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The Derwentdale Plot, 1663.1

Abstract

Derwentdale is the valley through which the Derwent runs on the north-west side of the county of Durham. In this valley one of the first Anabaptist churches was gathered in the time of the Protectorate, and here, in the early years after the Restoration, a dangerous plot was formed, which presently ramified through the length and breadth of England. The object of this design, in the words of the man who discovered it, was

‘to rise in rebellion against the government, and to destroy Parliament, and murder all Bishops, Deans, and Chapters, and all other ministers of the Church; to break all organs, and further to kill all the gentry that should either oppose them, or not join with them, and to destroy the Common Prayer Book, and to pull down all Churches.’

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page 125 note 2 Surtees, in his History of Durham, ii. 390, has given an account of the Derwentdale gathering, but he depreciates the character of the plot there formed, not perceiving its connexion with a wider design. The relation of the Derwentside Anabaptist community is described by D. Douglas in his Northern Baptist Churches (1846).

page 125 note 3 It must be remembered that this confession of Ellerington the informer (Add. MSS. 33770, f. 71 ), quoted by Surtees (Hist. Durh. ii. 89), was given by a man of no very high character, when under examination, and must not be pressed in detail. Still its general terms are supported by too many independent informations to be summarily rejected. The words probably represent the intentions of the north-country Anabaptists at the moment when the Muggleswick plotters were discovered.

page 126 note 1 As to the altered programme, which was framed and then revised later in 1663, see below, p. 132.

page 126 note 2 The information of Captain Robert Atkinson (leader of the Westmorland conspirators, and afterwards executed for his complicity in the plot) distinctly stated that ‘they intended to force the king to perform his promises made at Breda’ (S. P. Dom. Charles II, 84. 64).

page 126 note 3 The references are Clarendon , iv. 218, ed. 1759, Burnet , 198; or 342, ed. 1823; Rapin , 111, 88, ed. 1737; Kennett , 831, ed. 1728.

page 126 note 4 The Newcastle-upon-Tyne connexion is illustrated in the Diary of Ambrose Barnes, Surtees Soc., vol. 50, and for Yorkshire cf. York Depositions, Surtees Soc., vol, 40.)

page 126 note 5 Lords' Journals, vol. ii. 582.

page 127 note 1 S. P. Dom. Charles II, 84. 64.

page 127 note 2 Jan. 10, 1661. S. P. Dom., under date.

page 127 note 3 Ibid., April 13.

page 127 note 4 Ibid., January 21, 1662.

page 127 note 5 Ibid., January 22.

page 127 note 6 Ibid., January 27.

page 127 note 7 Ibid., January 29.

page 128 note 1 February 14. S. P. Dom., under date.

page 128 note 2 Ibid., April.

page 128 note 3 Ibid., May 18.

page 128 note 4 Ibid., July 7.

page 128 note 5 Ibid., July 12 and 16.

page 128 note 6 Ibid., July 12.

page 128 note 7 Ibid., October 20.

page 128 note 8 Ibid., October 24.

page 128 note 9 E.g. Plymouth , ib. 10 31; Berks , ib. 10 31; Somerset , ib. 11 1; Dorset , 11 2; Bristol , ib. 12 22.

page 128 note 10 Ibid., December 27.

page 128 note 11 S. P. Dom. 91. 81.

page 129 note 1 S. P. Dom. 57. 73.

page 129 note 2 Ibid., 63. 34, and 34 (1). Cf. Surtees Soc., 55, 99.

page 129 note 3 Cf. Brand 's History of Newcastle, sub anno.

page 129 note 4 For Hobson's share in planting Anabaptism in the North, cf. Douglas David, Early Northern Baptist Churches.

page 129 note 5 S. P. Dom. 63. 34.

page 129 note 6 P. C. Register, 56.

page 129 note 7 S. P. Dom. 103. 110 (1).

