Stillborn babies and infants that had not been baptized could not always be buried on consecrated ground and a wealth of folklore developed around this delicate subject, some of it with a distinct North and South divide.
Country and County: Cornwall
8th May – The Helston Flurry Dance takes place, where Helstonians take part in a pagan ritual processional dance through the town in a custom that pre-dates Christianity and probably dates back to Celtic times. The dance takes place each eighth of May unless it falls on a Sunday or Monday and was probably originally a fertility or Spring festival.
1st May – The festival starts at midnight in the early hours of Mayday. The actual Hobby Horse is a hoop covered with black material with an African mask, and a horses head with snapping jaws. A man stands inside the hoop and the procession parades around the town. The festival has ancient origins.
On 19th January 1643 Sir Ralph Hopton’s Royalist forces camped at Boconnoc were surprised to discover a Parliamentarian army under the command of Lord Ruthin deployed on Braddock Down. Ruthin ordered an attack rather than waiting for the reinforcements under the Earl of Stamford to arrive from Liskeard. Hopton’s forces won the battle securing Cornwall for the Royalists.
Although this tale is very old, dating from 1665, the year of the great plague, and the year before the Great Fire of London, it is interesting because the person who performed the alleged exorcism recorded the events, and there were a number of witnesses. Although the exorcism was said to be a success her spirit is still said to wander in the local environs.