Owdo me owd butties, I thought that you might care for some information on witches.
"Over thick,over thin till we come to Hedgemore's ind"
The above rhyme is recited by all the witches at the start of each sabbat (meeting), one unfortunate witch said “through” instead of “over” and she was immediately dragged through the mire, and torn and draggled almus to bits.
Although possibly at the Stiperstones the actual site of Hedgemore’s Ind (or hag’smoor end) has bin lost to time. Witches are known to hold their sabbats upon the Stiperstones and Owd Nick, the devil himself sat in his chair presiding .
So how do we protect ourselves frum witches? In some owd cottages, in South Shropshire, hearthstones and doorsteps have patterns on them to ward off witches and owd Nick.Some say witches can only be hurt by a silver bullet but they can be driven away with an Elder tree whip, chimbly sweeps are able to sweep away witches and this is why it is considered gud luck to see one on your wedding day.
Horseshoes and silver are hung up to ward away witches and their evil spirits. This practice is still to be seen above stable doors although folks canna decide which way up the horse shoes shud hang. Some say they mun (must) be pointing up’ards so that the luck dunna run out whilst others say they mun point down’ards so that the witches canna rest in ’em.
Foxgloves are also known as folks-gloves and witches-gloves and it was after witnessing a witch, treating summon with dropsy by givin’ ’em a foxglove herbal tea, that Wellington’s Dr William Withering discovered digitalis.
Only two fields in the whole of Shropshire were named “Witches field” , one in Quatford and one in Uppington.
The term “hag-ridden” is used to describe ‘osses in the mornin’ when they are sweaty with messy manes ‘n’ tails. Witches ride them all night leaving ’em exhausted and terrorised. Messy manes are called witches’ stirrups.
Talking of hag-ridden, a waggoner who was sufferin’ frum this was towd by a wise oomon that it was due to a witch, he watched one night, never saw any witches but noticed a piece of straw on his ‘oss, he said a charm that the wise oomon had shared with him and threw it on the fire, as it ignited a witch was seen disappearing up the chimbly – Byegones 24/4/1871.
In Byegones 8/1/1896 it was reported that farmers ‘ould place a wooden peg cut frum a Rowan or Mountain Ash on their oxen’s yokes to prevent witches riding ’em.
I dunna know why sorry but in North East Shropshire grain storage bins are known as witches.
Pleachers/ hedgelayers ‘ould leave their tools sticking up’ards on top of hedges to stop witches riding along ’em.
BURNING THE WITCH
Now i dunna know if this is still practiced as I anna heard of it since 1910 but towards six in the evening, farmers ‘ould go into a wheat field and light a circle of twelve bonfires around one larger bonfire, the latter fire was known as “owd Meg” or “the Witch”. The men ‘ould form a ring around the witch singing, cheering and toasting one another with cider, this is known as burning the witch and was done to make sure of a gud crop.
on May eve households in Shrewsbury and Edgmond decorate their door frames with Marsh Marigolds (May flowers), Birch and Mountain Ash to ward off witches.
Well that’s enough chunnerin frum me, i’m off to bob for opples, the witches dunna like wayter, make sure that you dunna use pears mind as they sink. Thank’ee most kindly to anyone who has made it this far, now run along and play nicely.
dunna have nightmares.