PREPARATIONS are in full swing to commemorate a little-known countryside rebellion in Hampshire two centuries ago.

The Captain Swing riots swept across the south as rural labourers protested against the mechanisation of agriculture and worsening poverty.

Among the hotbeds for the riots, which were brutally suppressed, were Micheldever, Barton Stacey, Sutton Scotney and Upper Clatford.

Several men were executed, and dozens more were transported to Australia or jailed in this country.

Hampshire Chronicle: Cartoon from 1830s of 'Captain Swing'

A launch event was held in September, now organisers are preparing a series of events in the run-up to 2030.

There will be presentations at villages, history societies and performance groups to raise the profile of the commemoration and explore partnerships.

Winchester University is developing an annual lecture focussing on criminal justice between 1820-30. An annual Captain Swing historical lecture is also in the pipeline.

A show is being worked on based on the long poem Micheldever by J.R Ackerley in conjunction with Arthur Wood and Prof Christopher Mulvey initially in St. Mary’s, Micheldever but then to tour.

Also in development is a poetry and readings programme ‘Verse and Prose of the Captain Swing Era’ with Arthur Wood and Prof Mulvey.

A formal Supporters’ Group will be set up. Among the ideas is a reenactment in 2030 of the Grand Assize in 1830 that crushed the protests.

In April a website will be launched to tell the story.

There will be a launch of a series of standard lectures/panel sessions ‘What were the Captain Swing Riots and why do they matter?’ county-wide through local history/community organisations.