450 years ago, in the autumn of 1569, Brancepeth was alive with the comings and goings of horsemen and foot soldiers. From all over the North of England they were gathering here. Lights burned late into the night in the castle.

The church bells rung backwards signalled the beginning of ‘The Rising of the North’ – the most significant domestic armed rebellion against Elizabeth I during her long reign. Led by the Earls of Westmorland and Northumberland, it was from Brancepeth that the rebels marched to hold mass in Durham Cathedral and on southwards to free Mary Queen of Scots, restore the ‘old’ faith and regain the Earls’ positions of authority in the north.

The rebellion ultimately ended in failure, hundreds were executed and the Crown confiscated land and property. Of the leaders, Northumberland was executed and Westmorland died in poverty after escaping abroad. It’s a story of men and women of strong beliefs, living at a time of great religious and social change, paying the price for their love of the ‘old traditions’.

An evening of Elizabethan music

Saturday 19 October, 7 for 7.30 pm

Tickets: £12.50 includes wine, canapes and exhibition (advance booking required)

Free parking

An evening of period music, song and poetry with Jeni Melia, the Lachrimae Consort and lutist, Wilfred Foxe and others.

For ticket and further information call the Secretary, Brancepeth Archives, on 0191 3780974.