‘Evil witches and spirits’ tour

Haddon Hall Halloween tour
Haddon Hall Halloween tour

Haddon Hall will be showcasing some spooky antics this Halloween, taking guests on specialised tours to see the hall’s apotropaic ‘witch’ marks.

Haddon Hall in Bakewell, which has stood for over 900 years, bears witness to a turbulent period of history, with numerous apotropaic marks present in many of its sites, created as ritual protection against evil spirits or acts.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, superstition was rife in England, particularly when it came to evil spirits and witches. With the Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments and Witchcrafts during Elizabeth I’s reign in 1563 and the Witchcraft Act in 1604, following James I’s accession to the throne, witches became figures of fear, with the populace taking measures to protect their families and homes from any evil spirits.

And from October 25 to 31, a series of tours will be hosted by the hall’s guides, with guests encouraged to search for marks such as the ‘daisy wheel,’ and anti-witch mark circular designs, which were drawn with the intention of luring and trapping evil within them.

The guides will also talk about the history of the hall and its times, and how apotropaic graffiti is being interpreted today as an understanding of belief and superstition in the past.

Lady Edward Manners said: “One of the most magical things about Haddon Hall is that no matter how many times you have been to visit it, there is always more you can discover. Each room has such a wealth of history and there are stories to uncover in every nook and cranny, and these apotropaic marks, while only small and largely unnoticed by visitors, reveal a lot to us about historic traditions and what previous generations believed.

“This tour is totally different to any other tour we do and provides a fascinating insight into a rather turbulent period of English history. It is by no means a scary or spooky tour intended to frighten, it has been created to inform and educate those interested in medieval beliefs and traditions.”

Booking is essential for these 90 minute tours, on October 25, 29, 30 and 31, with an arrival time of 6pm to enjoy a Halloween-themed cocktail and cake before the tour begins at 6.30pm. Suitable for those aged 14 and over.

Visit www.haddonhall.co.uk to book.