16 April 2011


It is thought that the Tarw Scotch were born in the discontent of 1816:

Scotch Cattle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 - 09:35
  1. Scotch Cattle was the name taken by bands of coal miners in 19th century South Wales, analogous to the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania, who, in disguise, ...
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotch_Cattle - Cached - Similar


I must only say that the discontented are in great force, And determined to oppose ... 24 October 1816 Disturbances in Wales(Extract of a letter) Merthyr, ...
www.angelfire.com/ga/BobSanders/Times_Cardiff1.html -Cached - Similar

In 1822 matters in the Sothern Iron and Coal Mining districts became such of much discontent, as rife as 1816 amongst the workers none more so than in Gwent where the Tarw Scotch had arisen again to organise a radical struggle in the interest of the Iron and Colliery workers and their familes. This struggle none so violent as in the early months of 1822 after Iron Masters reduced the price of cut coal, effectivelly an huge cut in wages, this began a thirteen week strike that was to conclude in defeat with leaders  imprisoned. But not with out a major confrontation in area of Llanhilleth referred to at the time as a battle between the striking workers and soldiers, Chepstow Yeomanry and Scotch Greys Dragoons sent to occupy the area between Crumlin and the Ebbw Valley Iron  Works. Obviously word of Tarw Scotch plans had been devulged to the authorities by informers, a plan where by militant workers would attempt to stop Coal reaching the Iron Works from the Crumlin Wharf of the Monmouth Canal, loaded on to horse drawn railway trams for the military escorted journey northward. A 10 mile route both ends of which had been occupied by the military whilst other military were ordered ahead along the rail track to prevent it's destruction, they were less than a mile into their advance when they were ambushed by workers throwing rocks down upon them. A bugle call signalled a short retreat untill the military vanguard was joined by acompany of Yeomanry guarding the trams arrived, another attempt was made to advance but before doing so a magistrate read the Riot Act. 

The workers however, were not intimidated and stayed their ground and continued their attack, it was decided by the magistrate the Rev James Davies of Usk to send for reinforcements - the Scots Greys under command of a Lieutenant Lloyd. The Greys advanced down the Valley towards Llanhilleth but only two miles travelled they then rode three miles into the hills to attack the workers from a rear position. The attack on the workers was carried out with a dismounted baynot charge, the workers dispersed and seem to have disappeared but they had most definatly not gone home at the first flash of 'British Steel' no matter  how sharp! The Horse drawn trams advanced up the Rail tracks with their military guard but after only two miles came to an halt due to the tracks being blocked by over turned waggons which had to be cleared to allow jorney to continue. Upon doing so the anger of the workers became radically violent and joined by their women folk and children an epic battle continued. Huge rocks were rolled down the hills and stones thrown, this time the Soldiers advanced up the hill towards the workers and fired volleys of musket fire. The Workers and people with them scattered, the guarded coal trams continued but found it difficult as now they came upon ripped up trackway, again another violent ambush was made by the workers. Again the Soldiers advanced up the hillside firing at the workers, if any worker was killed it's more than likly they were secretly bueried so as not to invite reprisals on their familes. This time the Soldiers kept to the hills and the battle that had began at 10:00 am was over at 9:00 pm when the Tram contingent reached the Iron Works.

Who won? most certainly the workers did not entirely lose as that night up untill 9th May, the 'Herds' of the Tarw Scotch roamed this area and other localities of their 'Black Domain' carrying out what could be described as 'Guerrilla Warfare' with continued attacks on coal Trams, up to 30 in number were destroyed that night. Trams were pushed into the Monmouthshire Canal and others set alight, at Llanhilleth an huge bonfire was made of trams which still burned three days later. Other than this rail traks were rippped up, the Sirhowy Tramway was all but completly ripped up and thrown int the river. The Cambrian News of 8 May 1822 reported that the destruction through out the 'Black Domain' was with out parallel in the Southern Coal Fields, not least the struggle was far from over as the Scotch Cattle were to continue to rule in the Black Domain up to 1835. There after it appears this 'Workers Underground Resistence Movement' were to merge with the Chartist militants and no doubt marched with the Chartist Army in the Newport Rising of 4 November 1839. The Tarw Scotch were to reappear again in Welsh History in the 1850's but this time over in the Aberdare Valley of North Glamorgan, I shall research more in time.

What an inspirational story and fitting I include it in my I'r Gad Battlefield Campaign blog for two reasons; the one being fact that there is no marker or memorial to this battle which should and could be placed at Llanhilleth, why not? Neither is it annually commemorated and again why not? Perhaps this 2 May it could be launched in a small event at Llanhilleth to discuss my suggestions and place floral tributes in memory of this battle and possibility of workers having been killed? I am quite happy for a 'bona fide' left wing body/person or local Gwent History Group to adopt this Initiative. Something sound and sensible as 'Radical Wales', 'Everyones Favourite Comrade' maybe? or even 'My Little Republic' which is Gwent based, there is a great need to give the Tarw Scotch struggle more attention and promotion. 

