Tale of Grizzell Cochrane set to entertain villagers

Adam Fletcher and Felicity Peason re-enact the mail coach hold up

Adam Fletcher and Felicity Peason re-enact the mail coach hold up

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One of north Northumberland’s most successful working partnerships is back to remind residents of one of its most exciting past escapades.

The Belford Players will perform The Tale of Grizzell Cochrane, the story of one brave young girl’s fight to save her father from the gallows by ambushing the post coach carrying his death warrant.

Performed on May 3-4 at Erskine United Reformed Church, it highlights a time in our history when choosing alternative ways to worship lead to persecution, imprisonment and even death.

The play is part of a larger URC project to highlight the brave characters who lead this Dissenting History – funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, it includes the performances, exhibits and a book.

The Protestant Dissenters movement came from the Reformation which swept 16th century Europe. Set in 1685, the play tells the tale of Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree, who believed people should have the right to a direct relationship with God and a return to the basic gospel teachings without the intercession of the King. His challenge to the establishment led to his arrest and being condemned to death.

The family’s only hope is to use its wealth to buy a Royal Pardon but first they need to buy some time and delay the serving of the death warrant. Desperate to save her father, 18-year-old Grizzell Cochrane, disguises herself as a man and in a race against time rides across the border to ambush the post coach and steal the warrant as it stops overnight in Belford.

Audrey Thomson, URC secretary, said: “It may seem amazing now to think that people could not worship as they wished but Protestants in 17th century Belford were forced to hold services in fields and barns around Mousen and Hazlerigg. Even then Colonel Struthers of Fowberry would round up the leaders and throw them in Wooler jail!

“The Belford Players have done an excellent job of bringing those events to life. We hope people will come to find out exactly what happened and whether Grizzell was successful in her attempt to stop the coach and save her father.”

It starts at 6.30pm. To book contact Audrey Thomson on 01668 213520 or email audrey.thomson3@btinternet.com

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