17th Century "Witch's Cottage" Unearthed in Britain

Mummified cat found embedded in wall

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Dec 8, 2011  |  Updated 6:54 AM PDT
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17th Century "Witch's Cottage" Unearthed in Britain

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The cottage may have once looked like these nearby homes in Pendle Hill Witch Country.

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A 400-year-old "witch's cottage" complete with a mummified cat was unearthed by British engineers excavating a grass-covered mound.

Archaeologists were called to the construction project in Lancashire after the cottage was discovered, according to the BBC. Experts believe the the well-preserved cottage may have belonged to one of the Pendle witches.

The mummified cat was found embedded in a brick wall, where it may have been buried alive to ward off evil spirits.

Carl Sanders, United Utilities' project manager, said: "It's not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch's cat.

"The building is in remarkable condition," Carl Sanders, manager of the utilities project that necessitated the digging, told the BBC. "You can walk through it and get a real sense that you're peering into the past."

The area around the cottage, Pendle Hill, is known as witch country for a spate of witch trials that took place during the 17th century.

Simon Entwistle, an expert on the Pendle witches compared the discovery to finding the tomb of King Tut.

"We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country," he said. "This could well be the famous Malkin Tower - which has been a source of speculation and rumor for centuries."

The building also contains a 19th Century kitchen range, Victorian crockery, a tin bath and a bedstead from its later years.

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