People often hid old boots and shoes in chimneys and walls to bring good luck to their houses and to ward off evil spirits.
- The shoes are always worn out.
- Very often there is only one shoe.
- Many of the shoes are for children.
- The shoes were often put in place when building work was being done to the house.
- It may be that if the workmen found a shoe they replaced it with a new offering, or put the old shoe back together with a new one?
- No one knows when and how this habit began.
- The earliest shoes we know of were put in place about 1500.
- Shoes seem to have had a special significance.
- A shoe is the only item of clothing which takes on the shape of the person wearing it.
- A single worn shoe was hidden so that a malevolent spirit could not steal it and take away the protection the shoe gave.
Today people renovating old buildings sometimes come across ‘concealed shoes’. The finds are very important because they show us what ordinary people were wearing on their feet hundreds of years ago.
We are always keen to add people’s shoe finds to the index. Information we like to know if possible is:
Address of building
Date of the building if known and date of any alterations / building work
What the building was / is such as a private house, pub, farm etc
Where it was found within the building?
What if anything else was found with it?
Description of the footwear
Date of the footwear
Images of the footwear.