The road to Monmouth
Following his interrogation at the Westgate, and fearing attempts might be made to rescue him, Frost was taken at daybreak on Wednesday 6th November to Monmouth. As the Beacon reported:
‘Shortly after ten o’clock, Frost and Waters, in two separate carriages, attended by constables in each, and surrounded by a body of the 12th Lancers, came up Monnow-street, and preceeded to the jail. They were fully committed on a charge of High Treason. .........Frost appeared pale and haggard. He had with him a carpet bag, which was searched by the direction of Major Marriott, one of the visiting magistrates. He asked for a copy of Burn’s Justice and also for pen, ink and paper, and was told that the request would be taken into consideration by the magistrates.’
Within days the government agreed to a treason trial and set up a Special Commission, but concerned about the zealous charging of prisoners by Newport’s magistrates, the Home Secretary intervened. In all twenty-nine prisoners were sent to prison in Monmouth, of whom twenty-one were charged with high treason. The Gaol was full to capacity and the Chartists had to share, three men to a cell. The authorities did everything possible to keep them separate from Henry Vincent who was already imprisoned there. Frost, Jones and Williams were placed in the gatehouse and only brought to the Shire Hall on the day of their trials, where there were holding cells beneath the courtroom.
Text and artwork from Voices for the Vote: Shire Hall and the story of Chartism in south Wales. Reproduced by kind permission of Monmouthshire County Council/Shire Hall, Monmouth. The book costs £4.99 and can be obtained from Shire Hall Monmouth, Newport Museum or Gwent Archives