Northampton

Ancient anti-witchcraft potion found at old Northamptonshire pub

The suspected witch bottle is believed to date back to the 19th Century Image copyright Supplied photo
Image caption The suspected witch bottle is believed to date back to the 19th Century

A Victorian bottle thought to have been used to ward off evil spells has been found at the birthplace of a "witch".

Angeline Tubbs, known as the Witch of Saratoga, was born at the former Star and Garter Inn, in Watford village, Northamptonshire, in about 1761.

She is still the subject of ghost tours at Saratoga Springs in New York, where she moved, aged 15, and told fortunes.

The 19th Century bottle was found during roof repairs and contains fish hooks, human teeth, glass and a liquid.

Image copyright Supplied photo
Image caption The glass vessel was found when a chimney was demolished at a former village pub

It appeared when a chimney was demolished at the building, which is now a residential property.

The owner, who did not want to be named, said: "I will probably hide it away again for someone to find in another 100 years or so."

'Fascinating find'

Witch bottle researchers at the Museum of London Archaeology said the glass or stone vessels were believed to have been used as objects for protection or as the containers of a cure against witchcraft.

They have been found beneath the floors of historic buildings, on archaeological sites, in churchyards and riverbanks and usually contained pins and nails, but sometimes also urine.

More than 100 examples were already known to have been unearthed, mostly from the 17th Century.

As many as 300 people were executed for witchcraft in eastern England between 1644 and 1646. The laws against witchcraft were repealed almost a century later, in 1736.

Glass torpedo bottles, such as the one found in Northamptonshire, began to be made from about 1830 and held carbonated drinks.

Dr Ceri Houlbrook, lecturer in folklore and history at the University of Hertfordshire said: "It's certainly later than most witch bottles, so sadly not contemporary with Angeline Tubbs, but still a fascinating find."

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