A mythical figure said to have led a series of riots in England in the November of 1830. This was after a period of high unemployment, low wages and horrible working conditions among farm workers.

600 rioters were imprisoned, 500 sentenced to transportation and 19 executed.

The true leaders of the riots adopted the pseudonym "Captain Swing," or merely "Swing," to avoid detection. A number of threatening letters, signed "Swing," were sent to farmers and landowners.

It is assumed that the name was meant to invoke the image of men who had died on the gallows.

"The true leaders"?

"Captain Swing" was the name with which the threatening letters of the swing rioters were signed. The fact that this pseudonym was used repeatedly does not necessarily imply any kind of leadership - it doesn't even mean that the writers of the letters were always the same people.

The uprisings spread rapidly across the country - and were a response to widely felt anger among the rural poor at miniscule relief, high tithe payments, low wages and competition for jobs from threshing machines, in the context of an absence of common land due to the enclosures of the previous two centuries. It would not be far fetched to imagine that the widespread use of "swing letters" to make demands was the result of copycat actions rather than any kind of central organisation. Even if the riots were coordinated, there is no need to assume that they were coordinated by any one individual or group of individuals.

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