Friday, 21 December 2012

merry christmas to you all

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

If Christmas Day doth fall upon a Tuesday a cold winter and much snow, the summer wet but good peace shall be among Kings and Princes.

Monday, 17 December 2012

deck the halls

Yes it's that time again, to deck the house with holly and ivy but apparently not 
before Christmas Eve as it unlucky to bring into the house before. 
Holly is the most popular, the berries symbolizing Christs blood and it's prickles 
his crown of thorns. I t was also used in pagan times as protection against 
witchcraft and against lightening.
Ivy is useful to have in the house at Christmas as drinking wine with a handful 
of bruised leaves in it is a cure for a hangover!
Mistletoe is another plant that must not be brought in before Christmas Eve, 
most powerful against evil it is also a aphrodisiac  and a plant of fertility! 
hence the kissing under the mistletoe.
After each kiss a berry is picked off and when all the berries have gone the kissing stops!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

16th Dec called O Sapeinta ( O Wisdom)

This is traditionally the start of mince pie season, and you are supposed to eat as 
many pies  from different cooks as possible, for every cook's pie you will have a
 lucky month in the coming year. 
yum yum!

The mince pie was originally rectangular in shape and said to represent Christ's 
manger, these original pies were abominated by the Puritans as popish superstitions.

Idolatry in crust! Babylons whore
Defiled with superstitions, like the gentiles
Of old, that worshipped onions, roots and lentils

Thankfully we got rid of Cromwell and his puritan ways and now the mince pie is 
a staple part of Christmas!

Of course if you don't like mince pies eat chocolate! according to 
William Coles- Adam in Eden 1657
'The confection made of cacao called chocolate or chocoletto is of wonderful 
efficacy for the procreation of children: for it not only vehemently incites to 
Venus but causeth conception in women... and besides that it preserves health, 
for it makes such as it take it often to become fat and corpulent, fair and amiable.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Feast of St Nicholas

The Feast of St Nicholas takes place on the 6th Dec

 St Nicholas was a fourth century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who was so pious 
even as a baby that he would only suckle on fast days. 
He is said to have saved three maidens from prostitution by covertly throwing three 
golden balls for their dowries through their windows by night, and to have
 miraculously revived three murdered boys pickled in a brine tub. 
So he is the special patron saint of children as well as pawnbrokers who use the 
three golden balls as a sign. 
His nocturnal kindness is perpetuated in the gifts left by 'Sinte Klass' the Dutch 
American version of his name.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Two farmworkers were on their way to work one day when they saw a mermaid rising from a local pool. She told them of the treasure that had lain at the bottom of the pool for many years and that they could take as much of it as they wished. The two men could not believe their luck so when the mermaid dived back under the water they waded into the muddy water to follow her.
She re -emerged suddenly carrying a huge lump of gold that was as big as the mens heads . They were so astonished that one man swore that 'by God he had never had such luck in his life'. Hearing the oath the mermaid screamed and dived back into the water taking the gold with her. And that was the last they ever saw of the mermaid and the treasure.

a few faerie thingymebobs!

available from

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Faerie Hills

There are many hills that are inhabited by faeries and they can be dangerous places to  set foot upon. But there are a few intrepid souls who venture on to them either in hope of being transported to faerieland  or would be musicians who hope to be endowed with the gift of faerie magic if they spend the night sleeping on the mound.
There is a hill called Pipers Grave at Ednam in the Scottish borders, it is only half a mile from the village where a piper from a local band lived. One night he crept inside the hill so that he could learn  some of the faeries tunes. He was never seen again but sometimes he can be heard playing from deep inside the faerie hill.
But even if he had been released time is different in faerieland and as soon as he stepped foot back in the mortal world the piper would have probably crumbled away to nothing. Which is what happened to two fiddlers who had been hired by the Faerie Queen to play for her guests one night. When they were released and stumbled back onto the hillside after playing all night they crumbled to dust for they had been playing for 200 years.

The hill of Ile in the west highlands is another faerie dwelling where the Faerie Queen lives. Here she hands out from a golden goblet wisdom to all the women of the world.
'Still on the hill when the wisdom was handed out' is the local saying for anybody less than bright! 
 Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

Friday, 7 December 2012

just a bit of Somerset humour!

Oral tradition has always been  very important in the west country, here is a popular short story that has been told for many years!

