University of Bristol Spelæological Society

Ritual protection marks in Wookey Hole and caves in the Cheddar Gorge, Somerset (UBSS Proceedings v.25(1))

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Binding,C.J., and Wilson,L.J., 2010. Ritual protection marks in Wookey Hole and caves in the Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. UBSS Proceedings, 25(1) , pp 47-73 Download PDF.

Abstract: The Witch's Chimney in Wookey Hole contains the largest concentration of ritual protection marks so far discovered in any cave. These are described and the growth of the folk narrative of the Witch of Wookey Hole is examined to place the marks in their social context. A poem by James Jennings, The Mysteries of Mendip or the Lost Lady provides a possible link between Wookey Hole and Long Hole. This is examined and a possible origin for the practice of banishing ghosts to the Red Sea is suggested.

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