|The Historical Journal (2002), 45:2:281-303 Cambridge University Press|
Copyright © 2002 Cambridge University Press
THE FARNLEY WOOD PLOT AND THE MEMORY OF THE CIVIL WARS IN YORKSHIRE 1
The Northern Risings of 1663 are remarkably little-known episodes, scarcely a postscript to the triumph of the Restoration. As with most rebellions that dissolve before properly beginning, their historical significance is generally dismissed. Yet twenty-six rebels were condemned to death; sixteen of them were hanged, drawn, and quartered at York on one morning, providing a spectacle on a scale unseen in the city for nearly a century. Nearly all of those executed were West Riding men involved in the rebel muster at Farnley Wood; the government was conspicuously lenient towards the rebels of the North Riding, Durham, and Westmorland. This is an investigation into the background of the risings, in particular the West Riding episode. It tackles the wider question of the Restoration's impact on local communities that had been strongly parliamentarian, and in so doing, examines how the gentry's relationship with those of lower social status was transformed by the experience of civil war and interregnum.
1 I am grateful to Dr Andy Wood for discussion of an earlier draft of this article. I am also obliged for the useful feedback generated by the seventeenth-century British history seminar at the Institute of Historical Research on 18 October 2001, and the early modern British history seminar at the University of Cambridge on 7 November 2001.