The Rebecca Riots had begun in 1839 but returned to West Wales in 1845 with renewed violence. The Riots were an expression of the intense discontent and hatred felt amongst the rural population of West Wales for the social changes they were experiencing. They perceived a breakdown in the traditional social structure and way of life with extra pressures on land and economy, enclosures, high rents and tollgates adding to the cost of making a living. A series of bad harvests followed by an industrial depression ensured that, by 1842, many people in West Wales were enduring great poverty with the place of last resort being the workhouse. 'Rebecca’, the peoples’ champion, sprang into action and violent attacks on symbols of this new society such as the tollgates, gatekeepers, unpopular magistrates and workhouses occurred. The attackers were dressed as women and called themselves 'Rebecca and her daughters’.