 Aug 11 Sunday August 11th 1839, Newport Chartists march in orderly fashion up Stow Hill to sit in the pews of St. Woolos church during Matins in protest at anti-Chartist sermons.
1839 Aug 12 40,000 Chartists attended  the largest gathering of the whole of the 19th Century at the Star Field, Dukestown.
1839 Aug The Bank Rate was raised to 5%
1839 summer Many Chartists were arrested and subsequently imprisoned
1839 Sept Frost writes to the Lord Lieutenant and to the Magistrates urging an improvement in the prison conditions of Henry Vincent, Edwards, Dickinson and William AnselmTownsend who had all been found guilty of attending illegal meetings.
1839 Sept John Frost uses his casting vote to disband the Chartist Convention
1839 Sept 14 Major Beniowski (a Polish emigré) was sent to Wales to co-ordinate preparations
1839 Oct 9 Hardened soldiers (many Irish) of 45th regiment of Foot from Windsor replace the 29th.  Billetted in the Newport Union Workhouse.
1839 autumn Prothero paid for a network of spies who reported to him regularly on the movements of the Chartists.  Stories also began to circulate that if the Chartists were successful in Newport, it would encourage others all over Britain to follow their example. There were rumours that the Chartists were armed and planned to seize Newport. The Chartists were due to mount their attack shortly and intended to take him and his family hostage together with Reginald Blewitt M.P. of Llantarnam Abbey. Prothero and his family fled at once to an unknown destination leaving his coachman and gardeners in charge of Malpas Court. He was not seen again in Newport until he received word that the insurrection was over and Frost in the safe hands of the authorities. He then returned with glee to help in mounting the prosecution against the man who had been a thorn in his flesh for over twenty years.
1839 Oct/Nov First Opium War in China
1839 Nov 1 Chartist Council Meeting led by John Frost.  Jack the Fifer to lead the march on Newport
1839 Nov 3 /4 Y Cyfodiad (The Rise) The Newport Rising.
David Jones (Dai the Tinker) to lead the Tredegar Chartists
1839 autumn Magistrates, landowners and other middle class figures were threatened.
1839 Nov Crickhowell magistrates complain to the Home Secretary of “revolutionary violence and the sword of desolation… these are fearful times.”
1839 Nov Charles Lloyd Harford and his wife flee to Cheltenham
1839 Nov Plans were made (and changed) but finally it was decided to march on Newport on the night of Sunday, November 3rd.  Meanwhile, the production of arms intensified and more and more people joined the Chartist lodges.  Evan Edwards, the Tredegar clockmaker and James Godwin, the mason from Brynmawr, were busy making bullets, while puddlers and colliers at Blaina ordered their muskets.
1839 Nov 3 William Lloyd Jones rides the valleys to co-ordinate plans.  Pontypool at dawn, Abersychan at 7am, Blaina at 10am, Tredegar at 3pm, Blackwood at 6pm, Crumlin at 7:30pm and Pontypool at 10.
1839 Nov 3 In Tredegar and Sirhowy, the Red Lion at Colliers Row and the Colliers Arms in Park Row had been turned into pike factories. Jack Rees (the Fifer) accompanied by William Evans, Thomas Morgan and John Morgan led the Tredegar men down the Sirhowy valley to meet Frost at Blackwood.

in 1839 the chartest marchers called at the sirhowy inn killed the lanlords dog, drank the pub dry and made the landlord march with them to the westgate hotel Newport: or thats what iv’e read and the original name of the pub was the Wyvern   The killing of the Landlords Dog was at the Beaufort Arms in Beaufort Rise when the Chartist broke in and demanding free beer and the Landlord ran away being a Anti-Chartist

In Tredegar and Sirhowy, the Red Lion at Colliers Row and the Colliers Arms in Park Row had been turned into pike factories. Jack Rees (the Fifer) accompanied by William Evans, Thomas Morgan and John Morgan led the Tredegar men down the Sirhowy valley to meet Frost at Blackwood. At Twyn y Star, hundreds had gathered led by Rees Meredith (one of those killed) and Dai the Tinker (David Jones) – in his velvet jacket and spotted neckerchief. At about 8 p.m. they met the men of Benjamin Richards’ Star Inn lodge at Sirhowy Bridge before moving off to meet Zephaniah Williams and his men at Mynydd Carn y Cefn. Passing through Ebbw Vale they met up with 2,000 at the Pen y Cae ironworks, and about 20 of them pushed their way into the Lamb Inn demanding more beer. Later, another gang arrived dragging the landlord of the Wyvern Inn, Sirhowy along with them. At about 9 p.m., all the contingents met near the Harfords’ residence and then moved off down the valley towards Newport. After much delay (caused mainly by the appalling weather and by calling off at pubs on the way!) the Heads of the Valleys contingent met up with Frost’s forces at the Welsh Oak, Risca at about 6.30 a.m.

