De Saint Foix says that women and girls were subject to
violence whenever they passed by an abbey quite as much as when they
approached a feudal castle. When these victims were sought for and
demanded back, the monks would sustain a siege rather than relinquish
them; and, if close pressed, would bring to the walls some sacred
relic, which so awed the assailants that they would desist rather than
incur the risk of violating such holy articles. This, he says, is the origin of
enchanters, enchantments, and enchanted castles. (Historical Essays.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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