The Rising of the North

On  Saturday 26th October 2019  an ecumenical study day entitled ‘ The Rising of the North ‘  was held at Markenfield Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire. This was arranged by the Ripon Support Group of the Anglican Centre Rome: promoting Christian unity in divided world. The day was led by   Dr Keith Jones, Guide and historian of Markenfield Hall, the Revd Dr Callan Slipper, National Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England and Dr Gregory Ryan,  Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University. The focus was on religious identity then and now and the Revd John Bennett TSSF was in the Chair. 

The history of Markenfield Hall is intertwined with the abortive Rising of the North in 1569, which ruined the fortunes of the de Markenfield family. The Rising attempted to roll back the tide of the Protestant religion, depose Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. Sir Thomas de Markenfield was one of the main instigators of the plot. On 20 November 1569, a large contingent of rebels met at Markenfield Hall. They heard Mass in the chapel before setting out on their ultimately fruitless attempt to overthrow the queen.  By January the rebellion had failed and great numbers had been hanged as traitors in Ripon Market Place where a plaque commemorates the events.

Why study the past ? – our traditions, it was suggested, help us to understand the past, so we spend less time on judgement;  more time on learning about and from the past,  and so that we do not make the same mistakes again and again. Dr. Ryan spoke on receptive ecumenism and  on ecclesial and confessional  identity, and Revd. Dr. Slipper on Christian identity and our continuous transformation,  while Dr. Keith Jones gave the historical background from relationships of divisive violence to contemporary dialogue.  One theme which emerged is that as we walk together the future of ecumenism needs to be more intentional. Yes, business as usual in our church councils, yet at the same time seek to explore the possibilities and challenges of our common witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.