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  • May 08, 2024 2 min read

     Rebecca Riots Remembered - 13th May

    The Rebecca Riots were a series of protests by farmers and agricultural workers in rural west Wales, mainly Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. The riots were primarily directed at the high tolls and taxation imposed on the rural population by the Turnpike Trusts. The riots were named after the name used by the protesters, "Rebecca", a matriarchal figure from the Old Testament.

    Merched Beca

    In Welsh, the protesters were referred to as "Merched Beca" or Rebecca's Daughters.


    Rebecca Riots - 1839 to 1843



    Rebecca Riots - First Protest in Efailwen, 13th May 1839

    The first protest took place in the summer of 1839 in the village of Efailwen, Carmarthenshire (between St Clears and Crymych) where a group of men disguised themselves as women and destroyed a toll gate. These gangs would demand that the toll be abolished, and if their demands were not met, they would use sledgehammers and other tools to destroy the gate and the toll house.

    These gangs became known as ‘Rebecca and her daughters’, "Merched Beca" in Welsh. It is believed that they took their name from a passage in the Bible, Genesis XXIV, verse 60 – ‘And they blessed Rebekah and said unto her, "Let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them". 


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    Last updated 8th May 2024

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