ENGLAND: THE OTHER WITHIN

Analysing the English Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Edward Lovett

Alison Petch,
Researcher 'The Other Within' project

Part of Plate I of Lovett's paper Superstitions ... amongst Shepherds 1909

Part of Plate I of Lovett's paper Superstitions ... amongst Shepherds 1909

Edward Lovett (1852-1933), unlike other folklorists discussed on this website, was not a founder member of the Folklore Society, or a member of Dorson's 'Great Team'. He lived in Outram Road, Croydon and then in Caterham during his lifetime. According to an article in the Croydon Guardian he was the chief cashier of a large City bank, but at night 'he walked through the slums of Edwardian London, buying strange objects: amber charms and lucky left-handed whelk shells from sailors and barrow men'. He published this research in Magic in Modern London in 1925.

Lovett was the president of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society from the late 1880s, according to Williams [1999: 54-5] 'by 1905 he was recognized as a national authority on folklore and superstition after a series of exhibitions of his findings in England and Wales'. His first major exhibition was held in Cardiff in 1914, this was moved to Southwark Central Library where it was reported on by The Times in 1917. [Williams, 1999: 55] The exhibition contained

details of folk rituals and superstitious charms, amulets, dolls, cures, and mascots carried for the purpose of averting misfortune, ensuring good luck, and curing specific diseases. Folk wisdom and medical lore also combined with more overt expressions of folk superstition ... [Williams, 1999: 54]

Lovett joined the Folklore Society in 1900 and submitted letters and articles to the journal. He lectured at the Horniman Museum and at Hove Natural History and Philosophical Society and also at the Royal Society of Arts. [Williams, 1999: 55] According to Williams 'Lovett did not have a specific theory as to the persistence of magical beliefs in the modern urban environment; his interest was in the collection and accumulation of evidence'. [1999: 55]

Much of his London collection is now held in the Cuming Museum.

Lovett as collector

In 1901 Lovett read a paper 'The ancient and modern game of astragals' to a meeting of the Folklore Society on 17 April. He begins the talk:

A few years ago, during a visit to Holland and Belgium, I noticed in the poorer parts of some of the towns children playing a gam upon doorsteps with small metal objects, which upon investigatio proved to be white metal copies of the Astralagus or knuckle-bone. I soon found some for sale in the toy shops, where I purchased them at prices ranging from three a penny to about a penny each. [Lovett, 1901: 280]

As can be seen below, Lovett donated four versions of this game to the Pitt Rivers Museum though it is clear from his article that he owned others from England. These are

'Feb[ruary 1902] Exchanges E. Lovett Esq - Set of stones used in playing game of "Jack o five stones" Suffolk ... The above are all variants upon the game of "Knucklebones" ... [1902.66.1 .1-5]

This set is referred to by Lovett on page 1901: 284. The second set is

... Set of stones used in playing game of "five stones" Croydon, Surrey ... The above are all variants upon the game of "Knucklebones" ... [1902.66.2 .1-5]

This version of the game has been obtained from his home town, he mentions them in his paper:

I have seen small selected pieces of diorite, used for road-making, turned into Astragals in London and in my own town, Croydon. [Lovett, 1901: 284]

The third set is

Sheep bones (phalanges) for game of "five bones" Faversham Kent ... The above are all variants upon the game of "Knucklebones" [1902.66.3 .1-4]

This version of the game is referred to by Lovett in his paper, though this seems to be a different set, or the bones are differently described:

I possess ... a third [version of the game made from bones] from Faversham, Kent, of the short phalanges of a pig. [Lovett, 1901: 284]

The final set is

"Marble and dubs" of German make for "knucklebone" game London ... The above are all variants upon the game of "Knucklebones" [1902.66.4 .1-5]

Of this last Lovett remarks:

It has, however, been reserved for Germany to produce the most prosaic and uninteresting machine-made materials for this ancient game. This consists of a stone marble and four little fluted stone-ware cubes in assorted glazed colours. This "up-to-date" monstrosity is sold largely in Houndsditch by the name of "Marbles and Dubs", and in my many local inquiries this has frequently been the sole result, correspondents sending me sets of these "made-in-Germany" knuckle-bones, as of local interest. [Lovett, 1901: 284-5]

