Refuge Project (2016)

Elford title for website

Elford imageIt doesn’t take an expert historian to know that the English Civil War was a conflict that divided communities nationwide, and life on 17th Century Dartmoor was no exception. Village was set against village, family against family in one of the most bloodthirsty periods in English history. However, Dartmoor’s unique landscape, with all of its secret haunts, did prove to be an excellent hiding place…

‘Refuge’ told the story of John Elford, a renegade parliamentarian who spoke out against Cromwell’s dictatorship. Ref17Forced into hiding, he is believed to have concealed himself in a cave on Sheepstor, now better known as the ‘Piskie’s Cave’. Meanwhile, local legend also tells of a Royalist soldier who once set up camp at Blackadon Tor near Lizwell Meet. MED Theatre’s 2016 community play examined the tensions between history and hearsay during this vivid period in Dartmoor’s past.

‘Refuge’ toured to Manaton Parish hall, Belstone village hall, Meavy parish hall, and Moretonhampstead Parish Hall from 11th-19th March 2016. If you would like to read more about ‘Refuge’ you can DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME NOTES HERE, or scroll down to view the production gallery.

Audience Feedback

‘A hugely enjoyable play – well written and acted – which captured the times about which it was written brilliantly’
‘It brought previously unknown history to life far more effectively than a book!’
‘Clever use of historical material!’
‘It is excellent to have such high quality art in remotes villages such as this…’
‘Very well researched with lots of local history that I didn’t know about. Well rehearsed and produced to a high standard’
‘Wonderful – sensitive, informative fun and thought provoking
‘Informative, fun and full of action!’

‘The direction was brilliant. It took my breath away and held me from beginning to end… the interplay between the young ones was charming and the romance was enchanting’

Listen to audio recordings of scenes from Refuge

The Cavalier of Blackadon Tor and the farm girls doing their washing

Sarah Elford surprised in her bed chamber by a Puritan soldier

Gubbins Reconstruction by MED Theatre

Production Gallery


Refuge scene on BBC’s The One Show



Refuge Poster e