One Sunday morning a young man went to visit Mary a maid at the vicarage. He said 'Cor Mary, something smells good in here, what's the vicar got for dinner?'
She replied 'Sheep's head and five dumplings.'
He suggested a game of hide and seek, so she went off to hide and he took one of the dumplings out of the pot. He did this four times, so there was only one dumpling left. He said 'I'd better go now, the vicar will be back soon.'
But before he went he gave the sheep's head and dumplings  in the pot a good stir with a ladle. 
The vicar came in and said 'What's for dinner Mary?'
  She said ' Sheep's head and dumplings,' and she took off the lid to show him and said 'Quick Vicar, the sheep's head has eaten four dumplings and is chasing the other one round the pot like mad!'

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Faeries will not hesitate to steal un-baptized children, they are especially partial to blondes, replacing them with changelings.
These may be either an old wrinkled elf who wants an easier life or a replica made of wood which under a faerie spell will appear to be alive. This replica often appear to sicken and die, the grieving parents will then bury the wooden changeling.
It is said that faerie births are getting rare and new stock is needed to replenish the blood line but in Scotland there is a more sinister motive as the babies are used to pay the Devils tithes which come due every seven years.
In earlier years many babies that were born ugly or deformed were believed to be a changeling which had horrific consequences. It was believed that one way to get the real mortal child back was to mistreat the changeling until its faeries family exchanged it again.
Placing the substitute on a red hot poker or putting it on the fire or whipping it on the top of a faerie hill was believed to make the changeling reveal itself. The changeling would then disappear and the  real child left in its place.
Men and women were also taken, in 1894 in Clanmel, County Tipperary Bridget Cleary fell under suspicion of being a changeling by her husband Michael. According to him she appeared more refined than usual and had grown an extra two inches. Although she protested her innocence he tortured and burned her to death ' to make the witch confess'. 
Michael Cleary buried the remains of his wife but they were later discovered and he was charged with manslaughter and was sentenced to twenty years hard labour.
In 1843 A Penzance newspaper reported the case of a man who had been charged with ill treating his young child. The child had suffered continous beating from the man and his family  since birth and from the age of 16 months had been made to live outside in the outbuildings. The man's excuse was that he believed the child was a changeling and that his real child had been taken by the faeries and amazingly enough the case was dismissed against him!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Faeries and Folkore

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles
Available from Amazon and my website
A great pressie for the little faeries in your life!!

Great introduction to the host of strange sightings of supernatural beings who inhabit the British Isles
Many of these folk tales can be traced back to Celtic times and have been passed on orally, from old wives tales to the spellbinding faerie stories we were told as children.

Holly is a sacred tree

The holly is a lucky tree and sacred to the Druids as it symbolises life and immortality.
Faeries revere the holly and will take revenge on anybody damaging the tree. The only time it is permissible to cut the holly is on Christmas Eve as it is an important addition to the Christmas wreath. It was a Celtic custom to gather holly and ivy for decorating the home during the winter symbolising that life and growth would return.
The faeries and elves would also come in with the greenery for shelter during the cold months, in return for shelter they would cause no mischief.
Every berry and sprig of holly must be removed from the house by 31st January, Imbolc Eve otherwise the more mischievous kinds of faeries like goblins will be encouraged to stay.

'Down with the rosemary and so
Down with the baeis and mistletoe
Down with the holly, ivie and all
Wherewith ye drest the Christmas hall
That so the superstition find
Not one least branch there left behind
For look how many leaves there be
Neglected there maids trust to me
So many goblins you shall see!

Robert Hemick

Saturday, 1 December 2012

O dirty December

O Dirty December
Yet Christmas remember

On the 1st December 1750 for a wager seven men were buttoned without straining into the waistcoat of Mr Edward Bright of Maldon Essex; who lately deceased at the age of twenty nine and who was esteemed to be the fattest man that ever lived in Britain. He weighed about fifty one and a half stone and stood above five feet nine inches tall; his frame was of astonishing bulk and his legs were as thick as a middling man's body, yet he was surprisingly active.
Hone Everyday Book 1829

