Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 17:51 UK

Pagan vows to stay at Stonehenge

King Arthur Pendragon
King Arthur Pendragon changed his name by deed poll in 1976

A Pagan has vowed to continue his sit-in protest at Stonehenge, despite a deadline passing for him to leave.

King Arthur Pendragon, formerly known as John Rothwell, was due to be evicted from the site at 1600 BST on Sunday, however no-one arrived to remove him.

Wiltshire Council gained a legal order last week to evict the former soldier, who has protested there for 10 months for better access to the attraction.

Mr Pendragon, 55, said he had "absolutely no intention of leaving".

'Short ritual'

"We have opened a bottle of mead and we are drinking to Stonehenge," he said.

"I have done a short ritual and spell of protection, calling on the kings of old.

"I am still here, so I am in breach of the order as they see it, but I have as much right as anyone else to be here.

"I am not going to go, I am battening down the hatches and continuing my lawful right to protest and my equal right to religious practice."

The council strives to protect all of its public rights of way from trespass
Stephen Helsby, Wiltshire Council

He wants English Heritage to improve access to the World Heritage Site, a stretch of the A344 closed, and ancient remains, which were removed for study last summer, replaced.

Mr Pendragon, who is battle chieftain of the Council of British Druid Orders, denied he was living in caravans next to the A344 and said he was simply using the site as his protest base.

"The council's reason is I have no right to live on the highway and I'm saying I've not been living here, I'm picketing."

Before the deadline passed, Wiltshire Council's highways enforcement and traveller services manager Stephen Helsby said: "This ancient byway - known locally as Netheravon Coach Road - is open to all traffic.

"Wiltshire Council, in its capacity as local highway authority, has a duty to maintain everybody's right to use its full width without interruption or other obstruction.

"The council strives to protect all of its public rights of way from trespass and that includes byway 12 which is situated at the heart of this important World Heritage Site."

No-one from the council was available for comment as the eviction deadline passed.



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