Lovett obviously used these games to obtain some artefacts he wanted for his private collection by exchange, as it notes at the end of the accession book entries: 'Given in exchange some palm leaf ear studs [1892.24.160 and on] and metal toe-rings [1892.24.129 - 130] from Mirzapur given by Mr W. Crooke in 1892'. The museum, at this time, held a 'duplicates' collection, artefacts that were not accessioned (owned legally) by the Museum and could be exchanged with other museums, and more rarely private collectors, in order to obtain objects the museum wished for its collection.

In 1909 Lovett published a paper, 'Difficulties of a folklore collector'. This is one of very few accounts of this activity in the early twentieth century. He opens:

The collector in search of folk-beliefs and articles connected with them meets with far more difficulties than the collector of old china or other merely material objects. The objections to giving him information arise from a double set of motives, those of the ardent believer who will not expose sacred things to an outsider, and those of the unbeliever who refuses information about what he considers to be degrading superstitions or discreditable survivals. As illustrating this point it may perhaps be worth recording in Folk-Lore the following letters which I have received from two Roman Catholic priests, one in Brittany and one in Ireland. [Lovett, 1909: 227]

Lovett had been told by one of his friends, who had been visiting Brittany, that he had seen a woman selling 'for a few sous each, double or cross-shaped crystals of black tourmaline ... valued as amulets by the peasants, not only as a protection against lightning, but also as a charm against accidents ...' Lovett wrote to the local priest asking him to procure some of the objects. In return the curé wrote 'a long and remarkable letter' which explained that rather than being amulets these crosses were 'symbols of the Redemption places in the ground by God to be found and used by His people for their protection'. Lovett also gives another example of a letter received from another priest saying that he hoped Lovett 'was not the victim of a ... kink in the mind ... I would strongly advise you to consult your friends, and see some good doctor'. [Lovett, 1909: 227-8]

In another article published in the same year, Lovett makes it clear that how he collected:

my own experience is that, at any rate for the seeker after amulets, there is no better hunting ground than the hawker's handbarrow in the poorest parts of slums of such dense aggregations of people as London, Rome, and Naples. ... For many years I have been in touch with some of the London street dealers in unconsidered trifles, and am much surprised to find how much they know as to th reasons for carrying certain amulets. [Lovett, 1909: 70]

The previous year in a paper co-written with A.R. Wright, Lovett had given two examples of his purchasing strategies:

The stone amulets comprise the two most original forms of amulet still to be found in the British Isles, the naturally-perforated stone and the many objects known as "thunderbolts." ... The story of a beautifully polished green-stone celt shown illustrates the difficulty of obtaining such objects from their possessors. About twenty-five years ago, during a visit to Jersey, Mr. Lovett found this celt in a labourer's cottage, and much wished to add it to his collection of stone implements. The owner, however, would not part with it, saying that it was a thunderbolt and would save his family from sickness and harm. He was offered five shillings, and a few days later ten shillings, but would not listen to the offers. The following year Mr. Lovett again called upon the owner of the thunderbolt, and offered him fifteen shillings for it, with no result. The bid was raised to twenty shillings, but without success. About eight months later a friend in the island wrote that the man who had the curious stone was "hard up," and had asked whether the gentleman from London would still be willing to buy it, so that only after two years did the stone change hands. [Wright and Lovett, 1908: 297-299]

