Mystic ‘witch bottle’ in garden display

Navenby's Witch Bottle. EMN-170613-122845001
Navenby's Witch Bottle. EMN-170613-122845001

A mysterious ‘witch bottle’ will form the centrepiece of one of the gardens on show during a village event this weekend.

Twelve of historic Navenby’s best kept gardens will be on display to the public over the weekend of June 17-18.

Offerings will range from courtyard to orchard and the site of the Navenby witch bottle discovery.

During some building work in their garden in 1999, Michael and Jo Butler unearthed a small green glass bottle which they kept under the stairs until it was identified four years later by the Lincolnshire Archaeology Finds Liaison Officer, Adam Daubney, as a witch bottle.

Mr Butler said: “It was made from an old inkwell bottle and inside were a strap of leather, bent pins, iron hooks, human hair and possibly urine. The bottle had been concealed underground for at least 180 years.”

According to research carried out, witch bottles such as this were intended to bounce bad spells or evil intentions away from the person and the home, and back to the person who was sending them.

Even if you did not know who the spell caster was, the bottle was said to protect you. If a person in the village became sick or died shortly after you created your witch bottle, you would know that they were the witch, and had been targeted by their own spell, it was alleged.

Mr Butler said: “The witch bottle caused quite a bit of excitement, and was featured in ITV’s Britain’s Secret Treasures and also in a book published by the British Museum.”

The bottle is now held in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in Lincoln.

The gardens will be open between 11am-5pm. Tickets for all 12 gardens cost £3 (under 16s go free) and are available from St Peter’s Church. There will be lunches, teas, a prize draw and plants on sale.