1839  Nov 3 3pm  200 – 300 Chartists already assembled at the Coach & Horses Blackwood
1839 Nov 3 6pm   Trams full of armed men approach Argoed
1839 Nov 3 Williams (deserter from 29th Regiment) travels with Jack the Fifer
1839 Nov 3 6pm Blaina men assemble at Royal Oak Coalbrookvale Nantyglo
1839 Nov 3 7pm  At Twyn y Star, Dukestown, hundreds had gathered led by Rees Meredith (one of those killed) and Dai the Tinker (David Jones) – in his velvet jacket and spotted neckerchief. At about 8 p.m. they met the men of Benjamin Richards’ Star Inn lodge at Sirhowy Bridge before moving off to meet Zephaniah Williams and his men at Mynydd Carn y Cefn.
1839 Nov 3 7pm Zephaniah Williams meets the men of Blaina, and Coalbrookvale on the slopes of Mynydd-y-Cefn.
1839 Nov 3 7pm  Croespenmaen lodge assemble at Navigation Inn Crumlin
1839 Nov 3 At about 9 p.m., all the contingents met near the Harfords’ residence and then moved off down the valley towards Newport
1839 Nov 3 10pm  advance party of Chartists arrive at the Welsh Oak, Pontymister, chosen as assembly point instead of Cefn
1839 Nov 3 10pm Pillgwenlly Chartists mustered at the Pottery by Patrick Hickey, Jonathan Palmer & William Jewel.
1839 Nov 3 11pm Assembly at Risca Bridge Between the Welsh Oak and Cefn – of Blackwood column (under John Reynolds), Tredegar column (under Jack the Fifer) Argoed and Croespenmaen column under
1839 Nov 3 11pm   Risca Bridge Between the Welsh Oak and Cefn,  2 of Mayor Phillip’s scouts hear Chartists firing guns and ride through the ranks of the Chartists to take this news to Mayor Phillips.  One, Thomas walker is severely wounded.
1839 Nov 3 12 midnight  – Frost, Rees and the Tredegar, Argoed and Croespenmaen columns reach the welsh Oak
1839 Nov 3 1 am  The landlord of the Newbridge Inn forced to open up
1839 Nov 3 3am  Zephaniah Williams arrives at the Welsh Oak by tram
1839 Nov 4 6:30am Heads of the Valleys contingent met up with Frost’s forces at the Welsh Oak, Risca
1839 Nov 4 7.00 a.m. the great mass of people moved off to Pye Corner and then through Tredegar Park to the Cwrt y Bella weighing machine (on Cardiff  Road near the Belle Vue Park keepers lodge).
1839 Nov 4 9am At Cwrt y Bella the Chartist forces halted and were put into better order, six abreast with a gun at the end of each line. The Tredegar man, John Rees (Jack the Fifer), and Dai the ‘Tinker’ (David Jones) from Tredegar were prominent in organising the ranks in to an orderly formation and they marched up Belle Vue Lane.
1839 Nov 4 9:20am The Chartist Marchers had reached St Woolos church at the top of Stow Hill
1839 Nov 4 Abandoning the original plan of attacking the nearby Newport Union Workhouse, John Frost now decided to head directly to the Westgate to try and free the Chartist prisoners being held there.
1839 Nov 4 A large body of Chartists, said to be 5,000, came down Stow Hill through the narrow road between the Six Bells public house and the medieval parish church of St. Woolos.  John Frost was near the front.  Zephaniah Williams at the rear, both were ensuring that nobody broke ranks and they successfully avoided conflict.
1839 Nov 4 9:25am Barred by special constables in Commercial Street, a ‘splinter’ group was forced to re-join the main marching column at the top of Charles Street.
1839 Nov 4 9:25am  John Lovell calls the Irish stonemasons building St. Mary’s Church on Stow Hill to join the Chartists.
1839 Nov 4 9:30am Filing down Stow Hill, the Chartists arrived at the Westgate at about 9.30 a.m. The crowd called for the release of the prisoners and soon a scuffle started on the porch of the Hotel. Whether accidentally or not is unclear, but a musket was discharged. The Chartists rushed in through the front door of the hotel. As they started firing and hammering at the shutters of the hotel windows, the fight went on in the main hall.
1839 Nov 4 Mayor Phillips had hoped to avoid a clash but the situation was now beyond his control. The order was given for the soldiers to load their guns and the bottom shutters of the hotel’s front windows were removed. The soldiers now filed past the windows firing into the crowd and inflicting heavy casualties