Friday, 30 November 2012

 A faerie dwelling on Selena Moor near Lands End was first stumbled upon about 
two hundred years ago by a William Nay of Buryan. One night on his way home to 
Baranhaul Farm he became lost in the dark so decided to take a short cut he knew 
quite well across the moor. A mist rose and grew thicker and thicker as he struggled 
on across the marshy ground. Just for a second the bank of mist parted and William 
could see in the distance some faint lights. By now he was totally lost and in 
desperation decided to make for these lights so rode on until he came to a forest 
that he had never seen before. Hundreds of candles hung from the branches and 
music drifted about him. The trees grew thicker the farther he rode into the wood 
until at last he came across a small cottage nestled at the base of an enormous oak tree.
Dancing about a young girl playing a violin were dozens of small green figures. 
The sound of the music was so inviting that William felt moved to join in until a 
warning glance from the young girl made him hesitate. She set down the violin and 
drew him away under a tree where in the light from  an overhanging candle he 
recognised his dead sweetheart Grace Hutchens who used to live in the village of Selena. 
She had mysteriously died three years previously leaving William broken hearted. 
Grace explained to William that she had become pixyled on the moor and that she 
had also been drawn to the cottage by the sound of the music. 
Once here she had eaten an apple and from then on Grace was a captive in Faerieland;
 the body in her grave was nothing but a block of wood woven about with magic 
to make it resemble her.
William was determined to escape from the faerie glade and to take Grace with him 
so he took off one of his gloves, turned it inside out to break the spell and threw it into 
the middle of the throng. Everything went black, the faeries disappeared along with 
Grace and William fell to the ground in despair. His friends found him still unconscious 
three days later. He never recovered and shortly died. 
His body lies next to Grace's grave in the Buryan graveyard, or does it?

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

Thursday, 29 November 2012

last chance for a wedding...

This is your last chance for a wedding before Advent, during which season
 they were frowned upon, and be careful to choose an auspicious 
colour  for your wedding dress.

Marry in green, ashamed to be seen
Marry in grey, you'll go far away
Marry in brown, never live in a town
Marry in red, wish yourself dead
Marry in yellow, ashamed of your fellow
Marry in black, wish yourself back
Marry in pink, of you he'll aye think
Marry in blue, love ever true
Marry in  white, you have chosen right.

I have never heard the full doggerel before, I thought white was supposed to 
show that you were virtuous!

Anyway this is a cracker as well!!

When a man designs to marry a woman who is in debt, if he takes her from the hands of the priest clothed only in her shift, it is supposed that he will not then be liable for her obligations.
The Gentleman's Magazine 1784

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Faerie Glamour, used to deceive

The faerie art of concealing their true appearance is called glamour and is used 
to deceive mortals, they can alter their shape and the appearance of food, money 
and surroundings. So a splendid feast spread out on a beautiful gold table could 
be nothing more than nuts and berries laid on a log.
The use of faerie ointment on your eyes will allow you to see them in their true
 state but be careful that the faeries do not find out as their wrath can be terrible.
The term glamour comes from the Scottish word glaumerie which means magic, 
they use this power to capture mortals for breeding. The faeries are always trying
 to improve their own race by mingling it with human blood. Over the centuries 
the faerie bloodstock has declined and is now in desperate need of replenishing, 
so they are always on the look out for new mortal partners. They prefer young 
blonde blue eyed people. To guard against being snatched away from the church 
on their wedding day brides are surrounded by bridesmaids who are similarly 
dressed so the faeries would be confused when trying to seize the bride. 
This also applies to the groom as the wedding night is considered to be the 
most powerful time for mating with faeries. The bride or groom might be returned
 later but due to the difference in time in faerieland and the mortal world their
 family and friends could all be long dead by the time they return.

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

More on mermaids and selkies

I had to cut my ramble short yesterday as I had to take my persian cat to the grooming parlour! If any of you have a persian you will know that this is not a luxury, it is a necessity! she is the grubbiest thing.. all weekend in the foulest weather she was sat outside. For such a glamorous puss she is the hardiest thing!
Any way mermaids...

The MacCodrum clan from North Uist in Scotland are descended from a marriage 
between a selkie and a mortal. They are known as Sliochd Nan Ron, 
the offspring of the seals.
 The mortal  took her skin while she danced in the moonlight on the seashore and
 kept it hidden for many years and while he had the skin she could not leave, over the years
together they had many children. 
The offspring of these marriages would have 
webbing between their fingers and toes, this would be clipped off by their 
mothers but the more it was removed the scalier the skin would become. Anybody 
seen in the islands of Scotland who had hard scaly skin on their hands would  be 
 a descendant from a selkie. 
The selkies make good wives but are always pining for their home under the sea.

