CRIMINAL RECORDS. 223
THE AGRICULTURAL RIOTS.
At the close of 1830 the riots throughout the South of England left their effect on this district. The outrages commenced in the adjoining county of Kent and the progressive march of incendiarism was as much feared as that of an invading army. Stacks of grain and farm buildings were everywhere burned and consumed; gangs of men went from farm to farm, breaking all the machinery on the premises, and where the general body of rioters did not go the local discontent was sufficient to change the character of the simple labourer to that of the midnight incendiary. Some neighbouring villages actually assumed the appearance of encampments, as the military and yeomanry made their presence felt and arrested the rioters. The first local convictions took place at the Lewes Assizes on December 18th, 1830, when no less than 45 persons were charged with arson, riot, threats and assaults. In almost every case there was a conviction and a number of men were sentenced to death, but the majority were reprieved, only two, Thomas Goodman, a hoopmaker, of Battle, and Edmund Bushby, a labourer, of East Preston, suffering the extreme penalty, both being executed on New Year's Day, 1831. Among those who escaped entirely was George Buckwell, charged with firing a barn belonging to William Ken ward, of Hartfield. Richard Hodd had been committed by the East Grinstead Magistrates for compelling two other men " to go along with him and join a mob who had collected together for riotous and illegal purposes." He was convicted and got off with 18 months' hard labour. A Magistrate on the East Grinstead Bench (Mr. Robert Crawfurd, of Saint Hill, J.P., D.L.), himself a considerable landlord, records in a letter written some years afterwards to an agricultural newspaper an anecdote which illustrates vividly enough those troublous days in Sussex. He writes: " During the riots of 1830 I dined with the late Sir Godfrey Webster (of Battle Abbey) at Lewes. At a not very early hour the Baronet prepared for his homeward journey. ' You