James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Tollgate riots (cntd)

During the night of 25 September 1843 a party of men at least one of whom appeared to have a woman's gown over his clothes attacked the Velindre gate, Llanidloes, with saws and axes and shots were fired. A further attack on that gate was described as follows:-

The attack on this gate was made on the morning of Thursday, October 25th. About two o’clock police constable James Owen was patrolling near the gate, but on the other side of the River Severn, when he heard the stroke of axes, and immediately alarmed the military post at Llanidloes and proceeded to the gate with all possible dispatch, but found no trace of the perpetrators of the outrage, although he reached the gate within ten minutes of the attack.
The gate-keeper was the only person in the tollhouse and, being frightened, did not get out of bed and knew no further than having heard a noise at the gate at the time of the attack was made. She heard two shots fired.

(From A history of the Montgomeryshire Constabulary : 1840-1948. by W.C. Maddox)

On the morning of 24 January 1844 a party of Rebecca rioters destroyed the Felinfawr Gate at Llanidloes. Again, shots were fired into the tollhouse. The perpetrators were traced some distance into Radnorshire and were presumed to have come from Rhayader, a Rebeccarite enclave. The gatekeeper said he could give no information. The last reported attack occurred on 5 May, 1844, when the Llanidloes gate was destroyed for a second time. Thereafter the Rebecca movement died out in Mid-Wales, much to the relief, one would suppose, of James and his colleagues. There is no record of any of the rioters being apprehended, the Chief Constable reporting that it had not been possible to trace any of them due to the quite deliberate lack of co-operation of the farmers and labourers in the neighbourhood.