**RESERVED FOR MATT** Rare 17th Century Witch Trial Leg Iron Rector Of Somerford, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
A Rare 17th Century Leg Iron. But What’s Unusual About This Leg Iron Is That It’s Engraved With The Name And Parish Of A Priest.
The engraving reads ‘Edmund Wayt Rector of Somerford near Malmsbury in Wilts’.
Interestingly, Malmesbury is where the infamous Wiltshire Witch Trials took place during the 17th century.
Malmesbury was notorious as a hotbed of witchcraft throughout the 17th century. In 1672, the town was in uproar because many townsfolk were convinced that a coven of witches was active in their midst and was murdering children by witchcraft. A local magistrate called James Long interrogated 14 suspected witches and sent some of them to Salisbury for trial.
At the trial, two women – Anne Tilling and Judith Witchell – were found guilty and were then hanged.
On closer inspection of the iron you’ll see there are some unusual symbols engraved onto it which look very similar to ‘Witch Marks’.
‘Witch Marks’ were usually scribed onto stone or woodwork near a building’s entrance points, particularly doorways, windows and fireplaces, to protect inhabitants and visitors from witches and evil spirits.
During this period religious figures had a great deal to do with the arresting and trialling of suspected witches, and did at times hold them in cells within the church buildings.
Could this leg iron have been used in the arresting and trialling of witches during the 17th Century…?
Or, was it perhaps Edmund Wayt himself who was arrested. The 16th and 17th centuries were periods of intense religious reform and consequently, dissent. So, could Edmund Wayt have been a dissenter himself?
This is a very rare and important piece of social history for the area of Wiltshire and is one surrounded in intrigue and mystery…
Condition is good, commensurate with age and use.
Measures 12.5cm x 10cm x 2cm
Weighs 450 grams