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Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History

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Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspec Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspected spell; and how to attract a lover or keep the love of a husband or wife. While cunning-folk sometimes fell foul of the authorities, both church and state often turned a blind eye to their existence and practices, distinguishing what they did from the rare and sensational cases of malvolent witchcraft. In a world of uncertainty, before insurance and modern science, cunning-folk played an important role that has previously been ignored.


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Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspec Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspected spell; and how to attract a lover or keep the love of a husband or wife. While cunning-folk sometimes fell foul of the authorities, both church and state often turned a blind eye to their existence and practices, distinguishing what they did from the rare and sensational cases of malvolent witchcraft. In a world of uncertainty, before insurance and modern science, cunning-folk played an important role that has previously been ignored.

30 review for Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed omran

    Really fascinating overall. While I can't fault Owen Davies' thoroughness, I do think the book could have been formatted a little better so that reading all this information didn't feel so much of a slog after a while. Not that the text is boring or dense, just that it was difficult to hold my attention at times because it was just all text with no breaks until you hit the end of the chapter. Give me some sub-headings, anything! Still, an interesting read, and one I can safely recommend if you'r Really fascinating overall. While I can't fault Owen Davies' thoroughness, I do think the book could have been formatted a little better so that reading all this information didn't feel so much of a slog after a while. Not that the text is boring or dense, just that it was difficult to hold my attention at times because it was just all text with no breaks until you hit the end of the chapter. Give me some sub-headings, anything! Still, an interesting read, and one I can safely recommend if you're at all interested in the subject.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    Owen Davies’ Cunning-Folk: Popular Magic in English History (Hambledon and London, 2003) shows how cunning folk (known under a variety of labels) were a part of English culture (both rural and urban) up to the early twentieth century. He estimates for example, that by the nineteenth century, there were several thousand plying their trade across the country. Davies reveals that whilst prosectution was certainly an occupational hazard for them, in fact only a very small percentage of cunning folk Owen Davies’ Cunning-Folk: Popular Magic in English History (Hambledon and London, 2003) shows how cunning folk (known under a variety of labels) were a part of English culture (both rural and urban) up to the early twentieth century. He estimates for example, that by the nineteenth century, there were several thousand plying their trade across the country. Davies reveals that whilst prosectution was certainly an occupational hazard for them, in fact only a very small percentage of cunning folk were charged under the Witchcraft Act – because, he hypothesises, ordinary people made a distinction between “helpful” magic and “malicious” witchcraft. Cunning Folk is a thorough and engaging piece of historical research with some wonderfully funny moments – such as the account where a farm labourer took a cunning man to court because he had gone to consult him to reveal the identity of a thief who had made off with some produce – only to find that the lost stuff was in the cunning man’s rooms. I’d highly reccomend it to anyone with an interest in finding out how widespread popular magic was in England between 1500 and the 20th century.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christina Godfrey

