Cunning-folk in England and Wales during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

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Abstract

In a recent article Willem de Blécourt highlighted how little we really know about cunning-folk in the context of European witchcraft, and stressed the need for further substantial research. The study of English cunning-folk in the early modern period has been well served by the work of Keith Thomas and Alan Macfarlane, but their respective chapters are, nevertheless, tantalising rather than conclusive. Although in the last twenty-five years early-modern historians have continued to take a strong interest in the witch-trials, and the social dynamics of witch-accusations, cunning-folk have, by and large, been neglected. De Blécourt also remarked upon the paucity of relevant research on cunning-folk in the period after the trials. This observation is particularly applicable to British historiography, and it is the purpose of this present paper to begin to redress this imbalance. Most work on cunning-folk has tended to concentrate on what they did, rather than on who they were
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-107
JournalRural History
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1997

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