East Riddlesden Hall


(Cancelled Event)

Since the days of the early scriptures, people the world over have feared forces over which they have no control, especially uncanny powers. The evil eye has been a constant source of anxiety and strife, often associated with witchcraft. John will suggest that the evil eye need not be a witch attribute, but something latent in all of us, perhaps only restrained by social convention; and that understanding its subtext can shed light on the dynamics of social relations, the side effects of religious schism, and witch persecutions.

On Wednesday 20 September visitors can join local author and historian John Billingsley for a talk about folk magic, evil eye customs, and wealth disparity in the 17th century.

Set in the atmospheric Airedale barn, the talk will discuss how people have always feared the unexplained and the dynamics of social relations, the effects of religious separation and witch persecutions in the 17th century.

John said “I believe that the folklore and customs of an area constitute the glue that holds communities together, and the bedrock upon which local culture and economies build. My books on local folk tales, magical traditions and places reflect years of immersion”.

This talk is based on his 2020 book, Charming Calderdale, which describes the rich repertoire of protective symbols and objects to be found in local vernacular buildings and later homes, and how they can be seen in the context of local witchcraft panics and other metaphysical anxieties, as well as the early development of capitalism.

17th century buildings, such as East Riddlesden Hall and the Great Barn are a great way of giving us an insight into the everyday fears and anxieties of people in the past. These can be seen in the protections they brought and built into their homes. An example of this type of protection can be seen in the spiral carving in the Great Barn, symbolising smoke and used as a protection against fire, which would have devastated the wooden framed building.

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Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Ticket£5.00 per adult

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.

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Map & Directions

Damn Your Eyes! (Cancelled)


NT East Riddlesden Hall, Bradford Road, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 5EL
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Tel01926 430307

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East Riddlesden Hall exterior © National Trust Images Andrew ButlerEast Riddlesden Hall, KeighleyNational Trust owned historic house, garden, shop and tearoom. This award winning attraction offers a lot to discover and explore.

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