Punishment of the ‘meaner sort’ of Rebels
Elizabeth was determined to ensure that the yeomen and artisans who had joined the rebellion paid a heavy price for their involvement. Sir George Bowes was ordered ‘to invade, resist, subdue, slay, kill and put to execution of death by all ways and means.’ Men seem to have been selected at random from each ward to be hanged. Of the 794 known rebels identified in Durham, 308 were selected to die.
It is also said that 200 (some sources say 300) men were hanged at Gallows Hill in Ripon during January 1570 as a warning against further rebellion.
The letter below gives the instructions from the Earl of Sussex to Sir George Bowes to hang 200 men.
Sir George Bowes, I have sett the numbers to be executed in every towne, under the name of every towne, as I did in your other book, which draweth nere to two hundred; wheryn you maye use your dyscretyion in taking more or lesse in every towne as you shall see juste cause for the offences and fitness for example, so as in the hole you passe not of all kind of such, the number of two hundred: amongst whom you maye not execute eny that hathe freeholds, or noted welthye; for so is the Quenes Majesties plesier, by her specyall comandment. 10th January, 1569 (1570 new calendar)
The following list gives the numbers of men in each village in the Darlington Ward that joined the rebellion and the number that were required to be executed by hanging.