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Gordon Riots newspaper article

1780

Gordon Riots newspaper article

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  • Intro

    In June 1780, London was shaken by violent anti-Catholic riots, which became known as the Gordon Riots. Anti-Catholic legislation had been in place in Britain since Henry VIII's break with Rome in the 1530s and had been subsequently added to. However, in 1778, the Papist Act was passed, relaxing certain restrictions on inheritance and schooling for Catholics. Lord George Gordon raised a petition against this and marched on parliament in June 1780, drawing huge crowds.

     

    This early stage of the Gordon Riots is described in the newspaper article shown here. Matters got out of hand and the rioting lasted for a week. The mob raged against the Catholics, attacking chapels, houses, public buildings, and even Catholic people in the streets. 12,000 troops were deployed and 700 people were killed. The riots brought some sympathy for Catholics and the Catholic Relief Act was eventually passed in 1791. It legitimised Catholic worship, allowed Catholic schools and for Catholics to practise law.

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