The story of William of Cloudesly is found in a 16th century ballad, Adam Bell, Clym of the Cloughe and Wyllyam of Cloudeslee, but may be older. It was included in the influential 19th century collection, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, as ballad 116, by Francis James Child. Although it is a male dominated, rip-roaring, all action story, three women play a significant part, emerging at points to influence events. Presented here is a short retelling followed by a brief discussion on the influence of the three females on the story.
Until the 20th century, the inadequacies of orthodox medical services left a large proportion of the population dependent upon traditional folk medicine – essentially a mixture of common sense remedies based on the accumulated experience of nursing and midwifery, combined with inherited lore about the healing properties of plants.
“I’ve got something a lot better to exchange for that cow though, Jack,” said the man. “Something much more valuable than boring old money; something I think you’ll like, a lad of your… discerning taste.” The man’s eyes were twinkling, and out of his pocket he brought a handful of…beans.”
Wild Edric was an Anglo-Saxon earl from Shropshire who was also known as Eadric Salvage, Eadric Silvaticus and Eadric the Wild. Tradition says he was a great huntsman, hunting areas of the Forest of Clun, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. Although he was a real person many myths and legends became attached to him.
Twenty-two thousand words, research of folk tales from across the UK and 2 months to do it. What had I gotten myself in for? One heck of a ride, that’s for sure, but was it worth it?