Skip to comments.World's Smallest Bible Found in a Boot
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 worlds smallest complete Bible in a childs 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 childs 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 Englands 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.
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?
lol! So glad you understood my comment. :)
"Waddya mean your cars don't have boots & bonnets?!"
Thanks, but I'll take the lift. :)
No Pictures? What's the big deal? /s
There are 2 for sale from 1814!
Lift to the flat of course :o)
I can't say about boots, but I'm certain my shoes are haunted and my sandals are possessed by the devil.
A lot of people don't know they are trying to bless someone's soul back in after it is sneezed out...
Only 106 years ago ??? That 1901.
For a quick visit to the loo, and then a nice tomahto sandwich!
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