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Gordon riots

The Gordon riots were a Protestant religious uprising against the Roman Catholic Relief Act, 1778, which was intended to emancipate the many Roman Catholics in England at the time. Led by Lord George Gordon, a crowd of c. 50,000 marched on the Houses of Parliament demanding the repeal of the legislation on July 2 1780. The demonstration quickly deteriorated into a riot, and severe destruction was inflicted on Catholic buildings as well as the Bank of England, Newgate Prison and Fleet Prison.

The army was called out on July 7 and 285 rioters were killed. Gordon was arrested and charged with high treason but was found not guilty.

The riots are described graphically at second-hand by Charles Dickens in his novel Barnaby Rudge.