Shame at state of plague stone
Sir, In support of Jeremy Godwin’s letter (Herald, 25th March) asking for a Penrith face-lift I would like to enter a particular plea for the “plague stone” (above) which stands so neglected just off the busy A6 in Bridge Lane. With Penrith castle it is our only other “site of antiquity” marked on the Ordnance Survey map.
What a disappointment awaits anyone who seeks it out. It is in a state of dereliction, full of rubbish and rainwater and with no sign or plaque to indicate its significance, representing as it does perhaps the cruellest period in the town’s history when a third of its inhabitants were killed by the plague during 1597 and 1598.
Using vinegar as a disinfectant, coins were passed through a trough in the stone to those country people who dared to bring produce to the stricken town.
Taking a Penrithian of 30 years standing who had never heard of it to see it, I was ashamed of its condition. Yours etc,
CYNTHIA E. NICHOLAS