We just had some horrible, truly horrible, artex removed from the top landing beam. Think Yule Log and then some. It was horrible. The ceiling was horribly artexed too. So afterwards we saw the wooden beam in all its battered and scarred glory. There were some odd marks. Like inverted v shapes overlapping. Spectacles. Other marks. Scratched or in one place burned into the beam. Well I just did a quick search for "marks on old beams'. And I found that these are classic protection marks, to ward off evil and witchcraft. Apotropaic marks. Our house was built between 1750 and 1820 ish. We have not been able to find out when. It really is quite exciting.