The Witch Post

Witch posts are almost exclusively a feature of the North York Moors region. Only two examples have been found from outside this region.

The post is a solid upright timber of oak or Rowan wood which is built as part of a house’s structure, often by the fireplace. It has a carved cross near the top of the post and it is thought their purpose was to protect the house and its inhabitants from witches. In order to enter the house, it was thought that the witch would fly down the chimney, the witch would not be able to pass the cross carved into the post so the house was protected.

It has also been suggested that itinerant priests in the 17th century who sheltered in the house may have given a blessing on the house and its inhabitants, the occasion being recorded by the carving of a cross on one of these posts. Whatever, the custom is of remote antiquity and a remarkable relic of superstition.

Our witch post originates from a cottage in Egton.