Aeoliphile - the hearth blowing ithyphal.

Here is an article about aeoliphiles of which there are 3.

Ashmolean Museum - Jack of Hilton
Dr Arthur MacGregor, FSA FLS,  describes the one belonging to the Society of Antiquities as  ‘dug up from the bason of the canal at Basingstoke in Hampshire and purchased by him at an old Iron Shop in that town, to the proprietor of which it had been sold by one of the labourers’

Perhaps the most famous is one in the Ashmolean Museum which is called,Jack of Hilton.

The Society's web site describes the ritual 'marking the payment of rent described in Robert Plot’s Natural History of the county in 1686: ‘The Lord of the Manor of Essington . . . shall bring agoose every new years day, and drive it round the fire in the Hall at Hilton, at le[a]st 3 times . . . whil’st Jack of Hilton is blowing the fire.’

A third one from Tamworth figure was flung into a pond in recent times in disgust.

This is interesting because if these were prehistoric their explanation would be 'ritual' while 2 out of 3 hearth blowers seem to have been discarded on moral grounds, i.e. got rid of, not ceremoniously deposited.


See also Arthur MacGregor, ‘Jack of Hilton and the history of the hearth-blower’, Antiquaries Journal 87 (2007), 281-94.


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