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17 December 2012
Fury at plan to move Cornish ancient stone

The shifting of an ancient monument that may date back thousands of years to make way for affordable housing in Cornwall (England) has been condemned as a 'desecration.' The Tristan Stone on the road to Fowey is said to mark the grave of a Cornish King's nephew. However, now the obelisk is to be moved after Cornwall Council gave permission for an estate of 80 houses to be built on an adjacent site.
     This pillar, 2.7m high and set on a modern plinth, was formerly called the long stone. Originally it stood closer to Castle Dore, 2 miles to the North. High on the back of the stone is a Tau cross, carved in relief; on the front, running vertically down the stone, is a two line inscription interpreted as 'Drustanus Hic Lacit Cunomori Filius' (Drustanus lies here, son of Cunomorus). This has been dated to the sixth century CE.
     The Tristan Stone is reputed to mark the grave of Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall and a young nobleman whose forbidden love for the fair Iseult, or Isolde, has inspired poets for centuries. Dr Oliver Padel said this monument could be a converted standing stone from much earlier times, but he added that there is no definite link between the stone and the story of Tristan and Isolde.
     Cornwall Council's Central Sub-Area Planning Committee gave permission for a park and ride for Fowey and 80 houses to be built by Wainhomes, on the site at Hill Hay Close. Concerns had been raised about the impact of the development on the setting of the ancient monument and as a result the committee narrowly voted to move it for what is thought to be the fourth time in two centuries. Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transportation, highways and environment condemned the decision as an "infringement of the cultural integrity of Cornwall".
     The move to a nearby location was supported by English Heritage and a spokesman for the organisation said: "We did object to the proposed 'park and ride' scheme initially because it would affect the setting of this significant scheduled monument. However as it has already been moved three times in the past two centuries, we feel that it could be moved again to a nearby setting which would continue to preserve its character."
     A spokesman for Wainhomes said moving the stone was a condition imposed on the company. A Cornwall Council spokesman confirmed that permission for the development had been granted subject to agreement on a number of issues, including the relocation of the Tristan Stone.
Edited from Cornwall Local News (12 December 2012)

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