There are many differing opinions about the origins of the selkies, some say that like
 faeries they are fallen angels and are condemned to stay as seals until the day of 
judgement or that they are the souls of drowned sailors who are only allowed 
to return to land one night of the year to visit their families.

A Scottish mermaid fell in love with a local fisherman and to win his love 
showered him with  gifts of gold and jewels, he did not return her love and
 gave her gifts to a local girl he had been courting. The mermaid was determined 
that she was not going to share him with anybody and so led him to a cave under 
Darwick Head near Castletown It was here that she kept all the treasure that 
she had collected from the many shipwrecks in the Pentland Firth. 
He stood there astounded looking at all the wealth that she had collected, 
while he stood there mesmerised she began to sing a low soft melody.
His eyelids grew heavy and he fell into a deep sleep and when he awoke he found
 himself bound to the walls with golden chains. If all accounts are true he is 
still there keeping his jealous sweetheart company.

Monday, 26 November 2012


A mermaid was spotted off the coast of Wales near Aberystwyth in 1826 by a
farmer who lived close to the shore. According to his report the mermaid looked 
as though she was washing herself in one of the rock pools, at first he thought 
it was just a mortal woman until he saw her beautiful tail  spread out on the
 rocks beside her. His children joined him and watched the mermaid  for a time from their 
vantage point on the cliffs, as they were there for so long his wife becoming alarmed
 by their absence and came to find them. Her approach scared the mermaid and she slipped 
quickly back into the sea. The family continued watching the mermaid as she  swam slowly 
down the coast towards Dyfed.

It used to be thought that mermaids were heavenly fish spirits that fell to earth every now 
and then to perform ritual dances. They remove parts of their clothing to enable 
them to dance like the selkies of Scotland, if these fell into the hands of a mortal 
then the mermaids and the selkies would have to stay with the mortals until 
their garments were returned or found. 

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

In Celtic mythology mermaids were considered as monsters hungry for the lives of men and although they are described as half human half fish a better description would be half faerie  half fish as one of the better known attributes is the granting of wishes in return for her freedom if caught in a 
fishermans net.
Mermaids are more malignant in some places than others and the Mermen are more dangerous than their female counterparts but that story is for the next blog...

card available from

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The sun enters the house of sagittarius

The man born under Sagittarius shall have mercy on every man he sees. 
He shall go far to desert places unknown and dangerous, and shall return 
with great gains; he shall see his fortune increase from day to day. 
At twenty two years he shall have some peril, but he shall live 
seventy two years and eight months after nature.
The woman shall love to labour, she may not see one weep without pity.
 She shall spend much silver by evil company. 
She ought to be married at thirteen and shall have pains in her eyes at fourteen; 
she shall be called the mother of sons and shall live seventy two years after nature.
Both man and woman shall be inconstant in deeds but of 
good conscience, merciful and better to others than themselves.

Kalender of Shepheardes 1604

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hannah and the tulips

This is a well known tale from the west country about an old woman called Hannah who lived deep in the woods in a cottage. Running alongside the cottage was a small garden where she grew a few vegetables but most of it was given over to a huge bed of the most beautiful scented tulips. These blooms were her pride and joy and she gave them more care and attention than her poor straggling vegetable plants. After a days work in the garden she would sit at the cottage door just admiring the beautiful blooms until the light faded. 
One clear night Hannah was woken from her sleep by the sound of singing and of babies laughing, she crept out of her bed and nervously peered through the window into the garden but there was nothing to be seen. The sounds were coming from the tulip bed, worried about her lovely plants she threw a shawl around her thin shoulders and hurried out into the garden but as the latch clicked on the cottage door the singing stopped, all was quiet in the garden and nothing could be seen stirring amongst the plants.
By first light Hannah was already out in the garden checking her flowers for damage but she found they were untouched and there was no sign of anybody ever being there.
The next night was fine and clear and again Hannah was woken by the sound of singing and children laughing but caught no sign of her nighttime visitors. In the morning she again checked the tulip bed but this time she had taken her glasses with her and she could plainly see the little footprints in the soil.
Hannah was delighted to think that she had faeries in the garden and spent the whole day carefully weeding and tending the tulip bed even though her vegetable patch sorely needed tending.
That evening Hannah left the front door open so that she could slip out quietly if she heard her little faerie visitors again and then settled down into bed. Her eyelids grew heavier, Hannah could stay awake no longer and fell asleep.
The old woman suddenly woke, the moon was shining in at the window and she could hear the sound of singing quite plainly through the open window. She slipped out into the garden and walked down the path to the tulip bed. There in the moonlight Hannah could see the tiny faerie mothers standing next to a tulip bloom, gently rocking them backwards and forwards like a cradle while inside lay a little faerie baby.
From then on Hannah tended her tulips carefully every day and as a thank you the faeries used their magic to make the vegetable thrive and they grew so well that soon Hannah had more vegetables than she knew what to do with.
The came the day that the little old woman died and her cottage was sold. The family that moved in did not like tulips so they dug up all the bulbs and planted parsley in their place. This so enraged the faeries  that at night they pulled up the parsley plants and shredded them. Each time the new family tried to plant something it would be  pulled up and destroyed until finally nothing would grow in the garden at all.
It was only on Hannah's grave that the tulips still grew big and beautiful, carefully tended by the faeries.

