Roughlee Commemorates Alice Nutter
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the infamous witches trials, one of the best known – Alice Nutter – has been immortalised as a statue in the village from where she came.
Alice was unusual amongst the accused in that she was comparatively wealthy, the widow of a tenant yeoman farmer. She made no statement either before or during her trial, except to enter her plea of not guilty to the charge of murder. She was hanged, along with nine others, at Lancaster in August 1612.
The local Borough & Parish Councillor James Starkie (pictured below) lead the scheme to commission the erection of a piece of public art, a sculpture of ‘Alice’ in an poignant and evocative stance, which is sited on Blacko Bar Road between Crowtrees and Roughlee.
The world famous Pendle Witches lived in the early 1600s at a time of religious persecution and superstition. Cllr Starkie added “The aim of the statue is to commemorate the leaving of Alice to Lancaster and to raise awareness of the true story of the witches. What the villagers wanted was a statue that told the real story of Alice Nutter and one that would make people say to themselves as they drove past “I thought she was meant to be a witch?” Instead she looks like a lady of the times, with a dramatic poise, open to your own interpretation.
The statue itself was designed and created by local artist and architectural steel engineer, David Palmer of DP Structures Ltd, also responsible for Nelson’s Shuttle.
He said “As a Roughlee bred lad I’m delighted to have been commissioned to create this important sculpture of Alice within the village where I grew up. It’s a significant piece of work which is handsome and much thought provoking.”
“I carried out much research into her story and studied the costume of the early 1600’s era to inform the design. She has been innovatively fabricated out of brass and Corten steel.’’
Another Roughlee lad, Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott, (top) returned to the village on July 28, 2012 at 11am to do the unveiling. Also at the unveiling was the Reverend John Hallows who made a blessing, local historian and witch raconteur Simon Entwistle and local author, Kate Mulholland who had written a book about the life of Alice, ‘A Cry of Innocence’.
One of famous WitchWay X43 Nelson-Manchester coaches – named Alice Nutter – was in attendance too.
The project was part of Pendle’s Witches Festival and had the backing of Roughlee Parish Council, The Forest of Bowland & Pendle Borough Council.
A 14 minute youtube video of the unveiling is here.
The BBC’s coverage is here