Stryte-wise or Stryte-foolish?
In yet another startling case of History appearing to repeat itself, the researchers who only yesterday brought us the intriguing story of a former Mrs Threadbone and her elevation in 1641 to the status of Great Mistress of the Parish of Great Heaving, have uncovered a plot only one year later to unseat a certain Mrs Endersley-Kindersely and remove her from High Office in the "Parishe Librarie". The would-be usurpers - young and hot-headed apprentices led by a notorious upstart and Puritan radical Mr Jermyn Streyte - almost succeeded in unseating her in what was to become known as the Great Romantyke Booke Lendying Conspiracy or the Facepowder Plot.
Urbane, quick-witted and forensically intelligent, Mr Streyte had succeeded where many others had failed in radicalising the local youth and rallying them to his campaign of No to the Dallyance, No to the Bodyce-Ripper. Deploying both his notoriously thunderous invective and his naturally charismatic personality, [Sounds like he was in no way related to his modern-day namesake [Ed]], he was able to draw both the uneducated and the disaffected to his cause. At the height of his "ministrie" he was, it is recorded, capable of attracting and addressing crowds of upwards of a dozen and was "much affeared in his magnificent and divers complayntes".
Fortunately for Mrs Endersley-Kindersley and her loyalist allies, Mr Streyte was found to be in a state of drunken disorderliness outside the Ferale Ferret on the night of 21st December 1642 and was arrested, tried and convicted of conspiracy to "unseyt a much revered olde troute".
Though the reign of Mr Streyte's terror was short-lived, it was considered a genuine threat to the "peace of the Countye" whilst it lasted. Further evidence suggests that Mr Streyte's punishment - that he should have his "testycles remov'd and strungen up among'st the Chrystmas Lights of Great Heaving" - may not have been carried out to the letter. "How otherwise might he have had issue?", asks local historian and TV researcher Dusty Box-Phyles. "Perhaps we would have been better off if the sentence had been properly enforced", she adds, "at least we might have been spared the tosser that bears his name today. That's the problem with counter-factual romantic historical fiction, you just never know".
That notorious broadside in full HERE