Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft
The Museum of Witchcraft is housed in a characterful converted water mill in the picturesque Cornish village of Boscastle.
The museum is home to the largest collection of witchcraft related articles in the world, which includes charms, spells, curses and even an assortment of broomsticks and cauldrons!
The museum's history is as fascinating as its collection. In 1947, Cecil H Williamson, an influential Neopagan Witch, tried to open a museum about witchcraft in Stratford-on-Avon, but was forced to change his plans after local opposition. In 1948, Williamson bought the dilapidated Witches' Will at Castletown on the Isle of Man and opened it as the Folklore Center of Superstition and Witchcraft in 1949, along with an adjacent restaurant, the Witches' Kitchen. It was renamed the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft after the repeal of the 1735 Witchcraft Act in 1951.
However, Williamson wanted to return to England. So in 1952 he sold the museum and moved all his artefacts to a new site, in Windsor, renaming it the Museum of Witchcraft. At Windsor, Williamson's museum remained open for a year, and was quite successful, but was again forced out due to local opposition. In 1954 he therefore moved the museum to Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire. Here, the museum was damaged in an arson attack, and so, in 1960, Williamson moved the museum to Boscastle in Cornwall, where it remains to this day.
The present owner of the museum, Graham King, purchased it from Cecil Williamson at midnight on Halloween 1996. Cecil Williamson died at the age of 90 in 1999. Graham King is himself a warlock and the museum is visited regularly by a local witch.
Tales of witchcraft have always been abundant in the county of Cornwall, with its rich tradition of supersition and legend and witches still practice at many sacred sites in the county.
The museum holds a large number of artefacts, many of which once belonged to the museum's founder Cecil Williamson, including human remains, and currently also holds the Richell collection of witchcraft regalia that was loaned to the museum in 2000 from the Netherlands.
There are various rooms displaying different exhibits. Including sections devoted to the Wiccan wheel of the year, Horned God, Mother Goddess, divination, stone circles, village white witch and cunning folk, protective charms, and mandrakes. There is also a small section on Satanism that explains that it is different from Wicca, and it contains a medallion given to the museum by the Church of Satan.
The Museum is located a 5 minute walk from the Boscastle village car park.