Limestone pebble hung behind a door as a lucky stone.
Place details: EUROPE. UK. England Northumberland Newbiggin-by-the-sea. Cultural Group: European English Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Limestone Stone / String / ?. Processes: ?. Dimensions: Max L = 41 mm When Collected: February 1908 Acquired: Donated February 1908
KEYWORD: Amulet / Stone / CLASS: Religion / Ornament / Dwelling / Geology / ?.
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]
Discussed in detail in ‘A Fisherman’s “Lucky Stone” from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland’, by Eric Edwards, in the ‘Object Biographies’ section of England: The Other Within—Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (2008–), online at http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/. [JC 24 1 2011]