GENIRE-L ArchivesArchiver > GENIRE > 2002-04 > 1018143336
Subject: Re: Levellers, White Boys and horse chairs
Date: 6 Apr 2002 17:35:36 -0800
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>
(KLeary91) wrote in message news:<>...
> >Anyone know what Levellers or whiteBoys are? Also what is a horse chair?
> The levellers were a political movement in 17th century keen on emancipation
> for all i.e all men treated as equal as I believe. Oliver Cromwell had
> significant problems with them within his army wanting equal shares for all,an
> early form of socialism. He was,after all a landowner from Suffolk,despite his
> civil war with the King. I suspect the white boys may have been a form of Irish
> rebels against British rule while the Levellers may have moved into a similar
> role in ireland,resisting the rule of landlords and England.
> Dont know the meaning of the horse chair but it suggests some form of secure
> trussing up on a mounted horse prior to being hung?
> Kevin Leary
The White Boys were not really rebels. They had very little by way of
nationalist politics and were not in revolt against the king. They
were frequently at pains to stress that they were not in rebellion
against the monarch.
"The Whiteboys attempted to defend these customary rights by tearing
down or levelling' fences, hedges and walls, by fillings in
ditches and digging up pasture, and by maiming or houghing' cattle.
As the movement spread into most of the rest of Munster its programme
widened. The primary grievance was the payment of tithes to the
established church. The tithe was usually paid in kind corn or
potatoes and, after 1735, pasture was exempt. These exactions were
inflated, moreover, by the machinery of collection: a corps of
tithe-proctors and farmers which administered the system on behalf of
the clergy, at a price. Such middlemen' were a constant Whiteboy
target. The Whiteboys also tried to regulate conacre rents, by
unilaterally and publicly setting fair' rates, and by punishing those
tenants who dared pay more. Between 1761 and 1765 Whiteboys were
active in counties Waterford where five of them were hanged in 1762
Cork, Limerick and Kilkenny. The scale of the outbreak is indicated
by the introduction of the introduction of the Whiteboy act in 1765.
The key provision of the act made the administration of oaths by
threat of violence a capital offence. This went to the heart of the
problem. Oaths binding members to secrecy was the defining
characteristic of Whiteboyism."