Millennium Subway

Millennium Subway

Location Carlisle

Grid Ref NY 398561


The millennium subway, opened in summer 2001, links Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery with Carlisle Castle. It contains on one side the listening wall, which also forms the outer wall of the new Millennium gallery at Tullie House, and on the other the metal wall, which contains various metal items depicting the history of Carlisle.


Specially commissioned art features here are: a Steel Wall set with industrial artefacts (by Russell Coleman); a granite pavement inscribed with Border reiver family names and the ‘Bishop’s Stone’, a 2.5 metre boulder (by Gordon Young) inscribed with part of the Archbishop of Glasgow’s stupendous curse upon the reivers.



The colourfully worded curse was originally issued 500 years ago by the then Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar, against English and Scottish sheep rustlers and robbers who terrorised the border country, and condemning the “reivers” to the torments of hell. Priests in the pulpits of every parish in what is now Cumbria, Northumberland, the Borders, and Dumfries and Galloway read it aloud to congregations. An extract reads:


‘I curse thair heid and all the haris of thair heid; I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise thair toung, thair teith, thair crag, thair schulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thair leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of thair heid to the soill of thair feit, befoir and behind, within and without.


‘I condemn thaim perpetualie to the deip pit of hell, remain with Lucifer and all his fallowis, and thair bodeis to the gallowis of the Burrow Mure, first to be hangit, syne revin and ruggit with doggis, swyne, and utheriswyld beists, abhominable to all the warld. And their candillis gangis frae your sicht, as mot their saulis gang fra the visage of God, and thair gude faim fra the warld, quhill thai forbeir thair oppin synnys foirsaidis and ryse frae this terribill cursing, and mak satisfaction and pennance.’


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