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I have been working with Jack Drum Arts of County Durham on a Community Play based on the subject of the 1818 ³Battle of Stanhope². The play will run for 3 days in March 2012 in a barn in Stanhope.

Basically the story goes like this: the Napoleonic wars had ended and there was a lesser need for lead (bullets). Starving lead miners in Weardale turned to poaching to supplement their income. The Prince Bishop sent Gamekeepers on a mission and captured the Siddle brothers. Their friends and family took pursuit and caught up with the Prince Bishops menin Stanhope and an almighty battle took place at the Black Bull.

This all took place 193 years ago but it is still remembered in songs,stories and of course the play ³The Bonnie Moorhen². This coming Weds 7th December is the anniversary of the ³Battle of Stanhope² and we plan to re-enact it in the very pub where it happened. We¹re planning to stream this and it can be seen here from 3pm GMT on December 7th ­ just click on ³watch² in the top menu.

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Comment by Franz Nahrada on December 4, 2011 at 10:16am

Steve, your creative passion is always full of surprises....although the story sounds familiar to me. We had a similar case as, for the revitalisation of our village spirit, we re-enacted the "Battle of Schwarzlackenau", the first battle (or rather skirmish) where Napoleons troups were defeated here in Jedlesee 1809 . We made the story more realistic to show how "little people" were crashed in the feudz of the mighty, sought their own way of escaping and paid a high price.

Comment by Steve Thompson on December 4, 2011 at 10:28am

How interesting Franz. The scene we were re-enacting on Friday featured 10 year olds doing what 10 year olds did in the 1800's which was to mine lead in order to make bullets for the Napoleonic wars. I visited a mine on Friday also (see below). 10 year olds would wash and crush lead ore in that area on the "washing floor". The conditions there would be bitter and that upright board you see was their only shelter from the wind. How odd to think that lead mined in one of my communities may have made bullets fired in one of yours.

Comment by Franz Nahrada on December 4, 2011 at 10:32am

It takes the electronic media to discover this. A warm thought to Marshall McLuhan up in the Skies, especially for the amazing things he wrote about the extension of our nervous system  in "war and peace in the global village".


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