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Fury at plan to move obelisk

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 12, 2012

The Tristan Stone, near Fowey. Councillors have agreed it can be moved, prompting fury Picture: Emily Whitfield-Wicks

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An ancient obelisk said to mark the grave of a Cornish King's nephew, whose doomed love became one of the greatest romances in history, is to be shifted to make way for "mundane" housing.

The Tristan Stone, a scheduled ancient monument which lies on the road to Fowey, is believed to date from before the 5th century.

However, it is now destined to be moved after Cornwall Council gave permission for 80 houses to be built on the field next to the site.

Bert Biscoe, a member of Cornwall Council's cabinet, condemned the decision as "cultural violence".

He added: "How dare anybody presume to shift it without good reason – and building a load of mundane houses in its vicinity is not good reason."

The somewhat weather- beaten seven-foot high obelisk is reputed to mark the grave of Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall.

The young nobleman's forbidden love for the fair Iseult, or Isolde, has provided inspiration for poets and storytellers across the world through the centuries.

Its place in the mythology of Cornwall was assured by Richard Carew who, in his Survey of Cornwall in 1602, described how a local man was persuaded a pot of treasure was buried beneath the landmark and tried to dig it up only to be punished by the elements themselves.

He wrote: "In the midst of their toiling... the sky gathereth clouds, the moonlight is overcast with darkness, down falls a mighty shower, up riseth a blustering tempest, the thunder cracketh, the lightning flasheth."

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