    I read this because I like obscure English history facts. What I got was so much more. I felt like I was reading Joseph Smith's family business plan. But it was very well written, thorough, and interesting. I read this because I like obscure English history facts. What I got was so much more. I felt like I was reading Joseph Smith's family business plan. But it was very well written, thorough, and interesting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    THey used to be numerous in pre victorian Britain, but now they are not even a handful if they are around at all. Owen Davies has written several well informed books on Witchcraft and Grimoires , several of which I have reviewed. This is also the only other book that I am aware of that deals with the cunning folk on a scholarly level that is available to the modern day reader. Emma Wilby  has a another one out which I have reviewed. The two authors cover the same subject but I would say from dif THey used to be numerous in pre victorian Britain, but now they are not even a handful if they are around at all. Owen Davies has written several well informed books on Witchcraft and Grimoires , several of which I have reviewed. This is also the only other book that I am aware of that deals with the cunning folk on a scholarly level that is available to the modern day reader. Emma Wilby  has a another one out which I have reviewed. The two authors cover the same subject but I would say from different vantage points. Owen cover the social integration of Cuhnning folk while Emma Wilby covers the inner spiritual working to an extent. The Cunning Folk were called upon in Old Britain to counter witchcraft . They were also called upon to find lost or stolen goods, to win love and to find treasure. Records of them go back all the way to like the 1400's but they may have been around long before that,they just went by a different name. Wicce was one of those name and it meant wise ones . THe Cunning Folk have always hovered around a grey area in society. Not completely trusted and not completely loved. When suspected witches were being rounded up the cunning folk were left alone. After all it was the cunning folk or white witches who fought against the witches. Yet many church officials did not like the cunning folk because after all they did use magic. In fact the Chrurch despised them even more. Calling themselves white witches gave them a disguises and they were just trickier servants of the devil whther they realized it or not. When the legal maelstrom hit the fan the cunning folk were not entirely immune. They could not be punished ihn secular courts of law but they did receive flogging and banishment from church courts on occasions. They were also sued in civil courts. Their claims of who stole whose property often times did not pan out and this caused social problems. THe wrongly accused would sue them for slander. Oft times their cures did not work and those they accused of witchcraft turned out not to be witches. Later on when laws were promulgated against using magic to find treasure, often ment that cunning folk could find themselves in a bit of a bind especially when there was non treasure to be found. I personally think that many a cunning folk used fraudulent means to drum up business. Often times though they had other careers beside being cunning folk. Which of the two careers generated more income well that is up for grabs. Back i old times it was pretty difficult to distinguish between an astrologer, doctor or cunning man. Cunning folk collected grimoires and displayed them on their shelves. this made them look educated. THey usually were not so ceremonials but they did employ bits and pieces taken from Ceremonial magic book. Written charms were oft tiimes written up and sealed with wax. Kept on the person of benefit for no one else to see they were often times sewn up in clothing . THe written charms had biblical verses and invocations from Grimoires.  Compared to other cunning type folks in other parts of Europe penalties against cunning folk  wer mild. Now it must noted that it is ann open question as to whether true cunning folk still exist. THere are neo pangs out there who are trying to revive things. But bear in mind Cunning folk were not pagans they were Christians. THeir use died out well because who really is looking for buried treasure? Who is being curesed by witches? If you are sick you go to the doctor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    This was a really interesting book. Exploring a subject never before discussed in great detail, Davies covers many of the questions arising from the subject of cunning folk such as what tasks they performed, where they got their information and how they were perceived and dealt with by the public, church and government. The only slight downfall of the book is that in many ways it reads more like an extended essay. Davies explains what he will look at each time before doing so and this interrupts This was a really interesting book. Exploring a subject never before discussed in great detail, Davies covers many of the questions arising from the subject of cunning folk such as what tasks they performed, where they got their information and how they were perceived and dealt with by the public, church and government. The only slight downfall of the book is that in many ways it reads more like an extended essay. Davies explains what he will look at each time before doing so and this interrupts the flow slightly. I guess, as it was in many ways the first venture into this subject, Davies wrote with fellow scholars as his target audience, rather than writing it in the accessible popular history vein for the general public, which graces most of the bookshop shelves. Despite this however, the book I believe would be accessible to both history students and those ignorant of the subject. With many examples and case studies to support his information, Davies has created a fascinating study of the world of cunning folk. P.S He is also a great lecturer that I had the pleasure of studying under for my degree!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Owen Davies' book 'Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History' had been on my Christmas wish-list as one of those books that I really wanted to read and I wasn't disappointed to find it in my stocking this year. Davies admirably debunks the fanciful notion amongst many self-styled Wiccan and New Age Pagans that they are somehow the legatees of an unbroken wise-woman / cunning-folk tradition of healers and white witches. Davies uses primary and secondary sources to identify cunning folk as ess Owen Davies' book 'Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History' had been on my Christmas wish-list as one of those books that I really wanted to read and I wasn't disappointed to find it in my stocking this year. Davies admirably debunks the fanciful notion amongst many self-styled Wiccan and New Age Pagans that they are somehow the legatees of an unbroken wise-woman / cunning-folk tradition of healers and white witches. Davies uses primary and secondary sources to identify cunning folk as essentially Christian quasi-medics and often frauds and showmen, whose main stock in trade was unbewitching through magic and herbalism, thief finding, love magic and divination. I particularly enjoyed discovering that two noted cunning folk were from my home town: a John Wendore who in 1604 determined that Anne Gunter was "not sick, but rather .. bewitched by some evil neighbour; and Maria Giles 'the Newbury Cunning woman' who features repeatedly in the archives of the Newbury Weekly News from the 19th century largely because she was in severe need of an ASBO! The book has an extensive bibliography and lots of lovely references! What joy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Forensic Psych Student

