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English Folktales


A Myth of Middridge

The following story entitled ‘A Myth of Midridge’ was published in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ (1890) by Edwin Sidney Hartland. ‘TALKING about fairies the other day to a nearly octogenarian female neighbour, I asked, Had she ever seen one in her youthful days? Read More »

A Witch Cat

The following account of the story is extracted from‘Legends Superstitions of the County of Durham’ by William Brockie (1886). ‘Mr. Read More »

A Witch-Hare at Sedgefield

The following account of the story is extracted from ‘Legends Superstitions of the County of Durham’ by William Brockie (1886). ‘A similar incident* is said to have happened at the small market town of Sedgefield, about seventy years ago. A party out coursing hares raised one in a field near that place, towards which they were astonished to see that it ran direct. Read More »

Aylesbury Black Dog

The following story which appeared in English Fairy and Other Folk Tales by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890], concerns ‘a man who lived at a village near Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire. This man was accustomed to go every morning and night to milk his cows in a field, which was some distance from the village. Read More »

Bardney Abbey

Bardney Abbey

If visiting the home of a Lincolnshire family, someone leaving a door open might be asked the unusual question "Do you come from Bardney?" This is said in a similar tone and meaning to "Were you born in a barn?" elsewhere in the country. The saying has its roots in an old tale about a miraculous occurrence at Bardney Abbey. Read More »

Bearnshaw Tower and Lady Sybil

The 17th century Bearnshaw Tower (or Bernshaw Tower) is said to have collapsed in the 1860's when its foundations were dug away by people hunting for hidden treasure. This pele tower though is best known for its association with a witch, Lady Sybil, who's story below appeared in 'Lancashire Legends' (1873) by John Harland & T T Wilkinson. Read More »

Betty Chidley The Witch

Below is the story of Betty Chidley, originally published in Miss C. S. Burne’s ‘Shropshire Folk-Lore’ and then again in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890]. Read More »

Bewitched Child, Wearmouth Colliery

The following account of the story is extracted from‘Legends Superstitions of the County of Durham’ by William Brockie (1886). 'It is far from uncommon, in Sunderland, Shields, Durham, Hartlepool, and other towns and villages, for mothers whose children are not thriving to think them bewitched. Read More »

Biddenden Maids

Biddenden Maids

Every Easter Monday the village of Biddenden, not far from Staplehurst in Kent, is the scene of old custom, called the Biddenden Maids' Charity. Tea, cheese and bread are given to local widows and pensioners at the Old Workhouse, while the celebrated Biddenden Cakes, baked from flour and water, are distributed among the spectators. Read More »

Bomere Pool

The privately owned Bomere Pool was created through glacial action and is an example of a kettle hole mere. However, there is a story that would have you believe it was created another way. Edwin Sidney Hartland gives the following account of this tradition in his ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ [1890]. Read More »

Borough Hill

According to ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ (1890) by Edwin Sidney Hartland,‘IN the vestry of Frensham Church, in Surrey, on the north side of the chancel, is an extraordinary great kettle or caldron, which the inhabitants say, by tradition, was brought Read More »

Bowscale Tarn

Bowscale Tarn is 56 feet deep and during the Victorian era was popular with tourists. According to folklore two immortal fish live in this corrie tarn and depending upon which version of the story you read, they may, or may not have the ability to talk. Read More »

Buckley Hall

Buckley Hall Prison now stands on the site of the original mansion house named Buckley Hall from which it no doubt gets its name. Buckley Hall which dated from at least the early 17th century was eventually modified and opened as an orphanage in 1887 after the previous owner died. The building was demolished in 1947 and the prison that replaced it was opened in 1966. Read More »

Burscough Priory

Robert Fitz-Henry, Lord of Lathom (Born 1135) founded the Augustinian Burscough Priory around 1190. It was dissolved during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII circa 1536 and today very little remains of the building. Read More »

Cherry of Zennor

The following story complete with footnotes was entitled ‘The Adventure of Cherry of Zennor (1)’ and appeared in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890] Read More »

Church Hill, Crowborough

There is a siting legend associated with The Church of St John the Evangelist, whch was consecrated on 31 July 1839. The orignal site that was chosen is said to have been to the West, on Church Hill near Friar's Gate. As with other siting legends the stones would be moved each night and positioned in the current spot. Read More »

Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Frensham

Inside the 13th century Church of Saint Mary the Virgin at Frensham is held a beaten copper cauldron. The medieval 19 inch deep cauldron is believed to have been used for the brewing of Church Ale and has apparently been kept in the church 'from beyond the memory of man'. Read More »

Combe Sydenham

Combe Sydenham Hall

Combe Sydenham is associated with a legendary story concerning Sir Francis Drake, and another historical figure, George Sydenham, who has also become the subject of folklore. Read More »

Croydon Hill

Croydon Hill is the scene of a peculiar English Folktale, that may or may not have its root in real events. Whatever the truth of the tale the hill has a reputation of being haunted by unearthly howls, especially on dark and stormy nights, and here is the story to account for this unearthly manifestation: Read More »

Dando and The Wild Hunt

There are many tales to explain the origin of the spectral wild hunt, this one is from the Parish of St Germans in Cornwall. It explains how a priest with low morals became a demon huntsman.

In the medieval period the priest of the parish of St Germans was called Dando. Dando was not a figure of priestly virtue but abused his powers to enjoy earthly delights. Read More »

The Devil's Stone, Shebbear

The stone that lies in the village square to the East of the church is turned every year on November the 5th by local people. The stone is made from a type of quartz not found in the area, measures about six feet by four feet and weighs about a ton. Read More »

Dobb Park Lodge

The following story is taken from ‘The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions’ of Great Britain by John Ingram (1897. 'On the southern slope of a picturesque valley, through which the Washburn pours its waters, stands the ruins of Dobb Park Lodge; a lofty, four-storied mansion of the Tudor period. Read More »

Drum Hill, Little Eaton

There is apparently a legend (or maybe it’s camp fire ghost story) associated with Drum Hill, which is situated on the edge of Little Eaton, although it has undoubtedly been kept alive (and most probably elaborated) by the Scouts and Guides who regularly use the site as a camping ground. Read More »

Elidor and The Golden Ball

This story was first collected by the medieval chronicler Geraldus Cambrensis, and tells of how a young boy lived for a time in the fairy kingdon, until the day he tried to steal one of their belongings. This version is from Joseph Jacob's More Celtic Fairy Tales, 1892. Read More »

Ezekiel Grosse, Rosewarne

The following story concerning Ezekiel Grosse was published in Robert Hunt’s 1864 ‘Popular Romances of the West of England’ and again in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890]. Read More »



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