chapter  7
9 Pages

Postscript: Rebecca and Her Sisters

WithMalcolm I. Thomis, Jennifer Grimmett

The interpretation is probably a mistaken one, for General Ludd was no more a single identity than Captain Swing or Rebecca, and there were few who believed in a single leader of a national movement. Transvestism is not a strong theme in Luddism, but it is present. The same can be said of its incidence in the Swing riots. As with Luddism, the general disguise for bands of agricultural machine breakers and arsonists was blackened faces, where disguise was thought necessary, and contemporary accounts reveal only one instance where Swing and his followers were disguised as women. The most complete identification of a British social protest movement with women, and the one containing most examples of transvestism, was that of the Rebecca riots, a series of attacks on toll-gates and other targets in west Wales during the years 1838-43.