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English mythology is the folk tradition which has developed in England over a number of centuries. Some stories can be traced back to their roots, while the origin of others is uncertain or disputed. England abounds with folklore, in all forms, from such obvious manifestations as the traditional Robin Hood tales, the Brythonic-inspired Arthurian legend, to contemporary urban legends and monsters such as the Beast of Bodmin Moor.

Morris dance and related practices such as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance preserve old English folk traditions, as do Mummers Plays. Pub names may preserve folk traditions.

Folklore found throughout much of England

  • Black dog – Often said to be associated with the Devil, and its appearance was regarded as a portent of death. It is generally supposed to be larger than a normal dog, and often has large, glowing eyes. It is a common feature of British Isles and Northern European folklore.
  • Boggart – A boggart is, depending on local or regional tradition, either a household spirit or a malevolent genius loci inhabiting fields, marshes or other topographical features. The household boggart causes things to disappear, milk to sour, and dogs to go lame. Always malevolent, the boggart will follow its family wherever they flee. In Northern England, at least, there was the belief that the boggart should never be named, for when the boggart was given a name, it would not be reasoned with nor persuaded, but would become uncontrollable and destructive.
  • Brownie – In folklore, a brownie is a type of hob, similar to a hobgoblin. Brownies are said to inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house. However, they do not like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts or food. Among food, they especially enjoy porridge and honey. They usually abandon the house if their gifts are called payments, or if the owners of the house misuse them. Brownies make their homes in an unused part of the house.
  • Chime hours – According to English folklore, those born at certain hours could see ghosts.
  • Countless stones – Associated with megalithic monuments
  • Corn dolly – Corn dollies are a form of straw work made as part of harvest customs of Europe before mechanization. Before Christianization, in traditional pagan European culture it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crop, and that the harvest made it effectively homeless.
  • Crop circles
  • Cunning folk – The term "cunning man" or "cunning woman" was most widely used in southern England and the Midlands, as well as in Wales. Such people were also frequently known across England as "wizards", "wise men".
  • Dragons- Giant winged reptiles that breathe fire or poison. There are many dragon legends in England. Somerset and the North East being very rich.
  • Drake's Drum – Shortly before he died, Drake ordered the drum to be taken to Buckland Abbey, where it still is today, and vowed that if England was ever in danger someone was to beat the drum and he would return to defend the country. According to legend it can be heard to beat at times when England is at war or significant national events take place.
  • Dwarves
  • Elves
  • Ettin
  • English Country Dance – English Country Dance is a form of folk dance. It is a social dance form, which has earliest documented instances in the late 16th century.
  • Father Time
  • Flibbertigibbet
  • Four Winds – Shown on old maps they are usually shown as faces blowing out wind from their mouths. There are generally 4 of them (North Wind, South Wind, East Wind and West Wind) although in some cases only 2 are shown and in others the whole outside of the map has been surrounded by smaller heads with 4 larger ones.
  • Green Man – A Green Man is a sculpture, drawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves.
  • Hag Stone Hag Stone is a type of stone, usually glassy, with a naturally occurring hole through it. Such stones have been discovered by archaeologists in both Britain and Egypt.
  • Havelok the Dane
  • Legend of the Mistletoe Bough – The Legend of the Mistletoe Bough is a ghost story which has been associated with many mansions and stately homes in England.
The tale tells how a new bride, playing a game of hide-and-seek during her wedding breakfast, hid in a chest in an attic and was unable to escape. She was not discovered by her family and friends, and suffocated. The body was allegedly found many years later in the locked chest.
  • Lob – The lubber fiend, Lob, lubberkin, lurdane or Lob Lie-By-The-Fire was a legendary creature of English folklore that was similar in attributes to the "brownie". He is typically described as a large, hairy man with a tail, who performs housework in exchange for a saucer of milk and a place in front of the fire. One story claims he is the giant son of a witch and the Devil.
  • May Queen
  • Maypole dance
  • Maypole
  • Mother Nature
  • Oak Apple Day
  • Ogres (or Trolls)
  • Parish Ale
  • Petrifying well
  • Rabbit rabbit rabbit
  • Redcap a groups of trolls, gobins, and even ugly elves with red caps.
  • Reynardine
  • Robin Goodfellow is a troublesome elf or hobgoblin
  • Robin Hood – a legendary English hero.
  • Sin-eater - a person who would "eat" the sins of a recently deceased person and take them upon themselves so that the deceased could go directly to heaven. This custom existed in many parts of England, but particularly in the Marches.
  • Saint Swithun – English weather lore
  • Standing stones and chalk figures are the focus for folktales and beliefs.
  • Tom Thumb
  • Wandering Jew
  • Well dressing – An ancient practice of decorating wells in the Peak District and surrounding areas.
  • Wild Hunt
  • Will-o'-the-wisp A folk explanation of strange lights seen around marshes and bogs.
  • Wyvern – Smaller relatives of dragons with two legs rather than four.

