*ON HOLD - ENQUIRIES WELCOME* Rare Antique 17th Century Witches Post With Numerous Witch Marks & Date Of 1677
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An Extremely Rare 17th Century Carved Witches Post.
*CURRENTLY ON LOAN TO A MUSEUM - ENQUIRIES WELCOME*
The reality of supernatural evil was almost universally acknowledged during the 16th and 17th centuries. Demons, evil spirits and witches were believed to be stalking the land, intent on wickedness.
An extension of these fears was that people sought to ward away the threat of evil from their property. One of the ways they would do this was by carving protective symbols, as graffiti, into the structure’s fabric.
Almost unique to North East Yorkshire, with just one found from neighbouring Lancashire, witches posts are a local superstition where the cross of Saint Andrew is used as a hex sign on one of the fireplace posts or lintels in order to prevent evil from entering through this opening.
The posts were carved at the top with varying degrees of complexity (see museum diagram in photos), but all the designs included at least one X shaped cross. Often there were one or more rolls fashioned beneath it.
There is one on display in Whitby Museum, and another three in The Rydale Folk Museum, with an example of one performing its supporting role by the fireside (see example in photos).
This example not only shows the hex sign and rolls fashioned beneath it, but it has various other witch marks, including a rare ‘meshing’ mark. And, if you look closely enough, you can see the faint engraving of a date which to me, looks very much like 1677.
This was found during a house clearance in Manchester by another antiques dealer and I purchased it from him. It would have originally formed part of a bigger lintel or fireplace post and this section will have been cut out and saved from the original building.
An astonishingly rare find!
Condition is good, commensurate with age and use. Previous owner has treated the wood. Some age related wear to be expected. Structurally sound.
Measures 62cm x 9cm x 5cm
Weighs 1450 grams