Faerie Flora- Elizabeth Andrews

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A Faerie Fetch

In the 18th and 19th century was a rather strange custom of waiting in the local church porch on New Years Eve to see the souls of the dead entering the church. As midnight approached the shades of the people of the parish who were to die in the following months would appear walking up the church path and disappear inside.
It was all too common for the onlookers to see themselves as the last 'fetch'
A young lad called Robin accompanied  the local vet to a lonely farmhouse near the village, after dealing with the sick animal they started on their way home past the ruins of the old priory. The church bell started to toll as they approached.
'It's the passing bell' said Robin after two strokes 'and it's for a man' for it was the custom in those days to ring single strokes for a man and double for a woman, three for a child. After a pause the strokes continued, counting out the age of the dead person. Twenty six strokes, the age of Robin himself. The building was dark and quiet and as they waited wondering who had been pealing the bells, the gate silently swung open and a strange procession entered the church yard.
A tiny figure led, dressed in black with just a red skull cap, chanting a dirge as he slowly paced up the path, past the two men the tiny figures carried a coffin and as was the custom the lid was open.
Robin and his friend although terrified couldn't help themselves but to lean forward and gaze  at the figure.
The figure was Robin himself
The young man leapt forward demanding of the faeries his fate but as soon as he uttered his words they vanished leaving the two men alone in the churchyard.
From then on Robin was a changed man, moody and depressed. One month to the day he had seen the procession he died. His funeral procession took the same route as that of the faerie procession

In about 1826 a man called Ben Barr of Helpston Northamptonshire, who watched every year and professed to know the fate of everybody in the village, was reported quite ready to find a favourable verdict for the timid for the inducement of a few pence.
Watching is supposed to observed for three years before results would be obtained but once begun must be continued for life.

Examine your fingernails..

The nails very short, signify a person to be wicked;
small and cracked, to be greedy catcher;
very little to be a crafty beguiler.
White flecks in the nail signifies very wealthy and to have many friends; 
black flecks, to be hated.
The nails long smooth  reddish and clear withal, to be witty and of good capacity; 
narrow and long, to be cruel and fierce; 
the nails rough and round, to be prone to the venereal act.

The Shepherds Prognostication 1729

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Faerie Helper

The Bean Tighe of Ireland is the Irish form of the Faerie Godmother, 
she will attach herself to certain families for many generations. 
Looking after the children and pets, even finishing the chores around the house.

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

These domestic faeries piskies, hobs, boggarts perform many useful tasks 
around the home. Generally regarded as a good thing the house holder had to 
be careful not to offend  them. If vexed cream jugs were smashed, butter would not 
come, horses would be unmanagable, all manner of things would go wrong while 
the small creatures would watch in delight from some secret place!
The faeries also disliked lazy wives and servants.

