Immured Felines & Concealed Clothing in Ancient Buildings
on Sunday 22nd October 2023 from 3:30 pm

Archaeologists regularly discover large caches of clothing and other objects deliberately concealed within the fabric of 16th & 17th century buildings. Much of the clothing is heavily worn, soiled and patched, showing numerous repairs, whilst many of the objects have been deliberately broken or ritually ‘killed.’ The term 'spiritual midden' was coined for such a collection of artefacts. But what do spiritual middens constitute? Foundation deposits? The material trace of acts of Sympathetic Magic? Apotropaic evil-averting agents? Were they considered to possess a protective function against incoming malevolent forces?

An associated phenomenon is that of dried or mummified cats being found within the wall cavities or voids of buildings. In many 17th century houses these animals may have been immured to act as guardians of the home in order to prey on ‘spiritual’ vermin. Witches were thought to work their evil by the means of familiars, often in the form of lesser animals. In people’s imaginations, cats had become associated with the supernatural.

In this talk Wayne Perkins will discuss spiritual midden and the various modern theories that seek to explain their existence and purpose.

Tickets £12 including a 20% donation toward a host of restoration projects at Brompton Cemetery. Please click here to buy.

Wayne Perkins
Wayne Perkins, is an archaeologist with over twenty two years of experience working as a Field Archaeologist with Oxford Archaeology before working on excavations at Rom and at Prisse-la-Charriere, Niort and France's premier scientific organization, I.N.R.A.P. s well as for a number of companies He now undertakes Historic Building Surveys and supervise urban excavations in the City of London as well as overseeing rural excavations in surrounding Sussex, Surrey & Kent and is currently researching medieval & historic graffiti found in the buildings of England and France.





Brompton Cemetery