Some facts about cats:
Cats were worshipped by the Egyptians and It is believed they first arrived in Britain with the Romans.
They spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping
They use their whiskers to measure tight spaces
A group of these animals is called a ‘clowder’
Stonewear beer jugs, such as this one, were called Bellarmines after Cardinal Bellarmine, whose grotesque bearded face was stamped on the front.
They were used as ‘witch bottles’ in the 16th and 17th centuries to repel curses cast by witches.
Households would place urine, hair, nail clippings and iron nails in a bottle to ‘confuse’ the witches spell, drawing her curse into the bottle where it would be pierced by the iron nails!
This alien-looking creature is a Brittle Star, sometimes referred to as the ‘Serpent Star’. A relative of the star fish, they use their long arms to propel themselves along the sea floor.
The mouth can be found on the underside of the body – they have FIVE jaws. Brittle Stars are scavengers; they use their arms to capture organic deposits floating in the water, which they pass into their mouths.
They have the power to regenerate, which is fortunate, because their arms are very delicate and easily broken.
This dusty and faded shoe was found hidden in the chimney of a farmhouse. It dates to the 17th century, when concealing objects in the walls of the home was believed to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits.
Belief in the existence of witches was common in 17th century Essex. The famous Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, searched the county for alleged witches and frequently subjected women to physical and psychological torture to get them to confess.
In 1645, 15 women were tried and executed for the crime of witchcraft in Chelmsford.