If ye will with Mab find grace
Set each platter in his place
Rake the fire up and get
Water in, ere sun be set
Wash your pailes, and cleanse your dairies
Sluts are loathsome to the Faeries
Sweep your house. Who doth not so
Mab will pinch her by the toe

So with that I am off to sweep my floors before I get pinched by Mab!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Faerie Shoemaker

The Faerie Shoemaker otherwise known as Leprechaun spends his time 
around clear pure streams, also has a liking for cool dark cellars. 
Easily recognisable from the red cap he wears, he also wears two leather
 purses on his belt. In one a silver coin and in the other a gold coin. 
The silver coin always returns to his purse even after being given away. 
He only hands out the gold if he needs to buy his freedom from a captor. 
But keep your eye on him, one blink and he will vanish and the coin will turn to dust.
When he is not drinking and smoking ( which he is very partial to!) he is busy 
making shoes for the faerie folk. The Leprechaun is well paid for his services and 
has amassed quite a store of gold which he keeps in a large crock. 
He hides it well but usually it can located buried at the end of the 
rainbow where it touches the earth.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ivy brings good luck

The Ivy Faerie available as card from www.

Ivy brings good luck, fun and happiness and growing some over the outside wall of your house will deter misfortune. If you have a houseplant of ivy and it dies this might signify that financial problems are looming. The ivy was sacred to Bacchus God of wine and to show that good wine could be found within innkeepers would hang garlands of ivy around their doors. Ivy is the emblem of fidelity and it used to be customary to hand a wreath of ivy to newly weds. The bridesmaids would also carry some as well as it was believed to aid fertility and bring good luck.
For a man to dream of his future bride he must pick a leaf on the 31st Oct and place it under his pillow. For a woman to dream of her future husband she must collect some leaves and recite the following:

'Ivy, ivy I love you
In my bosom I put you
The first young man  who speaks to me
My future husband he shall be'

'Faerie Flora'

Monday, 5 November 2012

All Hallows

Well Halloween is over for another year.. we had a steady stream of little elves, 
goblins and monsters coming to our door. The sizes got progressively larger 
as the night wore on! We just had a few sweets left for our last caller, 
all got soaked of course as it was such a foul night but it didn't seem to 
dampen their spirits!
Although of course I should have been handing out soul-cakes but I 
think they preferred the sweets!

The Feast of All Saints or All Hallows which is also Samhain the pagan 
Celtic New Year festival when stored fruits and crops were blessed and 
the dead remembered.
On this night  soul-cakes are made and given out usually to the poor 
who in return would pray for the souls of the departed: and the returning dead 
were supposed to share in the cakes.
A child born at this time is supposed to have second sight and all of 
November's children will fortunate and beloved.

November's child is born to bless
He's like a song of thankefulness.

On all Souls Day Tindle bonfires should be lit to guide the souls out of purgatory.

There is an old custom in Herefordshire to hire the poor to attend funerals. 
They would be paid to take upon themselves the sins of the deceased. 
The corpse would be brought out of the house and laid upon the bier then a loaf of 
bread would be handed to the sin eater over the corpse. He would eat this 
along with a bowl of beer. Once he had done this and received his payment
 he would take upon himself all the sins of the deceased and 
free him or her from walking after they were dead.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh

Just returned from a long weekend in the city of Edinburgh, lovely old buildings! 
We were enjoying walking through the streets to get to the castle when we came across the Ghillie Dhu, I think it was a pub or club. Beautiful old carved door, it invited visitors in but we were not swayed by the pull of ale! We were off to scale the slopes of the castle. 
The Ghillie Dhu are tree spirits that live mainly in birch thickets and I didn't see 
any thickets nearby but then again the park was just over the road so 
perhaps they were city dwelling Ghillie Dhu's.
They are known to hide among the moss and leaves to avoid the sight of 
mortals and tourists in this case!
They are best avoided as they can be unfriendly and have been known to 
capture people, tie them up with ropes of ivy and carry them off to faerieland.

I'm not sure if this is one, he was carved on an old fountain near the castle.
 But I think we did find their front door! It is about a foot high and set in to a wall. 
We didn't knock!

It is so cute!!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Halloween and Hunky Punk

 In Somerset the punkey night celebrations which take place on the last 
Thursday of October is closely linked with Samhain. The Punkey lantern 
is similar to the Halloween pumpkin although punkeys are usually made 
from hollowed out mangel wurzels or turnips. The communities that still observe
 this custom  around Hinton St George and Lopen believe that it originated 
when the local men visited Chiselborough Fair and drank too much cider then had 
difficulty finding their way home. The women scooped out the mangel wurzels, 
placed candles inside and went out in the dark lanes to find their inebriated  husbands 
and take them home. 
The children now make them and traditionally proceed around the villages 
begging for money and singing the punkey song

'It's Punkey Night tonight
It's Punkey Night tonight
Give us a candle, give us a light
It's Punkey Night tonight'

Apparently in the old days any mean householder would get a banger through his letterbox!