    Popular Magic by Owen Davies is an academic look at a specific type of magical practitioner called cunning-folk. Focusing on two periods – Early Modern and Modern – the book elucidates primarily upon social context, allowing the reader to appreciate the umbilical connection between cunning-folk and the popular belief in witchcraft. While there were other magical practitioners, cunning-folk can be defined by the breadth of services they offered, and in particular by their Witch-Doctoring service. Popular Magic by Owen Davies is an academic look at a specific type of magical practitioner called cunning-folk. Focusing on two periods – Early Modern and Modern – the book elucidates primarily upon social context, allowing the reader to appreciate the umbilical connection between cunning-folk and the popular belief in witchcraft. While there were other magical practitioners, cunning-folk can be defined by the breadth of services they offered, and in particular by their Witch-Doctoring service. A high majority of them were literate males, highly entrepreneurial and motivated by prestige and money. Cunning women existed yet their numbers were far fewer and they were often impeded by illiteracy; books and the path to becoming fully-fledged cunning-folk were extricable linked. The Clergy were also involved to varying degrees in the trade, and it was seen by some individuals as a natural extension of their official duties. The attitude of the authorities towards cunning-folk varied widely and while some viewed them as threats to social harmony, to others they had diabolical implications. The laity generally had the opposite view and for them cunning-folk provided a valued service against misfortune and sickness. Prosecutions relied on presentments, and the sympathetic view of the laity hampered the enforcement of the various laws that could be enacted; however, court appearances did occur and these were often instigated by unsatisfied customers. As the Modern Period drew to a close many of the harsh views towards cunning-folk softened, local priests began to interact with them and their stories were included in folkloric collections. Davies paints a vivid picture of what their trade entailed and how cunning-folk went about their business. The bedrock of their trade was the curing of the bewitched, and it should be no surprise to find that this particular facet was also the most lucrative. In distinguishing cunning-folk from other magical practitioners, it is necessary to understand the breadth of services they offered; therefore, their résumé should at least include treasure seeking, thief detection and love magic, alongside the crucial witch-doctoring. Make no mistake, they were far from consummate professionals and some were unscrupulous lying thieves, yet the services cunning-folk provided were still highly valued and unique. Outward appearances were key to attracting custom, and one way of elevating oneself in the eyes of potential customers was to have large, antique leather books on show. Through their desire for books on magic, cunning-folk played not only a crucial role in the democratisation of high magic, but also with the mid-sixteenth century boom and commercial viability in the translation of foreign texts. Important texts are discussed and one of the most influential English books was Reginald Scot’s “The Discoverie of Witchcraft”. This fact oozes with irony because the intention behind the publication was to show how magic was nothing more than a fantasy and a superannuated relic, yet in his process of debunking Scot provided cunning-folk with a veritable grimoire. The chapter on books mentions a plethora of different texts and in places it got a bit laborious, but the bigger picture concerning the relevance of these texts did interest me. Davies then proceeds to show how these books were put to use in the creation of various written charms. Most extant charms are from the 18th through 19th centuries and present with a pronounced Christian content. We are guided through various types of charms and a number of examples are provided, yet it is pointed out that nothing can be inferred from these as to the magical beliefs of cunning-folk because at best, written charms merely demonstrate the ability to copy from books, and at worst some are simply a meaningless collection of disparate words. This chapter provides an interesting yet limited insight into the charms used by cunning-folk, and it is primarily oriented towards their origins. As we head into the penultimate chapter the focus shifts to the Continent and comparisons are made to sharpen the picture of English cunning-folk. The similarities are mainly constrained to the differentiation between cunning-folk and witches, demonstrated by the various statutes stipulating differential and more lenient punishment for the former, and although previous studies are insufficient, Davies surmises that the low level cunning-folk prosecutions in England for maleficium were also echoed on the Continent. Differences include stricter laws on medical practices, the various Inquisitions and the fact that unlike English Common Law, under Roman Law prosecutions were brought and tried in light of the prevailing theological or intellectual orthodoxy. This meant there was the potential for many more cunning-folk to be convicted for maleficium, but in practice no such thing happened. The chapter progresses onto discussing the impact of the Reformation. In particular it is highlighted that in the absence of Catholic priests who – especially before the Council of Trent – provided the community with a wide range of spiritual and practical services, cunning-folk essentially filled the void, and the subsequent lack of competition gave rise to increased profitability in the cunning trade. It is also posited that many more women were able to become fully-fledged cunning-folk not only in the absence of Catholic priests, but also due to the increased literacy that we see in Post-Reformation countries. Another important comparison is made concerning Faeries in popular magic, and concludes that increased literacy lead to a waning of their relevance and currency. Davies goes into some depth describing the popular experience of Catholicism – along with the various consequences of the Reformation – which I found extremely interesting, thus making this section my highlight of the book. The long chapter closes with a brief description of Siberian Shamanism, concluding that no link can be made between cunning-folk and the practices of these Shamans. The final chapter considers the relevance and existence of cunning-folk in the twentieth century. As society changed and an embryonic welfare system came into being, the once virulent fear of witchcraft subsided and the foundation of the cunning trade began to crumble. No fully-fledged cunning-folk can be found after the 1940s, and the final vestiges of their trade were to be only found in butter churns, yet even this was attended to by simple charmers rather than fully-fledged cunning-folk. The last court appearance occurred in 1906, concerned a widow called Ellen Hayward and centred on a rather sad course of events. I found this interesting as ground zero of this case, May Hill, is in the same county I grew up in and is visible from my mum’s house. This case shows a common transition from the cunning trade to simple orthodox herbalism, and furthermore that it was a reluctance to diagnose witchcraft, coupled with the widespread literacy, that proved to be the final nail in the coffin; the trade was no more. The book closes with a debunking of the popular history of George Pickingill, and also considers what applicability the namesake “cunning-folk” has to modern practitioners. The trade can be legitimately learnt from books as this is exactly how cunning-folk operated, but if Witch-Doctoring services are absent, and if the practitioner operates within any religious framework other than Christianity, then the term Cunning Man or Woman cannot be applied as historically defined. I found this book to be a well-written, engaging and historically-sound look at who cunning-folk were and why they existed. If you are a practitioner then you will be provided with a lucid context in which to practice and craft your trade; and if you’re simply a history buff, come and dine with one of the foremost scholars in the field of cunning-folk. For me it could have included a few sub-chapters. Some chapters are really quite long and dividing them up would not only make reading easier, but would also make perfect sense, especially in the chapter on “European Comparisons” which clearly covers two or three – though related – topics. Owen dismisses any Shamanic inheritance and appears to include Animism in this, but I was left wondering, when I read how the faithful viewed the sacramentals as being imbued with a power of their own, if he missed something here…

