ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS – The Story of The Snowshill Collection at the Museum of Witchcraft, Boscastle
In the years before his death, the arts and crafts inspired architect, artist and collector Charles Paget Wade bequeathed both his lovingly restored Cotswold home, Snowshill Manor, and his collection of hand-crafted objects sourced from near and far to the National Trust. On his passing in 1956, the Trust approached Cecil Williamson, owner of the Museum of Witchcraft – then located in nearby Bourton-on-the-Water – to investigate a small attic space within Snowshill known as ‘the Witches Garret’. This tiny room housed Wade’s collection of items relating to witchcraft and the occult, which Williamson determined to be ‘especially dangerous’. Despite claiming to have burnt the items he removed from Snowshill, Williamson in fact did something altogether very different with them. Join Mark Hewitt who will delve into the personalities of both Wade and Williamson as well as exploring the tangled journey this collection has been on, examining why it is indeed an especially dangerous group of objects and the impact this collection may yet have on wider culture.
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Mark Hewitt is originally from Coventry, but lives and works in Chester, England. He has a degree in International History and has held a lifelong passion for the subject. Having been exposed to the supernatural documentary writing of Peter Underwood at a young age, it was not long before the subject of occultism became another perennial interest, blossoming into an eclectic magical practice informed by both early modern and contemporary methodologies. He is currently the custodian of the Chester Occult Society and has been published in both The Cauldron and the Enquiring Eye. His book ‘Especially Dangerous: Charles Paget Wade, Cecil Williamson and the Snowshill Collection’ is due to be published by Troy Books.
Curated and Hosted by Dr Louise Fenton
Dr Louise Fenton is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and a cultural and social historian and anthropologist. She teaches contextual studies in the School of Art and supervises PhD students; she is also an artist and illustrator and uses drawing within her research. Dr Fenton has been researching West African Vodoun, Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo and Witchcraft, especially curses and cursed objects for many years. She has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Beyond Belief’ and is a consultant on a new drama for BBC 3.