Fig. 18 shows a shell necklace from Southport. When at the last British Association Meeting there, Mr. Lovett noticed in several fancy dealers' shops bundles of shell necklaces of identical pattern. When he came presently to another shop of the same kind in which there was an old woman, he went in and asked, "What are these necklaces ? " "Three pence." "I mean, what are they for?" "For visitors." "I will buy some. But why are they all made exactly the same way?" "Because they are made by the fishermen." "Why do they make them in that particular way?" "Because they have always been made in that way. I made them that way when I was a girl, and my mother used to make them that way." "But you can't have made them for visitors when you were a girl. There were no visitors. What did you make them for then?" "Oh, just for fun." "No, you didn't make them for fun,-you made them for luck." "Who told you that? They said so, but that was silly." Another old woman then came into the shop, and was presently asked by the shopkeeper to show the 'spider shell' in her pocket. This proved to be a pelican's foot shell, which she would not part with. It had been carried by her husband for thirty years, and was now carried by herself 'for luck.' Mr. Lovett would be glad to know of any other shell necklaces of special design made by fisher folk. [Wright and Lovett, 1908: 300-1]

Lovett exhibited specimens at Folklore Society meetings, for example showing artefacts to illustrate a paper 'Specimens of modern mascots and ancient amulets of the British Isles' at a meeting on June 17 1908.

Objects donated by Lovett to the Pitt Rivers Museum

Lovett donated a total of 216 artefacts to the Museum, these included 55 from England. These included obsolete gardener's tallies from Lovett's own gardener (Mr Scott)[1909.40.1-4], an Elizabethan 'touch-piece' [1909.60.1], other tallies for sheep, a sheep's heart 'tuck with pins and nails (model) as formerly used in S. Devon for "breaking evil spells"' [1911.75.1] and folk remedies for various ailments. All of these items were sold by Lovett to the museum.

Here is a full list of all the accession book entries for items from England he sold to the Museum between 1893 and 1911:

1893.64.1 [Loans] - May Exchanges May Edw. Lovett Esq Croydon - Old cock fighting spur, English Given in exchange a pottery pipe bowl Loango (PR) and a Burmese pottery lamp (Temple 1890)

1895.44.3 1895. Feb. EDWARD LOVETT Esq. - Old English rush light shade 10/-.
Detailed lamp card catalogue entry - Box 4 Lamps Series T-Z and I - XIX Group: XVI Class: Rushlight guards Number: 4 Description: Japanned cylinder, holed, small hinged door fixed receptacle inside containing candle socket 9 1/2" high x 8 1/4 " dia Locality: English How Acquired: Purch 1895

1895.64.1 Old English rushlight shade. Purchased in 1895, possibly from E. Lovett. [This object was found unentered in the old Lighting Store.]
Detailed lamp card catalogue entry - Box 4 Lamps Series T-Z and I - XIX Group: XVI Class: Rushlight guards Number: 6 Description: Cylindrical shade, holed, with pan* for holding water round the candle socket Hinged door. With lid having dip or candle socket also 13" high and 8 3/4" dia Japanned *pan handled Locality: English early XIX cent How Acquired: Purch 1895

1901.50.1 Jan Exchanges E. Lovett Esq - Notched stick recording number of loads of manure carted onto the land by a carter, Worcestershire, XI, 1899 ... Given in exchange a doll from Mirzapur, N.W.P. given by W. Crooke, Esq 1892

1902.66.1 .1-5 Feb Exchanges E. Lovett Esq - Set of stones used in playing game of "Jack o five stones" Suffolk ... [for 1902.66.1-5] The above are all variants upon the game of "Knucklebones" ... Given in exchange some palm leaf ear studs [1892.24.160 and on] and metal toe-rings [1892.24.129 - 130] from Mirzapur given by Mr W. Crooke in 1892

1902.66.2 .1-5 Set of stones used in playing game of "five stones" Croydon, Surrey

1902.66.3 .1-4 Sheep bones (phalanges) for game of "five bones" Faversham Kent

1902.66.4 .1-5 "Marble and dubs" of German make for "knucklebone" game London

1909.40.1 - 4 E. LOVETT Esq, 41 Outram Road, Croydon. July - 4 models of obsolete gardener’s-tallies made by Mr. Scott (Mr. Lovett’s gardener), who says that such tallies were used by his father & himself 30 years ago in Buckinghamshire, where they were then in general use. Symbols are used to indicate the various kinds of vegetables, and the months are shown by notches (e.g. April = 4 notches, February = 2 notches, etc.).
Handwritten note by Lovett, dated 3 March 1909: 'Four Gardener's Tallies made by my man Scott who tells me that about 30 years ago he and his Father used them* [*ie like them, these being made by him from memory], as indicated in Buckinghamshire, there they lived and that they the Tallies were then in several uses there [sic].'

