Lancashire TelegraphDiscovery at ancient site where Pendle Witches held their coven (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Discovery at ancient site where Pendle Witches held their coven

Lancashire Telegraph: EERIE Simon Entwistle among the ruins of the site that was unearthed. EERIE Simon Entwistle among the ruins of the site that was unearthed.

A CHANCE discovery may have unearthed the ancient site where the Pendle Witches held their infamous coven.

Just ahead of the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witch trials, archaeologists believe the find could be Lancashire’s equivalent of the unearthing of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Engineers undertaking maintenance work on Lower Black Moss reservoir, near Barley, on behalf of United Utilities, came across a mysterious mound and began to probe further.

Underneath the earthworks were the remains of a 17th-century cottage, which could be Malkin Tower, the dwelling where Elizabeth Device held a witches’ gathering on Good Friday in 1612.

And hidden within the walls, possibly to ward off evil spirits, were the remains of mummified cat.

Heritage expert Simon Entwistle, who conducts tours of Pendle Hill and the surrounding area, is convinced the find is linked to the witch trials.

He said: “It is one of those places which historians can’t quite agree upon.

“But it is certainly within the right area.

“This is a place which wanted to be discovered I feel, especially with the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witch Trials.

“This is the epicentre of the story, and if it is is not Malkin Tower, then there is a strong possibility it is linked to one of those involved.”

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Archaeologists have confirmed that the property dates back to the 1600s.

And discussions are set to take place over how the site may be preserved.

Carl Sanders, a United Utilities project manager, said: “It’s not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch’s cat.

“The building is in remarkable condition.

“You can walk through it and get a real sense that you’re peering into the past.”

Mr Entwistle said: “In terms of significance, it’s like discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb.”

Frank Giecco, from Cumbria-based NP Archaeology, led excavations on site at the cottage.

He said: “It’s like discovering your own little Pompei. We rarely get the opportunity to work with something that is so well preserved.

As soon as we started digging, we found the tops of doors, and knew we were onto something special.

“The building is a microcosm for the rise and fall of this area, from the time of the Pendle witches to the industrial age.”

The dig also unearthed a 19th century kitchen range, Victorian crockery, a tin bath and a bedstead.

Comments (21)

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10:13am Thu 8 Dec 11

happycyclist says...

Stick with the story, LT, and keep us informed. This is real Lancashire history!
Stick with the story, LT, and keep us informed. This is real Lancashire history! happycyclist
  • Score: 0

10:22am Thu 8 Dec 11

Keep Darwen Green says...

Why the undertakers uniform? He's bound to say its satans lair himself if it means keeping him in work.
Why the undertakers uniform? He's bound to say its satans lair himself if it means keeping him in work. Keep Darwen Green
  • Score: 0

10:29am Thu 8 Dec 11

happycyclist says...

Keep Darwen Green wrote:
Why the undertakers uniform? He's bound to say its satans lair himself if it means keeping him in work.
That's a Witchfinder General's uniform.
[quote][p][bold]Keep Darwen Green[/bold] wrote: Why the undertakers uniform? He's bound to say its satans lair himself if it means keeping him in work.[/p][/quote]That's a Witchfinder General's uniform. happycyclist
  • Score: 0

10:36am Thu 8 Dec 11

A Darener says...

Surprise! surprise! And what anniversary is coming up soon?
Surprise! surprise! And what anniversary is coming up soon? A Darener
  • Score: 0

10:40am Thu 8 Dec 11

GadgetGirl_2410 says...

excellent piece touching on our history!
excellent piece touching on our history! GadgetGirl_2410
  • Score: 0

10:49am Thu 8 Dec 11

Norm de Plume says...

Unlikely to be a witches' cottage when the mummified cat is supposed to be a charm against being bewitched. Furthermore, if it had been Malking Tower, much would have been made of this in the nineteenth century when Harrison Ainsworth's book was published, and when the cottage was evidently still occupied.
Malking Tower is more likely to have been nearer to the church in Newchurch for various reasons.
Unlikely to be a witches' cottage when the mummified cat is supposed to be a charm against being bewitched. Furthermore, if it had been Malking Tower, much would have been made of this in the nineteenth century when Harrison Ainsworth's book was published, and when the cottage was evidently still occupied. Malking Tower is more likely to have been nearer to the church in Newchurch for various reasons. Norm de Plume
  • Score: 0

10:49am Thu 8 Dec 11

ladysal says...

happycyclist wrote:
Stick with the story, LT, and keep us informed. This is real Lancashire history!
Hear, hear. Please lets us know what the plan is for this site: I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling its going to disappear.
Fantastic timing too.
Apparently, burying a cat in a building was supposed to ward off evil spirits: I think this was a later addition: maybe later inhabitants thought it was Malkin Tower as well and wanted to keep the memory of the witches at bay. Discuss.....
Now all we need is Lancaster castle to open up the witches tower seeing as the prison has moved out and we can start shouting about a welll known piece of our own history.
[quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: Stick with the story, LT, and keep us informed. This is real Lancashire history![/p][/quote]Hear, hear. Please lets us know what the plan is for this site: I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling its going to disappear. Fantastic timing too. Apparently, burying a cat in a building was supposed to ward off evil spirits: I think this was a later addition: maybe later inhabitants thought it was Malkin Tower as well and wanted to keep the memory of the witches at bay. Discuss..... Now all we need is Lancaster castle to open up the witches tower seeing as the prison has moved out and we can start shouting about a welll known piece of our own history. ladysal
  • Score: 0

10:55am Thu 8 Dec 11

Centaur says...

