Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Nan Scaife o’ Spaunton Moor

“Get you of the skull the bone part of a gibbetted man so much as one ounce which you will dry and grind to a powder until when searced it be as fine as wheatenmeal, this you will put away securely sealed in a glass vial for seven years. You will then about the coming of the end of that time (for your cube must be made on the eve of the day come seven years of his gibbetting) get you together these several matters, all well dried and powdered and finely searced so much as three barley corns weight of each

Bullock blood.
Moudy [mole] blood.
Great Flitter mouse blood.
Wild Dove blood.
Hag-worm head.
Toade heart.
Crab eyes.
Graveyard moss and worms.”

The receipt for making a magic “cube” by the renown witch ‘Nan Scaife o’ Spaunton Moor’. She lived in a sod-covered hovel in the small wooded valley of Rudland Beck above Hutton le Hole. Villagers wanting a love potion perhaps or their fortunes told would make their way up the beck or across the moors to seek her out.

But her peaceful secluded life was disturbed one day in 1770 when the owners of the large estate which Spaunton Moor is part, the Winn-Darley family, started to build Spaunton Lodge in the wood. Cursing both the family and the Lodge she declared it would never be inhabited.

And it never has, although today Spaunton Lodge is a house I believe the family, which still owns Spaunton Estate, have never actually lived there.

Principle source: ’On Blackamoor: History, Nature, Memory‘ by Dr. Martyn Hudson, unpublished manuscript 2019.

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