Sacrifice in Highgate
These objects was found bricked up in a recess in Lauderdale House, Highgate. They were found in the 1960s during renovations. The group comprises four mummified chickens, a candlestick and a plaited rush thong. Two of the chickens were strangled and two were buried alive. It is thought that the builders of the house put them there to ward off evil.
This is the most complete 'builder's sacrifice' known in London. Shoes are often found built into Tudor and Stuart houses. The custom was thought to bring good luck.
Lauderdale House was built in 1582 for Richard Martin who was Lord Mayor of London three times. By the 17th century, the Earl of Lauderdale owned it. Later, it was used as a boarding school and convalescent home, as well as a private house. In 1963 it was damaged by fire. It is now a cultural and educational centre.
Find out what's on at www.lauderdalehouse.co.uk
Museum number L21/1-6