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by Owen Davies

ePub Cunning-Folk: Popular Magic in English History download
Owen Davies
Hambledon & London (May 16, 2003)
History & Criticism
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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.

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

Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale .

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. Owen Davies is Reader in Social History at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is the author of numerous books, including The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic (2017), America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem (2013) and Magic: A Very Short Introduction (2012). Библиографические данные. Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History.

Old Age in English History, Past Experiences, Present Issues. July 2000 · Health and history.

Owen Davies has built a strong reputation for himself as author of the groundbreaking Cunning Folk: Popular Magic in English History re-branded with an eye to the MBS marketplace as Popular Magic: Cunningfolk in English History. Here again he has taken up a largely neglected topic with some verve and produced a page turning history of the grimoire. OD's book is likely to be of special interest to those with some knowledge of the genre. Davies gives very few examples of a grimoire's actual content, so there is an assumption that the author has already read one or two.

However, as historian Owen Davies noted, "although some such pre-Christian magic continued, to label it pagan is to misrepresent the people who used it and the context in which . Cunning-Folk: Popular Magic in English History. London: Hambledon Continuum.

However, as historian Owen Davies noted, "although some such pre-Christian magic continued, to label it pagan is to misrepresent the people who used it and the context in which it was used. In England and Wales, cunning folk had operated throughout the latter part of the Mediaeval and into the Early Modern period.

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Find sources: "Owen Davies" historian – news · newspapers · books . Witchcraft Continued: Popular Magic in Modern Europe. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6658-0.

Find sources: "Owen Davies" historian – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (November 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message). ISBN 978-1-84725-036-0. He has also written numerous articles on the same subject in various history and folklore journals.

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Local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued services to the community, cunning-folk 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 malevolent witchcraft. In a world of uncertainty, before insurance and modern science, cunning-folk played an important role that has previously been ignored.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This is a history of the popular magicians of England. It is a careful, historical look at how the fear of cunningfolk helped create witchcraft laws, how the cunningfolk avoided being persecuted in large numbers, and the interactions between cunningfolk and the people around them.

    This is not an attempt to romanticize popular magic, but rather is a look at the historical record in search of a historical picture. The author hits this target, but the implications of this sort of work may yet to be felt elsewhere in the study of history.

    Although the work is not about witchcraft per se, the author demonstrates a complex interaction between cunningfolk, the societies in which they lived, and the passage of laws against them. These laws were at the core of the witch craze in England, but were rarely applied against their intended target. For this reason, those interested in studying this area of history will find a new perspective here which is relevant to the study of the witch craze.

    I would highly recommend this book to all interested in the topic.

  • The book was a little dry, but it's information was fantastic.