Location: Mangerton Mill, Mangerton, near Bridport
Like a cat in a hot tin roof
A mummified cat found in the loft of the mill, was probably placed there as a magic charm to protect the building or mill production from the evil effects of witchcraft.
Earlier this year 2009, contractors working on a house in Devon, England, found a mummified cat that had been secreted in the wall centuries ago. "Cats were often put into walls as some kind of good luck charm....They seem to be designed to keep away witches, the evil eye, bad luck, vermin, anything that can be seen as a threat to the house....It does seem to have been quite a widespread practice across the European continent," explains Dr. Marion Gibson, professor of folklore at Exeter University.
Footnote: Mangerton Mill, Mangerton, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3SG. Situated just outside Bridport, the 17th century working watermill and museum of rural bygones set in a peaceful rural valley on the river Manger. Enjoy coffee, light lunch, homemade cakes, or our speciality, a Dorset Cream tea in our Tea Room or outside while watching the water wheel turning. Open from Good Friday until the end of September. 11.00 - 17.30hrs - Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays (except Bank Holidays). For further details telephone: 01308 485224.
For more information about the history and superstitions that surround folk charms. Visit APOTROPAIOS. It also includes a page on Folk Magic in Dorset. An inventory of concealed finds from the county compiled by Jeremy Harte.