A Treasury of British Folklore: Maypoles, Mandrakes and Mistletoe

Available now from National Trust Books

Did you know, in Cumbria it was believed a person lying on a pillow stuffed with pigeon s feathers could not die? Or that green is an unlucky colour for wedding dresses? In Scotland it was thought you could ward off fairies by hanging your trousers from the foot of the bed, and in Gloucestershire you could cure warts by cutting notches in the bark of an ash tree. You've heard about King Arthur and St George, but how about the Green Man, a vegetative deity who is seen to symbolise death and rebirth? Or Black Shuck, the giant ghostly dog who was reputed to roam East Anglia? In this beautifully illustrated book, Dee Dee Chainey tells tales of mountains and rivers, pixies and fairy folk, and witches and alchemy. She explores how British culture has been shaped by the tales passed between generations, and by the land that we live on. As well as looking at the history of this subject, this book lists the places you can go to see folklore alive and well today. The Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival in Cambridgeshire or the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance in Staffordshire for example, or wassailing cider orchards in Somerset.

Dee Dee Chainey

Writer & Co-Founder at #FolkloreThursday

Dee Dee Chainey is a writer, and co-founder of #FolkloreThursday, managing content and community engagement. She spends her time curating weird and wonderful folklore from around the world for digital communities as co-founder of the online folklore magazine and hashtag day #FolkloreThursday, featured on 'BBC Trending', in 'The Independent' and 'Vice UK'. Dee Dee also appeared on the 'BBC World Service' talking about the value of the Cinderella fairy tale to modern women, and in 'The Telegraph', debating how folklore is still relevant today. Her first book, 'A Treasury of British Folklore: Maypoles, Mandrakes and Mistletoe', was released in April 2018 from National Trust Books (buy it here: http://amzn.to/2An2N09). Her work has appeared in the national magazine 'History of Royals', and she regularly contributes to Future Publishing's international bookazines, including pieces on folklore, Norse myths, vampires across the world, the history of magic, Bronze Age artefacts, and Ancient Egyptian deities. (See more: http://bit.ly/3a7XCzG) Dee Dee writes a monthly column for 'The Countryman' magazine — one of the oldest, most respected countryside magazines in the world — 'A Treasury of Folklore' launched in the March 2020 issue, available here: http://www.countrymanmagazine.co.uk. Before delving into the world of folklore, Dee Dee was a heritage educator working in schools, museums, galleries, and charities, and was outdoor education manager at the forest school named 2010 NDNA UK Nursery of the Year. Her academic studies focused on public archaeology and how past landscapes inform our identity, with an MA thesis exploring how archaeology can be used as a contemporary cultural practice. Her interests range from dark folklore, psychogeography, and megalithic tombs, to cunning folk, life-cycle rituals, and chthonic myth. In her spare time she enjoys taking trains across Europe, keeping cacti alive, and dreaming of French patisseries. She is a member of The Folklore Society and Toastmasters International. Dee Dee's next two books, co-authored with #FolkloreThursday's Willow Winsham, are due from Batsford in winter 2020, and spring 2021. She is represented by Sprung Sultan literary and talent agency.

What You Said…

Watch my talk, ‘Journeying into the Otherworld: Death Rituals in Scotland, from the Merry to the Macabre’, from the ‘Skelling, Skeklers & Guising’ Halloween conference in Edinburgh.

Dee Dee Chainey: In the Media

The Telegraph

Debating how folklore is still relevant today.

BBC World Service

Talking about the value of the Cinderella fairy tale to modern women.


Why we celebrate Halloween in the UK.

The Independent

British folklore: How the traditional tales are benefiting from modern culture

A Treasury of British Folklore


Have you heard about #FolkloreThursday?

It's an online folklore magazine, with a weekly Twitter hashtag day to share your folklore, read and retweet.

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