Wednesday, 12 September 2012

News - Cannon sculpture unveiled to mark Newark's Civil War history

A SCULPTURE of a rusting steel cannon has been placed on top of a 17th Century earthwork in Newark to provide a stark reminder of the town's strong links with the English Civil War.

Newark and Sherwood District Council commissioned sculptor Michael Condron to produce the cannon, which is made to look like it has sunk into the earth on the Queen's Sconce – an earthwork that was used to defend the town during the Civil War, and which is still intact and visible in the town's Sconce and Devon Park.

Mr Condron drew ideas from children at Holy Trinity RC School, which is next to the park. The design of the cannon includes Latin phrases as well as imagery associated with the war such as feathers, roses, weapons and other conflict imagery.

The steel sculpture will rust with age, as Mr Condron intended, to give the impression of an abandoned cannon, the ghost of a battle which raged some 400 years ago.

The chairman of the district council, Councillor Marika Tribe, officially unveiled the sculpture to the public, councillors and park friends groups at the end of last week.

Councillor Nora Armstrong, the district council's cabinet member for clean and green, said: "Michael Condron's striking sculpture serves as an attractive and clear reminder of Sconce and Devon Park's inextricable links to the English Civil War.

"The Queen's Sconce would have provided Newark's primary defence from invading Parliamentarian forces, who would have struggled to scale the slippery slopes to overpower the well-armoured Royalist forces on top of the earthwork.

"The sconce is still very well preserved and this sculpture provides a tangible link for visitors wanting to learn more about the history of the area. It also fits well with our firm belief that the role of parks has moved on. They're now community hubs for learning, history and entertainment, as well as a free resource for play and exercise."

The £20,000 piece of public art was funded as part of a £1.6 million regeneration of the park largely completed two years ago, after the council successfully applied for Heritage Lottery Fund money.

Believed to date from 1644, the Queen's Sconce is considered a heritage feature of international importance and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It covers three acres of land and is distinctively star-shaped when viewed from the air. It is one of nine siege works remaining in a recognisable state in and around Newark.

During the Civil War Newark came under siege three times. Part of the defence system for the town was a series of sconces - fortifications made of earth. The sconce served as a platform that could provide covering fire in all directions, as well as helping to prevent advance of the enemy, and to protect the town.


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