Thursday, 10 June 2021

The Land and People

This month are hosting a challenge based on #regionalwitchcraft and they get started this week with the prompt “Land and People”, two things that are deeply interwoven here.

I’m a “Raddleman” which means I’m an inhabitant of the smallest county in England - Rutland - which is nestled between Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

Our agricultural landscape boasts hills and valleys, sacred wells, a Sheela na gig, a labyrinth, a Norman castle, a Bede house, and lots of churches built on old, sacred ground. We are a beautiful county, steeped in the rich history, folklore and traditions of the surrounding area, much of which has made its way into our magick.

Aside from smiths and farriers, we are the only people that may display a horseshoe pointing downwards to bring us luck, for fear that the Devil will make its home in the hollow when displayed the other way round. Apparently we need to keep an eye on the Devil as he’s always hard at work putting temptation in the way of the people! We nail horseshoes with nine nails over the stable door, and keep one in the fire at all times. A horse-shoe nailed on a door renders the evil power of a witch that may enter of non-effect, and many local houses display them.

Our local produce, broad beans, also feature a lot in our folklore, especially remedies - “take the pod of a broad bean, rub it on a wart, and then bury it or throw it over the shoulder without looking back”, and you can spot someone from Leicestershire as the beans will (apparently!) rattle in their belly.

If you drop a knife, a male visitor will come to the house. If you drop a spoon, a female visitor will come. If one person begins to pour out the tea, and another takes charge of the tea-pot to finish, there will be a birth in the family within twelve months.

We have loads of legends, many of them ghost stories. The spectral lady of Braunston, Swift Nick, Nicodemus, the Black Annis, the Witch of Edmondthorpe Hall, a magic hedge that bows when you walk past it, and a bogeyman. All yet to be shared with you.

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