1909.60.1 Elisabethan [sic] gold 'touch-piece', on obverse St. George and Dragon, reverse a cross surmounting Royal Arms ... Pd by cheque 4 Feb 1909 1.1.6
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.6 Transfer of virtue from potent objects - Transfer virtue by contact - Description: Elizabethan gold 'touch-piece'. On obverse St. George and the Dragon, reverse, a cross surmounting the Royal Arms. With small hole for suspension. This coin was given by the sovereign to a person coming to be cured of "King's Evil". Locality: England. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Feb 1909. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. Bottom Rt. centre. [end insert]

1909.60.4 Model of obsolete form of sheep tally South Downs Sussex, the wood is hollow and contains small stones each representing a score (20) of sheep, the odd sheep (6) are notched upon the outside of the tube. These were used by the maker's grandfather... Pd by cheque 4 Feb 1909 1.1.6

1909.60.5 .1-4 Set of 4 sheep tally sticks with notches indicating the number of ewes, tegs, lambs, twins and triplets South Downs... Pd by cheque 4 Feb 1909 1.1.6

Lovett described these South Down tallies in his 1909 paper about 'Superstitions ... among Shepherds':

DURING a visit of a few days to the South Downs in the latter part of this year (1908), I searched for any folk beliefs and primitive appliances still lingering amongst the shepherds. Most of the shepherds are natives of the district, and nearly all descend from a long line of shepherds, and so may be expected still to hold to ancient customs and ideas. The notes I gathered are undoubtedly very incomplete, partly by reason of the short time available for enquiries during my visit, but chiefly from the difficulty of getting those who still believe in charms and magic to "own up," and to talk about the practices in which they still indulge. I found that here, as elsewhere, a great change is taking place, and that it is probable that, not many years hence, there will no longer be men to be found who use the tallies and sundials described below. [p. 63] ... The recording of numbers by means of notches on tally sticks is still practised by a few shepherds of the old school, and I obtained specimens of flock tallies and lamb tallies. These are cut either on squared lengths of wood about half an inch wide and eight or nine inches long, or on natural round sticks of about the same size and with the bark left on. In the lamb tallies used for recording the number of lambs born in the lambing season, an ordinary notch denotes doubles or twins (the normal birth), a short notch or dot a single birth, and, perhaps, an extra long notch trebles. ... By this simple method a shepherd can very quickly record and "tot up" the number of his lambs. The flock tallies are used when the lambs are old enough to leave the ewes, and the time has come for dividing up the flock. In dividing, the animals are separated by twenties, or by the "score" (i.e. by the scratch or notch). After five "scores" have been made, the fifth notch is continued, either over the edge of a squared tally, or further round a natural bark-stick tally than the other notches, so that the hundreds on the tally can be read off simply and easily. Any odd animals are marked by smaller notches at the end of the row, so that, for a new flock of, say, 613 sheep, the completed tally would show six sets of five notches each, followed by thirteen smaller notches, thus,... Fig. 2 (Plate I.) shows an actual flock tally recording 506 sheep. One of the old shepherds made a very remarkable tally for me, saying that his grandfather used one like it. It consists of a piece of natural wood, with the bark on, about one inch in diameter and six inches long. This is hollowed out, and the ends stopped with two bits of cork. In this wooden bottle are placed small pebbles, each one representing a score of sheep, and the odd sheep are notched upon the bark in the same way as on the ordinary tally. In this tally a flock of 613 sheep would be recorded by thirty small pebbles and thirteen notches. [p.65-66]

