The way old Ye Olde Man & Scythe is cranky about the loss of its spirit, last ‘seen’ haunting a metal jar in an exhibit of Chinese contemporary art in Manchester.
The Ye Olde Man & Scythe in Bolton is one of the UK’s oldest pubs, dating back to at least 1251. It is believed to have long been the home of the Seventh Earl of Derby, James Stanley, who was executed for his part in the ‘Bolton massacre’ of 1644.
That was until Chinese artist Lu Pingyuan came to visit, having seen it on footage going around in 2014. He says he followed it into the pub’s bathroom, and performed an incantation to hold the late Lord Stanley there.
“I told his ghost about my proposal the second time I visited this place and James Stanley agreed that I can put him into a jar in order to exhibit him in galleries and museums alike,” Bolton News reports the artist stating. “Therefore, in this way, he became a piece of art.
“I consider my exhibition at CFCCA to be the beginning of his worldwide trip. After this exhibition, I plan to prepare for the next one in 2017.”
But the pub’s owner, Richard Greenword, is not amused, stating that he should have been consulted before kidnapping the 400-year-old ghost.
“I would have liked to have been privy to your actions and indeed to the exhibition before the ghost of James Stanley was taken out of Bolton, his ties to the town and to Ye Olde Man and Scythe run very deeply,” says Greenwood.
“I feel very strongly that James Stanley’s ghost should remain in Bolton and at Ye Olde Man and Scythe to preserve the natural order of things.”
In an act of reconciliation, Greenwood has offered to further provide Ye Olde Lord Stanley’s ghost with the chair on which he sat and drank in his final hours – so long as both it and the ghost are returned at the end of the world tour.
“I do believe that your exhibition should travel and be seen by many people around the world and I would like to contribute to this as long as at the end of your exhibition it returns home,” he pleaded.
Lu Pingyuan is undecided and thinks Stanley should make up his own mind.
“My original thought is that after the world tour of exhibitions, I will discuss with him and ask him whether he would prefer to stay like this, as a piece of art, or go back to the Ye Olde Man and Scythe.”
Meanwhile, Lord Stanley – aka Lord Strange – remains ‘on display’ in a metal can within the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, in nearby Manchester.