On a stormy night last February I drove to a small Derbyshire village, for the inaugural meeting of the Pentrich and South Wingfield Revolution Bicentenary Group, expecting to meet half a dozen history buffs.
After all, we were to be discussing an event from 200 years ago: a march to Nottingham and then to London, by a few hundred misled, misguided and starving workers, that ended in total failure: imprisonment, deportation to Australia, public hanging and the beheading of three leaders at Derby Gaol.
This poor-pathetic rag-taggle bunch of marchers were attempting to overthrow the Monarchy and replace the establishment with a government of the people. Most were uneducated and could not afford the price of a loaf of bread.
June 9, 2017, will be the 200-year anniversary of The Pentrich Rebellion. They marched from South Wingfield, Pentrich, through Ripley, Heanor and Eastwood and were stopped by the militia at Giltbrook.
As the meeting started I was staggered to see a packed room of 50-plus people for this meeting and have never witnessed such passionate interest for an event that should have been lost in the mists of time.
The government in Regency Britain had tried to bury it!
In February 2014 there were historians, parish councillors: heritage people and academics from far and wide.
Plans are for 15 walks; re-enactments: plays and concerts to include schools and universities; and to link with Australian descendants of this last British armed insurrection.
A major event is planned for June 9, 2017.
In June 1967 at the 150th Anniversary of the Penrich Revolution, Eastwood Advertiser printed the story of the march led by Jeremiah Brandreth.
Eastwood streets bear the names of the seven main protagonists — Brandreth Drive: Ludlam Avenue: Turner Drive: Brassington Close: Godbur Close: Weightman Drive: Bacon Close.
The marchers stopped at the Navigation Inn, now known as ‘The Great Northern’ Langley Mill and marched up the hill, stopping at the Sun Inn. We will be retracing their journey through Eastwood, with a walk.
‘Chapter and Verse’ community group of Eastwood will be actively involved.