An antique boot with a spooky supernatural purpose has been discovered, after being hidden for generations inside the structure of a house on the Beaulieu Estate. A relic of the superstitious days of old, a boot or shoe was thought to have warded off witches and evil spirits.
Found by builders tackling work on an estate house in Beaulieu village, the boot may seem like a discarded item of clothing but it is believed to be part of an old and mysterious custom which was followed across the country.
“First thoughts were that one of the original builders may have simply lost a shoe,” said Sarah Downer, Keeper of Collections for Palace House at Beaulieu. “But after further investigation it seems there is more to this boot than meets the eye.
“Concealed items were purposely left under the floorboards, behind fireplaces, under windows and in chimneys to ward off evil spirits, or to bring good luck and fertility to the occupants. This particular boot was discovered under the original entrance to the building, which would suggest this was placed to prevent evil crossing the threshold. It is a hobnail boot and has been well-worn, though debate is still on-going as to whether it is a male’s or female’s boot.”
Ghost stories and legends surround Beaulieu – and Hampshire Ghost Club will run two Paranormal Investigations events at Beaulieu Abbey on Friday 19th October and 2nd November.
There have been many spectre sightings, stories and legends reported at Beaulieu over the years. Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously held a séance in the Montagu ancestral home of Palace House and made various visits to research paranormal activity.
More recently, a Palace House guide took a ghostly picture of a ‘Lady in Blue’ while testing the camera on her new phone. The image, which was captured in the Lower Drawing Room, has been linked to apparent sightings of Isabella, countess Beaulieu, who died in 1786.
Beaulieu’s Parnormal Investigations event nights will include activities, vigils and investigations using professional equipment in the 13th century Abbey Domus, Cloister and ruins. To join an event or for more information click here or call 01590 612888.
To read more about the boot find story, follow the Palace House blog.