1910.18.1 .1 1910.18.1 .2 1910.18.1 .3 1910.18.1 .4

Frechen stoneware Bartmann (aka 'Bellarmine', 'Greybeard') jug [.1] containing cloth heart stuck with pins [.2] , hair [.3] and a cork stopper [.4] used for magic. [SM 30/01/2008; JC 7 11 2008; 26 9 2013]

Place details: EUROPE. UK. England London City of Westminster. Cultural Group: European English Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Pottery / Textile / Metal / Human Hair / Human Body Part / Cork Plant / ?. Processes: Glazed / Woven / Thrown / Moulded / ?. Colour: Yellow / brown Dimensions: H = 220 mm Diam of rim = 41 mm Diam of base = 60 mm Max circumference = 400 mm When Collected: Excavated 1904 Acquired: Donated July 1910

KEYWORD: Vessel / Religious Object / Jug / Amulet / CLASS: Vessel / Religion / Pottery / Religion / ?.

Object description: Frechen stoneware Bartmann (aka 'Bellarmine', 'Greybeard') jug [.1] containing cloth heart stuck with pins [.2] , hair [.3] and a cork stopper [.4] used for magic. The vessel has a brown glaze. It has a bulbous body and tapers to a narrow neck and mouth. The handle has been broken off. The front of the vessel is impressed an image of a bearded man and a smaller oval image of a two headed griffin. The heart [.2] is made from brown textiles and is stuck with several pins in the centre. The hair [.3] is red/brown and has small amounts of fingernail caught in it. [SM 30/01/2008]

Publications history, trails & websites: Discussed by the collector, Edward Warren, on pages 155/6 of his 'Notes on a Bridge over the Mill Stream of Westminster Abbey, and Discoveries in Connection Therewith', in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London (second series, Vol. XX, pp. 150-57): 'The most interesting find has been No. 19, the "Gray beard" jug with its contents. When found and purchased by me it was stoppered down with a cork; upon opening it, and washing out the contents, there was found within it the objects here exhibited, viz. (i) a small piece of cloth or serge, formerly red, cut carefully and neatly into a heart shape, and stuck full of brass round-headed pins, each pin bent; and (ii) a small quantity of hair, ostensibly human, and small finger nail parings. I think there can be little doubt as to the nature of this deposit inside a corked jug, found in the clay of the Mill / stream bank. It is a malevolent charm, the intended victim of which was a woman, and it is perhaps permissible to surmise that the depositor and evil-wisher was of the same sex. Perhaps a maidservant who had a grudge against her mistress, and who could easily obtain the clippings and prunings of her toilet....'. A photograph of the cloth stuck with pins appears on page 155: 'Cloth and Pings Forming Part of a Charm'. (Photocopy in RDF.) [JC 4 12 2007]

Discussed on page 247 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: 'The next example will give us an interesting combination of Imitative and Contagious Magic; according to the latter, whatever is done to a material object will affect the person with whom the object was once in contact. In the Pitt Rivers Museum is a grey-beard jug found in 1904 in the bed of an old mill stream course in Westminster. "It was stupped down with a cork; on opening it, there was found within it (1) a small piece of cloth or serge, formerly red, cut carefully and neatly into a heart shape, and stuck full of brass round-headed pins, each pin bent; and (2) a small quantity of human hair, and some small finger nail parings." It was obviously a malevolent charm, but we shall never know whether E. P. Warren is right in believing that it was deposited by a maid-servant, who had a grudge against her mistress, because no one else could obtain the clippings and prunings of the lady's toilet so easily.' Footnote 95 on the same page reads: 'Grey-beard-jugs represent between 1550-1650 one of the commonest forms of ale-jugs or wine-bottles in use. E. P. Warren in Proc. Soc. Ant. London, 2nd series, vol. xx pp. 155-6.' [Unsigned, no date; JC 17 10 2007]

Illustrated in black and white in a plate opposite page 117 of Death and Enchantment: An Examination of Ancient and Modern Witchcraft, by Julian Franklyn (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1971): 'WHITE WITCHCRAFT: a witch-bottle and its contents, namely, a heart-shaped piece of fabric pierced with pins, a mass of human hair and some nail-parings. A number of such bottles have been excavated from London building sites but they are as a rule empty. In this example the cork was intact, hence the preservation of the contents. In the seventeenth century they were prepared by white witches as a form of counter-magic, to inhibit malefic witchcraft from their clients, but it is interesting to observe so little difference between the methods employed.' [EB 30/10/2001; JC 18 10 2007]

Illustrated in black and white as figure 53 on page 165 (and on the dust-jacket) of The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, by Ralph Merrifield (London: Batsford, 1987). Caption (same page) reads: 'Bellarmine witch-bottle, with cork and contents (hair, nail-parings and cloth heart pierced with pins), 1650-1700, found in bed of old mill-stream, Great College Street, Westminster...'. Merrifield briefly discusses the witch-bottle on page 163: 'a bellarmine found at a depth of 3,5m (10-11ft) below street level at the corner of Great College Street and Tufton Street, in the course of an old mill-stream that is followed by the line of Great College Street. It was corked, and contained a piece of cloth cut into the shape of a heart, in which bent pins were stuck, together with some human hair and nail parings. For Merrifield's account of 'witch-bottles more generally, see pp. 163-75. [MdeA 18/2/99; JC 18 10 2007, 4 12 2007]

Illustrated in black and white as figure 4.46 on page 139 of German Stoneware 1200-1900: Archaeology and Cultural History - Containing a Guide to the Collections of the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and Museum of London, by David Gaimster (London: British Museum Press, 1997). Caption (same page) reads: 'Bartmann bottle ("witch-bottle") with its contents found at Great College Street, London. Such bottles were buried in houses with a range of organic materials and personal items which were designed to act as a protective charm or as an antidote to witchcraft...'. (Gaimster also discusses such bottles in his main text; see photocopy in RDF.) [MdeA 18/2/1999; JC 18 10 2007, 30 11 2007]

Illustrated in black and white as Figure 3.10 on page 169 of Shakespearean Maternities: Crises of Conception in Early Modern England, by Chris Laoutaris (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008). Caption (same page) reads: 'Seventeenth-century with-bottle recovered from a mill-stream near Great College Street, Westminster, containing human hair, nail-clippings and a heart cut out of cloth inserted with pins....'. In the related text (pp. 167/9), Laoutaris writes: 'Another bottle, probably of a similar age, recovered from a mill-stream near Great College Street, Westminster, / concealed other enigmatic objects. These were human hair and nail-clippings as well as a heart cut out of cloth (probably made from the victim's own clothing) in which pins had been inserted.' [JC 10 7 2008]