1911.75.1 Dec E. Lovett Esq 41 Outram Road, Croydon - Sheep's heart stuck with pins and nails (model) as formerly used in S. Devon for "breaking evil spells" ... Pd by cheque 7.12.1911 £2-2-0 [for 1911.75.1-17]
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B. Sympathetic Magic - B.2 White Magic - Figure Symbols - Description: Sheep's heart stuck with nails and pins - formerly used for "breaking evil spells". This specimen is a model made by an old woman who when young used to prepare hearts in this manner for the same purpose mentioned above. [insert] Note some of the other stuck hearts (e.g. pigeon's) were possibly prepared with this object & not necessarily to cause death of an enemy. (Atkinson '40 years in a Moorland Parish' & his letters.) [end insert] Locality: S. Devon. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett, Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] NC GC Rt. centre. [end insert]

1911.75.2 Twigs of ash in small bag, carried as cure for fits, S. Devon
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Seeds, roots &c. - Description: Twigs of ash tied together with red wool, and mauve silk bag. The twigs would be kept in the bag and carried as a cure for fits. Locality: S. Devon. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.2. Lower centre. [end insert]

1911.75.3 Cramp-nut (Doldima concentrica) carried as cure for cramp Sussex
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Seeds, roots &c. - Description: A nut (Doldinia concentrica) carried on the person as a cure for cramp. Locality: Sussex. Native Name: "Cramp-nut". How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.2. L. Centre. [end insert]

Lovett described this artefact in his 1909 paper about 'Superstitions ... among Shepherds':

DURING a visit of a few days to the South Downs in the latter part of this year (1908), I searched for any folk beliefs and primitive appliances still lingering amongst the shepherds. Most of the shepherds are natives of the district, and nearly all descend from a long line of shepherds, and so may be expected still to hold to ancient customs and ideas. The notes I gathered are undoubtedly very incomplete, partly by reason of the short time available for enquiries during my visit, but chiefly from the difficulty of getting those who still believe in charms and magic to "own up," and to talk about the practices in which they still indulge. I found that here, as elsewhere, a great change is taking place, and that it is probable that, not many years hence, there will no longer be men to be found who use the tallies and sundials described below. [p. 63] ...Fig. 5 (Plate I.) shows another favourite cramp charm, in the form of "cramp nuts," which are small woody concretions found upon the trunks of both beech and ash trees. The particular tree preferred as a source of the "cramp nuts" varies according to the locality, but I was not able to ascertain any reason for the preference. The nuts shown were obtained from an ash tree. The "cramp nuts" are either carried loose in the
pocket or tied up in little pieces of rag and fastened to the bedstead of the sufferer from cramp. I may note here that near Whitstable the name "cramp stone" is given to the fossil shark's teeth, with a limy concretion near the base, which are there found in the beds of London Clay and looked on as amulets against cramp. [p. 65]

1911.75.4 Belemnite preserved as a "thunderbolt: charm, Dorset
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Medicinal - Description: Belemnite preserved as a "thunderbolt" and used as a charm. The skeletal rods of extinct cepholopoda (cuttlefish). Their supposed supernatural origin caused them to find a place in the older Materia medica, as a cure, when powdered, for various ailments. Locality: Dorset. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. References: English Cyclopedia ([?]art Belemnite). [insert] [reverse] NC GC left corner [end insert]

1911.75.5 "Shepherd's crown" a fossil echinus, placed on window sill outside to "keep the Devil out" Sussex
Detailed Amulet card catalogue entry - Amulets ) O. Inscribed P. Talismans in cases Q Uninscribed single R Collars, necklets, armlets, rings S-T Juju [sic] U-W Stone X. Dance Y. Unclassed. - Natural Stones and Fossils, Europe V1 Description: "Shepherd's crown", fossil echinus, placed on window-ledge outside to "keep the devil out" Locality: Sussex Native name: Shepherd's crown How Acquired: Purch 1911 (E. Lovett) References: Regarded as ... [sic illegible word] from Heaven in Brittany (Jas Bretagne, Jchan 322 [insert] 414 [end insert] ) Found in Gallic tombs 332

1911.75.6 Fossil shark's tooth in lime concretion, a cure for cramp Kent
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Bones & teeth - Description: Fossil shark's tooth in lime concretion. Carried on the person as a cure for cramp. Locality: Kent. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. centre. [end insert]