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    Davies is presenting some pretty obscure knowledge, whose detail extended beyond my curiosity on the subject. The nature and job description of this group of British subjects was revealed mostly through information from the courts when our 'folk were brought to trial. Cunning-folk were not witches, but 'unbewitchers' who, among other things, took curses off people and animals who had run afoul of (the more concerning) sorcerers in league with the devil. Cunning-folk were practical magicians who Davies is presenting some pretty obscure knowledge, whose detail extended beyond my curiosity on the subject. The nature and job description of this group of British subjects was revealed mostly through information from the courts when our 'folk were brought to trial. Cunning-folk were not witches, but 'unbewitchers' who, among other things, took curses off people and animals who had run afoul of (the more concerning) sorcerers in league with the devil. Cunning-folk were practical magicians who ministered largely to the illiterate laborers of their times and helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspected spell; and how to attract a lover or keep the love of a husband or wife. Some things I learned: * Laws written to curb the activities of cunning-folk, conjurers and witches through the "Conjuration Acts" of 1542, 1563 and 1604. Then through the "Witchcraft Act of 1736" which was more lenient- applying a maximum sentence of 1 yr imprisonment without bail and quarterly appearances in the pillory on market days * Most complaints against cunning-folk were brought to Ecclesiastical courts (Church) * In popular opinion, many saw cunning-folk as doing good and widespread faith in their abilities was undermined only when people no longer required their services * Numbers can not be accurately measured, most likely, less than one per parish. 2/3 of practitioners men. Members were semi-literate folks who had some degree of authority in their community * Arcane arts learned through books, by inheritance, or through other well-known practitioners. Often had a second occupation * Services provided varied by practitioner, but could include: treasure seeking, detection of thieves and lost property, love charms, fortune telling, protective charms, women's health services, healing the bewitched and protecting from bewitchment. Fees varied with service- fortune telling cheapest, curing the bewitched most expensive * Influential occult texts were used to produce written charms- the bread and butter of cunning folk. Mystical words and symbols were written on small squares of parchment and generally worn on the clients person or placed over doors and windows. Use of acrostics, biblical, demonic & secret names, phrases from the bible in Latin, circular seals * As English society changed and became more literate, and evidence of witchcraft disappeared, so did cunning-folk. Last vestiges were very rural- curing animal diseases and minor ailments of the farmer's family. (1930s) And here is what I really wanted to know * according to Davies "Cunning-folk were products of the religious cultures of their time and place" not last vestiges of paganism in their times. Recommended only for those with a strong interest in the history of occultism.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Brown

