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Poet Laureate unveils new poem about the Pendle Witches
6:00pm Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
THE first verses of a new piece by the Poet Laureate - to commemorate the demise of the Pendle Witches - have been unveiled Carol Ann Duffy was commissioned to compose 10 stanzas which would be used on waymarkers stretching from Pendle Hill to Lancaster Castle, where the likes of Anne Whittle, Alison Device and Alice Nutter were hung.
Undertaking the project, Duffy said she had been ‘struck by the echoes of under-privilege and hostility to the poor, the outsider, the desperate, which are audible still’.
The waymarkers for the walk have been crafted by ceramicist Julie Miles during workshops in Lancaster and the Pendle Heritage Centre at Barrowford.
Manchester artist Stephen Raw came up with the original designs as part of a project originated by Green Close art studio at Melling, near Lancaster.
The studio is behind Lancashire Witches 400, a series of artistic initiatives stretching from witch country to the castle.
A Green Close spokesman said: “The route from where the witches lived near Pendle Hill to the place of their trial and execution in Lancaster is approximately 50 miles across the beautiful Trough of Bowland, taking in some breath-taking scenery.”
This Sunday (Aug 19) the same collective will lead a ‘performance walk’ from the Witches Galore shop in Newchurch-in-Pendle, detailing landmarks associated with the 400-year-old witches story.
One voice for ten dragged this way once
by superstition, ignorance.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Witch: female, cunning, manless, old,
daughter of such, of evil faith;
in the murk of Pendle Hill, a crone.
Heavy storm-clouds here, ill-will brewed,
over fields, fells, farms, blighted woods.
On the wind's breath, curse of crow and rook.