This is all very similar to the Halloween festivities, although  during  punkey 
night there is no fear of the witches that are abroad during Halloween. 
Lanterns are made to keep away the evil spirits. 
There is another macabre custom that is practised on this night. 
It is believed that all the images of people that are going to die in the forthcoming 
year will pass through the church yard and into the church. If you are brave enough to 
wait in the porch you may see them but beware many people have seen their own 
spectre and have died in the following months.
There are other ways to stop witches entering your house, coloured glass witch 
balls will deflect an evil glance, glass rolling pins filled with salt and charmwands 
will delay a witch while she counts the decorative seeds and spirals. 
Bottles stuffed with red thread will do the trick, place them up the chimney, under 
hearths or above the door to stop the witch from gaining entrance.
If the witch gains some of her intended victims hair or nail cuttings or urine, these
 can be used in a counter spell. The heating of the urine with pubic hair, pins and 
broken glass will cause the witch pain and will make her reveal herself. 

To house the Hag, you must doe this,
Commix with meale a little pisse
Of him bewitch; then forthwith make
A little wafer or cake;
And this rawly bake't will bring
The old Hag in. No surer thing.


If you are bothered by vampires place a handful of blackberries on  your window sill, they will be kept busy obsessively counting the seeds in the fruit until sunrise!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Rollright Stones

These stones date back to the neolithic times and are made up of the King stone 
which stands slightly to one side of the seventy seven stones called the 
whispering knights. These lean together looking as though they are plotting 
against the King. He was leading his army towards the Cotswold Ridgeway 
in his campaign to become High King of England. On his way up the hill 
the King met a witch, she addressed him

'Seven long strides thou shalt take
And if Long Compton  thou can see
King of England thou shalt be'

not to be outdone the King quipped back

'Stick, stock, stone
As King of England I shall be known'

Saying that he began to walk up the hill but a hillock reared up suddenly
before him and blocked his view of the distant village.
The witch sang out

'Rise up stick and stand still stone
For King of England thou shall be none
Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be
And I myself an eldern tree'

The King and all his men instantly turned to stone and the witch turned
 into a elder tree close to the stones to guard against the spell being broken.
For many years it was the custom for people to gather at the stones on 
Midsummer Eve to cut the elder tree, if it bled it would bring fertility to the land. 
Some believed that the King stone would move its head if the tree bled. 
The stones are also believed to confirm fertility upon woman who touch
 their bare breasts to the stones at midnight. 
The King and his knights are said to be asleep in a cavern under the stones
 ready to be awoken in time of need, very much like the Arthurian legend.

Monday, 22 October 2012


The faerie gold on Cadbury Hill in Somerset is guarded by a huge green 
dragon; every day it flies from it's lair on Castle Neroche to Cadbury 
and then back again.
Many years ago the hill fort was inhabited by faeries, here they lived in 
underground homes along the sides of the hill and in their caves they stored 
their treasures and grain from the surrounding plain. They were driven from 
the hill by the sound of the newly erected bells from a nearby church. 
The sound of the iron bells hurt their ears so much that they left without 
all their possessions, leaving the gold still in it's underground cave.
The faerie treasure can not be found by mortals, for the harder you dig for it the 
deeper it will sink the earth of Cadbury Hill. The dragon has been guarding it ever since.

It was a beautiful  day when we visited the hill, I didn't bother looking for the 
treasure as I didn't want to anger the dragon!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

A charm to find who has bewitched your cow!

Talking of bewitchment..
Is your cow acting strangely?
 Is she moody and depressed?
 If so she may be bewitched.
To find who has bewitched her put a pair of breeches upon 
the cow's head and beat her out of the pasture with a good 
cudgel upon a Friday, and she will run right to the 
witch's door and strike thereat with her horns.

