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The Gordon Riots
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Harsh laws against Catholics had followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688, but 90 years later Parliament was changing its mind. The American War of Independence was so unpopular that few Englishmen would join up to fight in it, but the men of Ireland would make ideal soldiers - providing the anti-Catholic laws were altered and relaxed. Furious at the favours granted by the new ‘Papists Act', Lord George Gordon assembled ‘The Protestant Association’. On 2nd June 1780 they marched a petition to Parliament. When this was defeated (by 102 votes to six), they rioted, attacking Catholics and Catholic property.


The Gordon Riots



The next day, June 3rd, rioters broke into The Clink, released all the prisoners and burned the building to the ground - suspects included one James Taylor and a Mr Smith. They then demanded ale from the nearby Anchor brewery, which Perkins, the sensible brewer, gladly gave them, thus occupying the mob until the army arrived. The happy postscript is that none of the prisoners seem to have been recaptured. The Gordon Riots continued for several days.

The old Bishop's Palace burned down in 1814. Eventually more warehouses were built on the site. Only when the one alongside Clink Street was pulled down in the 1980s was the stonework of the beautiful Rose Window revealed. Those two walls and that at the back of The Clink Prison Museum are all that is left of the palace today.

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