Copy of Thomas Hilliker's last letter

Contributed by Trowbridge Museum

A handwritten copy of the last letter of Thomas Hilliker - Copyright ?Trowbridge Museum

A figure who became a political martyr for opposition to developments in industrial technologyIn the early nineteenth century Trowbridge was the centre of wool production for the whole country. Trowbridge shearmen were a highly organized group who violently opposed the introduction of mechanization to the shearing process. On the July 22 1802 Littleton Mill near Semington was burned down as shearing frames had been installed.

A nineteen year old apprentice shearman called Thomas Hilliker was arrested and admitted to being a member of the Shearman's Club but not to arson. It was alleged that Hilliker's voice was recognized as one of those who had been involved in the crime. As a result Hilliker was imprisoned in Wilton jail throughout the winter of 1802-1803 until his trial in March.

Hilliker was hanged in front of Fisherton jail on March 22 1803. Trowbridge shearmen carried his body across Salisbury Plain to Trowbridge where he is buried in the churchyard of St James' Church.

Comments are closed for this object


  • 1. At 08:56 on 11 March 2010, Trowbridge Museum wrote:

    There is to be a wreath laying ceremony at Thomas Hilliker's tomb in St James' churchyard, Trowbridge on Monday 22nd March at 1.00 pm. He will have been executed 207 years ago to the day.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 12:42 on 30 March 2010, Susan Hilliker wrote:

    Thomas Hilliker was the brother of my 3G-Grandfather. I wish I could have been there

    Complain about this comment

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