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Dartmoor Traditions

Okehampton Market 1904

For centuries if a farmer or any keeper of livestock wanted to buy or sell their animals then it was off to market they went. In the not to distant past Dartmoor livestock would have been taken to one of the weekly markets held in most towns such as Okehampton, …

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Wisht Hounds

“The tradition of the ‘Wish Huntsman’ and his ‘Demon Dogs’ still lingers on Dartmoor, but in a very shadowy state. The Dewer Stone is regarded as the spot he chiefly favours, and report used to describe him as a swarthy individual who hunted at night, and then only when a …

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Get Off My Lands

  “Get off my lands,” – since prehistoric times mankind has seen the need to clearly define its tribal lands by means of boundaries marked by various landscape features. These age old boundaries encompass countries, counties,boroughs, towns and parishes – right down to personal properties. One age-old tradition whereby communities …

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Holne Revel

Holne7

Bacchanalian rites and pagan sacrifices on Dartmoor, surely not? Licentious and bawdy carousing at Holne, the birthplace of Charles Kingsley, can’t be? Well, sadly it’s was probably true, I say sadly because the ‘Holne Ram Roast’ is/was no longer any of the above. In fact in later years this event …

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Frozen Tavistock

skating

As the song goes – ‘I’m dreaming of a White Christmas‘ and these days it’s a rare event. But back in the good old days when snow, frost and ice was the norm one of the favourite activities was ice skating. Many of the old Christmas cards showed such scenes …

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Dartmoor Martinmas

Martinmas1

“In the days ov owr gurt gramfers, Martinmas day was a high time, an thort a dayl ov. Saynt Martin cude dew miracels, so the time yused to be celebrated by festivetys, sports pon village green an zo aun. The varmers an others yused tu go there, and if the …

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Dartmoor Witch Pits

Witchpit3

  Over time there have been several instances where human hair has been found buried in a Kistvaen without much explanation. Some suggestions have been that the hair belonged to the prehistoric person who was associated with the kist. The very fact such finds have been discovered has been explained …

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A Dartmoor Comedy

Bounds2

There always have and still are land disputes between neighbouring communities and there have been several notable ones occurring on Dartmoor. Many of these involved various landowners, the Duchy of Cornwall or between rival parishes. Since prehistoric times on Dartmoor such ‘tribal lands’ have been delineated by various landscape features …

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Giglet Fair Poem

Giglet

  “On the Saturday before Christmas a great cattle market is held here; and on the Saturday after Christmas, is a great holiday-fair, called a ‘Giglet,’ or ‘Giglet Market’; that is, a wife market; at which the most rustic swain, if weary of his bachelorship, is privileged with self-introduction to any …

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South Brent Fair

Brent

  Over the centuries fairs have always been an important facet of Dartmoor life, most have been consigned to its memory box but a few still exist today in one form or another. Probably the two most celebrated ones are Widecombe Fair and Tavistock’s Goosey Fair. However, there was another …

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