page 129 note 8 It is called in one of the confessions ‘the great meeting’ at Muggleswick (cf. S. P. Dom. 103. 110 (1)). What took place then is described by Ellerington in his examination of March 22, 1663, in S. P. Dom. 70. 13, and somewhat more fully in Add. MSS. 33770, near end, quoted in Surtees , Hist. Durh. 2. 389. Its connexion with wider schemes is described in S. P. Dom. 97. 63.

page 130 note 1 S. P. Dom. 81. 77, which is Sir Thomas Gower's useful diary of the northern part of the general plot.

page 130 note 2 This Lady Forster was widow of Sir Claudius Forster of Bamburgh and Blanchland. She resided sometimes at Blanchland and sometimes in the South Bailey, Durham. See A History of Northumberland, 1. 156, and references in that volume, p. 162, and vol. 6, under Blanchland.

page 130 note 3 See S. P. Dom. 70. 13 for Cosin's report, and Ibid. 98. 34, and 96. 33 and 33 I and II., also 96. 70, and 97. 33, for Ellerington's own confessions.

page 131 note 1 S. P. Dom. 98. 34.

page 131 note 2 Ibid. 98. 4 and 34.

page 131 note 3 Ibid. 70. 58. The Bishop was warmly thanked by the Council. P. C. Register, 56, p. 373.

page 131 note 4 See above, p. 129.

page 131 note 5 Cosin Corr., vol. 55, p. 104.

page 132 note 1 There were others whose names are given in various lists of prisoners and agitators, e.g., S. P. Dom. 96. 69 and 70; also 99. 110 (1). The latter list is particularly useful, for it gives not only the northern names but those conspirators who were connected with some twenty counties of England, besides those from the West of England and South Wales. The total number of agitators in England and Wales is 198, of whom 85 appear to be officers with the rank of Colonel downwards.

page 132 note 2 S. P. Dom. 97. 63.

page 132 note 3 Ibid. 97. 18.

page 132 note 4 Ibid. 115. 36 (1). This document is an information of the spy Leonard Williams, dated 18 March 1665, in which he directly attributes the formation of the central council to this obscure John Atkinson of Askrigg.

page 133 note 1 S. P. Dom. 97. 98.

page 133 note 2 See the express note on this point, Ibid. 115–36 (1).

page 133 note 3 A confederate called Crowder or Crowther (whose subsequent examination is given in Add. 33770, f. 10) was sent on April 16 to Liverpool ‘to meet some out of Ireland.’ Crispe, Jolly, and others from Lancashire and other counties met at Coaley and other places.’ In June there was a considerable ising in Dublin. See S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 133 note 4 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 133 note 5 Ibid.

page 133 note 6 This important northern agitator had been appointed by the Long Parliament preacher if not Dean of Ripon Minster. He was extruded at the Restoration, practised as a physician at Harrogate, and took a great part in the proposed rising of 1663. When it was discovered he managed to flee into Holland where apparently he died some years later. In Holland he compiled a book called Anglo-BelgicaThe English and Netherdutch Academy in Three Parts: Amsterdam 1677. The book was designed to promote intercourse between English and Dutch, and is practically a conversation manual. See Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, under Ripon, also S. P. Dom. 98. 1, 115. 38; also Add. MSS. 33770, ff. 34, 42, &c.

page 134 note 1 See S. P. Dom. 81. 77, 97. 98, and Add. MSS. 33770, ff. 25. 38.

page 134 note 2 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 134 note 3 Ibid., and 98. 1.

page 134 note 4 He had been governor of Appleby Castle, and represents himself as cajoled into taking part in the conspiracy. He was ultimately executed, after escaping and further plotting, September 8, 1664. His own full confession is given in S. P. Dom. 84. 64.

page 134 note 5 S. P. Dom. 98. 1.

page 134 note 6 Ibid. 81. 77, 82. 107 and 108.

page 135 note 1 S. P. Dom. 83. 42.

page 135 note 2 Ibid. 81. 77.

