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Sea Green Singers - Ely & Littleport Riot Song - Commoners Choir - To see an enlarged image, suitable for printing on A4 paper click on the image



Ely & Littleport Riot Song - Commoners Choir

Bread or blood
Bread or blood

They worked all day just for half a shillings pay
Ely & Littleport Riot
Now the money’s all gone and the war’s not done
Ely & Littleport Riot
With the taxes so high and the wages so low
They were forced from the land where their daily bread grows
Those that gathered understood it was bread or it was blood
At the Ely & Littleport Riot

Oh all for the price of grain
We have nothing left to lose but our chains
Hear the voices coming down the lane
Can you hear?

Tradesmen, landlords, locking all their doors
Ely & Littleport Riot
While the stout and good plundered everything they could
Ely & Littleport Riot
Starved of a spoonful, hanged for a spoon
They danced for a day to the commoners tune
Now five men dead for the price of bread
From the Ely & Littleport Riot



So the sermon preached and the judgement reached
Ely & Littleport Riot
With clergy and crown there to send them all down
Ely & Littleport Riot
From parish and pulpit, power and pence
They charged every man with a capital offence
So lest we forget, let’s pay back the debt
To the Ely & Littleport Riot


From Wikipedia

The Ely and Littleport riots of 1816, also known as the Ely riots or Littleport riots, occurred between 22 and 24 May 1816 in Littleport, Cambridgeshire. The riots were caused by high unemployment and rising grain costs, much like the general unrest which spread throughout England following the Napoleonic Wars.

The Littleport riot broke out when a group of residents met at The Globe Inn. Fuelled by alcohol, they left the inn and began intimidating wealthier Littleport residents, demanding money and destroying property. The riot spread to Ely where magistrates attempted to calm the protests by ordering poor relief and fixing a minimum wage; see printed bill (reproduced at right). The following day, encouraged by Lord Liverpool's government, a militia of the citizens of Ely, led by Sir Henry Bate Dudley and backed by the 1st The Royal Dragoons, rounded up the rioters. In the ensuing altercation at The George and Dragon in Littleport, a trooper was injured, one rioter was killed, and at least one went on the run.