'The Battle of Heptonstall' by The Brutish Multitude
'for the multitude is so Brutish, that they are ever in the extreames of kindnesse or Cruelty, being void of Reason and hurried on with an unbridled violence in all their Actions, trampling down all respect of things Sacred and Civill...The People becomes a most pernicious Tyrant.' - Marchamont Nedham, pamphleteer for Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
The Brexit referendum is often quoted as having divided the UK in a way not seen since the English Civil War. The Battle of Heptonstall is a community play for the West Yorkshire village of Heptonstall and beyond that seeks to revisit that period in an attempt to see how accurate this claim is, how divisions within society are created and resolved and how sometimes people who want no part in a civil conflict are inextricably pulled into one...
A voluntary group, THE BRUTISH MULTITUDE – named after the quote in Cromwell’s pamphlet - was set up in the village to fund and produce the play. The research, development and rehearsal process was a six month long project marking the 375th anniversary of the Civil War battle of the same name. In October 1643 a Roundhead army marched from Rochdale to occupy Heptonstall, just over the Yorkshire border. In November 1643 a Royalist army gathered before dawn in Hebden Bridge beneath the hilltop village. As the Royalists began the 500 foot climb at dawn they were met with a cascade of falling rocks followed by a Roundhead and villager infantry assault. Local writer and director Michael Crowley told the story of the weeks leading to the battle and its aftermath through the lives of a family of cloth makers.
The play was performed by members of the local community in Heptonstall’s St Thomas the Apostle Church from 28th February - 2nd March 2019, and again at Halifax Minister on March 9th 2019.
John Cockcroft Steve McKay
Alice Cockcroft Ruth Marshall
Joseph Cockcroft Sam Bell
Hope Carolyne Warren
Martha Eleanor Worley
Rose Emily Pickup
Wool Master & William Saltmarsh Adrian Lord
Robert Gilbodie Clive Worley
Edmund Legate Andrew Wright
Squire Thornfield, Everyman Singer Anthony Costello
Sergeant Leach Gavin Roberts
Colonel Bradshaw Mary Ellen
Sir Francis Mackworth Jan Radovic
Ballad Singer Tristan Langlois
Musical Director Katie Chatburn
Sound Clive Worley
Lighting Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society
Stage Management Rachel Tighe
Production Assistant Mary Ellen
Writer and Director Michael Crowley
‘Click here to see a local filmmaker’s piece about The Battle of Heptonstall