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The Gallows Pole

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,039 ratings  ·  161 reviews
“I saw them. Stag-headed men dancing at on the moor at midnight, nostrils flared and steam rising...”

An England divided. From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.

They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their busine
Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 17th 2017 by Bluemoose Books
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4.23  · 
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 ·  1,039 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2017
An impressive recreation of West Yorkshire in the late eighteenth century, this historical novel tells the tale of the rise and fall of the Cragg Vale Coiners and their leader "King David" Hartley. The coiners profited by clipping coins and forging fake money, operating from well defended bases on the moors above the Calder Valley. Myers knows his area inside out, and the book is full of atmospheric descriptions and brilliant writing.

The gang's success was largely due to their local popularity
Gumble's Yard
Now winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction - a book I read twice in 2017 due to its longlisting for the Republic of Consciousness Prize.

This is why I rite these werds down for you new becors historee is only ever remembured by the powerfull and the welthy the book lerners in the big howses with thur fancy kwills … to these .. I say this is my story not my confeshun My story as I sor it These are not the werds of a man turned sower with regret and if I had another chance Id do i
Peter Boyle
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a fascinating and grisly tale this is. Based on true events, The Gallows Pole tells the story of the Cragg Vale Coiners, a gang of forgers that operated in rural Yorkshire of the 18th century. Led by the formidable "King" David Hartley, this motley band of weavers and labourers soon found themselves the bearers of unimaginable wealth, while committing the biggest fraud in British history.

Mingled with the account of the Coiners' activities are excerpts of Hartley's memoir, composed from a ja
Paul Fulcher
Now on the outstanding longlist for the 2017 Republic of Consciousness Prize for 'gorgeous prose and hardcore literary fiction' from small, independent presses.
So name your Gods lads. Honour them. Live amongst them. And always remember your place. Because England is changing. The wheels of industry turn ever onwards and the trees are falling still. Last week I did chance to meet a man down there in Cragg Vale who told me that soon this valley is to be invaded. He spoke of chimneys and waterways
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I hesitate to write a review for this book because I cannot do it justice. I want to say The Gallows Pole is lyrical, evocative, moving, haunting and memorable, but I have used these adjectives so many times to describe lesser books.
While reading this true story of the David Hartley and the Clagg Vale Coiners I could see the moors, hear the wind, feel the deep bone aching weariness of the hardworking men and women of 18th century Yorkshire. Benjamin Myers' prose took me out of my own environment
The Gallows Pole is one of the books long-listed for The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018.

The book recounts events that took place in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, over a few years in the 1760s: the exploits of a gang known as the ‘Cragg Vale Coiners’. ‘Coining’ was the illegal practice of removing shavings of gold from the edges of genuine coins, milling the edges of those coins smooth again and then using the shavings to produce counterfeit coins.

The narrative is interspersed with
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a land where those in charge have no interest in you until you threaten their income and power, David Hartley is drawing together the local people to assist him in his master plan, coin clipping. He looks after those in need and is not afraid to crush opponents and as his power grows, he declares himself King. This fraud on an epic scale has been noted in London and excise men under the command of William Deighton are dispatched to ensure that justice is served and equilibrium is restored. ...more
Viv JM
3.5 stars

The Gallows Pole is a fictionalised account of the rise and fall of the Cragg Valley Coiners in 18th century Yorkshire. The sense of time and place conveyed by the author is absolutely superb - this is a very immersive book, and I enjoyed that about it. However, I think it was just a bit too...well...blokey for my tastes - kind of like historical fiction for bearded real ale drinkers. Women in this world existed only as receptacles for a man's seed, apparently. Oh, and to serve their al
Paul "Axl" Hurman
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book reads like you are being told an ancient folk tale, evoking every visceral aspect of the people it portrays and the grit and dirt of the countryside of the times. It is utterly compelling and compulsive. Superb. I highly recommend this book.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, 2018-rofc

The Gallows Pole is published by Bluemoose Books, one of the UK's small, independent publishers. On its website, Bluemoose Books says it " an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Kevin and Hetha Duffy started Bluemoose in 2006 and as a ‘family’ of readers and writers we’re passionate about the written word and stories."

