Friday, 10 August 2012

British Folk Customs

A friend of mine recently got me this wonderful book by Christina Hole for my birthday. The book dates from 1976 and it is, as it says on the inside sleeve The first guide to the subject in easy to consult form, British Folklore and Customs has a Calender enabling the reader to find out - with the aid of a specially prepared map - what is happening and where in Britain throughout the year. The book pretty much does cover just about everything. All sorts of odd and weird celebrations including such things as........Whipping Toms (Shrove Tuesday) Burning the Bush (1st Jan) May Birching (May Eve) Horn Dance (1st Sunday after Sept 4th) and Hodening. There are still some copies on Amazon here 
Garland King Day
Haxey Hood
Burning the Bush


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  2. I didn't know of this, thanks. I have her 'English Folklore' (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940, hardback) that is a profusely illustrated sheer joy. My copy has a metal-banded hole in the spine, presumably to chain it to the bookshelf like a religious book, which it is I suppose.

  3. This copy originally comes from Kent County Library. Its still got the old Library sticker on the inside. Would like to track down a copy of the English Folklore book.

  4. I'm going to get one of those remaining copies come pay-day.

    Do you think this is the book Mr. Woodward consults in Wicker Man?

  5. The 1945 revised edition can be had for £5 plus postage here:

    It's her magnum opus.


    'The Wicker Man' was released in 1973, three years before 'British Folk Customs' was published, so it couldn't have been this one. Maybe it was a specially made mock up book that Sgt. Howie consults?

  6. A great book, Keith.
    I would also strongly recommend 'Folklore & Customs of Rural England' by Margaret Baker; which is a truly exhaustive reference guide, and so interesting it hasn't left my bedside table for years.

    Another favourite is the massive Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland. If you've ever wanted to make your own Hand Of Glory, this book explains how in true Blue Peter style (if only).

  7. Both of these look good. Copies of the Penguin Guide to Superstitions on Amazon. Might have to treat myself. Thanks for that Fearlono.