Every witch way will be Duffy poem

Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy

The Poet Laureate will remember the Lancashire Witches with a special unveiling at Williamson Park.

Carol Ann Duffy will reveal the first of 10 specially created cast iron waymarkers, inscibed with one of her poems, outside the Ashton Memorial on Friday, May 17.

The half-ton waymarkers will be installed along the new, 51-mile ‘Lancashire Witches Walk’ which explores the route taken by the 10 women and men who were executed as witches in August 1612.

The poem ‘The Lancashire Witches’ was commissioned by Melling-based arts organisation, Green Close, as part of an ambitious £200,000 12-month programme called Lancashire Witches 400.

The project explored the history of the 10 women and men who became known as the Lancashire Witches, their trial and execution, and the enduring issue of persecution today.

The other nine waymarkers will be located at significant points along the new walking route which stretches from Barrowford all the way to Lancaster. Designated sites include Crook o’ Lune, Claughton, Slaidburn and Williamson’s Park.

The full poem is inscribed on all the waymarkers, but each one also features the name of one of the ‘witches’.

Ms Duffy said: “I was struck by the echoes of under-privilege and hostility to the poor, the outsider, the desperate, which are audible still.”

The Glasgow-born Poet Laureate’s collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), the winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award, Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award, Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award, and Rapture (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize.

Her poems generally address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence.

In her first poem as PoeLLaureate, Duffy tackled the scandal over British MPs’ expenses in the format of a sonnet.

The unveiling will take place at 4pm.

Green Close is run by husband and wife artists Pete and Sue Flowers.