Merlin sculpture at Tintagel Castle causes outrage
|The sculpture was created to increase visitor numbers |
But a decision by the current custodians of the site to allow the sculpture has caused outrage and they have been accused of attempting to "dumb down" history to try get people through the door.
A spokesman for Kernow Matters To Us (KMTU), an organisation dedicated to preserving the integrity of Cornwall's history and culture, said: "This official vandalism has been condemned by people who love Cornwall, both at home and as far away as Australia.
"We are deeply shocked that the inappropriately named 'English' Heritage has installed a sculpture of Merlin in our Cornish Tintagel Castle. This is nothing but 'false' history and diminishes our heritage. It is a disgrace. No doubt it will enhance tourist numbers for a season or two - but at the cost of further denuding the Cornish cultural and historical context of this location."
|The face of Merlin amid the bedrock below Tintagel Castle |
The new carving, undertaken by local craftsmen Peter Graham, is situated at the entrance to a rocky inlet known for generations as Merlin's Cave, and is supposedly the setting for a story in which the wizard carries an infant Arthur to a place of safety.
Mr Graham spent three months carrying out the work. He said: "Usually you would choose the perfect stone from a quarry, but here I have worked into the rock of Tintagel's landscape. Merlin has emerged organically out of that rock - and to see him now is really rather satisfying."
The carving is part of a project designed to "bring the legends and history of Tintagel to life", according to EH. Further sculptures and installations have been commissioned and are expected to be placed on the castle site throughout the year. But KMTU pointed out that "Cornwall" was first recorded in the place-name, "Durocornouio" - fortress of the Cornish - around 400AD, five centuries before the name "England" was first used.
|Peter Graham working directly into the stone |
"But where at Tintagel does English Heritage tell people anything about these kings? Is there even a mention of them? By doing this, Cornish history gets sidelined, while English Heritage concentrates on dumbed-down populist trash that they think will attract the punters."
Kernow Matters To Us, is now calling on English Heritage to arrange a meeting to discuss the matter, in a bid to prevent what it describes as "further desecration".
Responding to the criticism, English Heritage issued a statement saying Tintagel Castle had been "inextricably linked with the legend of both King Arthur and Merlin since the Middle Ages".
|The rocky inlet has been known for generations as Merlin's Cave |
The statement added that the carving received planning permission last year as part of an outdoor interpretation scheme that is due to launch this spring.
It said: "The whole scheme will help people to understand the history and mythology of this internationally important site."
Alex Page, English Heritage's historic properties director for the West of England, said: "Our new carving reflects the legendary link between Tintagel Castle and Merlin. We took great care to ensure that the carving complements rather than competes with the spectacular setting. The carving of Merlin's face is discreet, a little larger than life, and is tucked away amongst the rocks for people to discover."
Source: Telegraph [February 18, 2016]