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'Witch cottage' discovered in Lancashire

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Archaeologists have unearthed a 17th century 'witches' cottage' during a construction project in Pendle Hill.

The building was discovered underneath a grass mound in the village of Barley in Lancashire.

Historians are now debating that the cottage may have belonged to one of the Pendle witches. The cottage contains a sealed room, with bones of a cat bricked into a wall. The witches are said to have buried cats alive in order to protect the owners of the cottage.

The archaeologists were brought in by United Utilities to survey the area. Project manager Carl Sanders said: "It's not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch's cat.

"The building is in remarkable condition. You can walk through it and get a real sense that you're peering into the past.

"Pendle Hill has a real aura about it, and it's hard not to be affected by the place. Even before we discovered the building, there were lots of jokes from the lads about broomsticks and black cats. The find has really stunned us all."

Pendle witches expert Simon Entwistle added: "In terms of significance, it's like discovering Tutankhamen's tomb.

"We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country. This could well be the famous Malkin Tower - which has been a source of speculation and rumour for centuries.

"Cats feature prominently in folklore about witches. Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was clearly seeking protection from evil spirits."

The building also contains a 19th Century kitchen range in its original position inside.

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Watch a news report on the 'witches' cottage' below:

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