The work of Cornish witches operating from the 16th century onwards is being showcased in a new exhibition at Redruth’s Cornish Studies Library.
“Bewitching History”, features original documents and objects from the Cornish Studies collections, the Museum of Witchcraft and the Saveock Water witch-pit excavations.
The exhibition highlights the witch trial of Cornwall’s infamous Tammy Blee, charms and spells, witch bottles and pits, and ‘Allantide’ traditions.
It also includes a witches charm that was written for Thamson Leverton and which experts at the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle say is extremely rare as it is so unusual to find a charm written down.
Joyce Froome, from the Museum of Witchcraft, said about the charm: “This is a classic example of traditional folk magic, and it’s wonderful to have the name, time and place. This really gives it an immediacy which brings home to you how important this type of magic was in people’s daily lives.”
Cornish witch Tammy Blee lived from 1798 to 1856.
Author Gemma Gary describes her in her book, 'Traditional Witchcraft - A Cornish Book of Ways' as: “The most famous historical practitioner in Cornwall. Plying her trade within the Helston area, she earned a well respected and feared reputation.”
She said her clients used to travel miles for a private consultation, with people seen queuing outside her small house to buy new charms or have old ones re-empowered.
The exhibition was launched by witchcraft specialist Jason Semmens last week and runs until November 2nd, during library opening hours.
Continuing the black arts theme the Cornish Studies Library is also hosting a ‘Creepy Cartoons’ workshop on October 31st, led by Dandy/Beano cartoonist Nick Brennan, and inspired by the witchcraft exhibition. The workshop is free but tickets must be pre-booked.
Call 01209 216760 for all bookings and enquiries.