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’.
The Reluctant Rebels
Saturday 5 October, 7 for 7.30 pm
Tickets: £6.00 includes a welcoming drink (advance booking required)
A talk by Dr Diana Newton of Teesside University will explore events leading up to and following the rebellion, and the part played by Brancepeth.
For ticket and further information call the Secretary, Brancepeth Archives, on 0191 3780974.