Tag: british folklore

Off the Grid: The Epic Tale of The Dun Cow, or… How Now Brown Cow?

There was once a bright-white cow which travelled round the world, giving milk enough for all comers. Whoever drank of her milk immediately became wise.

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Animal Folklore: Chasing Hares Through Stories, Myth, and Legend

Hares are widespread geographically, so hare stories are widespread culturally. But hares take on a surprising variety of roles in folklore, myth & legend.

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Fairy Folklore: Come Away, O Human Child

To be led astray, Peter Pan style, by a fairy – ‘pixie led’ – is an old fear from isolated communities where weather and terrain seemed to judge and punish.

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The Medieval Robin Hood: Folk Carnivals and Ballads

Robin Hood is known by everyone as the English outlaw hero, dashing through the greenwood with his band of merry men to rob from the rich and give to the poor, before…

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Who Was the Real Robin Hood? A New Theory from Michael Reuel

Michael Reuel talks about his theory that historical roots for the character of Robin Hood may be seen in medieval folklore ballads.

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The Shadows and Light Folktale Series: Discovering Story-Power

For a writer whose most famous book is about the biology of animal faeces, it may seem like a stretch to be creating stories with their roots in folktales.

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Sheep Folklore: The Life and Lore of the Shepherd

Sheep have been integral to British life for thousands of years, and a long tradition of lore has developed around shepherds and their flocks.

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The Seal Children: Sealskins and Soulskins. Or, When We Were Migrants

The first story that I found in this land where I live was The Seal Children, and as we walk the path to Maes Y Mynydd where the story is set, my…

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Spring-heeled Jack: The Terror of Victorian England

In 1838, the year Queen Victoria came to the throne, London was bedevilled by a clawed, fire-breathing, shape-shifting demon popularly known as Spring-heeled Jack. A rather haphazard creation of local gossip, newspaper…

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Redwings and Bramblings: A Gap in the Lore of Our Winter Migrant Birds

Each autumn thousands of migrant redwings, fieldfares and bramblings visit the UK from their Scandinavian breeding grounds

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What is First-footing and Can It Improve Your Year?

First-footing as a New Year custom is most common in Scotland and the north of England, but it does have regional, and international, variations.

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A Witchy Interview with #FolkloreThursday’s Willow Winsham

@DeeDeeChainey interviews @WillowWinsham about her book, Accused: British Witches Throughout History

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Halloween Folklore and Superstitions

We all know that Halloween, as a festival, is not an invention of the trick-or-treating Americans but it is far older than many people realise.

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Tales from the Medieval Crypt: Walking Corpses, Devils and Haunted Shoemakers in Walter Map’s De Nugis Curialium

De Nugis Curialium is a strange book in which history, religious debate and court satire are interwoven with a tangle of mythology, folklore and eerie supernatural tales.

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Black Shuck: Proof of Existence Finally Found?

“Bones of 7ft Hound from Hell Black Shuck ‘Discovered.'” During an archaeological dig, the skeletal remains of a very large dog were found amongst the ruins.

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Arcadia Britannica: A Modern British Folklore portrait by Henry Bourne

Arcadia Britannica is an ongoing photographic portrait project of the myriad of different British folklore traditions and customs

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The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland

A couple of month’s ago I happened upon a copy of A Dictionary of British Folk-Lore by Alice Gomme, a classic work on childlore. A couple of month’s ago I was lucky…

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Morris Folk: Making History

The Morris Folk project arose from a desire to document something as ephemeral as dance in new and innovative ways.

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Poltergeist, Witchcraft or Hoax: The Witch of Scrapfaggot Green

In the Essex village of Great Leighs, a witch named Anne Hughes was burned at the stake for the crime of bewitching her husband to death.

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Upcoming Event: The Ballad of British Folklore

We've just received an exciting press release about an exhibition charting the history of the The Museum of British Folklore.

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King Herla and the Wild Hunt in Twelfth-Century England and Wales

The ghostly “Wild Hunt” rampaged across European folklore as a company of supernatural huntsmen that often counted fairies and the dead among their number.

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Restless Ghosts and Black Dogs: Was Black Vaughan Really as Evil as Rumour Tells?

According to local legend, after Black Vaughan's headless body was buried, he proved to be a restless spirit who wreaked havoc amongst the townsfolk.

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Tree Folklore: Birch, the Lady of the Wood

The birch has a particularly graceful, flowing habit that always reminds me of a stream of water, extending right to the tips of its delicate black twigs in a shower of leafy…

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Supernatural Safeguarding: Hidden Objects in the Post-Medieval Home

What do a child’s shoe, a cod-liver oil bottle, and a desiccated cat have in common? They’re all objects that have been discovered in unusual locations within buildings. In fact, a vast…

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Gruesome Folk Healing: The Curious Cures for Warts and Wens

These remedies, many of them fairly gruesome to our ears, were recorded only 100 years ago by Mrs Ella Mary Leather at the beginning of the 20th century, from the towns and…

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The Calderstones: Invoking the Spirits of Place

South Liverpool, where I was born and live still, is a place full of green-spaces. Its abundance of woodlands, parks, cemeteries, playing fields and golf courses are linked by an intricate network…

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Lancashire Folklore

Many folkloric traditions and folktales in Lancashire have their origins in Nordic customs and beliefs.

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Merlin the Wizard, Sexual Harasser

Sexual harassment in Arthurian Legend? Surely not!

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