ELY’S old Magistrates’ Court proved to be a great location for King’s Ely Junior students to learn all about the Littleport Riots.
Year 8 pupils visited the former courthouse on March 12th to discover more about the background to the Riots and how the end of the Napoleonic Wars and harvest failures led to the economic hardship that triggered discontent.
Pupils were given roles to play in the trial of the Rioters. Their parts were based on the original transcripts of the trial and as the story of the trial unfolded, the pupils were able to judge for themselves the evidence against the Rioters and how justice was enforced in the early 19th century.
At the end of the trial, they learned about the fate of the accused. A number were imprisoned or transported to Australia, but five of the ringleaders were hanged in Ely. The students also visited Ely Museum, which was the Gaol at the time, where there was a recreation of one of the cells where the condemned would have spent their final night.
Head of Year 8 and Head of History at King’s Ely Junior, Edward Davis, said: “I hope that the morning gave the pupils an insight into an important event in our local history, as well as some appreciation of our legal system and its history.”