Murdered Vicars, Murdering Brothers and Twizles Bridge

Our chapel is situated in what was once a lawless area. In 1401, the vicar of Skipton was murdered between Sawley Abbey and Gisburn. In 1425, according to the Gisburn Village website, Thomas Banaster, then Rector of Gisburn, sent a communication to the Bishop to 'reconcile the churchyard after the shedding of blood’. In other words, someone had been murdered in the grounds of the church, and the bishop was asked to reconsecrate it.

30 years before in May 1397 (620 years ago), the ‘vicar of Gysseburn’s’ brother, William, ‘having feloniously killed John of the Ridehalgh at Chatteburn by Cliderhowe, was received at Chatteburn by Remington bryg, by Thomas brother of John, son of Robert of Gaukethorpe of Midhop’.

Why the vicar’s brother, a murderer, was being ‘received’ at the bridge is not clear; was he being arrested or protected?

Either way, I’m glad to be alive now rather than then. We evangelicals of a premillennial disposition are wont to only ever see the world spiralling downwards into a sea of sin. In fact God, in His grace, stays the power of sin for a season, and has done so throughout history.

The bridge itself, known locally as Twizles Bridge, was the old boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire, crossing Ings Beck.

Time Flies Swift Away, Ashton and Stott (Eds).