|Alice failed to sniff out any witches during our visit to Knole...|
Our visit to Knole, in Sevenoaks, the other week jogged memories of this fascinating tale from The Guardian about "witch marks" being found during the current large-scale restoration of the centuries-old property.
The marks were supposedly made to ward the house against witches, demons, and other evil spirits, possibly ahead of a visit by King James I, in the wake of the foiled Gunpowder Plot.
The article states:
The marks, made in the enormous oak beams on the sides facing the fireplace – for the superstitious, a known weak spot in defence against witches – include scorch marks made with a candle flame before the timbers were installed, carved tangles of Vs and Ws invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, and maze-like marks known as demon traps, intended to trap the malevolent spirits which would follow the lines and be unable to find their way back out.The National Trust has its own take on the witch marks at Knole.