"One of the more unusual customs I’ve run across is the placing of worn shoes in the walls of buildings when they are constructed.... The Romans likely brought the custom to Britain....
"In Britain, worn shoes have been discovered walled up over windows, doors, or in chimneys, but also in staircases and under floorboards....
"Shoes are a symbol of good luck.... To put them near windows and doors indicates they were meant to prevent evil from coming inside.
"The notion of shoes as protectors dates to the 14th century when John Schorn, rector of North Marston, Buckinghamshire is purported to have cast the devil into a boot."
Several times cousin Blanche has told me about remodeling that was done to an island home many years ago. They were removing plaster from the old Job Wahab home (located where Sam Jones' "homeplace" is today -- on Silver Lake Drive, on the western shore of Silver Lake harbor) when they discovered a pair of child's leather boots inside the wall.
This is just one more indication of the influence of British folklore on Ocracoke Island.
Our current Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of Infant & Childhood Mortality on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072113.htm.