In the comments to the thread below this one, there was some brief mention of the hex marks in Badger House. I thought I’d posted extensively about it once before, but all I can find is this brief mention.
Well. This house was built some time between 1505 and 1610. It’s a timber-framed Tudor farmhouse, with the timbers exposed on the inside (they probably were originally exposed on the outside, too, but this place has seen a LOT of alteration over the centuries). There are things scratched into the beams at various points, and we didn’t think anything of it. Just old graffiti, we thought. But, as it turns out, what we have here are classic ‘witch marks.’
Or, if you want to sound all sciencey and shit, apotropaic marks. Click that link, and you’ll see tons of examples that look exactly like these two pictures from Badger House. And we have since taken many pictures and had many a conversation about them in National Trust properties.
The one above is a hexafoil or daisy wheel, the most common apotropaic mark in English houses. It’s believed to be a very ancient sun symbol. Like prehistoric. It both brings good luck and wards off evil. This one is in the main beam above the downstairs fireplace.
The one at right, that looks like “TW” or “IW” we just assumed were somebody’s initials (they appear more than once in our house, above the fireplace in the master bedroom), but it’s another terribly common mark. “T” and “O” ward off evil somehow and the “W” is actually Marian — an interlocking “V V” for virgin of virgins, or an upside down “M.”
Or, you know, everyone is talking out their asses and no-one really knows. Some of the straight marks we’re convinced were made by the builders and had a more practical purpose. In a house near here, a series of room beams are marked, in order, “I” “II” “III” “IIII” and — tellingly — “V”.
If you want to read more about it — and, believe me, this is a real fun Google rabbit hole to fall down — try a search of witch marks, ritual protection marks, house magic or the charmingly named Wookey Hole. (It’s a cave. They age cheese in it).
Good weekend, folks — and keep them witches out!