Over the ages different cultures and religions have used a variety of charms on the entrance to their homes in order to ward of evil spirits and bring good luck to the home.
One of the most enduring and endearing in English culture is the Horseshoe.
Placing a horseshoe over an entrance or doorframe has long been considered good luck. Some people believe that a horseshoe facing up will bring good luck to those who pass through the door and if the horseshoe is facing down the luck “will run out”. Others believe that if the horseshoe is facing downwards the luck will flow to those who pass under it.
Equally undecided is the origins of horseshoes as good luck symbols. One of the more popular stories is that of St. Dunstan. He was a blacksmith who nailed a horseshoe to the hoof of the Devil, instead of to the hoof of the Devil’s horse. The Devil was in great pain and St. Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe only if the Devil swore that he would never enter a home where a horseshoe was hung above the doorway. Another story is that evil fairies were repelled by iron, so hanging a horseshoe above the door would keep these supernatural creatures at bay.
There are a host of other theories relating to horseshoes above the doorway – only used horseshoes will do; horseshoes will only provide protection to their rightful owners, so using a stolen horseshoe will not bring any luck.
Whatever your feelings about superstition and luck, I’m sure everyone agrees that a horseshoe above a cottage doorway certainly give an air of quaint English country life.