Record Details

NHER Number:20034
Type of record:Building
Name:Church Farm and post medieval witch bottle


An 18th century former farmhouse and associated barns and buildings, together with a cottage in which a witch bottle was found under a hearth during renovation work in 1976. The bottle, which dated to the late 17th century and contained various items, including fragments of a 15th or 16th century devotional book, was designed to ward off evil spirits.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3133 0314
Map Sheet:TG30SW

Full description

1976. Found 450mm deep below hearth of a cottage during renovations [1], [2].
Cottage has stepped gables (so late 16th or 17th century?). Bellarmine witch bottle, Holmes type VIII with arms of Amsterdam, made 1680-1700. Contents: Haw thorns, knotted string, fragments of 15th/16th century French breviary, one pierced by a pin. See (S1).
See published report on witch bottle (S2).
See also correspondence (S3) and unpublished version of the report (S4).
E. Rose (NAU), 2 February 1984.

It is not completely certain that the witch bottle came from this cottage, which has never had stepped gables, but it seems probable that it did and that the reference to the gables is a mistake. The cottage dates to about 1700 (much altered since) which would fit the date of the bottle, but also seems to have a medieval fireplace bressumer (possibly imported in 1976?) To the south is a farmhouse apparently of the same date (not inspected) and to the north two good quality barns, one of timber one of brick, again of the same period.
(S5) in file.
E. Rose (NLA), 3 September 2005.

Permission granted to demolish the brick barn and rebuild in replica on a new site.
Photographic record of barn before demolition in file (S6).
E. Rose (NLA), 19 June 2007.

Monument Types

  • HOUSE (17th Century to 19th Century - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BARN (17th Century to 19th Century - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CEREMONIAL OBJECT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WITCH BOTTLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1976. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Article in Serial: Walker, J. 1987. A Witch Bottle from Hellington. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XL Pt I pp 113-114.
<S3>Correspondence: Wwalker, J. 1984. Letter regarding witch bottle recovered from Hellesdon. 31 January 1984.
<S4>Unpublished Report: Walker, J.. A Witch Bottle from Hellington..
<S5>Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 2005. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S6>Photograph: Unknown. 2007. [unknown].

Related records - none

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