14:35 31 October 2016
Heritage agency Historic England are asking members of the public to help create a record of ritual markings, which are often carved near entrances to buildings. The markings, which were once believed to ward off evil spirits, can also be found in medieval houses and churches from around 1550 to 1750.
The symbols took many forms including patterns and sometimes letters. The “Daisy Wheel” is the most common and looked like a flower drawn with a compass in a single endless line. The line is said to confuse and entrap evil spirits.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: "Witches' marks are a physical reminder of how our ancestors saw the world.
"They really fire the imagination and can teach us about previously-held beliefs and common rituals.
"Ritual marks were cut, scratched or carved into our ancestors' homes and churches in the hope of making the world a safer, less hostile place.
"They were such a common part of everyday life that they were unremarkable and because they are easy to overlook, the recorded evidence we hold about where they appear and what form they take is thin."
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