The Gallows Pole is a bleak, moorland tale based on real events in the eighteenth century, set in the Yorkshire Dales and West Yorkshire. This is the English countryside looked at with eyes of dissenting left politics and we start to see it as a fit place for violence.
The Gallows Pole is peopled by a large cast of characters; the Cragg Vale Coiners, ‘a ragged crew of desprit men‘, with names like William Hailey, Abraham Lumb and Nathan Horsfall, names with history in them. A rough gang of men who snip and melt coin and make money from the king; ‘the rain fell like the filings of a guinea onto a folded paper’. The loom industry is being taken over by the factory, men, women and children being turned into cogs in a wheel; mass production and organised labour, making money for the Company. The Coiners are a rebellion that comes straight from the land, led by David Hartley, their self styled king; ‘valley men fight and valley men sing and valley men bow to none but their king”.
Forensically assembled from historical accounts and legal documents, The Gallows Pole is a true story of resistance and combines poetry, landscape, crime and historical fiction whose themes continue to resonate. Here is a rarely told tale of the North.
You can real at the dizzying depths of history Myers finds in a scrap of land; the intoxicating, exhilarating mines of buried epics he discovers. This is where we come from. Niall Griffiths
Terrific, illuminating, gripping and deeply rooted in its setting. The description of a popular uprising against the rich establishment has many links with our current political climate that makes is thought provoking and vital. Amy Liptrot