1839 Nov 4 The battle that broke out at the Westgate hotel lasted about twenty minutes. At least 20 men from the Gwent valleys died and over 50 Chartists were seriously injured.  The Mayor Thomas Phillips, and Sergeant Daly were shot and wounded, Harry Williams, special constable, was stabbed and another was trampled.
1839 Nov 4 Under the portico of the Mayor’s house opposite a dying man was pleading for help – he received none, and spent another hour and a half in agony before he was finally dead.
1839 Nov 4 In the passageway of the Westgate Hotel, those still inside continued fighting and trying to free the prisoners. Opening the door and ordering the constables to step aside, the soldiers filled the passage with musket fire.
1839 Nov 4 10am  In the side streets off High Street and Commercial Street, the Chartists fled for cover from the gunfire of the 45th.  John Lovell severely wounded by gunshot in his thigh, was dragged by Jack the Sailor of Pontypool to the house of Jenkins the shoemaker, in Market Street.  When a doctor was called, Lovell and Jack were both arrested and detained at the Workhouse.
1839 Nov 4 John Frost arrested at the home of his friend Thomas Partridge in Goldtops (Eota lived in Goldtops)
1839  Nov 5 The magistrates led by Thomas Prothero began examination of witnesses and suspects, charging 50 men with High Treason.  A detachment of the 10th Hussars soon arrived
1839 Nov 7 10 of the Chartist dead were buried by soldiers after dark on Thursday 7th November 1839; the parish register numbered them 1 to 10 – no names given.
1840 Jan John Frost and other leaders of the Newport uprising are tried for high treason and sentenced to be hanged and their bodies quartered.
1840 Jan The Sheffield Rising. Samuel Holberry was imprisoned
1840 Winter Abortive uprisings in support of the Newport Chartists across the West Riding and North East of England.  Widespread arrest of Chartists
1840 April 18 Flowering Sunday – locals bedeck the graves of the dead Chartists in St. Woolos with flowers and laurels and verses, breathing the spirit of Chartism and lauding the victims.  “The poor fellows who died for Liberty were not forgotten” – Northern Star.
1840 July Chartist conference in Manchester founds the National Charter Association to unite local organisations (20 July).   Feargus O’Connor is sentenced to 18 months in prison for publishing seditious libel.
1840 James Horner is landlord of the Queen Adelaide public house in Griffin Street the centre of the Newport branch of the National Charter Association (NCA) and  Chartist meeting place after 1840 (site of a taxi office underneath the market building today
1841 Apr Lovett founded the National Association of the United Kingdom for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People.
1840 Thomas Phillips receives a knighthood from Queen Victoria
1840 Thomas Walker, Henry Williams and Edward Morgan received a pension for life of £ 20 p.a from Queen Victoria
1841 Apr Feargus O’Connor took up the land question as a ‘remedy for national poverty’
1841 May Thomas Slingsby Duncombe presents petition of 1.3 million names to Parliament seeking a pardon for the Newport prisoners (25 May).
1841 Aug General Election – Peel and his Conservatives form a new government after the defeat of Melbourne’s Whigs. National Charter Association agrees to launch second petition to test attitude of new parliament
1842 The new Town Dock opens in Newport in 1842
1842 Report on Children in Coal Mines in Wales – “that instances occur in which Children are taken into these mines to work as early as four years of age, sometimes at five, and not unfrequently between six and seven.”  Report for the Children’s Employment Commission by Robert Hugh Franks detailed evidence of the use of child labour at Prothero’s Woodfield Colliery and Place Level Colliery.
1842 Apr The Complete Suffrage Union Conference was held in Birmingham
The Chartist Convention met in London
1842 May Second People’sCharter of more than 3,250,000 names presented to Parliament (4 May). It is rejected by the House of Commons by 287 votes to 47.

