• James McGee

Taking the plunger...

'Now, then, Gladys, if that don't look like a loo plunger, I don't know what does...'

Well, obviously, it's not a plunger. The object is, in fact, the 18ft Tree Charter Champion Pole.

The pole - which weighs in at a hefty 6.5 tons - is part of a £20,000 installation at Lincoln Castle.

The project is to help celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest.

The what?

I'm glad you asked. Well, the charter re-established the right for free men to access the royal forest; a right that had been eroded by William the Conqueror and his heirs.

At the time, forest didn't just mean woodland; it also referred to large areas of heathland, grassland and wetland, productive of food, grazing and other resources.

The charter was originally sealed in England by the young King Henry III, acting under the regency of William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

First issued on November 6th 1217, it's been seen as a companion document to the Magna Carta, and redressed some applications of the Anglo-Norman Forest Law that had been extended - and abused - by William Rufus.

William Marshall for them as might not know was one of the great heroes of the age and unlike the plung - sorry, pole - he really was a champion.

The sculptor, one Simon Carver, is quoted as saying: 'calling it that made me chuckle'.

Question: what the hell did he think it looked like when he was carving it...?

Joking aside, if you'd like to gen up on Lincoln Castle and and the role both it and the great William Marshal played in what was undoubtedly one of the most important battles in British history, then click on either of the photos below: