Tuesday 10 February 2009

Pagan white horse is Angel of the South

I've just heard on the BBC news that a giant white horse statue, called The Angel of the South, has been commissioned as a new Kent landmark.

Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger is to construct the statue as part of the Ebbsfleet Landmark Project. Once built, it will stand as high as Nelson's Column - about 164ft - and dominate the north Kent landscape overlooking Eurostar's international station.

A giant white horse seems to me to be the perfect symbol for the spiritual guardian of southern England.

White horses have been important icons since pre-Christian times. Historically, about 24 large white horse figures have been cut into English hillsides.

The oldest white horse in Britain is the Uffington horse, on the Berkshire Downs in Oxfordshire. It was created between 1200 BC and 800 BC in the late Bronze Age and may represent the horse goddess Epona, who was widely worshipped at that time.

The white horse has also been the symbol of Kent for hundreds of years and can be seen on the county council logo.

The Angel of the South project was commissioned by Eurostar, London & Continental Railways and Land Securities, the developers of Ebbsfleet Valley.


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