Witch Pot contents

Contributed by Carolyn Kokta

The contents were in a decaying metal container and hidden deep inside the inglenook of my house. They comprise various pieces of fabric from clothing of the family members, possibly a sleeve fragment, some fine fabric and some fingers from a glove, plus some small bones believed to be of a cat. The whole was placed behind the chimney to prevent witches and/or evil spirits from entering the house and causing the family harm. The house is believed to have been built in the 1500s and upgraded between 1600-1650 at the time when the fear of witches was most profound. The object remained hidden until the renovation of the house in 2000 and links the families of the home across four centuries. It demonstrates a belief in the power of the supernatural even during a time of deep Christian belief. It is representative of a once fairly widespread practice of hiding objects, often bones and clothing, in doorways and fireplaces to protect the household. It is a illustrative of a primitive belief and fear of the power of evil and the mass hysteria of the culture of witches which has been illustrated in our own time in work of the playwright Arthur Miller, The Crucible.

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Clay Coton, Northamptonshire


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