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Archaeology & History

'Witches' marks' found in old church ruins

By T.K. Randall
October 23, 2020 · Comment icon 6 comments



One of the many different designs found at the site. Image Credit: Twitter / HS2 Ltd
Archaeologists have discovered 12th-Century stone markings that were created to ward off evil spirits.
Found at the remains of a church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, the markings exhibit multiple designs, including one that resembles a bicycle wheel (pictured above) and another with multiple points joined at the center with a vaguely circular or flower-like outline around the outside.

Dating back 900 years to medieval times, St Mary's Church was abandoned in 1866 with the construction of a new church closer to the village.

Experts believe that the markings are what are known as witches' marks - special symbols and patterns designed to trap spirits within their endless lines.
"[It is] a fascinating insight into the past," said archaeologist Michael Court. "Discoveries such as these unusual markings have opened up discussions as to their purpose and usage."

Excavations at the site are currently being undertaken in preparation for the construction of the new HS2 railway line which will pass through the area.

Archaeologists have said that the work has revealed "years of heritage and British history."



Source: BBC News | Comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by rashore 2 years ago
That's some fun folklore they discovered, very neat.
Comment icon #2 Posted by keithisco 2 years ago
Interesting...but "Witches" marks?? Not sure about that.The provenance for such a claim is weak at best, but makes for good press.
Comment icon #3 Posted by jaylemurph 2 years ago
No, its a pretty well-defined and documented claim. Ive written articles on them before one just a few years ago when almost exactly similar ones were found in Knole House. I cant find the grown-up, print version right now, but the original I wrote as a PhD candidate is here: https://www.academia.edu/29577375/Playing_with_Power_Witchcraft_Theatre_and_Politics_in_the_Early_Reign_of_James_I_1603_1613_ Jaylemurph
Comment icon #4 Posted by keithisco 2 years ago
Jaylemurhp.....I have the greatest respect for you, but bringing up yourAcademic credentials is not a way of actually proving a position one way or another.
Comment icon #5 Posted by jaylemurph 2 years ago
...then maybe you should /read/ the article. --Jaylemurph
Comment icon #6 Posted by keithisco 2 years ago
I have scanned your article Jaylemurph, whiich is not doing it justice, so will find time to read it fully once time allows.


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