Letter to Shrophire High Sheriff 2nd April 2021

Dear High Sheriff

I read with interest your reflections on your year as High Sheriff and the role that your office has played over many centuries in shaping the county of Shropshire.

You may, or may not, be aware that the end of your year in office coincides with the 200th anniversary of the “Cinderloo affair”: which took place on 1st February 1821 and concluded with the hanging of Thomas Palin at the Dana prison on 7th April 1821; charged with “felonious riot”.

I am the Chair of ‘Cinderloo 1821’ established in 2018 to research and campaign for the events of 200 years ago to be recognised, understood and interpreted – to help people, now living in Telford, to appreciate the industrial and historic place it is.

Looking at some of the names involved in the “Cinderloo affair” you may well be familiar with them and their ancestors such as:  Cludde, Eyton and Botfield, who held your position in the period preceding the events of 1821. It struck me that the end of your year of office, 8th April, is the day after the anniversary of Tom Palin’s hanging.

That being so, the purpose of this letter is to formally request that, as one of your final acts as High Sheriff, you support the commencement of a process by which Thomas Palin may be posthumously pardoned. I understand that such a pardon can be granted under the “Royal Prerogative of Mercy” after a request by the Justice Minister to the Queen. The support of your office, and facility to assist in this, will be greatly valued.

In my opinion it would be a fitting acknowledgement of the positive changes that have taken place in the county over the last 200 years. Perhaps, if you are willing to agree to this request, you would also ask your successor, Mr Tony Morris -Eyton, to agree to further assist in taking the process forward.

The Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Mrs Anna Turner, is also connected to the “Cinderloo affair” through her predecessors who, until 1871, were responsible for organising the County’s militia. The militia was responsible for the deaths of Thomas Gittens and William Bird, who both received fatal gunshot wounds on 1st February 1821. In due course I may contact her but felt it appropriate to contact you in the first instance.

I have attached an article that I have written as Chair of ‘Cinderloo 1821’ which will be published to mark the anniversary of Thomas’ hanging, which I hope you will find interesting.

I am delighted that your deputy has asked if volunteers from Cinderloo 1821 may be considered to be put forward for the Queen’s Voluntary Service Award; an indication of your support for the initiation of the process by which Thomas Palin may be pardoned would hugely encourage those volunteers.

I hope you receive this letter in the spirit that it is written; to recognise the changes that have taken place over the last 200 years and to highlight a piece of our history that recognises the conditions and struggles that men and women of the county endured to change the law for the better.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and am very happy to discuss this further.

Yours sincerely

Pete Jackson

Chair of ‘Cinderloo 1821’

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