"Discovery at ancient site where Pendle Witches held their coven".

What a load ofsensationalist seeking headlines.
The reporter doesn't even know if the so-called witches lived there!

Reporting! tripe more likely.
"Discovery at ancient site where Pendle Witches held their coven". What a load ofsensationalist seeking headlines. The reporter doesn't even know if the so-called witches lived there! Reporting! tripe more likely. Centaur
  • Score: 0

11:43am Thu 8 Dec 11

Jerzei Balowski says...

Mr Entwistle said: “In terms of significance, it’s like discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb.”

I've told you a hundred trillion times, don't exaggerate.
Mr Entwistle said: “In terms of significance, it’s like discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb.” I've told you a hundred trillion times, don't exaggerate. Jerzei Balowski
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Thu 8 Dec 11

Dan Codd says...

I was very interested in this story as I have recently had a book published on Lancashire's mysteries called Paranormal Lancashire, which naturally tells the full story of the Pendle witches. I suspect the cat may have been immured in the wall as a charm, and is protection against witchcraft: therefore this cottage might have been owned by someone who feared being bewitched, rather than the witch themselves. Furthermore, I always understood Malkin Tower to have stood near Gisburn Old Road, on Blacko Hill Side, north of a 19th century cottage also named Malkin, where I have previously stayed. But the find is a very intriguing one nonetheless - a timely discovery for the upcoming 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches.
I was very interested in this story as I have recently had a book published on Lancashire's mysteries called Paranormal Lancashire, which naturally tells the full story of the Pendle witches. I suspect the cat may have been immured in the wall as a charm, and is protection against witchcraft: therefore this cottage might have been owned by someone who feared being bewitched, rather than the witch themselves. Furthermore, I always understood Malkin Tower to have stood near Gisburn Old Road, on Blacko Hill Side, north of a 19th century cottage also named Malkin, where I have previously stayed. But the find is a very intriguing one nonetheless - a timely discovery for the upcoming 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches. Dan Codd
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Thu 8 Dec 11

bikerjohn_uk says...

Yet another case of the media making something out of nothing - but in age-old tradition why let the truth get in the way of a good story. The fact is that the countryside of East Lancashire is littered with derelict farm houses, outbuildings and cottages. Most were abandoned in the mid 19th century as people migrated into the towns to seek employment in the cotton mills. The proximity of this find to a reservoir, and the fact that it is buried, would suggest that it may have been covered by spoilage from digging out for the dam. The walled-up cat is no more obscure than hanging a horse-shoe over the door. And the location of Malkin tower is already well known - nowhere near this cottage and in any case it was a pele tower, not a labourers' cottage.
Yet another case of the media making something out of nothing - but in age-old tradition why let the truth get in the way of a good story. The fact is that the countryside of East Lancashire is littered with derelict farm houses, outbuildings and cottages. Most were abandoned in the mid 19th century as people migrated into the towns to seek employment in the cotton mills. The proximity of this find to a reservoir, and the fact that it is buried, would suggest that it may have been covered by spoilage from digging out for the dam. The walled-up cat is no more obscure than hanging a horse-shoe over the door. And the location of Malkin tower is already well known - nowhere near this cottage and in any case it was a pele tower, not a labourers' cottage. bikerjohn_uk
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Thu 8 Dec 11

Dave139 says...

Real Lancashire History.
This is a great story keep us up to date with any other findings on this site.
Real Lancashire History. This is a great story keep us up to date with any other findings on this site. Dave139
  • Score: 0

8:10pm Thu 8 Dec 11

Graham Hartley says...

Dave139 wrote:
Real Lancashire History.
This is a great story keep us up to date with any other findings on this site.
Latest report is of a cauldron found in the kitchen; a rusted but trusted artifact.
[quote][p][bold]Dave139[/bold] wrote: Real Lancashire History. This is a great story keep us up to date with any other findings on this site.[/p][/quote]Latest report is of a cauldron found in the kitchen; a rusted but trusted artifact. Graham Hartley
  • Score: 0

12:41am Fri 9 Dec 11

Frank Watson 46 says...

