Race against time to save dad from noose

Adam Fletcher and Felicity Peason reanact the mail coach hold-up.
Adam Fletcher and Felicity Peason reanact the mail coach hold-up.

Colourful characters from the past are being brought back to life in Belford.

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.

The specially-commissioned piece, at Erskine United Reformed Church, highlights a time when choosing alternative ways to worship led to persecution, imprisonment and even death.

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

Set in 1685, the play tells the tale of Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree, who believed that 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 or the rituals of the Church. His challenge to the establishment led to his arrest and being condemned to death.

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 death warrant as it stops overnight in Belford.

Audrey Thomson, URC secretary and one of the team working on the Dissenting History Project, 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 Tale of Grizzell Cochrane will be performed by The Belford Players on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, at 6.30pm in Erskine URC and includes supper. Entry is free but donations to Christian Aid would be welcome.

To reserve a place, contact Audrey Thomson on 01668 213520 or email audrey.thomson3@btinternet.com