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The Coiner’s Wife - A play in five acts

From a remote weaver’s cottage in the bleak Yorkshire moors, a gang of counterfeiters (the ‘Cragg Vale Coiners’) launch a nefarious scheme that threatens to unsettle the currency of 18th century England.

Bound in marriage to their leader, known locally as ‘King’ David, Grace Hartley is torn between the forces of love, duty and conscience, whilst at the same time struggling with motherhood and the need to keep hunger at bay.

After the counterfeiters’ initial success, opposing forces gather, led by William Dighton, Supervisor of Excises, who sets in motion a series of events that have momentous consequences.

This play is based on a true story that has gripped the inhabitants of the Upper Calder Valley for centuries, but has so far received little prominence elsewhere.

The Calder Valley is known to many as the setting for the hit television series Happy Valley.

A female perspective
This drama uniquely presents the historic and tumultuous events of this episode in history from a woman’s point of view. Very little is known about the real Grace Hartley or the other women in this story. In the male-dominated world of the eighteenth century, documentation focuses almost exclusively on the role played by men. This play helps to redress this imbalance.

Casting: 10M / 6F, doubling possible.

A gripping story of love, betrayal and survival.

Based on true events.
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The Coiner’s Wife

A play in five acts

Maurice Claypole