Lancashire Witches 400

 FIVE YEARS ON

We are delighted that BBC Countryfile programme were so interested in our work creating the Lancashire Witches Walk – a stunning 52 mile walking route across Lancashire’s beautiful and diverse countryside – that they came up to film us this month. Watch the programme on Easter Sunday April 16th 2017 or catch up on the BBC iplayer To buy a copy of the walking route booklet click on the picture link at the bottom of this page.

‘Lancashire Witches’ Poem © CarolAnn Duffy

 

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.

 

Here, heavy storm-clouds, ill-will brewed,

over fields, fells, farms, blighted woods.

On the wind’s breath, curse of crow and rook.

 

From poverty, no poetry

but weird spells, half-prayer, half-threat;

sharp pins in the little dolls of death.

 

At daylight’s gate, the things we fear

darken and form. That tree, that rock,

a slattern’s shape with the devil’s dog.

 

Something upholds us in its palm-

landscape, history, place and time-

and, above, the same old witness moon

 

below which Demdike, Chattox, shrieked,

like hags, unloved, an underclass,

badly fed, unwell. Their eyes were red.

 

But that was then- when difference

made ghouls of neighbours; child beggars,

feral, filthy, threatened in their cowls.

 

Grim skies, the grey remorse of rain;

sunset’s crimson shame; four seasons,

centuries, turning, in Lancashire,

 

away from Castle, Jury, Judge,

huge crowd, rough rope, short drop, no grave;

only future tourists who might grieve.

'Lancashire Witches' Poem © CarolAnn Duffy, commissioned by Green Close
Image from 'Lancashire Witches 400 Series' by Sue Flowers

 

This piece was commissioned by Green Close as part of the Lancashire Witches 400 project to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials. The poem was written in response to the journey taken by the accused from their homes in Pendle to their place of execution at Lancaster Castle. The poem is to be included on “tercet” waymarkers designed by textual artist, Stephen Raw, on the new 52-mile ‘Lancashire Witches Walk’ from Barrowford to Lancaster.

 

 

A ‘Lancashire Witches Walk’ booklet has also been produced as part of this project. The book contains an introduction on the history of the Lancashire Witches by Dr Robert Poole as well as sections of OS Maps which contain the 51-mile walking route. There are also various different images displaying the artistic element to the project, including the ‘Lancashire Witches’ poem by Carol Anne Duffy.

To order a copy of the booklet, please click on the image below.

Lancashire Witches 400 Book