Faeries in England – Tales of Folklore

English folklore is littered with mentions of Fairies, or Faeries. I took Faerie elements associated with the time of King Arthur (Morgan Le Fay) and wound them into The Moon Stealer series. In the world we live today technology creates the magic and disproves the wonders of the past. But what if we’ve simply lost touch with magic, is it still there? Can some people do things we can’t explain?

In olden days it was believed that there were playful earth spirits, which lived among us. They were normally described as being incredibly small creatures, with human features although they had wings. Much of the tales which surrounded faeries said that they were able to grant wishes to the people that they lived amongst, in the flowers and trees. Whether real or imagined, English folklore has many records of these miniature angels.

  1. cottingley_fairies_1
    Image: Elsie Wright

    The Cottingley Faeries

In the first part of the 20th century cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths took a series of photos of the faeries they saw in their garden. The first photo was taken in 1917 and became popular when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used it in an article, declaring it as proof of beings from the supernatural world. Unfortunately, during the 1980s, the cousins admitted that the photos had been staged, even though the maintained that they regularly saw the thumb sized beings in their backyard.

  1. The Black Down Hills Faeries

In previous centuries many people would see faeries in these hills located in Devon. The mischievous toy-like creatures would form a ring and keep ‘fairs’ several times a year, witnessed by those from the nearby communities, including a village schoolmaster.

  1. mother_ludlams_cauldron_1Borough Hill, Surrey

In a field near Fresham Church in Surrey there’s a cauldron which was believed to have been left there by the Faeries of Borough Hill. These beings resided in caves in the hills and would grant each of their visitors one material desire for an entire year, on one condition, the fact that they returned it at the end of the period. The cauldron was the final gift granted by the faeries and remains in the field because the person that borrowed it failed to return it on time, and the faeries stopped granting wishes and disappeared.

  1. The English and Scottish Brownies

Brownies got their name from the clothing that they wore, and would attach themselves to a household helping with small chores. It was possible for them to become mischievous and malignant if they felt that the family weren’t treating them well. In order to get rid of a brownie, the owner of the house would leave a new cloak with a hood lying out. They would take the cloak, disappearing along with it.

  1. Changelings

Believed to be young faeries that were swapped with human children at birth, changelings were said to have sweet temperaments, never cried and seldom ate. Unlike regular humans they were unable to walk or talk for many years, but displayed no other problems.

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