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World's Smallest Bible Found in a Boot
Descovery News ^ | February 9, 2007 | Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Posted on 02/17/2007 6:36:06 AM PST by aculeus

Feb. 9, 2007 — Around 106 years ago, someone slipped a copy of the world’s smallest complete Bible in a child’s boot and stuffed it into a cottage chimney cavity to ward off evil. Now British archaeologists have identified the book, which a renovator discovered while working on the cottage in central England's Ewerby.

In addition to the rarity of the book, the find represents one of the most recent instances of anti-witchcraft using a shoe amulet, according to British Archaeology editor Mike Pitts, who reports on the discovery in his latest issue.

The cottage also was part of the Winchelsea Estate, which is owned by the Finch-Hatton family. Denys Finch-Hatton inspired the famous book "Out of Africa," and was played by Robert Redford in the film of the same name.

The small Bible, however, is the current star of the estate. It is just around 1-inch wide and less than a half an inch thick.

"The Bible is complete but not illustrated," said Adam Daubney, Lincolnshire Finds Liaison Officer.

Pitts added that it is "said to be the smallest complete Bible ever printed."

The book, published in 1901 by David Bryce & Son of Glasgow, was created at the end of a century now recognized as being a golden age for miniature book production. Lithography and photograph reduction, along with typesetters who created the tiniest of letters, yielded a bevy of small books.

The Bryce Bible at the time was nicknamed the "mini mite" or "thumb Bible." It was packaged in a metal-hinged case, part of which is still with the recovered Bible. Included in the case was a magnifying glass to help readers decipher the miniscule print.

Daubney, who works for The Portable Antiquities Scheme, a volunteer program set up to record archaeological objects found in England, explained the child’s boot may have been used as a kind of spirit trap.

"The earliest reference to the use of shoes as some kind of spirit trap comes from the 14th century," he told Discovery News. "It regards one of England’s unofficial saints, John Schorn from Buckinghamshire, who was rector of North Marston 1290-1314. He is reputed to have performed the remarkable feat of casting the devil into a boot."

Daubney said it appears this folk tradition survived in more rural counties. He and his colleagues have found other shoes hidden in older homes. He likened it to the tradition of saying "bless you" after someone sneezes.

"Most people can no longer explain the significance of ‘bless you,’ although many still say it," he said.

Daniel Pett of the British Museum, who also works with objects found in homes or by hobbyists, said the bible find is "very different."

Pett added that "witch bottles" are also sometimes found in chimneys. These are bottles frequently filled with sharp objects (to harm intruders) and personal effects, such as the hair of the bottle filler.

Daubney said the miniature Bible is in private ownership and likely would not go on exhibit. He believes that it will "be placed back near its original location," perhaps in hopes of continued protection for the current residents.


TOPICS: Extended News
KEYWORDS: brycebible; godsgravesglyphs; minimite; smallestbible; thumbbible; winchelseaestate

1 posted on 02/17/2007 6:36:07 AM PST by aculeus
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To: aculeus; blam; SunkenCiv

bump


2 posted on 02/17/2007 6:39:02 AM PST by billbears (Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. --Santayana)
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To: aculeus
Article: He is reputed to have performed the remarkable feat of casting the devil into a boot."

Into a boot, eh? :)

3 posted on 02/17/2007 6:52:03 AM PST by Alia
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To: Alia
Into a boot, eh? :)

There are boots & then there are boots. How do they know it wasn't like throwing a body in the trunk?

4 posted on 02/17/2007 6:58:57 AM PST by GoLightly
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To: GoLightly

lol! So glad you understood my comment. :)


5 posted on 02/17/2007 6:59:55 AM PST by Alia
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To: Alia; GoLightly

"Waddya mean your cars don't have boots & bonnets?!"


6 posted on 02/17/2007 7:07:16 AM PST by kaotic133
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To: kaotic133

Thanks, but I'll take the lift. :)


7 posted on 02/17/2007 7:08:46 AM PST by Alia
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To: aculeus
the child’s boot may have been used as a kind of spirit trap.

So does it work ?
8 posted on 02/17/2007 7:12:06 AM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: aculeus
It is just around 1-inch wide and less than a half an inch thick.
"The Bible is complete but not illustrated," said Adam Daubney,

No Pictures? What's the big deal? /s

9 posted on 02/17/2007 7:18:13 AM PST by par4 (If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything)
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To: aculeus
Just out of curiousity, I searched ebay for "thumb bible".

There are 2 for sale from 1814!

10 posted on 02/17/2007 7:36:35 AM PST by Slump Tester ( What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: Alia

LOL -

Lift to the flat of course :o)


11 posted on 02/17/2007 8:32:26 AM PST by snugs ((An English Cheney Chick - Big Time))
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To: festus
So does it work ?

I can't say about boots, but I'm certain my shoes are haunted and my sandals are possessed by the devil.

APf

12 posted on 02/17/2007 8:33:33 AM PST by APFel (Regnum Nostrum Crescit)
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To: aculeus

A lot of people don't know they are trying to bless someone's soul back in after it is sneezed out...


13 posted on 02/17/2007 8:56:08 AM PST by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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Only 106 years ago ??? That 1901.


14 posted on 02/17/2007 9:04:07 AM PST by wodinoneeye
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To: snugs

For a quick visit to the loo, and then a nice tomahto sandwich!


15 posted on 02/19/2007 5:15:13 AM PST by Alia
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To: aculeus

16 posted on 02/19/2007 5:16:55 AM PST by ShadowDancer (Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire.)
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