Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Headless Woman of Lancaster

This statue, set between Priory Church and Lancaster Castle has already become the stuff of local legend. A myth has arised that she was vandalised by some of Cromwell's overzealous soldiers.
Alas the evidence doesn't support that idea. The statue is either Graeco-Roman or Victorian Romantic. It has weathered a bit too well to be two thousand years old so it has to be Victorian. A visit to the City museum threw some light on it. Its exact provenance is unknown but is most likely Victorian. She did have her head until it was removed by an opportunist with an angle grinder in 1980. The museum arranged for a fibreglass replacement. It too disappeared.
Now she is known as the "Headless Lady of Lancaster". She did rise to fame recently when it was proposed to tarmac over the churchyard and make it into a car park. This would entail removing the statue. There was a huge public outcry of "Hands off our headless lady!"
And so, she has been left alone. The car park never went ahead, - thankfully.
She may not be as old as the castle but she has become just about as famous a local landmark.

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