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English Fairies



Tales of mermaids have been around for centuries, and form a large part of seafaring lore, especially round the coastal areas of Britain such as Cornwall, and the Northern Isles of Scotland. Their sighting was thought to be a bad omen, foretelling storms and rough seas. There are numerous folk tales describing their interaction with humans. Read More »

Myers Flat

An article in the North Echo entitled ‘How railway builders took on the fairies’ was published on Monday 16 June 2008. It concerns the building of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1823 and refers to the local belief that fairies hindered progress at Myers Flat. Read More »

New Books Published on Fairies and Boggles in Cumbria

A SERIES of hand-crafted booklets on the folklore and legends of Cumbria has been published. Read More »

Osebury Rock

Osebury Rock (or Rosebury Rock) is a remarkable cliff with dense woodland on the River Teme which, according to Edwin Hartland in his ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ (1890), has an association with fairies. Read More »

The Piskies of Cornwall

Cornish Piskie

There are a number of creatures particular to Cornish folklore, although their cousins can be found elsewhere in Britain under a different name and guise. One of these strains is the Piskie also known as a Pixie in other West Country counties.

The Piskie is a general name for a fairy race or tribe in Cornwall. Read More »

Pixie Day, Ottery St Mary

The nearest Saturday to Midsummer's Day is Pixie Day in Ottery St Mary, where school children dressed as Pixies re-enact a legendary tale in which the local fairies tried to silence the church bells before retreating to their cave for another year. Read More »

Robin Hood's Bed

Robin Hood's Bed (or Chair or Robin Hood’s Quoit) can be found on Blackstone Edge, a gritstone escarpment between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.  It is a large millstone grit boulder in which according to local tradition Robin Hood slept in one night whilst guarded by his men. Read More »

Sedgley’s Beacon Tower

Sedgeley Beacon Tower

Sedgley Beacon lies some 237 metres (777 feet) above sea level in the heart of the West Midlands. It is said that the top of Beacon Hill is the highest point between Sedgley and the Ural Mountains in Russia. Commanding views were once enjoyed right across the industrial Black Country and beyond to the Clee and Malvern hills and the mountains of Wales. Read More »

Sittal Hill, Freiston

Thought to be the site of monks hospital, Spittal Hill can be found at the end of Fox Hole Lane on the A52 and it has a repution of being the haunt of a shag-foal. Read More »

The Spriggans

Armed Spriggan

Spriggans is the name given to a family of fairies in Cornish folklore, they are the closely related to the Piskies, but were generally believed to be darker and more dangerous than their mischievous cousins. Whereas Piskies are generally described as being cheerful and fun loving, Spriggans are more spiteful and full of malice, directed at humans in the form of evil tricks. Read More »

Strange Lands By Andrew L Paciorek

Strange Lands

Andy Paciorek is one of Mysterious Britain & Irelands favourite contributors and his amazing artwork can be found illustrating articles throughout this site. Read More »

The Barguest & Church Grim (Kirk Grim)


The Barguest - One name for the phantom black dog. In appearance the Barguest was as large as a calf, with long sharp fangs and claws, fiery eyes and a shaggy black coat. Read More »

The Bee Hole Boggart

There is story that many years ago in the Burnley area, a woman known as Old Bet was snatched and killed by The Bee Hole Boggart.  Bits of her skin were then said to have been found bung on a rose bush.

The Fairy Funeral

The following story entitled ‘The Fairy Funeral’ was published in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ (1890) by Edwin Sidney Hartland. ‘THE parish church of Lelant is curiously situated amidst hills of blown sand, near the entrance of the creek of Hayle. Read More »

The King of the Fairies

The following folktale entitled 'The King of the Fairies' was published in 'Goblin Tales of Lancashire' by James Bowker (1878). Read More »

The Lost Child

Robert Hunt in his 'Popular Romances of the West of England; or, The Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of Old Cornwall' (1865) gives an account of the lost child of Trefonick which was given to him thirty years earlier by an old woman of the parish. Read More »

The Undreamed Region: Barrows In Folklore & Archaeology

Hills, mounds and burial sites. Places which have a timeless allure. Such places can be seen and regarded as mythically liminal, a place that it is not a place. A place outside of time. A place where the living freely walk with the dead. Barrows are just such places. Read More »

Upton Snodsbury Fairies

The following story concerning a fairy encounter was published in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ (1890) by Edwin Sidney Hartland. Read More »

Warton Crag

Warton Crag is a large limestone hill with a few pieces of interesting folklore as described in Lancashire Folk-lore by Harland and Wilkinson 1867: “On the lower declivity of Warton Crag, in the parish of Warton (which abuts on Morecambe Bay and the Westmorland border), commanding a beautiful and extended prospect of the bay, a seat called 'The Bride's Chair’ was resorted to on the day Read More »

When Witches Communed With Fairies

Magic Cirle

Our modern conventions tend to view the realms of fairies and witches separately. Witches have been viewed as evil, while fairies are seen as benevolent, cute, and kind. As scholars reevaluate witch trials and the confessions of those accused, we are coming to new conclusions on accused witches. Read More »

Wild Edric's Wife

In ‘The Science of Fairy Tales’ (1891), Edwin Sidney Hartland recounts the following tale told by the medieval writer Walter Map (Born 1140- Died c. 1208–1210). ‘Wild Edric*, of whose historic reality as one of the English rebels against William the Conqueror there is ample proof. Read More »

Will o' the Wisp

Will o' the Wisp

The Will o' the Wisp is the most common name given to the mysterious lights that were said to lead travellers from the well-trodden paths into treacherous marshes. The tradition exists with slight variation throughout Britain, the lights often bearing a regional name. Read More »

Willy Wilcock's Hole

Willy Wilcock's Hole is a cave said to be haunted by a fisherman of the same name who was transported to the fairy kingdom. He is still searching his way home after all this time. On wild nights his cries can be heard mingling in the wind.

Witch Cat, Staindrop

The following account of the story is extracted from‘Legends Superstitions of the County of Durham’ by William Brockie (1886). ‘Mr. Hylton Longstaffe relates that a farmer of Staindrop was one night crossing a bridge near that place, when a cat jumped out, stood before him, and looking him full in the face, said "Johnny Reed, Johnny Reed! Read More »



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