The Lancashire plot

The basis of Scorpio is the intention to organise ( revolt against the king (Charles II) in 1679. At first sight it is perhaps surprising that the action should take place in Lancashire, far from the centre of the nation's Parliamement and the king's household. We have to be a little careful here, the plot of Moon in Scorpio concerns a plot to depose the king and return to the priciples of the Republic and a more austere form of protestantism. The king, although nominally protestant was known to have deep personal sympathies with the church of Rome, and was strongly in favour of an authoritarian state governed by king and the Church of England which had close leaning towards the ritual of the Roman church. The opposition to the king was lead by Shaftesbury and his Ge=reen Ribbon Club, and this activity was indeed largely centred in the London and the south east. There was little activity in this matter from the north west which remained strongly supportive of the king and the established church, and was also very sympathetc towards rituals of the Roman church. Indeed, only ten years later than the action in Moon in Scorpio there was an important projected uprising in the north west to depose William III and restore the Stuart line by placing James Stuart, the (catholic) son of Charles II. The plot, known as the 'Lancashire PLot' obviously had a very different objective to the older plans of the Shaftesbury plots: to restore a catholik monarchy in the direct line of descent as opposed to a very restricted monarchy with authority resting primarily in parliament. Nevertheless, there are many aspects of the Lancashire Plot which show marked similarities with the plot of Moon in Scorpio. Neill has moved Shaftesbury's plot to Lancashire and re-directed it to the resoration of the Stuarts. The Lancashire Plot is organised around ships landing on the Lancashire coast, avoiding Customs, with documents (commisions from the 'king', James Stuart) which are to be delivered to those in Lancashire, Westmorland and Yorkshire. The papers were discovered just in time to prevent the success of the Plot. One of the organisers of the Plot, John Lunt, is imprisoned in Newgate for 20 weeks, before being released due to failure of witnesses. Lunt and Treshfold of Goosnargh near present are hidden away in a secret cavity in wall at Ashes Hall at Goosnargh. The Lancashire Plot is described in some detail by Fishwick in his Hisory of Lancashire (1895) which was available to Neill.