Filed under superstition

Whitby Witches

This is from Highways & Byways in Yorkshire: I have never seen a witch, but really there are so many in the Cleveland district, of which Whitby is by far the most considerable town, that it would be absurd to stay my pen because my personal experiences have been less rich than those of the … Continue reading

Thomas the Rhymer

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border, in which Thomas Spottiswood: …wrote of him early in the 17th century: “Sure it is that he did divine and answer true of many things to come.” Fact regarding the Rhymer is so vague, and so beautifully blended with fiction that I doubt if most Borderers do not … Continue reading

The Kelpie of Slit Rig

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border Slit rig takes its rise on the Lindbergh Hill, on the northern side of the Liddesdale watershed, a hill of old the known resort of the Good People, whose piping and revels might often be heard by the solitary shepherd. The rivulet is said to well … Continue reading

Fairies near Hawick

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border, Northwick Water, too, as well as Slitrig, was famed for its fairies – and for worse than fairies, if one may judge by the name given to a deep pool; the Deil’s Pool, it is called, a place to be shunned by youthful fishers. …Higher up … Continue reading

A Poem to Save a Tree

This is another piece from Highways & Byways in Northumbria The Keyheugh Scars are a lie over the moors in a wild and beautiful district where the Grasslees, Darden and Keenshaw burns run riding places for badger, fox and otter. In the sandstone cliffs or scars the raven and falcon are said to nest. The … Continue reading

A Borders Murder

This is again from Highways & Byways in Northumbria, showing how hard life was in the border country. This is The Death of Parcy Reed [Reed] belonged to the family of Troughend a strong tower of which the massive foundations can yet be traced at a short distance from Troughened Hall. In Redesdale the Reeds ranked … Continue reading

Cash ‘For Luck’

When researching my book on wife selling, I often found mention of the price including money returned ‘for luck’. It seemed like a nice thing to do, but it seems that, like so much about the process, it did have a sound basis in history and commerce. This is from Paul Jennings’ ‘The Living Village” … Continue reading

Rollright Stones & Whispering Knights

This is a ring of Neolithic stones near Long Compton on the border of Oxfordshire. This is from Highways and Byways of Oxford and the Cotswolds: “Up here on the wold we have entered a fabled land. Close to us on our left is the spell-bound circle of he Rowldrich, to our right the King-stone, … Continue reading

Spiritualism and Table Tappers

This is from a wonderful book, The Year of the Wombat, tracing events, mostly in London, for the year 1857: “”Spiritualistic experiments made by persons interested in the new electro-biological discoveries” were infiltrating both religion and science with a stream of double-agents. The most successful practitioner of the cult, Daniel Douglas Home (a grandson of the 10th … Continue reading