A sideways look at the apotropaic Marian mark.

Apotropaic or protective marks have featured in much recent historical research, in which NE editor John Billingsley has been active with co-founding the Hidden Charms conference and publishing his book Charming Calderdale, investigating protectives in his area of West Yorkshire. Here, he turns his attention to what happens when a mark loses its contemporary religious significance, but refuses to disappear – the crossed W.