They are as the Revolutionary workers leader and the Five Roads Radical Rebecites the forgotten heroes of Welsh History and history of popular struggle, forgotten for political and dare I say it Welsh pacifist reasons. I shall certainly return to LLanhilleth as this time around I was only on a flying visit of the 'Black Domain', to Blackwood, Tredegar and Mynydd Llangynider. The whole area is loaded with Workers/Peoples history and is quite a buetifull region, not a 'Post Industrial Wasteland, well deserves my other a weekend 'holiday' there.

Martyrs and militants - some background history : MerthyrRising

17 Oct 2005... I find it very interesting that Rebeccites could ...
merthyrrising.blogspirit.com/.../martyrs-and-militants-some-background-history.html - Cached

NB: The account above was wriiten with unavoidable heavy borrowing from the excellent book BEFORE REBECCA Popular Protest in Wales 1793 - 1835 by David Jones - a must buy book, if you cannot aford go get from the library asap to fully read and hopefully motivate you to visit the area described above over this May BH weekend. One way of avoiding all the repeat Royal wedding stuff on TV etc. NB: I shall start a HANES CYMRU GOCH Blog soon for Welsh Left Historical Interests, motivating a kind of 'Cofiwn Goch' maybe? I feel I have done all I can with I'r Gad medievalism and work on behalf of Welsh Battlefields, up to Cadw to fulfill it's promises now with a little pushing from below. Time to turn attention to post 1536 history of popular struggle as main frame Labour/Socialist/Trade Union  history is well taken care of by Llafur and South Wales Miners Library and possibly by the Bevan Foundation. Hence Cymdeithas Lewsyn yr Heliwr still an  Initiative I am seeking to advance further in due course.

Before Rebecca: Popular Protests in Wales, 1793-1835: Amazon.co.uk ...

Before Rebecca: Popular Protests in Wales, 1793-1835 ... David J. V.Jones. Discover books, learn about writers, and more. ...
www.amazon.co.uk › Books › History - Cached

Other Information of useful Interest:

  1. Scotch Cattle - workers' secret organisation in Monmouthshire and South Wales valleys.
    www.sirhowy.com/scotchcattle.html - Cached - Similar

  2. CHAPT 4 - Welcome to the homepage of Huw Cole

     - 09:28
    The Bull's head was a warning sign that the '' Scotch Cattle '' would strike. .... until he reached the Coach and Horses in Llanhilleth at 1:30pm on Sunday ...
    www.huwcole.com/nantCh4.html - Cached - Similar

  3. Nantyglo Round Towers, Nantyglo, Wales

     - 09:36
    One of the first attempts at an organisation by the workers to protect their trades was the infamous Scotch Cattle who first appeared in Nantyglo in 1822. ...
    www.thomasgenweb.com/nantyglo_round_towers.html -Cached - Similar

  4. The Thomas Lewis Line

     - 09:31
    26 Dec 2010 ... David moved to Llanhilleth, to work for the Union Foundry, ... David may well have been a member of the Scotch Cattle, as the Lewis men ...


    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick ViewEighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Wales was full of riotous gatherings with ..... Edward Pugh, writing in 1816, recalled 'scenes of barbarity ..... Denbigh continued to be a centre for discontent: in April 1795, serious rioting ...earlymodernweb.org/archive/riotous_community.pdf
  1. [PDF] 

    Beginnings of Radicalism

    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
    by GA Williams - Cited by 4 - Related articles
    that Welsh book production accelerates from the 1770s; the number of... democratic √©lite of People's Remembrancers to a nation reborn in liberty. Jac ...... of Denbigh during the widespread riots, crowd actions and rebellions ...
    openlearn.open.ac.uk/file.php/3805/.../beginningsofradicalism.pdf -Similar



    5 Apr 2011 ... RED REMEMBRANCER. - 54 visits - 30 Mar. 1 Apr 2011 ... Then there isEdward Morgan and the Scotch Cattle Insurrection - particularly of the ...adfywiadgoch.blogspot.com/.../hanes-cymru-goch-6-april-1835-execution.html

14 May 2007 ... RED REMEMBRANCER. A Welsh Radical PLatform: containing information .... All a far cry from Rhyfel y Sais Bach and the struggle against Land ...redremembrancer.blogspot.com/.../rural-revolt-is-not-just-about-rebecca.html - Cached

In Passing Web Searching the below will also interest you:

10 Jan 2011 ... Discontent continued for years, most famously evidenced in the events that concluded with the Peterloo ... The unlucky five were hanged just outside Ely on June 28 1816. ... West Wales · Ireland Northern Ireland: ...
www.information-britain.co.uk/famdates.php?id=1259 - Cached

I shall place photos related to the above on a following post soon.