Brandreth, Jeremiah (DNB00)


BRANDRETH, JEREMIAH, otherwise styled Jeremiah Coker (d. 1817), leader of an attempted rising against the government in the midland counties, was, according to three several accounts, a native of Ireland, of Exeter, and the most probable of Wilford, Nottingham, but nothing is known regarding his parentage and very little regarding his early life. For some time he was in the army, but shortly before the attempted rising he lived with his wife and three children at Sutton-in-Ashfield, where he was occupied as a framework knitter. His striking personal appearance and his daring and reckless energy seem to have exercised an extraordinary influence over his associates, by whom he was known merely as the 'Nottingham Captain.' In reality he was the tool and dupe of a person of the name of Oliver, who encouraged him to undertake his quixotic enterprise, by asserting that he was acting in concert with others, who were fomenting a general insurrection thoughout England. Acting on the instructions and assurances of Oliver, Brandreth, on 9 June 1817, assembled about fifty associates, collected from adjoining districts, in Wingfield Park. Having made a number of calls at farmhouses for guns, in the course of which they shot a farm-servant dead, the insurgents were proceeding on their march towards Nottingham, which they supposed was already in the hands of their friends, when they were suddenly confronted by a company of hussars. Brandreth attempted to rally his straggling followers to meet the threatened attack of the cavalry, but they at once threw down their arms and fled in all directions. Brandreth remained in concealment till 50l. was offered for his capture, upon which a friend betrayed him to the government. He was tried by a special commission at Derby in October following, and along with two of his associates was executed at Nuns Green, Derby, 7 Nov. He is said to have been about twenty-five years of age. He refused to make any confession or to give any particulars regarding his past life.

[Sutton's Nottingham Date Book, pp. 335-42 Bailey's Annals of Nottingham, iii. 292-9; Howell's State Trials (1817), xxxii. 755-955; Trial of Jeremiah Brandreth for High Treason, 1817; Hunt's Green Bag Plot, 1819; Gent. Mag. lxxxvii. pt. ii. 358-60, 459-62.]

T. F. H.