Knights 'curse' Bury shop plans
AS protests go, it was not the most typical way to campaign against the building of a £100million shopping development. A group of men, dressed as knights, marching through the historic streets of a Suffolk town with swords, shields and a small band of supporters in tow.
AS protests go, it was not the most typical way to campaign against the building of a £100million shopping development.
A group of men, dressed as knights, marching through the historic streets of a Suffolk town with swords, shields and a small band of supporters in tow.
But this was no publicity stunt or prank aimed at highlighting the perceived misgivings of the massive redevelopment of the Cattle Market in Bury St Edmunds.
Instead in evidence was a steely determination etched on the faces of the Knights of St Edmund and their followers as they marched up to the site to invoke an ancient curse.
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Town resident Alan Murdie , a spokesman for the knights, said: “We wanted to put the plans in God's hands by praying to St Edmund.
“It certainly was not a publicity stunt - how can you give God publicity? This is only the first of many things we have got planned to get our message across.”
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The Knights, a group of Christian residents from Bury St Edmunds, went through with the denouncement after issuing an ultimatum to Centros Miller, the developers behind the town's Cattle Market project, and bosses of the flagship store Debenhams.
Set against the exquisite backdrop of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, they met last night in front of the statue of St Edmund.
Hushed silence descended among the dozens of supporters as The Knights solemnly and meticulously made their way to the site of the multi million pound development.
Pubs and restaurants came to a standstill as the Knights walked through the historic core of Bury. Some stayed and listened to the prayers, others were less kind and respectful shouting derisory comments to the unexpected spectacle.
Then, where the likes of Debenhams will stand in years to come, the Knights laid down the curse -which allegedly can invoke madness, the spread of venereal disease and destruction of property and can list Henry VIII among its victims.
In one final symbolic gesture, two of the Knights momentarily left the throng to march up to the entrance of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, who own the Cattle Market site, to lay 30 pieces of silver at their door - an sign that, to some, the council has sold its soul.
Prudence Jones, who lives in Cambridge but took part in the march to highlight similar developments across the region added: “Bury is already a beautiful, thriving market town. Why on earth would it want some concrete jungle?”
Town resident Gerald Travers, one of the many supporters, said: “Bury is a town which has grown and developed over hundreds of years. But now someone wants to come along and build something within two years.
“It is nothing more than the rape of a historic and medieval town centre. I think the march and the curse is a hugely successful way of highlighting our plight.”
Both Debenhams and Centros Miller were unavailable for comment last night.