BISHOP William Hogarth is the topic of tomorrow's Echo Memories. He was the first Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, although he lived throughout his tenure in Darlington. Indeed, the real reason I'm writing about him is that an artisan cafe has opened in what for generations has been known "as the Bishop's house".

The article touches upon George Swallowell, or Swalwell, who was the last person to be publicly executed in Darlington. His crime was his Catholicism. I last wrote about him in 2002 and so I thought it might be useful to post that article here.

Pulling it together I'm reminded that after its original publication I was informed that the reredos of St Augustine's Church - the church Bp Hogarth built - contains a wooden statue of the martyr Swalwell.

The reredos is undoubtedly a splendid thing - reputedly the finest in England - but given that it was installed in 1899 and George was beheaded in 1590, I'm guessing that they weren't able to carve a true likeness.

Anyhow, here's the original story which was published under the enticing headline of "Boiled innards buried under a market square": ====================================== "THEN the hangman cut off his head and held it up, saying: 'Behold the head of a traitor!' His quarters, after they were boiled in a cauldron, were buried in the baker's dunghill."

And there they lie, for all we know, to this day - somewhere beneath Darlington's Market Square. The boiled innards were the remains of the Reverend George Swalwell, the last person to be publicly hanged in Darlington.

The story with this gory ending starts in 1534, when Henry VIII became supreme head of the Church of England and broke links with the Pope in Rome. In 1536, the king's men seized the monasteries of North Yorkshire and ransacked Durham Cathedral. The powers the Prince Bishops had enjoyed for centuries were curtailed.

The region's leading families - Neville, Hylton, Lumley, Bowes and Tempest - gathered an army of 30,000 and marched around for a bit in support of the Bishop of Durham and the Pope, but soon realised the error of their ways. Their "Pilgrimmage of Grace" just fizzled away.

Most of Durham calmed down, "save one towne which is called Daryngton".

Sir Ralph Saddler, one of the king's foremost men, travelled through the county in January 1537 on his way to Scotland. He arrived at his lodgings in Darlington at about 6pm on January 27. No sooner had he climbed the stairs to his room than 40 people "assembled in the strete afore my chamber wyndows, with clubbs and bats, and they came running out of all quarters of the strete and stood together on a plompe (a rise in the ground), whisperinge".

Menaced by such behaviour, Sir Ralph called on his host who warned him that these men were beyond the control of the town elders, and one rash move would have 1,000 armed men on the street.

Eventually the rowdy crowd was persuaded that Sir Ralph was not in town to visit some new terror upon them, and they returned to their homes.

Sir Ralph wrote: "The people here be very fickle and, methinketh, in a marvellous strange case and perplexity, for they stare and look for things, and fayne would have they cannot tell what."

Darlington and Durham remained subdued for more than 30 years until the anti-Catholic policies of Elizabeth I aroused their anger once again. The north rose, led by Charles Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland, who lived in Raby Castle, and Thomas Percy, Earl of Northumberland. In the autumn of 1569, they marched from Raby to Durham Cathedral, burned the Protestants' books and conducted a Catholic service. Then they fled.

But Sir George Bowes, who supported the Queen and lived in Streatlam Castle, just five miles from Raby Castle, was so frightened by his neighbour's warlike behaviour that he barricaded himself into Barnard Castle.

Darlington became the rebels' headquarters. "At Darnton," wrote Sir George on November 17, "they offer great wage to such as will serve them."

Men with big sticks drove reluctant Darlingtonians into St Cuthbert's Church, where Westmoreland and Northumberland "lewdly" heard mass and liberally sprinkled holy water about.

On November 18, the rebels marched from Darlington to York and returned on November 29.

"They have a greate number of fat cattle that they have stolen on their journeye, which they drive to Darnton," complained Sir George from inside Barnard Castle.

Having secured practically all of the North-East, the rebels turned their attention to Barnard Castle and laid siege to Sir George.

They fired their superior weaponry at him and taunted him with a playground rhyme: "A coward, a coward of Barney Castell, Dare not come out to fight a battell".

By December 14, Sir George had had enough of such bad rhymes, and he surrendered. But rather than kill him, Westmoreland and Northumberland sent him packing with a flea in his ear.

On December 17, on Croft Bridge, Sir George met the Queen's leader, the Earl of Sussex, and Darlington's old favourite, Sir Ralph Saddler. Together they had 7,000 men, and the Earl of Warwick was fast approaching with another 12,000. They moved from Croft towards Darlington, and in the face of such large armies the rebels fled, melting into the northern dales. The Rising of the North was over.

