Amulet - a loop of Rowan tree. [DCF Court Team 23/1/2003]

Place details: EUROPE. UK. England North Yorkshire Grosmont [Esk Valley]. Cultural Group: European English Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Wood Plant / ?. Processes: ?. Dimensions: Max L = 70 mm When Collected: By 1893 Acquired: Donated 28 February 1893

KEYWORD: Religious Object / Amulet / CLASS: Religion / ?Ornament / ?.

Publications history, trails & websites: Mentioned in Ellen Ettlinger, Folklore vol 54, no. 1, (March 1943) pp 227-249, 'Equally common prophylactics in Great Britain are rowan-tree-amulets, two different forms of which can be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum, namely crosses and loops. The rowan-tree-crosses, "made by an old man in Corgarff, Strathdon Aberdeen about 1893" were put into every opening in the house to secure the inhabitants from the intrusion of witches.[Rev Walter Gregor in the International Folklore Congress p 451] In this case the protective power of the rowan-tree itself is enhanced by the sacred form of the cross. Regarding the rowan-tree-loops, the efficacy of the material was intensified by a magical rite, for we learn that "two of them were fixed as protection against witches on the railing of Dr Alexander's house in Castleton, Yorks., and a third one on a gate spike before the church porch by a horseman who turned his horse thrice before setting each loop. [Information from PRM according to Canon Atkinson]' [p.238]