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  • Pook’s Hill and Kipling September 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Pook's Hill and Kipling

    There are two versions of the history of Pook’s Hill: the official version; and the official-official version. First, the official version. Kipling wrote in the Edwardian period a book for his children about English history: Puck of Pook’s Hill, published in 1906. A fairy, Puck, introduces Kipling’s two children to the marvelous wonders of the […]

    Bizarre Seventeenth-Century Jury List May 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bizarre Seventeenth-Century Jury List

    There follows a jury panel list from Sussex in the UK dating to the seventeenth century. A simple question: what is wrong with it? Beach has placed the forenames in bold and the surnames in italics: the final names are the local towns. Accepted Trevor of Norsham Redeemed Compton of Battle* Faint-not Hewit of Heathfield […]

    Killing the Witch’s Rooster? February 3, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Killing the Witch's Rooster?

    The most important thing about nineteenth-century witchcraft reports in British, Irish and American newspapers is that they reveal a series of beliefs that were actually practiced, but that were often too intimate and ‘stupid’ to share with a folklorist. The result is that these neglected newspaper reports are the closest that we come to the […]

    Seventeenth-Century English Dragons May 28, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Seventeenth-Century English Dragons

    Beachcombing recently highlighted the case of a giant serpent in nineteenth-century Devon, a snake that was as thick as a thigh. Beach had assumed that this was a one off, but now he is wondering as he found a second reference to go with it. This one comes from a pamphlet with a straight-to-the-point title: The […]

    P.R.A.W.N.S. October 5, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary

    *** Dedicated to Ricardo*** One of teenage Beachcombing’s favourite films was Ealing Studios fabulous Passport to Pimlico that describes a small London borough seceding from the United Kingdom in the years after the Second World War. Classic scenes include a tube train jittering to a halt and a ladder coming down through the roof so […]

    The Midsummer Oak and its Skeletons July 8, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Midsummer Oak and its Skeletons

    **This post is dedicated to New Moon who sent the oak story in** Here is a little bit of Sussex folklore which manages to combine English zombies, the delicate whiff of cobblers and, best of all, a famous oak. The oak tree in question is the Midsummer Oak at Broadwater, Worthing and the legend in […]