New for 2019. Hundreds of protective marks, also known as Witches Marks, have been discovered at Creswell Crags. This is believed to be the largest collection ever found in the UK. Join our tour guide for a unique opportunity to discover the most recent secret revealed at Creswell Crags. Read about our Witch Mark discovery here.
What are Witch Marks?
Ritual Protection Marks
Commonly known as Witch Marks these Apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning ‘to turn away’, are most commonly found carved on stone or woodwork near a building’s doorways, windows and fireplaces, to protect inhabitants and visitors from evil spirits.
A few have been recorded at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and spotted in medieval barns like the Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn, where they were etched into the ancient timber to protect crops.
“the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain”
Academic and TV presenter, Professor Ronald Hutton, an authority on folklore, says:
“This discovery is significant because it looks like the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain. This is a suddenly a large new area of research for historians and archaeologists, and so adds appreciatively to the importance of the Crags as a world resource. This is a hugely important and exciting find, in one of the main current growth areas of knowledge about the past. Creswell Crags has already amazed the twenty-first century with its revelations of Palaeolithic designs. Now it does so again with a fresh one of medieval and early modern ritual protection marks on a huge scale, making a very important contribution, at a stroke, to one of the most significant current areas of new scholarly research.”
Duncan Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of Historic England said of the discovery:
“Creswell Crags is already of international importance for its Ice Age art and ancient remains. To find this huge number of protection marks from the more recent past adds a whole new layer of discovery. Even two hundred years ago the English countryside was a very different place, death and disease were everyday companions and evil forces could readily be imagined in the dark. One can only speculate on what it was the people of Creswell feared might emerge from the underworld into these caves.”
Book a Cave Tour
Life In The Ice Age Cave Tour
£6.00 - £9.00
Join an expert guide on a tour of Robin Hood Cave, the largest of all the caves at Creswell Crags. Discover what Creswell Crags was like during the last Ice Age. Who was here? What was here? What were they doing? How do we know? Find out the answers to these questions and many more in a fascinating tour that lasts about an hour.
Rock Art Cave Tour
£6.00 - £9.00
This is your chance to see Britain's only Ice Age Rock Art, which was discovered by archaeologists in 2003. These engravings of animals and abstract designs are 13,000 years old, making Church Hole Cave the oldest art gallery in the country.
WITCH MARK TOUR
£6.00 - £9.00
New for 2019. Hundreds of protective marks, known as Witch Marks, have been discovered at Creswell Crags. This is believed to be the largest collection ever found in the UK. Join our tour guide for a unique opportunity to discover the most recent secret revealed at Creswell Crags
New online booking system coming soon, for bookings onto our cave tours at present, please call the visitor centre on 01909 720378