Castle’s macabre past holds key to bright new future

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Lancaster Castle’s long and illustrious past could unlock the potential for a “tourism goldmine” in the city.

As the county commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials, which were held at the castle on August 18-19 1612, 
Lancastrians have spoken out about their hopes for the building’s future.

Local design team Beyond the Castle asked residents and visitors how they would like to see the green space around the castle used, and an overwhelming number called for the castle’s rich history to be at the centre of any new scheme.

Other ideas included an amphitheatre, playgrounds and picnic areas, new benches and tables, a walking trail, an improved Roman Bath House and even a zoo.

The Duchy of Lancaster, which reassumed control of the castle last year after the prison was closed, is currently undertaking its own investigations, but is keeping things tightly under wraps until September 11 when it will present its ideas to the public.

Simon Entwistle, who leads tours from Pendle Hill across to Lancaster Castle, said: “Lancaster Castle in terms of tourism potential is a goldmine.

You not only have the witches’ story but the 100s of individual stories of the poor tortured souls that were not only incarcerated in its walls but also executed.”

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has also penned a poem to commemorate the infamous events.

The ten verses will appear on cast iron posts installed along a new 51-mile Lancashire Witches Walk, which follows the route taken by the 10 women and men who were executed as witches in 1612.