page 135 note 3 Ibid. 87. 31.

page 135 note 4 Ibid. 87. 50.

page 135 note 5 Ibid. 109. 125.

page 135 note 6 Ibid. 78. 16.

page 135 note 7 S. P. Dom. 97. 63, in the original document.

page 136 note 1 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 136 note 2 S. P. Dom. 79163.

page 136 note 3 Ibid. 97. 63.

page 136 note 4 Ibid. 81. 77.

page 136 note 5 Add. MSS. 33770, f. 11b.

page 136 note 6 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 137 note 1 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 137 note 2 Ibid. 115. 36, cf. 38.

page 137 note 3 Add MSS. 33770. f. 33b. Evidence of Walters.

page 137 note 4 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 137 note 5 Ibid. 80. 115, 122

page 137 note 6 Ibid.

page 138 note 1 S. P. Dom. 80. 115.

page 138 note 2 Ibid. 80. 139.

page 138 note 3 Cf. Add. MSS., 33770 f. 22.

page 138 note 4 S. P. Dom. 81. 77.

page 138 note 5 Add. MS., f. 11.

page 138 note 6 Ibid. 81. 77. Cf. 81. 53.

page 138 note 7 Ibid.

page 139 note 1 S. P. Dom. 81. 63, and 82. 81.

page 139 note 2 Ibid. 82. 44.

page 139 note 3 Ibid. 81. 81.

page 139 note 4 Ibid. 81. 96, and 92. 77.

page 139 note 5 Ibid. 81. 98.

page 139 note 6 Ibid. 92. 58.

page 139 note 7 Ibid. 82. 87.

page 139 note 8 Ibid. 81. 91.

page 139 note 9 Ibid. 82. 26.

page 139 note 10 Ibid. 82. 37.

page 139 note 11 Mick. MSS. 31, f. 68.

page 139 note 12 Add. MSS. 33770.

page 139 note 13 See for Westmorland, S. P. Dom. 82. 52, and for Wilts, 82. 102.

page 140 note 1 S. P. Dom. 83. 42.

page 140 note 2 Cf. Ibid. 82. 47.

page 140 note 3 Ibid. 97. 67.

page 140 note 4 Ibid. 98. 103.

page 140 note 5 Ibid. 81. 49.

page 140 note 6 Ibid. 101. 63.

page 140 note 7 Ibid. 90. 95.

page 140 note 8 Ibid. 91. 4.

page 140 note 9 Ibid. 96. 70, and 96. 42.

page 140 note 10 Ibid. 95. 104–110.

page 141 note 1 Mickleton MSS. 31, f. 77.

page 141 note 2 Ibid.

page 141 note 3 E.g. Ibid. 82. 52.

page 141 note 4 Ibid. 94. 9.

page 142 note 1 16 Charles II., cap. 4.

page 142 note 2 S. P. Dom. 115. 3536.

page 142 note 3 [Special acknowledgment must be made of the kind help given by Mr. Hubert Hall to the writer of this paper. Mr. Hall undertook a good deal of research at the Public Records Office, investigating the gaol-books and other documents, and drawing attention to various returns which were unknown to me.—H. G.]

1 The main original authority for the statements in this paper is the State Papers Domestic of Charles II, and chiefly those dealing with the years 1663 and 1664. The original depositions of many of those examined at York in reference to the plot in 1663 and 1664 survive, and have been preserved in a handsome volume collected by Thomas Thompson of York and given by him to Mr. Ralph Thoresby of Leeds. It is number 33770 in the Additional MSS. Add. 25463, f. 167, contains a list of persons engaged in the plot at Famley ‘to raise war against his Majesty and to subvert his happy government.’ These various documents have been supplemented with the Privy Council Register and the Assize and Gaol Books. A little farther information is contained in some of the Mickleton MSS. in the custody of Durham University, and also in the Hunter MSS. in the Durham Cathedral Library. References to these and to some other sources are given in the notes.

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