The Rebecca Riots took place between 1839 and 1843 in South and Mid Wales. They were a series of protests undertaken by local farmers and agricultural workers in response to perceived unfair taxation. The rioters, often men dressed as women, took their actions against toll-gates, as they were tangible representations of high taxes and tolls. The riots ceased prior to 1844 due to several factors, including increased troop levels, a desire by the protestors to avoid violence and the appearance of criminal groups using the guise of Rebecca for their own purposes. In 1844 a Parliamentary act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to turnpike trusts in Wales was passed.
Events leading to the riots
In the late 1830s and early 1840s, the agricultural communities of south Wales were in dire poverty. Although grain harvests collapsed, the price of butter between 1837 and 1841, and sheep between 1839 and 1841, was relatively high, and even the low cattle prices of 1839 recovered by 1841.<ref... Read More