Although he is also known as Captain Ludd or even King Ludd, Ned Ludd was neither a military man nor a monarch. In 1779, the humble weaver from the village of Anstey near Leicester was said to have been whipped for idleness - they did things differently in those days.
In revenge or a fit of pique, he broke two stocking frames; a stocking frame was an early mechanical knitting machine. His name was subsequently purloined by the frame breakers known as the Luddites, who arose in 1811. The movement peaked the following year with the murder on April 27 of factory owner William Horsfall at Huddersfield.
As in the song, General Ludd was transformed into a mythical character living in Sherwood Forest like Robin Hood. Fortunately, the Luddite ideology didn't triumph, or all human progress would have ceased.
Chumbawamba did a modern update on this traditional song in 1998 for their collection of protest songs, English Rebel Songs 1381-1984.
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2