There are many 17th century cottages in this area; were they all inhabited by pendle witches?
It is doubtfull that those poor beggars would live in such a substantial building.
The cat ruputedly dates from 1800, so was probably left there to ward off evil spirits. See my website for more details:- http://ahauntingexpe
rience.co.uk/2011/di
scovery-of-malkin-to
wer/
There are many 17th century cottages in this area; were they all inhabited by pendle witches? It is doubtfull that those poor beggars would live in such a substantial building. The cat ruputedly dates from 1800, so was probably left there to ward off evil spirits. See my website for more details:- http://ahauntingexpe rience.co.uk/2011/di scovery-of-malkin-to wer/ Frank Watson 46
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Fri 9 Dec 11

ossybsting says...

if you dont like it read another paper knob heads
if you dont like it read another paper knob heads ossybsting
  • Score: 1

6:46pm Fri 9 Dec 11

chocky says...

As important as Tutankhamun's tomb..lol..a slight exaggeration, No.
As important as Tutankhamun's tomb..lol..a slight exaggeration, No. chocky
  • Score: 0

7:06pm Fri 9 Dec 11

karolgadge says...

An interesting find, even if there is absolutely no link between the cottage and the Pendle witches. As an enticement to anyone thinking of visiting the Pendle area to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the execution of Demdike, Nutter et al, this could hardly be bettered.
The truth behind the events of 1612 is less well-known and much more prosaic (but no less tragic).

Anyone who has studied the witches trial in Lancaster will know that the only contemporary account by the clerk of the court, Thomas Potts, was a work intended to further the careers of himself and the assize judges.

If King James VI had been less superstitious and not published his own book ('Daemonologie') on the existence of witches, perhaps Potts and co would have been less strenuous in their attempts to root out witchcraft in Lancashire.
An interesting find, even if there is absolutely no link between the cottage and the Pendle witches. As an enticement to anyone thinking of visiting the Pendle area to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the execution of Demdike, Nutter et al, this could hardly be bettered. The truth behind the events of 1612 is less well-known and much more prosaic (but no less tragic). Anyone who has studied the witches trial in Lancaster will know that the only contemporary account by the clerk of the court, Thomas Potts, was a work intended to further the careers of himself and the assize judges. If King James VI had been less superstitious and not published his own book ('Daemonologie') on the existence of witches, perhaps Potts and co would have been less strenuous in their attempts to root out witchcraft in Lancashire. karolgadge
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Sat 10 Dec 11

Eee-Bygum says...

Just hope it's not Pandora's Box for the area!!
There is enough bad luck about without putting a Hex on the place.
Should have been left well alone "Don't Go On The Moors"
Just hope it's not Pandora's Box for the area!! There is enough bad luck about without putting a Hex on the place. Should have been left well alone "Don't Go On The Moors" Eee-Bygum
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Sat 10 Dec 11

Eee-Bygum says...

Just hope it's not Pandora's Box for the area!!
There is enough bad luck about without putting a Hex on the place.
Should have been left well alone "Don't Go On The Moors"
Just hope it's not Pandora's Box for the area!! There is enough bad luck about without putting a Hex on the place. Should have been left well alone "Don't Go On The Moors" Eee-Bygum
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Sun 11 Dec 11

Lifeinthemix says...

talk about lame....all country folk are aware of the reason animals are placed in the walls, it has nowt to do with demdike....

pendle getting desperate digging up a clear cae of witch hunts and landownership....
talk about lame....all country folk are aware of the reason animals are placed in the walls, it has nowt to do with demdike.... pendle getting desperate digging up a clear cae of witch hunts and landownership.... Lifeinthemix
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Sun 18 Dec 11

Jennie Lee Cobban says...

There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that this cottage was Malkin Tower, the legendary home of Mother Demdike and her extended witch family as alleged in various press stories. As others have commented, dried cats are a well-known apotropaic device, which probably acted as spiritual guardians of domestic buildings and were designed to protect them AGAINST witches and evil spirits. We have many examples of anti-witch artefacts on record in the Pendle area but, having researched this subject as a graduate archaeolog¬ist for over twenty years, this is, as far as I know, the only example of a dried cat we know about in Lancashire¬. (If you know better, please let me know.) An exciting enough find in the archaeolog¬y of ritual and magic without all these ludicrous comments about Malkin Tower and, for Pete's sake, Tutankhamu¬n's tomb! (Jennie Lee Cobban, author, The Lure of the Lancashire Witches.)
There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that this cottage was Malkin Tower, the legendary home of Mother Demdike and her extended witch family as alleged in various press stories. As others have commented, dried cats are a well-known apotropaic device, which probably acted as spiritual guardians of domestic buildings and were designed to protect them AGAINST witches and evil spirits. We have many examples of anti-witch artefacts on record in the Pendle area but, having researched this subject as a graduate archaeolog¬ist for over twenty years, this is, as far as I know, the only example of a dried cat we know about in Lancashire¬. (If you know better, please let me know.) An exciting enough find in the archaeolog¬y of ritual and magic without all these ludicrous comments about Malkin Tower and, for Pete's sake, Tutankhamu¬n's tomb! (Jennie Lee Cobban, author, The Lure of the Lancashire Witches.) Jennie Lee Cobban
  • Score: 0

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