If you are of a certain age, like me, The Gallows Pole is a song by L
Jonathan Pool
An excellent story, with prose that flows easily and convincingly.
A very impressive book that will hopefully get a wide reading audience.

Benjamin Myers won the Roger Deakin Award for The Gallows Pole. This is a literary prize that rewards writing about nature.
How strange it is that The Gallows Pole is also a story of human's (men) violence and barbarity. It's also a book that takes well known Yorkshire history from 1769/70 and blends in a fictionalised first hand account of those events.

The main
Andy Weston
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gallows Pole - Benjamin Myers

I have been reading plenty of books from outside these shores recently so it was a real pleasure to enjoy something so much that is practically from our backyard; West Yorkshire and Cumbria. Certainly Benjamin Myers is one of our upcoming young authors. Amongst his novels so far, Beastings (a young woman with an infant on the being chased across the wilds of Cumbria), and a dark series of two detective novels set in the same valley as this book and also in the
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
I thought this was extraordinary and perfectly pitched. I’m biased because this is set on my home turf and speaks straight to my sense of belonging, but it stands as amongst the most visceral and intense books of my year.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A friend surprised me with a copy of this in the mail. I've been waiting a good year in anticipation of reading it and my expectations were relatively high (which is usually a recipe for disaster/disappointment). But I would read this again solely for Myers's prose--his sense of rhythm, command of dialect, and ability to immerse the reader in such a visceral time and place were delightful.

The specter of an industrialized future hangs over the moors as Myers turns the Cragg Vale Coiners into vul
Tom Mooney
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE GALLOWS POLE by Benjamin Myers.

My god, this is such a good book.

It tells the story of the Cragg Vale Coiners, a band of coin clippers on the Yorkshire moors in the late 18th century. In particular it tracks the rise and downfall of 'king' David Hartley, their leader, who developed the illegal forgery of coins, bringing wealth and happiness to the Calderdale valley, before the authorities took him down.

