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At least HE'S got PPE! Ancient Cerne Abbas chalk giant is given face mask by lockdown vandals

At least HE'S got PPE! Ancient Cerne Abbas chalk giant is given face mask by lockdown vandals
  • Kevin Knight, 43, spotted the unauthorised alteration on Saturday morning  
  • The Dorset hillside carving was defaced on Friday night during the lockdown 
  • 'We don’t encourage the defacing of the Giant' says the National Trust
A famous hillside carving of a naked giant has been updated with a medical mask during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Cerne Abbas Giant is a 180-foot chalk figure holding a club which overlooks the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England.
The giant is believed to have been vandalised last Friday and was spotted on Saturday by Kevin Knight, 43, from his home.
He joked the mask would be good for protecting the other villagers and would cheers up residents in the care home overlooking the hillside.
The famous 180-foot Cerne Abbas Giant chalk carving in Dorset was given a face mask by lockdown vandals
The famous 180-foot Cerne Abbas Giant chalk carving in Dorset was given a face mask by lockdown vandals
The mysterious huge figure normally appears brandishing a club above his head and naked, but the unauthorised alteration was spotted on Saturday morning by Kevin Knight, 43
The mysterious huge figure normally appears brandishing a club above his head and naked, but the unauthorised alteration was spotted on Saturday morning by Kevin Knight, 43
Kevin Tweeted: 'Great to see Cerne Abbas Giant practicing social distancing, wearing his face mask and keeping up villagers morale.'
He said: 'I look out of my kitchen window and see the giant every day.
'I woke up on Saturday morning at about 6am and was about to take the dog for her walk when I noticed that the giant had started wearing a medical face mask, perhaps to protect himself or villagers.
'It has been the talk of the village, and sure has lifted everyone's spirits. Right opposite the Giant is a care home - I'm sure they would have loved it.'
The figure is owned by the National Trust after it was donated by the Pitt-Rivers family in 1920. People are not normally allowed near the site to avoid erosion
Cerne Abbas is located 7.8 miles north of Dorchester in Dorset and the giant brings in tourism to the village
Cerne Abbas is located 7.8 miles north of Dorchester in Dorset and the giant brings in tourism to the village
The origins and purpose of Britain's largest chalk hill figure remain shrouded in mystery.
It was gifted to the National Trust in 1920 by the Pitt-Rivers family and is not normally accessible to the public in order to prevent erosion.
The penis was adorned with petals and leaves in 2019, while two years earlier the name 'Theresa' and a tennis racquet were added on separate occasions. 
The National Trust said: ‘While we understand the public’s ongoing concern about coronavirus, we don’t encourage the defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant. 
‘Any such action may damage this fragile site, whether by someone physically attaching something to him or giving the impression of having done so, as this may encourage others. 
The origins of the carving remain unclear, with some debating whether it is supposed to represent Hercules or Oliver Cromwell
Local families help the National Trust renovate the carving in August 2019, trimming the edges of the carving and adding fresh chalk
Local families help the National Trust renovate the carving in August 2019, trimming the edges of the carving and adding fresh chalk
‘The giant is protected as both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and as part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its important chalk grassland which supports wild flowers, butterflies and other wildlife.’
The giant was refreshed for the first time in 11 years last, with a team of volunteers hammering in 17 tonnes of new chalk by hand to counteract weathering.
There has been debate as to whether the giant resembles an ancient spirituality symbol, the Greco-Roman hero Hercules or if it is a caricature of Oliver Cromwell.
Some say the club is a reference to repressive rule, while the giant phallus has been said to be a mockery of Cromwell's puritanism.
Local folklore has long held it to be a fertility aid and the earliest recorded mention of the giant dates from 1694. 

What do we know about the Cerne Abbas Giant? 

 The Cerne Abbas Giant is a chalk figure of an enormous naked man wielding a club carved into the side of a hill in Dorchester, England.
The giant is one of a number of presumably ancient hill figures that dot the English countryside, such as the Long Man of Wilmington and the White Horse of Uffington.
The Cerne Abbas giant is uniquely distinctive because of the enormous erect phallus that he sports.
The figure is 180 feet (55 metres) tall and the club he carries is 120 feet (36 metres) long.
The giant occupies a treasured place in British culture. He's widely believed to have been carved thousands of years ago.
Folklore suggests he's an ancient fertility god, possessing the power to make childless women pregnant.
Postcards of him are the only images of a naked man accepted by the British post office.
But in recent years historians have suggested that the Giant may date only to the seventeenth-century, since the first written reference to it only dates to 1694.
Furthermore, its creation may have been a prank, they suggest.

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