Thrybergh Ravenfield Dalton

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            Pronounced locally Thrybur  Old English Triberg

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Sir John Reresby Pg 4


From Glory to Solitude


1686/7. There was a letter  from Sir John Reresby to the authorities in London, acknowledging receipt of instructions from the King relating to musters. Sir John  also  reported on troop movements and courts martial in  Yorkshire in the letter. Sir John at this time was still acting in his capacity as Governor of York. It is noted that events in Yorkshire at this time were the build up to the events that followed in 1688, so I perceive that Sir Johns reports were of great importance to the King.

1688 Sir John Reresby was indignant at the quality of some newly appointed county justices, amongst others John Eyre, of Sheffield Park, and a Mr. Ratcliffe, John stated "The first can neither write nor read, the second is a bailiff to the Duchess Dowager of Norfolk's rents, and neither of them have one foot of freehold land in England."

1688, Was to be the year in which Sir John Reresby met his political Waterloo, this happened  when he became involved in a rebellion at York headed by the Earl of Danbury who had been a patron of Sir John. This revolution designed to remove James 11 from the throne and replace him with William 111 son of William Prince of Orange and Mary Daughter of Charles 1 with Mary 11 sharing the rule.

Sir John had many powerful acquaintances at the time including Lord Danbury, Sir Henry Goodricke, and Lord Devonshire, all who had a great respect for each other. However Sir John did not share their views but if he had suspicions about these men he was convinced that they would not take any action against the King. He was to write

"Not once suspecting that men of their high quality and great estate could intend anything prejudicial to the government or dangerous to themselves." 


 Despite advice from the Marquis of Halifax  warning John that his position in Court during the current crisis was one of grave danger, John retorted . I have great obligations to the king and would serve him as well as I could, whilst he allowed it without prejudicing my religion'. I think we can safely hazard a guess here that the Marquis of Halifax was more than aware of what was to follow and that he was trying to save Sir John being destroyed by  the action of his peers.


In October 1688  Lord Thomas Fairfax was in York and during a conversation with John Reresby remarked upon the frequent meetings of  Lord Danbury, Sir Henry Goodricke, and Lord Devonshire at the home of Goodricke. Lord Fairfax was of the opinion that something was afoot.

By November William of Orange had arrived at Torbay, Sir John was informed as soon as possible, he then reported the landing of William to the Duke of Newcastle who saw no need for panic, and would respond at a later date. York was now the scene of great secrecy, all who were to play their part in the overthrow of York and James had gathered.

Sir Henry Goodricke under the pretence of producing a  petition to send to the King, signed by  gentry and freeholders  called for a meeting in the Guildhall of York. Sir John Reresby seconded the motion and the meeting was arranged.

The Duke of Newcastle was invited and upon his arrival at York spent an evening with Sir John to discuss their views upon this proposal. This was on the 19th of November, the result of this discussion was that Sir John and the Duke decided they would not sign any proposal that ranked of disloyalty to the Crown.
When the Duke put the question to Sir Henry Goodricke the following day and was informed by Sir Henry that the petition would ask for a free parliament, he refused to have anything further to do with such a proposal and returned home. This of course left Sir John Reresby in a very vulnerable position. but the Dukes departure  suited the conspirators.

The meeting in the Guildhall took place on the 22nd November 1688, a meeting Sir John did not attend and he gave the excuse of 'being ill bruised by my horse falling upon me as I came from home'.   Sir John recorded it thus "At a given sign, a man ran 'into the hall and cries that the papists were risen and had fired at the militia troops. At this all the gentlemen run out, and thos that were privy to the design get their horses, which were laid ready for them'. Danby 'was ready in his lodging expecting this feigned alarm'. He and his retinue made about 100 horse 'and rode up to the four militia troops drawn out for another purpose and cried for a free parliament and the protestant religion and no popery'.


When he heard what had happened and that the militia had joined Danbury's men  Sir John tried to regain control  but his orders went unheeded. He then tried to reach  the regular soldiers, Reresby found himself surrounded by Danby and his men. Danby warned Sir John with the words  'that to resist was to no purpose' . Retaining what dignity he could Sir John allowed himself to be placed under House arrest. By the following day all the troops had joined Lord Danbury and Reresby was considered to have joined the new regime.

 Sir Henry Goodricke perhaps with a feeling of guilt visited Sir John and tried to persuade John to join the conspirators however John declined and at least maintained his honour in doing so. There is little doubt in my mind that no man in Sir Johns position would want to join forces with the very men who had not only in Sir Johns mind disgraced their position, but had also deceived him. Lord Danbury sent for John and discussed Johns future, a future that would be a private hell for the likes of John Reresby. John in this meeting over dinner with Lord Danbury had little alternative other than to agree to retire to his home at Thrybergh. Reading the comments of Sir John in his diary we can assume that he would have been devastated by the actions of  Lord Danbury, Sir Henry Goodricke, and Lord Devonshire.

 We can only imagine the torment that Sir John endured following this withdrawal from a life of travel, audiences with Kings , Queens and nobility, a life in which he had thrived as a man of note and power. He was now in the shadows, betrayed, sad, and disillusioned. Sir John did meet William 111 the following year. 


Sir John Reresby one of the most remarkable figures of his time died shortly after that meeting at the age of 55 on the 12th of May in 1689. So ended the life of a man who was a royalist, although a protestant he was quite prepared to serve a Catholic monarch as long as his religious beliefs were not interfered with. Although James was a much criticized Ruler, Sir John served him faithfully. Perhaps he was misguided, perhaps he was foolhardy to ignore the warnings, but he was a man of honour who stood by his beliefs.

In 1689 William 111 was placed on the throne of England with his wife Mary. He ruled until 1702. Ironically the next Ruler was Anne second daughter of James 11 With the union of England Scotland and Wales in 1707 she was Queen of Great Britain. I think Sir John would have approved.

As we reflect upon the despair of Sir John before he died, we can only imagine the despair he would have endured to witness the horror his son William was to inflict upon the proud name of Reresby after Johns death.

       FILE - Appointment of four new trustees by way of lease and release - ref.  CWM/199, 200  - date: 13 and 14 Apr 1694
         [from Scope and Content] The rectory of Arksey to the use of Sir George Cooke, of Wheatley, bart., Henry Cooke, of the same, esq., nephew of Brian Cooke, decd., Thomas Vincent, of Barnbrough Grange, esq., John Copley, of Doncaster, esq., [as new trustees], Sir Godfrey Copley and Thomas Yarburgh [as surviving trustees] for the trusts created by the will of Brian Cooke, late of Whealey, decd., of 3 Jan. 1660/1 [recited], and on the death of Sir Thomas Wharton, Sir John Reresby, Sir Godfrey Copley, and Henry Cooke, late trustees.



The Loss of Thrybergh

Reresby Final Years


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