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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 March, 2005, 22:44 GMT
'Cursing Stone' saved by council
Cursing Stone
The stone is inscribed with a 16th century curse
A granite artwork blamed for bringing misfortunes of "biblical proportions" to a city has been saved.

Carlisle City Council rejected a proposal to destroy the stone, commissioned to mark the millennium.

Since the Cursing Stone was placed in Carlisle, the city has suffered floods, foot-and-mouth disease, job losses and a goal famine for the football team.

But council leader Mike Mitchelson said the decision proved the citizens of Carlisle were rational people.

Rape and pillage

The 14-tonne artwork - which stands between the city's castle and the museum - is carved with a 1,069-word curse invoked by the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1525.

At the time, the area around Carlisle was torn by fighting.

The archbishop is said to have placed the curse on cross border families - known as the "reivers" - who lived by stealing cattle.

It begins: "I curse their heads and all the hairs on their head; I curse their face, their brain, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead..."

The stone was designed by artist Gordon Young, whose own family was among the "reivers".

'Floods and pestilence'

Last week city councillor Jim Tootle blamed the Cursing Stone for the recent floods and the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001.

"We have had floods, pestilence, a great big fire in the city - it is of biblical proportions," he said.

He wanted the stone destroyed and tabled a motion to discuss it, but the council voted overwhelmingly to keep it. All but two councillors voted to save the stone.

The city council said it had previously consulted Christian groups who were in agreement that the stone should stay.

The groups pointed out that a blessing was also included within the artwork.

One councillor on why he thinks the stone should go

Witch warns of Curse Stone power
08 Mar 05 |  Cumbria


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