1884.56.3

Naturally perforated stone amulet, nailed to a cottage door against witches by a carter.

Place details: EUROPE. UK. England Wiltshire Rushmore Cranborne Chase. Cultural Group: European English Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Stone / Flint Stone / ?. Processes: Perforated / ?. Dimensions: Max L = 100 mm When Collected: By 1881 Acquired: Donated 1884 PR No.: 540/ 12191

KEYWORD: Amulet / CLASS: Religion / ?.

Publications history, trails & websites: Referred to on page 235 of 'Documents of British Superstition in Oxford (A Lecture Delivered before the Oxford University Anthropological Society, on the 2nd of November, 1949)', by Ellen Ettlinger, in Folklore, Vol. 54, no. 1 (March 1943), pp. 227-49. Ettlinger writes: 'More frequently, however, holed stones were fastened to the house- or byre-door, as is shown in three examples in the Pitt Rivers Museum, to keep away witches and pixies, or just for good luck. The first [1884.56.3] was found nailed to the door of a man called Kimber, who was a carter at Rushmore (near Salisbury), employed by General Pitt Rivers. The second [1896.76.3] served in 1896 in Ballymena (N. Ireland) to prevent pixies from stealing the milk, while the third [1908.11.1], a pebble of black limestone, bored by pholas, was hung behind the door of William Twizel's cottage in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland.' [Unsigned, no date; JC 18 2 2010]