1911.75.7 "Hag stone", a naturally perforated flint with latchkey attached, from a cottage door S. Devon
Detailed Amulet card catalogue entry - Amulets ) O. Inscribed P. Talismans in cases Q Uninscribed single R Collars, necklets, armlets, rings S-T Juju [sic] U-W Stone X. Dance Y. Unclassed. - Naturally perforated stones Gt Britain Description: A naturally perforated flint with latch-key attached, from a cottage door, [insert] "A hag stone with a hole through, tied to the stable door, protects the horses, and if hung up at the bed's head, the farmer also" (N. & Q., 1851 ser I III p56) Lancashire, "A hag-stone, penetrated with a hole, and attached to the key of a stable, preserved the horse from being ridden by the witch" (Harland & Wilkinson, Lanc Folk-lore (1867) 72 Locality: S. Devon Native name: Hag-stone How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq Dec 1911 References: * 1851 N & Q ser. I III p 56 Harland and Wilkinson Lanc. Folk-lore 1867 p 72 Thornber Hist. Blackpool 1837 p 100

1911.75.8 Iron pyrites mounted as a pendant and sold as a thunderbolt charm Folkestone, Sussex [sic]
Detailed Amulet card catalogue entry - Amulets ) O. Inscribed P. Talismans in cases Q Uninscribed single R Collars, necklets, armlets, rings S-T Juju [sic] U-W Stone X. Dance Y. Unclassed. - Natural Stones and Fossils, Europe V1 Description: Iron pyrites mounted as a pendant and sold as a thunderbolt charm Locality: Folkestone, Sussex How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq Dec 1911

1911.75.9 Piece of amber carried by a fisherman as cure for rheumatism Suffolk
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Various stones - Description: A piece of amber. Carried by a fisherman in his pocket as a cure for rheumatism. Locality: Suffolk Coast. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.2. Left centre. [end insert]

1911.75.10 Veined water-worn stone carried as a cure for toothache, S. Devon
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Various stones - Description: A veined and water-worn stone carried as a cure for toothache. Locality: S. Devon. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. centre right. [end insert]

1911.75.11 Stone for rubbing on warts to cure them S. Devon
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.6 Transfer of virtue from potent objects - Transfer virtue by rubbing - Description: A small much worn stone - used for rubbing on warts to cure them. Locality: S. Devon. How Acquired. Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.2 Left lower centre. [end insert]

1911.75.12 Astragalus of sheep carried as a cure for rheumatism Suffolk
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Bones & teeth - Description: Astragalus of a sheep. Carried as a cure for rheumatism. Locality: Suffolk. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. lower centre. [end insert]

1911.75.13 Eel skin prepared and sold as a cure for cramp and rheumatism, Carlisle
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Skins - Description: Eel skin prepared and sold as a cure for cramp and rheumatism. Locality: Carlisle. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. Rt. centre. [end insert]

1911.75.14 Dried frog worn in small bag by children as cure for fits, S. Devon
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Animals &/or parts - Description: Dried frog and small cotton bag. The frog is kept in the bag and worn by children as a cure for fits. Locality: S.Devon. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. Centre. [end insert]

1911.75.15 Dried mole in silk bag (model only) as formerly hung up as a charm for good luck, S. Devon
Detailed Amulet card catalogue entry - Amulets I. Prophylatic J-K. Evil Eye L. Luck, prosperity M. Skill, nat. powers N. Health, strength, long life - Amulets etc for luck and prosperity Human and animal relics L4 - Description: A mole in a silken bag for hanging up as charm for good luck. This specimen is a model only, as the custom has died out. Locality: South Devon How Acquired: Purch 1911 (Lovett)

1911.75.16 Forefeet of mole carried as cure for toothache, Norfolk
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Animals &/or parts - Description: The fore feet of a mole carried as a cure for toothache. Mole's paws are used by the Dutch as a charm for teething (Janus 1910 p. 702). Locality: Norfolk. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec. 1911. References: Mole's paw as a charm see Havdaka: Vergleichende Volksmedizin vol. I p. 293. As a charm for teething by the Dutch see: Janus 1910 p. 702. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1 centre. [end insert]

