if not poetry, poetic…

December 27, 2014

Millennium Bridge Subway, Carlisle, England

The Cursing Stone is a 14-ton granite boulder that resides in a subway beneath the Millennium Bridge that connects Tullie House Museum with Carlisle Castle, in Carlisle, England.

Here’s a bit of history that helps explain the stone: “The Border Reivers were gangs of horsemen who raided those parts of England and Scotland within a day’s ride of the border between the two countries from around 1300 to 1600. Reivers stole cattle, sheep and horses, and were even known to hire themselves out as mercenaries.” (Education Scotland) In 1525, hoping to end the reign of terror, the Archbishop of Glasgow put a curse on the Boarder Reiver families; the curse was spoken at parishes throughout the region.

In 2001, artist Gordon Young, in a collaboration with Why Not Associates, inscribed the 1,069-word curse on the stone and it was installed on a pathway that contains the names of all the Boarder Reiver families. Almost as soon as it was installed, it was blamed for numerous local disasters, including the spread of hoof and mouth disease, but after a council vote in 2005 was saved from destruction and remains on view.

The artist is descended from a Border Reiver family and that heritage led to his interest in the curse. (See also: Young’s beautiful poetry walk, A Flock of Words and other collaborations with Why Not Associates, including Walk of Art.)
. . . . .
Cursing Stone photo

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