Address to Rev Robert Ellis Aitkens from the congregation of St John’s Chapel, Hanley, following the attack by the Chartist rioters on his house, August 1842.
©Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service
The riots in the Potteries broke out on 16 August 1842 and lasted for two days. The rioting was particularly destructive. Public buildings were attacked as well as the properties of public officials and well-known people in the towns. These included some clergymen as in this example. The parish registers of St John’s Church in Hanley were also destroyed in the rioting.
Address of the Congregation of St John’s Chapel, Hanley, to the Rev RE Aitkens
Dear Reverend and Respected Sir,
We the Congregation of St John’s Chapel, Hanley, with feelings of poignant sorrow, beg to express our horror at the wanton, cruel and unprovoked outrage committed by a lawless mob on your happy and peaceful home.
After a period of forty years that many of us have enjoyed the benefits of your ministry, through which lapse of time you may have secured the affection of all that have sat under you, and by your kindness and demeanour, have gained the respect and esteem of all your neighbours, we deeply deplore that Englishmen could be found who could attack the property and endanger the life of so esteemed a man as yourself.
Whilst we cannot but regret what has occurred, there is yet one consolation, that your valuable life has been spared: and most sincerely do we join in thankful praise to Almighty God for His Providence in protecting yourself and family from personal injury; the same Divine Providence protect you and them to the latest moment of your existence.