400-year-old Pendle witch cottage discovered

 Media Images 57197000 Jpg  57197557 Pendle

A construction project in Lancanshire, northern England has uncovered a 17th century cottage that archeologists think was the home of one of the Pendle witches who in 1612 were famously tried for murdering ten people with "witchcraft." One of the accused was found innocent and ten were executed by hanging. According to the BBC News, the newly-unearthed cottage contains "a sealed room, with the bones of a cat bricked into the wall." From the BBC News:

It is believed the cat was buried alive to protect the cottage's inhabitants from evil spirits...

Simon Entwistle, an expert on the Pendle witches, said: "In terms of significance, it's like discovering Tutankhamen's tomb.

"We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country. This could well be the famous Malkin Tower - which has been a source of speculation and rumor for centuries.

"Cats feature prominently in folklore about witches. Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was clearly seeking protection from evil spirits."

"'Witch's cottage' unearthed near Pendle Hill, Lancashire" (via Fortean Times)


    1. Heh.  Even though the ‘witches’ died over 399 years ago (and 5 mins walk from where I’m sitting right now ;) ), that won’t be enough to save ’em from the wrath of the Internet.

  1. “Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was clearly seeking protection from evil spirits.”

    Clearly. I mean, it’s totally obvious.

    1. She didn’t die from being hung or set on fire?

      I was pretty sure that the way they found you inocent was based on you being dead so I thought that was kind of weird as well.

  2. The “cat in the wall” thing for good luck I hear is still pretty common in construction (not just for witches abodes) whether it’s talked about very much. Cats are on most construction sites hunting mice and some construction guys are dicks and believe the myth. It’s why you can find so many petrified cats in antique shops.

    1. Yeah, I’m not seeing any link between this and a witch, except the most tenuous. Still, it’s good PR for them to claim a link, might get some archaeological research funding, and doesn’t hurt anyone apart from possibly a few facts getting bent.

    2. Pendle is a great place for a spooky visit, but apart from the grave of top witch Alice Nutter – actually, I  don’t even think it’s even her grave, just some other nutter – and a local shop or two selling pointy hats there’s very little to see.

      It’s a PR stunt, the local tourist officer /’historian’ / shop owner that came up with this was challenged about this on the local news yesterday and was clearly full of bs

    3. In Der Schimmelreiter they try to bury a live dog in the dike for good luck. It was a superstition I never heard of before that book.

  3. The cat in the wall thing reminded me of several years ago when they were tearing down the old Boston Gardens, they came across the skeleton of a monkey, way up high in the rafters. It had apparently escaped during a circus back in the 1940’s and had lived there a while.

  4. The title is a bit sensationalist. The archaeologist in the BBC video emphasizes that there’s no particular evidence found yet which links the cottage to any witches. Cats in walls wasn’t something only witches did.

  5. They MUST have been witches because they’d have needed magic time travelling broomsticks to fly forward a century and a bit into at least the 1720s to get one of them there cast iron range thingies in the photo which weren’t the sort of kit you could get in a cottage, or anywhere else in 1612. So there.

  6. The cat thing is fucked. Kittens stuck in a wall provided one of the most horrific lessons of my childhood. I am still haunted by their desperate meowing as they slowly starved to death. And now I’m crying and smell death.

    1. Wow.  I really didn’t need to know about that.  :-(  Situations like that is why the FSM invented sledgehammers.

  7. That is an oven in the shot, yes? Probably they used it for roasting the small children they caught nibbling on the gingerbread walls of the cottage.

    The photo has lovely light, by the by.

Comments are closed.