The Queen's retribution was swift and bloody. Some sources say she reckoned 481 Darlington men had joined the rebellion. Death sentences were issued against them all - including every one of the town's 23 constables who had failed to keep order. But all who were able to give her a satisfactory amount of money, property and possessions escaped with their lives. Only the poorest 99 were executed, their bodies hung from trees along Coniscliffe Road as a reminder to all who contemplated rebellion.

Sir George Bowes' version of events is a little less bloody. He was in charge of the hangings, and kept a little black book in which he noted the tally of his victims and where they came from. He reckoned that 83 men from central Darlington had joined up, and he executed 16 of them.

Bowes makes no mention of the Coniscliffe Road story. But he was not adverse to a little brutality. He hanged a rebel named Harrison, of Barnard Castle, in his own orchard at Streatlam Castle, and as he watched the body swinging, he said: "the best fruit a tree can bear is a dead traitor".

Harrison's ghost, and that of Sir George, was said to haunt Streatlam until the castle fell derelict and was blown up in 1959.

It is clear, then, that the people of Darlington were not particularly keen on the new Protestant religion. They were suspect, and were watched.

The Swalwell family was particularly suspect, because Ralph Swalwell had been a chaplain in the Bishop's Palace in Leadgate, Darlington, when the Pilgrimmage of Grace had taken place in 1536.

George Swalwell - his name is often spelled Swallowell - was born in Darlington in 1564. He became a clerk at Trimdon in 1575 and, after he was ordained in 1577, became a curate there. A few years later he moved on to work and teach in the parish of Houghton-le-Spring.

In 1590, his work caused him to visit a Catholic languishing in Durham Jail because of his faith. They fell into argument during which George saw the light and converted to Catholicism. Rather than keep it hidden, he rushed to the pulpit in Houghton and announced that he had hitherto been in error, that there was "no true mission" in Protestantism and so he quit the church on the spot.

He was arrested and thrown in Durham Jail. He came to trial a year later and was reprieved. However, the authorities decided to have another go at him in 1594. They had lost the only witness, known as Willie, who had heard George's pulpit pronouncement, but a fellow called Finch testified that he had once heard Willie tell the story, and this was enough. On Tuesday, July 23, George was sentenced to death for treason. He stood in the dock with two other accused Catholics, Father John Ingram, of Warwickshire, and Father John Boste, of Penrith. Poor Mr Boste had already done time in the Tower of London, where he had been stretched on the rack at least four times "in a manner that rendered him a permanent cripple".

When the death sentence was announced, George immediately reconverted to Protestantism and promised to do whatever the judge said if he could keep his life.

But Mr Boste fixed him with a steely stare and asked: "George Swalwell, what hast thou done?"

George immediately converted back once more to Catholicism, and the judge ordered that he be hanged, drawn and quartered at Darlington.

On July 24, Mr Boste was executed at Durham; on July 25, Mr Ingram was executed at Gateshead; on July 26, it was George Swalwell's turn.

"Upon the day designed for execution, he was brought two miles off the place on foot, and then was put into a cart, where he lay on his back with his hands and eyes up to heaven, and so he was drawn to the gallows," records Bishop Richard Challoner in his 1741 book, Memoirs of the Missionary Priests.

The gallows had been erected on Bakehouse Hill, between the Market Square and Tubwell Row.

"To terrify him the more, they led him by two great fires, the one made for burning his bowels, the other for boiling his quarters," says Challoner.

Four priests accompanied him on the walk across the Market Square to the gallows, beseeching him to reconvert yet again to the Protestant faith.

He would not listen, and they became so fed up with him that they beat him with a rod to make him climb the ladder to his death more quickly.

The rope was put around his neck and "Mr Swalwell desired if there were any Catholics there they would say three paters, three aves and the creed for him, and so making the sign of the cross, he was turned off the ladder".

He was cut down before he lost consciousness "and the hangman, who was but a boy, drew him along by the rope yet alive, and there dismembered and bowelled him, and cast his bowels into the fire".

Bishop Challoner continues: "At the taking out of his heart, he lifted up his left hand to his head, which the hangman laid down again; and when the heart was cast into the fire, the same hand laid itself over the open body.

"Then the hangman cut off his head and held it up saying: 'Behold the head of a traitor!' His quarters, after they were boiled in the cauldron, were buried in the baker's dunghill."