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Historian’s painstaking research puts the 1839 Newport Rising on the map

08 Aug 2021 2 minute read
Chartist marchers outside Newport’s Westgate Hotel

Historian Pat Drewett has compiled a list that reveals the Newport addresses of around 200 Chartists from the C19th.

With the help of fellow researchers, he created the list by delving through court records, documents and reports relating to the 1839 Newport Rising in which around 22 demonstrators were killed.

Many of the addresses revealed still exist in the city and the records are made available online to allow people to check if they are living in a Chartist house.

Speaking to the South Wales Argus, he said: “I believe people will be absolutely fascinated in finding out that someone intimately involved in the Chartist uprising lived in their house or that they are a neighbour of where a Chartist once lived.”

He says the list is a way to keep the memories of the historic event alive.


The details on the list include the names of each known Chartist, together with street address, age and occupation.

Chartism was a C19th movement that was calling for electoral reforms at a time when most ordinary people had no rights to vote.

The group was started in London but support grew rapidly within Wales, particularly across the southern industrial areas.

The Newport Rising took place on November 4th, 1839 when local Chartist groups gathered to form a march of around 10,000 people who headed into Newport.

The protesters stopped outside the Westgate Hotel where many of the town’s officials were being guarded by armed troops.

In the confrontation that followed, around 22 demonstrators were killed and more than 50 people were injured.

Three of the main leaders, John Frost, Zephaniah Williams, and William Jones, were found guilty of high treason and were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. The sentences were later reduced to transportation for life.

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Eva Arnott
Eva Arnott
2 years ago

My late husband’s 3x great- grandfather, John Arnott, was a leader of the Chartist movement. He was the secretary at the time of the April 1848 march from Kensington Common to Westminster. We used to wonder why there were more people with our last name in Australia than in the UK

Eva Arnott
Eva Arnott
2 years ago
Reply to  Eva Arnott

Kennington Common. Spellcheck!

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 years ago
Reply to  Eva Arnott

Some friends did a celebration on the 150th anniversary of the trials in the actual courtroom using the same dock and judges bench. Some of the transcript was used as was the report into children in mines of 1842 which is worth a read though a strong stomach is needed.
Frost, Jones and Williams were sent to Tasmania and on release Zephaniah stayed on to become one of the richest men in that island state. Arnott was never transported and lived to see Chartism fade away. He served the cause faithfully until the very end.

Shan Morgain
2 years ago

Shamefully when John Frost Square was “developed” into a chain store mall 6 years ago, it was renamed Friars Walk to hide the Chartist history. The beautiful mosaic mural commemorating the Chartist Rising was ripped out. Instead a flight of steps had the names put in the verticals of the treads, so trodden down daily. A copy mural has been made by the original artist’s son but a mere 10% of the size and no word on display in Newport. /// However there is a wonderful giant statue (26ft) near Blackwood, well worth a visit.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 years ago
Reply to  Shan Morgain

This is the thing. Destroy a nation’s past and you destroy the nation.

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