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A Squirrel in the Thatch and a Defence against Witches

Saffron Walden Sweeps Uncategorized A Squirrel in the Thatch and a Defence against Witches

A Squirrel in the Thatch and a Defence against Witches

Posted By paddy

This is perhaps the most unusual thatched animal I have found so far, and is on a thatched cottage at the bottom of Roman Road in Radwinter. Although grey squirrels might be considered by some to be vermin and therefore worth shooting, I don’t think for one minute that shooting grey squirrels would in any way constitute field sport. So bang goes my theory about thatched animals being all about hunting and shooting themes! Perhaps after all this squirrel is a indigenous red squirrel, although North West Essex does not have any natural habitat for such creatures. I think that red squirrels are far more attractive than grey squirrels, they are native to the UK and they are far less destructive of the environment than their grey counterparts. So I would like to think that this is an example of a red squirrel in thatch!

In the photograph you can also see a sloping end to the ridge of the roof a feature which is frequently found on thatch properties. Myth and folk law has it that these sloping ends are a defence measure to prevent witches landing on the roof. Other witch defences found on thatched roves around East Anglia include sharp pointed stick on top of the roof. Other thatch folk law indicates that it was quite common for people to hide coins and pieces of bread in the thatching in order to ward off poverty.

Written by paddy

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