Shoni Sguborfawr - The Rebecca Riots

The Rebecca Riots

In the 1843 Sguborfawr went before the Merthyr Magistrates for being drunk and disorderly and brawling in the streets. He escaped a prison sentence, but he was soon in front of the Swansea Magistrates on an identical charge. After these encounters with the magistrates Sguborfawr found work in the village of Pontyberem where he was then hired to take part in the Rebecca Riots. His main acts during the riots were the destruction of turnpike gates, and on 25 August he was involved in drunken brawling in Pontyberem. After the riots Sguborfawr began using extortion to gain money from several farmers, stating he would reveal them to be Rebecca Rioters. He was arrested in Tumble in September for shooting a man at the New Inn in Pontyberem, and in December was sentenced to be transported from Britain. Though after his sentence was read, he laughed and revealed the names of some of his criminal associates.

Sguborfawr was first placed in Carmarthan Gaol before being moved to Millbank Penitentiary in 1844. There he was housed with fellow convicted rioter David Davies (Dai'r Cantwr), but the men were separated when Sguborfawr was transported on the Blunell, reaching Norfolk Island on 6 July. He remained at the penitentiary station on the island until 8 April 1847 when he was transferred to Van Diemens Land, Tasmania. Although placed with several masters, much like his trouble making in Britain, Sguborfawr continued to be anti-social and aggressive; this time his acts included stealing along with being drunk and disorderly.

He was awarded a ticket of leave in 1856 and was conditionally pardoned in 1858. A contemporary described Sguborfawr as "a half-witted and inebriate ruffian".

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