    Academic history and quite entertaining. Takes history of cunning Folk from early modern to early 20th century. British isles primarily, with a chapter on continental cunning folks. Provides a clear definition of this type of magic worker. Approaches from view point of what society said about cunning folk, so court records, newspapers, plays, novels, etc. Very interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sam Hicks

    Contrary to popular belief, cunning folk were rarely prosecuted as witches (although they were for fraud etc); people just didn't buy into the idea of them being anything but useful. Neither were they social outcasts -they were usually fairly prosperous trades people in their own right, even including members of the clergy. Much brilliant research herein. James Baker and his magic spoon. Contrary to popular belief, cunning folk were rarely prosecuted as witches (although they were for fraud etc); people just didn't buy into the idea of them being anything but useful. Neither were they social outcasts -they were usually fairly prosperous trades people in their own right, even including members of the clergy. Much brilliant research herein. James Baker and his magic spoon.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jbondandrews

    While the Cunning-Folk was well written I found Owen Davies seemed to write more about the negative aspects of Cunning people than positive.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Calvin

    Probably the primary academic work on the Cunning Folk. Not sure that I agree with all of Mr. Davies conclusions, but this is a good place to start. Lots of reference to prior research.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hava

    trash conclusions but great research

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patick Kyteler

    EYE OPENING! There are a lot of misconceptions about the Cunning Folk of Great Britain in the modern neo-pagan consciousness. We like to romanticize their existence, thinking of them as eccentric country witches living in spooky yet pretty cottages on the outskirts of charming villages next to mysterious dark forests where they gathered their herbs and worked benevolent magic for an appreciative community. Wrong! Owen Davies does an excellent job dispelling this fantasy by revealing the facts bac EYE OPENING! There are a lot of misconceptions about the Cunning Folk of Great Britain in the modern neo-pagan consciousness. We like to romanticize their existence, thinking of them as eccentric country witches living in spooky yet pretty cottages on the outskirts of charming villages next to mysterious dark forests where they gathered their herbs and worked benevolent magic for an appreciative community. Wrong! Owen Davies does an excellent job dispelling this fantasy by revealing the facts backed by painstaking research about what Cunning-folk actually where and the services they provided. Cunning-folk, most of them male, were magical merchants. They cast divinations, found lost items, identified thieves, compelled love, and most importantly in the minds of people during the period countered the malefic forces blamed for every single unfortunate thing that plagued a life bereft of modern technology and controlled by religious superstition - all for a price of course. Forget any notion of them practicing the surviving remnants of some pagan religion either. Cunning men and women where staunch Christians whose magic gained legitimacy through invocations of the saints and from published grimoires on Renaissance ceremonial magic. It is how they for the most part avoided prosecution and impressed customers. They were never illiterate farmers or laborers. Most were drawn from the lower middle class where literacy at least for males was common and held positions of some authority in the community: merchants who could stop their legitimate work at a moment’s notice to run off to some household. And cunning work was lucrative. Much more so than the conventional occupations available to this class of people, although any smart cunning man always kept his regular job if he didn’t want to find himself in front of some ecclesiastical court. Lastly but certainly not least Owen Davies looks at the claims of a connection between nine covens of witches and the cunning man George Pickingill. These covens being the precursors to Wicca through the New Forest Coven that initiated Gerald Gardner, Thelema via Aleister Crowley, and Traditional Witchcraft through such figures as Robert Cochrane. Davies however could not find any collaborating evidence of such a connection. For these reasons Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History is an essential resource for anyone who wishes to learn a well-researched fact-based history of the rise and fall of Cunning-folk in the early modern period.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Louise Culmer

