1612 appears on Pendle Hill to mark 400th anniversary of Lancashire Witch trials

PEOPLE across Pendle had a big surprise at the weekend when they looked across at Pendle Hill and saw an attractive huge “1612” appear on it.

Plans to paint the year’s date on Pendle had been turned down but this was done in a different way.

The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev. John Goddard, had expressed concern about marking the Pendle Witches trial 400 years ago on the side of the hill.

But the vast majority of people who saw the date on Pendle at the weekend were very happy with it - it will be a piece of history in itself!

The man who created it - Philippe Handford of Handford Design - explained that man-made material was used to create the figures. “It’s material used to protect crops from frost,” he explained.

He and five helpers started to set it up on Saturday morning as soon as sunlight appeared - shortly after 5am. And the plan was to take it down on Wednesday this week unless it was affected before then by the weather.

The figures of 1612 were more than 300 feet in length and were visible from miles away.

Philippe said: “I didn’t get any negative comments on the day and haven’t had any since. Everyone was happy with it. It was a huge relief that I had actually done it.”

The leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Joe Cooney, said: “It was a shock to me. It hadn’t been given planning permission. But it is only temporary and is sheeting laid out. In hindsight, once I saw it I was okay with it.”


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However, he felt it would have been right to tell the council what they were going to do beforehand.

Julian Jordan, who organised the Pendle Witch Walk at the weekend, said: “I was surprised and delighted when I saw it. It’s been a bit of a saga for a while. It made a superb scene. We got a massive response from people taking part in the walk.”

Philippe has also created witch statues on a walk through woodland at Barley.