Woolsacks are hanging from the Bradford Cathedral bell tower once again - more than 350 years after they were strung up around the outside to protect it from cannon fire.

During the English Civil War, the sacks were used in the 1642 Bradford Siege to prevent damage being caused by Royalist cannonballs.

And this month - as part of an exhibition by Bradford-based artist network CART - hessian sacks are adorning the inside of the tower with fragments of Aramaic script, the ancient language of the time of Christ, also featuring.

The piece, called Blessed, hangs 30 feet from the bell tower into the cathedral.

Creator Pippa Julings said: "There is clearly an element of the Bradford psyche that associates sacking with protection.

"I didn't actually know about the history involving woolsacks when I made it.

"It's a part of the artistic process. You make a piece, and then people attach different meanings and associations to it."

The exhibition explores the theme of Hope, to coincide with the national Hope 2008 campaign, which brings members of different churches together to help people in their communities.

And co-incidentally, 2008 marks the 500th birthday of the bell tower so cathedral staff are pleased to welcome the group to mark the special occasion.

The Dean of Bradford, Dr David Ison, said: "We are delighted to be able to host this important exhibition at the cathedral. Creative art is an excellent way of opening spiritual doors and beginning to ask questions."

Artworks range from video and pottery to mobiles, paper-making and paintings.

A preview evening held on Saturday featured performances by CART members Caroline Moore, who read poetry, and storyteller Fed Stone.

Artist Steve Rayner, of Guiseley, said: "It's a great opportunity for artists whose work is based in faith or spirituality to show together, and for the many users of the cathedral to see that there is a wealth and diversity of local artists working to the highest professional standards."

The exhibition runs until Saturday, May 31, from 9.30am to 4.30pm Mondays to Saturdays, except for bank holidays.

e-mail: tanya.orourke@telegraphandargus.co.uk

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