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Category: Folklore & Legend

Eadric Silvaticus: Legend of the Wildwood & Shropshire Folk Hero…

Eadric Silvaticus: Legend of the Wildwood & Shropshire Folk Hero…

The Eleventh-Century Saxon Thegn Who Became A Nineteenth Century Folk Hero Eadric the Wild was one of the richest thegns (high ranking Saxon noblemen) in pre-Conquest Shropshire. He held land throughout the Welsh Marches and had much to lose following the Norman conquest. We know little about Eadric. Today his deeds are largely forgotten but his name survives through legend and folklore. In 1067 Eadric submitted to William swearing fealty to him along with other Saxon noblemen, including Harold Godwinson’s…

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“On the Holiday Times of Old”…

“On the Holiday Times of Old”…

…Of Guising, Feasting and the Old Grey Mare In 1824 the Literary Gazette published a review titled ‘On the Holiday Times of Old’ lamenting the decline and passing of Christmas traditions. The writer, let’s call him ‘Gentleman’, wrote how ‘in vain do we look for “The jolly Wassel-Bowl” and the “Bore’s Head” with garlands gay and rosemary’ in a sad reflection on the neglect of the old customs. Our Gentleman reasons that this is due to the ‘sad effects of…

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Searching for the Lost Villages of Shropshire: Hangsters Gate

Searching for the Lost Villages of Shropshire: Hangsters Gate

‘No traveller comes easily to a lost village. Such empty sites are not well served by public transport and many lack even the convenience of a metalled road along which to approach them. You must be friend to mud, to green lanes and unused footpaths, to rotting footbridges and broken stiles, to brambles and to barbed wire. It is a landscape which has forgotten that human beings may want access, and it may be pardoned for its forgetfulness. It is…

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Holdgate: ‘The Castle of a Man Called Helgot’…

Holdgate: ‘The Castle of a Man Called Helgot’…

After submitting my thesis a few weeks ago now I miss my daily journeys into the murk and dark corners of the 12th century Welsh Marches. So, on feeling the need to escape for a few hours, away from Covid, Brexit and my woodsman husband’s looming redundancy, myself and Dan saddled up and journeyed over The Hill. It was a clear and sunny morning in late October and we headed north in search of a glimpse of the medieval past….

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Ghosts in the Landscape…Romans, Normans and a Georgian Woodsman

Ghosts in the Landscape…Romans, Normans and a Georgian Woodsman

I wrote the following ‘short’ for the Folklore Society Newsletter some time ago. It is about the old mott and bailey castle in Brinklow, a village in Warwickshire near to where I sent some of my childhood. Many of us heard tales as children concerning the local landscape: secret passages, fiddlers lost in underground caves and old women roaming the hills. Brinklow ‘tump’ is a huge mound right next to an old lane. As we drove by with my grandma…

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‘Tis merry in the hall, where beards wag all’…traditions of harvest home

‘Tis merry in the hall, where beards wag all’…traditions of harvest home

Now, there came three men out of Kent, my boys, For to plough for wheat and rye, And they made a vow and a solemn vow John Barleycorn must die. ~ Trad. Version sung by Fred Jordan, Shropshire farmworker and singer Harvest time! Once a huge event in rural communities, this was the culmination of the farming year with people coming together to bring in the barley, rye and other crops. When all was done they were rewarded for their…

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He Sings a Song in May…

He Sings a Song in May…

From time to time I collaborate with my friends, artist Hannah Willow and storyteller, Phillip Holmes, to produce workshops celebrating British folklore and legends . Alas, much of this year’s program has been cancelled but previous workshops, held at Avebury and Tintern in Wales, have focused on lore related to corvids and the element of ‘air’. Both included birds as messengers and portents and migratory birds were especially significant, suddenly arriving and leaving later as the year rolls towards winter…

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Ringing the changes – the bell of Aberdovey…

Ringing the changes – the bell of Aberdovey…

Many of us have a ‘go to place’ and one of ours is the lovely beach just north of Aberdovey, overlooking the lost Cantre r Gwaelod, the drowned lowland hundred of Cardigan Bay. This huge expanse of land was lost long ago swallowed up by a deluge according to legend and song. As you can see, I have shed the boot and crutch for a stylish stick. We spent a few pleasant hours looking at the horizon, imaging the lost…

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5. Jumping Off…

5. Jumping Off…

This is my first official blog entry, despite lots of notes and intended submissions over the last two or three years. So, I am jumping off into the World of Blog, despite my inept IT skills before more times passes. A major set back a few weeks ago was the fracturing of my fibula in an attempt to rescue some ducklings and their mother for the local wildlife rescue. Hopefully they were able to resolve their problems getting to the…

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Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

September 2017 It was 5.30am, dark, a chill in the air. I had to force myself out of bed. Dan looked at me in horror as I herded him out into the car in the drizzle and half light (he is not a morning dog). It was either now or wait another year. I have wanted to attend the Horn Dance at Abbots Bromley in the Forest of Needwood for over 30 years. This was the day! The horn dance…

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4. Bandits, mammoths along the Afon Dyfi…..

4. Bandits, mammoths along the Afon Dyfi…..

September 2017 It was our new Barefoot caravan, Mollie’s, maiden voyage and we had driven through pouring rain up into the wet Welsh mountains of Snowdonia to find that the pitch we thought had been reserved for us was no longer available! It was getting dark and folk were coming down off the mountains due to the awful weather and we were feeling dejected and wet. Then the blessed sat-nav took us down a blind lane and I had to…

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3. Five go down to the Cotswolds….or…. Of Lemonade and Kings Men.

3. Five go down to the Cotswolds….or…. Of Lemonade and Kings Men.

September 2017 ‘In the Oxford country there are great stones, arranged as it were in some connection by the hand of man. But at what time this was done, or by what people, or for what memorial or significance, is unknown. Though by the inhabitants that place is called Rollendrith’ 14th century With Chris, David and two dogs, I made the long(ish) journey down to the Cotwolds to pick up my new Barefoot caravan – how excited was I? This…

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