Marking 220 years since town’s riot

Hundreds of people enjoyed a special open day at Castleford’s Queen’s Mill to mark 220 years since the town’s corn riot.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th August 2015, 5:06 pm

In 1795, a mob of people, desperate for food, hijacked a boat carrying corn as it made its way along the River Aire.

The group mounted the boat armed with pikes and scythes and began to unload the wheat and food.

The next morning a riot broke out between soldiers and civilians as they fought for the possession of the boat and the food.

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Castleford Heritage Trust, who own Queen’s Mill, held the open day on Sunday, August 16.

It included a performance from Commoners Choir who sailed on the river from Leeds before putting on a short concert outside the former Allinson’s Mill.

Alison Drake, trust chairwoman, said: “It was excellent. Everybody that came seemed to really enjoy it.

“We had the weather for it as well which really helped because we could hold a lot of the events outside.

“Everybody who came seemed really interested in the history of the riot and wanted to find out more.”

David Pickersgill, town historian, also gave a talk about the riot.

People were also able to sample bread baked using the mill’s flour and also donated food to the town’s Trinity Mission food bank.

Staff and volunteers from the trust also gave tours of the mill showing visitors the work being done to transform the site into an arts and culture museum.

For more information on the Castleford Corn Riot visit Mr Pickersgill’s website at

Or visit the trust’s wesbite at

In 1795, the threat of starvation drove people living in Castleford to seize a boat laden with wheat.

On August 7, 1795, a boat made its way along the River Aire with a cargo of wheat bound for the market in Wakefield but it had to moor up in the River Calder for the night as it would not have made it by darkness.

Men and women, armed with pikes and scythes, boarded the boat and began to unload it.

The next morning a riot broke out between soldiers and civilians as they fought for possession of the boat which contained wheat.