Reginald Scott The discovery of Witchcraft 1584

As well as guarding your cattle against witches Reginald also gives advice on how to guard your children from witchcraft.
He (the devil) teacheth witches to make ointments of the bowels and members of children, whereby they ride in the air and accomplish all their desires. So as, if there be any children unbaptized or not guarded with the sign of the cross or orisons (uh?) then the witches may and do catch them from their mothers sides at night or out of their cradles... and after burial steal them out of graves and seethe them in a cauldron until their flesh be made potable.
So to guard against this a crust of salted bread under the baby's pillow will keep off witches but to be sure  hang garlic among the bedclothes. Though efficacious against baby stealers a knife jammed point upwards near the cradle is perhaps not to be recommended for babies ( also used to deter faeries) but the best way is to get the child christened as soon as possible.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Wonderful mirrors by Steven Shipp

These beautiful mirrors are handmade by west country artist Steven Shipp.
He is well known around the area for his artwork and accepts 
commisions for his paintings and mirrors.

Are you bewitched?

 In the 16th century girdle measuring was a common practice for 
wise women to see if evil spirits or faeries have invaded a persons body. 
Any unexplained weight gain especially after an illness was considered 
very suspicious. Their girdle or belt would be measured and if  the wise 
woman believed it to have increased in size charms and incantations 
would be said over it. Then the belt would be measured again and if it did
not show a reduction in size it would be chopped into bits and buried. 
This was supposed to be a sure fire way of getting rid of unwanted possesions.

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

I have found another remedy for those bewitched dating from 1683- Doctor Lilly's Last Legacy
Take two horseshoes, heat them red hot and nail one on the threshold of the 
door but quench the other in the urine of the party bewitched; then set the 
urine over the fire in a pot or pipkin and put the horseshoe into it. Make the 
urine boil, with a little salt unto it., and three horseshoe nails until it is 
almost consumed: what is not boiled away cast into the fire. Keep then your 
horseshoes and nails in a clean cloth or paper and use the same manner three times.
 It will be the more effectual if it be done at the change of full of the moon.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hairy Meg the Brownie from Scotland

A hundred years ago Hairy Meg lived in the farmhouse at Achnarrow near Glenlivet Scotland. As per usual she did all the work and was regularly rewarded with a bowl of milk and a piece of oat cake.
After a particularly bad year on the farm, the crops failed and the animals died, the farmer decided he couldn't afford to keep the rest of the servants so he sacked them all much to Hairy Meg's disgust. She was so upset that she went on strike refusing to do any of the chores and throwing pots and pans around the farmhouse.
Hairy Meg made such a nuisance of herself that the farmer had to relent and give all the servants back their jobs and immediately Hairy Meg regained her temper.
You can tell she was happy!
( she reminds me of my old history teacher!!)

Aberdeen Brownies have no separate toes of fingers while in the Scottish lowlands they have a hole instead of a nose while others have no mouths just huge noses.
Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles 2006

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New improved website is up and running!

It's official!... 

my website has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
New and improved.. we hope!


Pics from the Wytch Market Glastonbury Oct 2012

This was first thing in the morning before the doors were open, after that it wasn't possible to see the tables for the crowds of people. Another enjoyable day in Glastonbury and usual we had a really fun day meeting lots of great people.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Lavender Witch is now available in paperback

Now available in paperback from Amazon or

While I was researching my book Faerie Flora I came across the strange but true tale of Hannah Henley, a well known witch from Devon whose bruised and bloody body was found hanging over a branch of a tree near her home. It was believed by the villagers that she had been taken by the devil even tho there was glass and blood inside the cottage. It was the strangest tale and started me thinking how this could have happened so I stopped FF ms for a while and wrote The Lavender Witch.

The Lavender Witch is a chilling ghost story based on the strange but true events surrounding the death of Hannah Beamish, accused of being a witch by a wealthy farmer in a small remote village where she lived in the early 1800’s.
One hundred and seventy years later these strange events, only now remembered by a few, come to light when Kitty and Gordon move back to the Devon village where they were born, they buy an old orchard from a farmer and build a small house. All is fine until they move in and Kitty spends her first day alone in their new home.
Over the course of their first week in the house chilling apparitions appear and events spiral out of their control bringing the past and present together until the truth emerges as to what really happened on Castle Hill.  Was Kitty and Gordon’s return to the village a coincidence? And what secrets are the elderly sisters Sybil and Queenie keeping?  To save their home and their sanity they must finally put the ghosts to rest

And yes this strange tale is based on fact!!