University of Exeter Press

The Folklore of Devon

    • 236 Pages

    Devon has a long and rich folkloric heritage which has been extensively collected over many years. This book consolidates more than a century of research by eminent Devon folklorists into one valuable study and builds on the vital work that was undertaken by the Devonshire Association, providing insightful analysis of the subject matter and drawing comparisons with folklore traditions beyond the county.

    The first major work on Devon's folklore since Ralph Whitlock’s short book published by the Folklore Society in the 1970s, this volume brings the subject into the twenty-first century with consideration of internet memes and modern lore, demonstrating that ‘folklore’ does not equate to ‘old rural practice’. With chapters covering the history of Devon's folklore collecting, tales from the moors, the annual cycle, farming and the weather, the devil, fairies, hauntings, black dogs, witchcraft and modern lore, this will remain the standard work for many years to come.

    Mark Norman is the perfect guide through the pixy-paths of Devon tradition. He brings us fairy music and the Devil’s footprints, the White Bird of the Oxenhams and the Black Dog of Vitifer Mine, presented with impeccable scholarship. A teller of good tales with a good understanding of folklore both ancient and modern, he is a worthy successor to the greats – Anna Bray, Theo Brown and Baring-Gould.

    Jeremy Harte, author of Explore Fairy Traditions and Cloven Country

    A uniquely rich and entertaining exploration of Devon's rich folklore. From local rituals to Black Dogs, Witch and ghosts to the rich oral histories of heritage sites The Folklore of Devon explores the land, its stories and their context.

    David Waldron, Senior Lecturer in History at Federation University Australia and author of Sign of the Witch

    In the period 1850 to 1950 important efforts were made in Devon to collect local folklore: arguably with more science and nouse than in any other English county. Until now, though, we have lacked an effective overview. With The Folklore of Devon Mark Norman has filled an important gap in the bookshelf of British folklore studies.

    Simon Young, author of The Boggart

    An entertaining and comprehensive exploration of Devon folklore. Norman takes the old “county folklore” model into new times and territories and displays his wealth of knowledge. Rich in source material, engagingly written, and with delightful illustrations, The Folklore of Devon is a pleasure to read.

    Owen Davies, author of Grimoires and The Oxford History of Witchcraft and Magic
    In The Folklore of Devon, Mark Norman makes a massive contribution to the study of regional folklore with international implications: the folklore of Devon is both highly specific to its historical and cultural context, and deeply intertwined with, for example, fairy lore and witch lore found throughout other parts of Europe. The meticulously documented agricultural customs, calendar customs, legends, and more demonstrate the extent to which folklore in Devon is highly meaningful to its participants, and should be of interest to a larger scholarly audience as well.
    Dr. Jeana Jorgensen, author of Folklore 101 and Fairy Tales 101

    What joy! ...It is a treat to have West Country tales, legends, and traditions comprehensively covered, and be shown distinctive ways in which folklore can be contextualised, made relevant and retold.

    Helen Cornish, Fortean Times

    A feast of old tales, customs, superstitions, rhymes and songs.

    John Foxen
    What’s Afoot

    A most enjoyable ramble through Deb’n folklore.

    Jo Gibson
    Northern Earth

    Although this is a scholarly book, it is not a tough academic tome. It is a lively, easily readable, often humorous account of a living world of story and belief... Hugely recommended to every Fortean!

    Richard Samuels
    Magonia Review

    1. Folklore Collection in Devon
    2. Stories from the Moors
    3. The Calendar Year
    4. Farming and the Weather
    5. The Devil in Devon
    6. Fairies in Devon
    7. Some Devon Hauntings
    8. The Black Dog
    9. Witchcraft
    10. Modern Folklore

    Mark Norman was recently appointed as the new Recorder of Folklore for the Devonshire Association, and is well known as a popular folklorist around the world thanks to his creation, The Folklore Podcast, which has enjoyed more than 1.5 million downloads. He is a council member of the Folklore Society and founding curator of The Folklore Library and Archive. The Folklore of Devon is Mark’s fourth book.

      • 236 Pages
      • 36 Black & white illustrations