The Apotropaic "Witch posts" of Early Modern Yorkshire: A Contextualization

In houses in Yorkshire there remain carved posts of some antiquity, marked with a distinct X, whose provenance is unknown. These are known locally as "witch posts." Understanding these as examples of apotropaic folk-belief is recommended by contemporary accounts of the necessity of protect...

Full description

Saved in:  
Bibliographic Details
Published in:Material religion
Main Author: Angus, Bill
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Check availability: HBZ Gateway
Journals Online & Print:
Drawer...
Published: Taylor & Francis [2018]
In: Material religion
Year: 2018, Volume: 14, Issue: 1, Pages: 55-82
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B York / Popular belief / House / Apotropaic object
IxTheo Classification:AG Religious life; material religion
KBF British Isles
Further subjects:B Witchcraft
B Yorkshire
B Apotropaic
B saltire cross
B witch posts
B church magic
B Early Modern
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
Description
Summary:In houses in Yorkshire there remain carved posts of some antiquity, marked with a distinct X, whose provenance is unknown. These are known locally as "witch posts." Understanding these as examples of apotropaic folk-belief is recommended by contemporary accounts of the necessity of protection against evil by charms, images, and objects. Such beliefs were not only not marginal but actively encouraged by both traditional church practices and a Neoplatonic conception of the potency of words, incantations, and charms in physical and spiritual matters. That these ideas have resisted the pressure of the skeptical and rational discourses with which they have been approached is partly testament to the shifting signification of the posts themselves.
ISSN:1751-8342
Contains:Enthalten in: Material religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/17432200.2017.1418477