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The White Lady's Nose

Few people know that the Statue of the White Lady in front of Lancaster Priory originally showed the young woman picking her nose. She had absent-mindedly poked a delicate finger up her left nostril just as the stone-mason was finishing off her face. To fix the mistake, the mason would have had to completely start afresh so he kept the nose picking and everyone quietly pretended the statue looked very nice.

However, the family of the young woman were deeply relieved when, several years later, the nose-picking statue was vandalised. As you can see if you visit today, The White Lady has lost her head and her left hand (as well as all of her toes).

Over the years, the people of Lancaster began to miss their unique landmark. In 1958, a campaign was launched to find the White Lady’s missing parts. It had been known that for many years, the left hand was owned by a Dr Horatio Lonsdale of 23 Castle Grove. He attached the hand to a pole and used it as a back scratcher. The head has had various uses over the years including as a door stop at the Ye Olde John O’Gaunt pub and a paperweight in the Crown Court in the castle. There is even a stone head at the Priory Church itself which some people have erroneously claimed belongs to the White Lady. However, this head is clearly a fake as it depicts no nose picking at all. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of the real head, hand and toes have been lost to history.

The White Lady’s missing parts may lie forgotten at the back of some dusty cupboard or even in some dark corner of your own attic. The good people of The White Lady Preservation Society urge anyone with knowledge of her missing parts to come forward.  Perhaps one day, the head and the hand and the toes will be found and the statue will be restored to its original and unique splendour.

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