    A very interesting and entertaining book about the history of English 'cunning men' and 'wise women', people who claimed to be able to detect bewitchment, and counteract its baneful effects, and also to be able to find lost objects, make people fall in love, heal sick animals and people etc. Their main period of importance was when belief in witchcraft was strongest - they could tell their clients who had bewitched them, and break the spell that had been laid on them. As belief in witchcraft dec A very interesting and entertaining book about the history of English 'cunning men' and 'wise women', people who claimed to be able to detect bewitchment, and counteract its baneful effects, and also to be able to find lost objects, make people fall in love, heal sick animals and people etc. Their main period of importance was when belief in witchcraft was strongest - they could tell their clients who had bewitched them, and break the spell that had been laid on them. As belief in witchcraft declined, the importance of 'cunning folk' also declined. However, belief in witchcraft lingered on into the 19th century, and a few 'cunning folk' were still practising even into the twentieth century. Dissatisfied clients sometimes took them to court, but there must have been enough satisified clients to enable the profession to continue for so long. This is a fascinating look at this unusual group of people.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Really fascinating overall. While I can't fault Owen Davies' thoroughness, I do think the book could have been formatted a little better so that reading all this information didn't feel so much of a slog after a while. Not that the text is boring or dense, just that it was difficult to hold my attention at times because it was just all text with no breaks until you hit the end of the chapter. Give me some sub-headings, anything! Still, an interesting read, and one I can safely recommend if you'r Really fascinating overall. While I can't fault Owen Davies' thoroughness, I do think the book could have been formatted a little better so that reading all this information didn't feel so much of a slog after a while. Not that the text is boring or dense, just that it was difficult to hold my attention at times because it was just all text with no breaks until you hit the end of the chapter. Give me some sub-headings, anything! Still, an interesting read, and one I can safely recommend if you're at all interested in the subject.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holley

    A very good overview of popular magic in England. For a more advanced and comprehensive work, there is no better than Keith Thomas' Religion and the Decline of Magic, but for a refresher(or someone new to the subject)of the role of cunning-folk in English society, as well as the differences between cunning-folk and witches, this one is solid. Of particular interest is a pretty thorough examination of the services provided by cunning-folk, and a list of books, etc. that were often found in their A very good overview of popular magic in England. For a more advanced and comprehensive work, there is no better than Keith Thomas' Religion and the Decline of Magic, but for a refresher(or someone new to the subject)of the role of cunning-folk in English society, as well as the differences between cunning-folk and witches, this one is solid. Of particular interest is a pretty thorough examination of the services provided by cunning-folk, and a list of books, etc. that were often found in their libraries. Being something of a book nerd myself, I enjoyed that section the most.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Holly Herda

    Required reading for anyone interested in traditional witchcraft/cunning craft. Be warned however that this book mainly covers the status of cunning folk in regard to the law, and how they were viewed by society. If you're looking for a book loaded with charms to use, this isn't it. Required reading for anyone interested in traditional witchcraft/cunning craft. Be warned however that this book mainly covers the status of cunning folk in regard to the law, and how they were viewed by society. If you're looking for a book loaded with charms to use, this isn't it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Trunatrschild

    A book on Cunningfolk in Early Modern Era of England. It's all about them, their warts, their greeds, their pluses their minuses... basically just the facts ma'am. An Essential book on Traditional Cunningfolk. A book on Cunningfolk in Early Modern Era of England. It's all about them, their warts, their greeds, their pluses their minuses... basically just the facts ma'am. An Essential book on Traditional Cunningfolk.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    This book should be on everyone's bookshelf. There is academic research presented in a easily understood manner. This book should be on everyone's bookshelf. There is academic research presented in a easily understood manner.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Parker

  22. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Gillis hogan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kaleb Warren

  25. 4 out of 5

    Edward Butler

  26. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  28. 4 out of 5

    Silver_Raven

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

  30. 5 out of 5

    Boreas

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