The writing just crackles with life. At times it's beautiful and mystical, at others it has
Jackie Law
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Gallows Pole, by Benjamin Myers, is a fictionalised story based on surviving accounts of true events from eighteenth century northern England. In a remote Yorkshire hamlet, on the cusp of the industrial revolution, a local man named David Hartley pronounces himself King. He leads a gang of weavers and land workers in an illegal enterprise that puts food on the tables and clothes on the backs of the poorest in his area at the expense of those who have sufficient. Hartley and his brothers talk ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The mood that the author created and maintained throughout the book was something special. I felt as though I was there on the moors in 1760s, because the writing was so descriptive and immersive. The book, however, was also a mixed bag for me at times, because the immersive power came more from the poetic quality of the text rather than the storyline itself. I was expecting more from the plot, so I had to adjust my expectations, but for me this book was all about the atmosphere. 3.5 stars round ...more
Natalie Hamilton
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 A visceral tale of gold, greed, and betrayal set in the wild Yorkshire moors, based on historical accounts of a gang of 18th C. coin clippers and the men determined to bring them down. Myers writes of the moors in language vivid and, at times, breathtaking in its harsh poetry.
Jonathan Carr
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As Kinge Dayvid hisself mite say Bluddy magnifisunt
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, uk
Were the Cragg Vale Coiners heroes who fed the Yorkshire poor and fought the greedy Crown? Were they criminals who, by forging coins, ruined honest merchants and threatened the rule of law? Is the standoff between the high representatives of the state and the band of counterfeiters in the valley an allegory for the fight between freedom versus authority, the agrarian society versus industrialization, the past versus the future? Between these conceptual lines lies the wide territory that has the ...more
Marcus Wilson
This is a long and ambitious novel, part crime thriller, part historic fiction, part folk horror thriller. Benjamin Myers should be applauded for pulling it off, what could have been a disaster is nothing short of a triumph in my opinion. His best work to date.
Jul 29, 2017 added it
I hope that the seven titles on this year's MBP longlist that I haven't read yet are as stimulating and well written as The Gallows Pole. Every bit as compelling as His Bloody Project, and, in its own way, equally as nuanced.
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
I admire this novel a lot, evocative language and an interesting historical event turned into fiction. Yet, admiration does not mean love. It is one of the best books I read this year, yet, I am not smitten with it, I admire it for its cleverness, structure, avoidance of cliches, the biblical feel and the way it brought Yorkshire of the 18th century alive. Yet somehow, it kept me too far at a distance at times.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I couldn’t put this down! The Brutal and fascinating story of the Cragg vale coiners. An amazing insight to the true story of “King” David Hartley. I cannot recommend this book enough - it can be quite gruesome at times and there’s no doubt it it would have been a gruesome time to be alive
K.E. Coles
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I'm lost for words it's so good. Based on true events, it's beautifully-written. I felt utterly immersed in 18th century Calderdale and the lives of the coiners. It's dark, brutal, brilliant.
Ruth Estevez
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My reading sped up! As a writer, I've been told not to do lists (I do/have done them) but they work in the right context. They accumulate a rhythm and this is what Myers' book is about. The rhythm of the land, the men, the coining and the steady march to where it will end. The language, phrasing and rhythm are the language of the landscape and the people that inhabit it. I loved the book for this. It is buried deep in Yorkshire moorland and wide sweeps of sky and the poverty of rural life. The s ...more
Ian Mond
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers is bloody brilliant. It brings to life a period of history - the dying gasp before the industrial revolution - and a practice - coining (a form of forgery popular in the 18th Century) - that I knew fuck all about. The story is pieced together from the records of the time and shines a sympathetic light on King David Hartley (real person) and his coining operation which fed the people of The Cragg Vale for two years. At the same time Myers doesn’t flinch away fro ...more
Jenny Hemming
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The tale of a real-life gang of forgers at large in the Pennine valleys of West Yorkshire at the end of the 18th Century. Myers' writing is lyrical, powerfully evoking the tough, even brutal, Pennine landscape, and the equally tough lives of the men and women struggling for survival at a time of great change. The story of the Cragg Vale Coiners adds to our understanding of a somewhat overlooked time in history. It does not sentimentalise, and poses important questions without straightforward ans ...more
Owen Nutt
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I only discovered Benjamin Myers last year, and he's instantly become one of favourite writers. Beastings is probably my favourite of his works but The Gallows Pole is definitely a close second. At times I found it not to be the easiest of reads, but once I found the rhythm of it I was left breathless. Benjamin Myers is definitely one of Britain's finest writers, and I am yet to find anyone who writse a death scene quite like him.
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Benjamin Myers was born in Durham, UK, in 1976.

He is an award-winning author and journalist.

His next novel The Offing will be published by Bloomsbury in August 2019.

His latest book, Under The Rock, a work of non-fiction, is published May 2018.

Recipient of the Roger Deakin Award, his novel The Gallows Pole was published to acclaim in 2017 and was winner of the Walter Scott Prize 2018 - the world's
“Each time he returned to town, to home, to lie in bed perfectly still beside his sleeping wife, his senses enlivened, William Deighton felt utterly exhausted, yet he was nevertheless imbued and infused with a sort of joyful drunkenness too, and increasingly a part of him was still out there, stalking the moor, a half-feral man whose very dreams were now scented by heather and lit by moonlight, crackling with the mute power of all things connected.” 3 likes
“Yes my sleep it was diysturbed by the sound of the moore tryin to get into my room an the sound of the moore tryin to get into my bed and the moore tryin to get into my mind becors it can do that can the moore and no man can sleep in that state no Not unless thur in a coffing.” 2 likes
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