Among the factors that precipitated the rising were the House of Commons' rejection of the first Chartist petition on 12 July 1839 and the conviction of the Chartist Henry Vincent for illegal assembly and conspiracy on 2 August.
Some kind of rising had been in preparation for a few months and the march had been gathering momentum over the course of the whole weekend, as Frost and his associates led the protesters down from the industrialised valley towns above Newport. Some of the miners who joined the march had armed themselves with home-made pikes, bludgeons and firearms.
The march was headed by John Frost leading a column into Newport from the west, Zephaniah Williams leading a column from Blackwood to the north-west and William Jones leading a column from Pontypool to the north.
The exact rationale for the confrontation remains opaque, although it may have its origins in Frost's ambivalence towards the more violent attitudes of some of the Chartists, and the personal animus he bore towards some of the Newport establishment. The Chartist movement in south east Wales was chaotic in this period and the feelings of the workers were running extremely high.
Read more about this topic: Newport Rising
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