On March 1st 1830 the Reform bill was presented to the House of
Commons. However the bill was denied, and 4 MPs resigned. Finally
the great Reform Act of 1832 was passed and marked one of the most
important changes to the British Electoral System.
Lord Ashley was voted into power shortly after the Reform Bill was
put forward, and he refused to let it take place, the Riots were
also a result of this.
In Yeovil the Riots were one of the worst scenes of violence that
it had ever witnessed, and the Mudford and Martock troops were
called in, to attempt to put an end to the assault. An account from
the Western Gazette that was printed in 1831 says that:' they went
to the house of Mr White, one of lord Ashley's agents, and where
they also broke the windows.' This refers to the rioters' and the
'action' that they took against Lord Ashley. Total chaos was
apparent, and in the Western Gazette it shows this by saying that:
"Mr Charles Cattle unfortunately shot himself in the thigh and we
are informed that the ball is not yet extracted." Following the
riots where it took some time for the troops to restore order, the
Mudford were awarded, with earthenware jugs which had a silver lip,
with the inscription on each: 'Presented by the inhabitants of
Yeovil and it's vicinity in testimony of their approval of the
conduct of the Mudford troop Yeomanry Cavalry during the riots in
that town in 1831. Followed by name of person it was presented to.'
The Community Heritage Access Centre holds four 'Yeovil Riot
On the evening of Friday the 21st of October 1831, Yeovil was
subject to riots that were a result of the great Reform Act being
opposed. They occurred after the narrow defeat of the Blandford
Parliamentary candidate, who was promoting a reform.
In April 1831 the House of Commons put forward a request for a
Reform Act. On 22nd of September the House of Commons passed the
Reform bill. However the Conservatives who still dominated the
House of Lords launched a complaint and the bill was defeated. When
the ordinary people heard the news, the Reform Riots took place.
They took place in several British towns, including Yeovil and
Bristol in October 1831. In fact, the riots in Bristol were the
most serious in the country.