‘Money at the root of evil for Yorkshire’s very own Robin Hood’
Everyone knows Dick Turpin and more films have been made and books written about Robin Hood than most historical figures, but the name of David Hartley is little known outside of a few historians and a small corner of West Yorkshire.
The lack of recognition is surprising given that back in the 18th century Hartley, or David ‘King’ Hartley as he was known, masterminded the most audacious act of fraud the country had ever seen and was a hair’s breadth away from taking British currency to bankruptcy.
Benjamin Myers’ new novel is inspired by the Cragg Vale Coiners who in the 18th century were behind the biggest countefeiting scam the country had ever seen. It was a crime inspired, initially at least, by poverty as a group of weavers conspired to boost their income with a little light forgery, but the Cragg Vale Coiners became caught up in greed, double-crossing and murder. Little wonder then that Myers has used it as the basis of his new book The Gallows Pole.
“I first became aware of the Cragg Vale Coiners when I first moved to Yorkshire back in 2009,” says the Durham-born author who now lives in Mytholmroyd. “It’s obviously a great tale, but for a while I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. It came back to me a couple of years ago when my wife was staying at a country house and came across a dusty old book about the case. We started talking about what a brilliant film it would make and then it struck. I didn’t have the money or the contacts to make a film, but I could turn it into a novel…”
Read on here.