First he gets cruelly (and, many would say, unfairly) evicted, and then he finds his home crammed full of 35,000 half-cut hippies, and not the odd copper on patrol. It’s enough to make a reincarnated Medieval King hang up his cloaks for good. But King Arthur Pendragon is not going to let a little thing like being evicted stand in his way.
Pendragon’s home is a campervan parked on a byway 12, which is known locally as the Netheravon coach road, beside Stonehenge – the closest you can get to the stones without a ticket from English Heritage. There is no formal law against parking campervans on this road, and it seems that other visitors (presumably the ones who are just popping in to buy plastic Stonehenge pencil sharpeners from the English Heritage gift shop) are allowed to set up temporary home there.
The terms of Pendragon’s eviction order were that he had until 3rd May this year to pack up and leave, but the date passed without a move. In an interview with The Guardian last month, he stated that he has no intention of leaving his post as head protester at Stonehenge.
He says: “I am still here so I am in breach of the order as they see it but I have as much right as anyone else to be here. I am not blocking the byway; other tourists park along there. I am not going to go, I am battening down the hatches and continuing my lawful right to protest and my equal right to religious practice.”
Liveleak reported the weak counter-response from Stephen Helsby, Wiltshire Council’s Highways Enforcement and Traveller Services Manager: “This ancient byway is open to all traffic. Wiltshire Council, in its capacity as local highway authority, has a duty to maintain everybody’s right to use its full width without interruption or other obstruction.
“The council strives to protect all of its public rights of way from trespass and that includes byway 12, which is situated at the heart of this important world heritage site.”
As you’d expect, King Arthur Pendragon was at the front of the queue when Stonehenge was opened up to the public yesterday for the summer solstice. Like a prisoner on day release for his birthday, he got to enjoy the full comforts of his spiritual home for a few precious hours, before being hauled back off-site by the authorities. You might expect the rebel protester to use the opportunity to make a grand political statement, but reports are that he was on his best behaviour. In a BBC interview this morning he praised the good natured approach of the police and stated that “everything’s passed off very jovially and everyone’s in a good mood”
He’s obviously hoping to be let back in early, for good behaviour.