Folkmoor: Red Hair
Nov15

Folkmoor: Red Hair

As I quickly write this column late (sorry Editor Laura!) I note that it is 5th November. As everyone will be considering the Gunpowder Plot and fireworks as being associated with this date, I thought I would instead note that it is also International Love Your Red Hair Day. Stereotypes based on appearance are all too common. But redheads certainly seem have a raw deal. Where might some of these ideas have come from? Often, we might...

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Folkmoor: The Maypole
May06

Folkmoor: The Maypole

1922 © The Lustleigh Community Archive ‘Right well aloft, and high ye beare your head,As ye would beare the great shaft of Cornhill’ So wrote Geoffrey Chaucer in reference to the maypole which used to be found at the church of St Andrew Undershaft in London. This pole was so well known in its day that the name of the church actually derives from the shaft of the pole which was set up opposite each May Day. When not in use, the maypole...

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Histories and Mysteries: Arsenic and Old Eggs – Some    unusual Devon crimes – Part 2
Feb08

Histories and Mysteries: Arsenic and Old Eggs – Some unusual Devon crimes – Part 2

A county stereotyped for its quiet rural life, Devon finds its notoriety occasionally. We continue our look at some of the seedier and more unusual crimes from Devon’s past. Appearing before Plymouth magistrates on 11th December, 1947, photographer William Baker was accused of selling obscene photographs. He entered a plea of guilty and said in his defence that he ‘liked the artistic side of photography’. Mr C Brown, in the chair and...

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Histories and Mysteries: Concealed ferrets and shredded trousers – Some unusual Devon crimes Part 1
Dec15

Histories and Mysteries: Concealed ferrets and shredded trousers – Some unusual Devon crimes Part 1

Chapel of St Clare at Livery Dole – Copyright Richard Dorrell Although generally a peaceful place, Devon has – like everywhere else in the country – its share of crime. Thankfully only a small percentage of recorded crimes are especially dangerous or a threat to life. Looking back through history, many crimes in Devon have more unusual aspects. Consider the title of this column. Those were two examples of the more bizarre nature...

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Folkmoor: Laying Ghosts
Oct16

Folkmoor: Laying Ghosts

As we are approaching All Hallows Eve, Samhain or Hallowe’en (depending on your viewpoint) we should all be on our guard for the possibility of increased hauntings! As a liminal boundary time, Hallowe’en (to use the modern generic term for the period for simplicity) is a time associated with things ghostly because the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, allowing those on the other side to more easily pass through … if that is...

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