A HASLINGTON family have recently uncovered a series of historical artefacts lodged inside their ancient roof.
With a date of 1510 above the front door, the Goodalls suspected their home on Crewe Road could have an interesting history.
Plans showed the black and white property, Trinity Cottage, originally had a thatched roof but at some point in its history this was covered by asbestos sheeting.
It caused a stir in the village when specialists were drafted in to remove the modern roof and restore the thatch to its former glory.
The work revealed several interesting objects hidden in the straw. As well as animal bones, they found an old iron stirrup and ruler marked in inches reading from right to left.
After researching the subject Chris and Amanda Goodall, who run a domestic appliance repair business, discovered such items were used to ward off witches.
Amanda said: 'Fear of witchcraft was rife in the 16th century when our house was built.
'People feared that witches and malevolent spirits would get into their houses through the doors, windows, fireplaces and chimneys. Once inside, they might lodge in
voids, especially those between the brick chimneys and the timber-framed walls.
'Apparently it was quite common for householders to hide objects which reflected their lives such as clothing, tools and household equipment in the roof space, chimney and fireplace.
'These were meant to act as 'guardians' and protect the house from witches and evil spirits. Shoes were particularly common, because they take on the shape - and smell - of the wearer!'
The couple, who have two girls, Abigail, 16, and Zoe, nine, also discovered the meaning of the everyday saying: 'It's raining cats and dogs.'
In medieval times it was common for a roof to be thatched without wood underneath.
Small animals, such as dogs, cats and mice would live in the warm space but when it rained the roof would become slippery, causing them to fall down like rain.
Amanda said: 'For us to uncover our own little piece of history was fascinating.'
The family are having a straw cat made by Haslington artist Jean Crocker to place on the roof.