Folklore of East Anglia


  • St. Audrey
  • Babes in the Wood at Wayland Wood
  • The Black Shuck – A Black Dog
  • Borley Rectory
  • Caxton Gibbet
  • St. Edmund of East Anglia
  • Green children of Woolpit
  • St. Guthlac of Croyland
  • Hereward the Wake
  • Hyter sprites
  • Jack Valentine
  • The mermaid of Upper Sheringham
  • Molly dance
  • King Cole and St. Helena
  • The Pedlar of Swaffham
  • Religious visions at Walsingham
  • Tom Hickathrift
  • Turpin's Cave
  • Witch Bottles
  • Gnome A small fat creature depicted with a white beard and moustache. (Female: Wombies).


Folklore of London and the South East


  • Sir Bevis of Hampton
  • Biddenden Maids
  • Bran the Blessed's Head at the Tower of London
  • Brutus of Troy, the legendary founder of London
  • Clapham Wood, an area of strange activity
  • Devil's Jumps, Churt
  • Devil's Jumps, Treyford
  • Devil's Punch Bowl
  • Electric Horror of Berkeley Square
  • Ghost of Rahere
  • Gog and Magog, legendary giants and guardians of the City of London
  • Hengest and Horsa, legendary founders of Saxon England
  • Herne the Hunter – a related to the Wild Hunt
  • Highgate Vampire
  • Hoodening
  • Kit's Coty House
  • Lady Lovibond
  • London Bridge is falling down
  • London Stone
  • King Lud, connected with the City of London
  • Mallard Song
  • Mowing-Devil of Hertfordshire
  • Oranges and Lemons
  • The Ratman of Southend
  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Ravens of the Tower of London
  • Rollright Stones
  • Stockwell ghost
  • Spring Heeled Jack
  • Swan Upping
  • Swearing on the Horns
  • Wayland the Smith


Folklore of the Midlands


  • Alkborough Turf Maze
  • Belgrave Hall and its ghosts
  • Black Annis
  • Black Lady of Bradley Woods
  • Border Morris
  • Bottle-kicking
  • Byard's Leap
  • The Derby Ram
  • Dun Cow
  • St. Frideswide
  • Fulk FitzWarin
  • Godiva
  • Guy of Warwick
  • Haxey Hood Game
  • Jack of Kent
  • Lincoln Imp
  • Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln
  • Madam Pigott
  • Major Oak
  • Mermaid's Pool
  • Nanny Rutt
  • Old Jeffrey
  • Relics of St. Oswald
  • Robin Hood
  • Royal Shrovetide Football
  • Stiperstones
  • Tiddy Mun
  • Wise Men of Gotham
  • Witches of Belvoir
  • The Giant of the Wrekin
  • Yallery-Brown


Folklore of Yorkshire and the North East


  • The Barghest
  • The Cauld Lad of Hylton
  • St. Cuthbert
  • The Devil's Arrows
  • Duergar
  • The Hedley Kow
  • Jack-In-Irons
  • Jenny Greenteeth
  • Jingling Geordie's Hole
  • Halifax Gibbet
  • Kilburn White Horse
  • Laidly Worm
  • The Lambton Worm
  • Legend of Upsall Castle
  • Long Sword dance
  • My Own Self
  • Peg Powler
  • Rapper sword
  • Redcap
  • Robin Hood
  • Sedgefield Ball Game
  • Ursula Southeil


Folklore of the North West


  • The Wizard of Alderley Edge
  • Folklore of Lancashire
  • Purple Aki
  • Furness Abbey and its ghosts
  • Gytrash
  • Long Meg and Her Daughters
  • Pendle Witches
  • Samlesbury Witches
  • Wild Boar of Westmorland


Folklore of the South West


  • Abbotsbury Garland Day
  • Barber surgeon of Avebury
  • Tom Bawcock
  • Belas Knap
  • Bowerman's Nose
  • Cerne Abbas Giant
  • Cheese rolling
  • Childe's Tomb
  • Corineus, legendary founder of Cornwall
  • Crazywell Pool
  • Devil's Footprints
  • Dorset Ooser
  • St. Dunstan is the origin of the lucky horseshoe
  • Folklore of Stonehenge
  • Glastonbury and its abbey
  • Glastonbury Thorn
  • Goblin Combe
  • Hairy hands
  • Hunky punk
  • Jack the Giant Killer and Galligantus
  • Jan Tregeagle
  • Jay's Grave
  • Lyonesse
  • Moonrakers, the story of how the inhabitants of Wiltshire got their nickname
  • The Obby Oss of Padstow
  • Pixies
  • Punkie Night
  • The Great Thunderstorm, Widecombe
  • Three hares (Tinners' Rabbits)
  • Tintagel, legendary birthplace of King Arthur
  • Warren House Inn
  • Widecombe Fair
  • Witch of Wookey Hole

See also