Plate I of Lovett's paper Superstitions ... amongst Shepherds 1909

Plate I of Lovett's paper Superstitions ... amongst Shepherds 1909

1911.75.17 Forefeet of mole in small bag carried as cure for cramp Sussex
Detailed Amulet Card Catalogue - Amulets A Signatures B Sym(pathetic) Magic C Div(ination) and Witchcraft - B Sympathetic Magic - B.8 Prophylactics, cures, stimuli - Animals &/or parts - Description: The fore feet of a mole with small silk bag in which the feet are carried as a cure for cramp. Locality: Sussex. How Acquired: Purch. from E. Lovett Esq., Dec., 1911. [insert] [Written on reverse of card] G.C.1. centre. [end insert]

Lovett described this artefact in his 1909 paper about 'Superstitions ... among Shepherds':

DURING a visit of a few days to the South Downs in the latter part of this year (1908), I searched for any folk beliefs and primitive appliances still lingering amongst the shepherds. Most of the shepherds are natives of the district, and nearly all descend from a long line of shepherds, and so may be expected still to hold to ancient customs and ideas. The notes I gathered are undoubtedly very incomplete, partly by reason of the short time available for enquiries during my visit, but chiefly from the difficulty of getting those who still believe in charms and magic to "own up," and to talk about the practices in which they still indulge. I found that here, as elsewhere, a great change is taking place, and that it is probable that, not many years hence, there will no longer be men to be found who use the tallies and sundials described below. [p. 63] ... Cramp seems to be prevalent, as amulets for its cure are to be heard of everywhere. The digging feet of moles, Fig. 4 (Plate I.), are looked on as the most efficacious charms, perhaps because the cramped appearance of the curved foot has led to the application to it of the doctrine that "like cures like." The moles' feet are either carried loose in the pocket, or put into a little silk bag and hung round the neck next the skin. [p. 65]

2005.125.1 Europe, Russia. Combined hand mangle and washing board made of carved wood. This object was found unentered at the Museum Stores.
Written on object - Russian hand-mangle and washing-board combined. Bt. at Islington Friday Market E.L. 1899

Other Lovett artefacts in the Museum

The other artefacts purchased from or exchanged with Lovett were obtained between 1892 and 1909 and come from:

Belgium
Congo
France
India
Indonesia
Isle of Man
Italy
Japan
Kiribati
Malawi
Morocco
The Netherlands
New Guinea
Russia
Scotland
South Africa
Syria
USA
Wales

Further Reading

Lovett, E. 1901 'The ancient and modern game of astragals' Folklore Vol. 12, No. 3 (Sep., 1901), pp. 280-293

Lovett, E. 1909 'Superstitions and Survivals amongst Shepherds' Folklore, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Mar. 30, 1909), pp. 64-70

Lovett, E. 1909 'Amulets from Costers' barrows in London, Rome, and Naples' Folklore Vol. 20, No. 1 (Mar. 30, 1909), pp. 70-71

Lovett, E. 1909 'Difficulties of a folklore collector' Folklore, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun. 30, 1909), pp. 227-228

Lovett, E. 1917 'The belief in Charms' Folklore, vol. 28 (1917) p. 99.

S.C. Williams. 1999 Religious belief and popular culture in Southwark c 1880-1939 Oxford University Press obtained via http://books.google.com/books

Wright, A.R. and Lovett E. 1908 'Specimens of modern mascots and ancient amulets of the British Isles' Folklore Vol. 19, No. 3 (Sep. 30, 1908), pp. 288-303

Thornley, Marcus. [Article about Lovett and his London charm collection] Croydon Guardian 14 August 1998 page 14. *

A link to the Croydon Guardian article mentioned above was provided by http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/archive/display.var.452092.0.lucky_charms_of_old_london.htm, this website appears to have been taken down [September 2009].

* I am most grateful to Chris Bennett, Archivist in the Culture Division, Community Services Department, Croydon Local Studies Library and Archives Service for providing me with this reference.

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