The House of Commons rejected the second Chartist petition by 287 votes to 49

1842 Jul Aug Sept The Plug Plots Thomas Cooper was found guilty of organising the Plug Plot Riots and spent the next two years in Stafford Gaol.

The economic recession reached it lowest point. There were wage cuts and increasing unemployment.  General strike wave (otherwise known as the Plug Plot riots) breaks out across Lancashire, Staffordshire and in other areas of Northern England and Scotland. Thousands demand that pay cuts are reversed and the Charter made law. Many leading Chartists are arrested. In total, 1,500 Chartists and strikers face trial, with 79 sentenced to transportation.

1842 Jan Scottish Chartist Convention refuses to endorse wording of the 2nd People’s Charter
1842 Octavius Morgan elected as MP for Monmouthshire (Charles Octavius Swinnerton)
1842 Dec A conference of Chartist and Complete Suffrage representatives met in Birmingham.
1843 Mar Feargus O’Connor and 58 others tried for incitement to strike and riot at Lancaster Assizes. None of those found guilty is ever sentenced.

Chartist convention held in Birmingham approves Chartist Land Plan

Feargus O’Connor and other Chartists went on trial. They were acquitted on the main charges

1843 Sept The Chartist Convention met in Birmingham and the proposal of Land Reform was accepted. The Chartist Executive moved to London
1844 Apr The Chartist Convention met in Manchester. Northern Star newspaper relocates to London.
1845 Apr The Chartist Convention was held in London
Feargus O’Connor launched the Chartist Land Co-operative Society (later National Land Company). Society of Fraternal Democrats founded.
1845 May The rules of the Land Society were published
1845 – 1852 Irish Famine begins – helped to force repeal of the Corn Laws
1846 June Repeal of the Corn Laws
Peel resigned from office and the Whigs under Lord John Russell formed a government
1846 Dec The Birmingham conference on the Land Plan was held Chartist convention in Birmingham sets up a committee to prepare for a general election campaign.  Thomas Cooper was also highly critical of O’Connor’s Land Plan and suggested he was using the money being raised to support his newspaper, the Northern Star. As a result of these attacks, Cooper was expelled from the National Charter Association.
1846 Thomas Cooper expelled from the National Charter Association
1847 May The Ten Hours (Fielden’s) Factory Act was passed

O’Connorville was opened – the first of the Chartist plantations founded by the National Land Company.

1847 Jul A general election was held and resulted in a Whig victory. Lord John Russell became Prime Minister and Feargus O’Connor was elected as MP for Nottingham.
1847 Aug The Lowbands conference was held on the Land Plan
1847 autumn Increasing unemployment
1848 Feb Revolution in France overthrows monarchy. Attempted revolutions break out across Europe.
1848 Feb Marx and Engels published the Communist Manifesto
1848 Mar London (later People’s) Charter Union founded by James Watson, Henry Hetherington and Richard Moore as rival to National Charter Association.
1848 Apr A Chartist Convention met in London and organised the meeting at Kennington Common which began the presentation of the third petition. This was laughed out of the Commons. Feargus O’Connor claims it holds 5,706,000 signatures; MPs say it has just 1,975,496 names, including many forgeries.
1848 May The Chartist National Assembly was summoned
1848 May/Jul Widespread provincial Chartist disturbances, including aborted risings in London,Ashton-under-Lyne and Ireland.large scale arrests and imprisonment of Chartist leaders Ernest Jones is sentenced to two years in prison for sedition; William Cuffay/Cuffey is sentenced to be transported to Tasmania.
1849 Jun A reform motion was introduced to parliament and was supported by O’Connor and Joseph Hume. It was defeated by 286 votes to 82
1849 Henry Hetherington dies of cholera (23 August).
1850 Jan Bronterre O’Brien launched the National Reform League.
1850 Mar The O’Connorites launched the National Charter League
1850 Jun George Julian Harney launches short-lived Red Republicannewspaper. It publishes the first English translation of the Communist Manifesto before ceasing publication and relaunching as the Friend of the People.

Harney and the Left capture the National Charter Association executive.

1850 Apr Moderate National Charter League launched to build links with middle class.
1851 Jan Chartist convention in Manchester boycotted by supporters of Harney attracts just eight delegates
1851 Feb Bill to dissolve the National Land Company
1851 Apr Chartist convention in London adopts socialist programme
1851 Northern Star ceases production
1852 May Chartist convention held in Manchester
1853 Sept Welsh moral force Chartist John Basson Humffray emigrates to Ballarat, Australia
1854 Nov Humffray elected secretary of Ballarat Reform League  (moral v physical force issues)
1854 Mar Labour Parliament meets in Manchester to lead Chartist revival that fails to appear
1854 11 Nov The Charter signed at Bakery Hill, Victoria, Australia
1854 3 Dec Battle of the Eureka Stockade – 27 Australian (Chartists) killed
1855 Aug Death of Feargus O’Connor
1858 Feb The last National Chartist Convention attended by 41 delegates
1859 Nottingham Town Council agrees to erect a statue of Feargus O’Connor.
National Charter Association formally wound up.
1867 Aug Second Reform  Act – votes to all male heads of households in boroughs

Male lodgers paying £10 rent a year  still only 13% of adult pop.

1872 Ballot Act – secret voting
1884 Third Reform Act extended terms of 1867 Act to the countryside
1885 Redistribution of Seats Act
1911 Parliament Act
1918 Representation of the People Act
1928 Representation of the People Act
1944 House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act
1969 Representation of the People Act extends vote to men and women over 18





9 thoughts on “Chartist Timeline

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