Home / Dartmoor Traditions

Dartmoor Traditions

Toad Stones

Toad1

I once knew an old farm labourer who worked on a farm near Lustleigh, who sadly is no longer with us but who always wore a strange ring. It had a shiny stone set in it whose colour was hard to describe, the nearest likeness would be that murky green …

Read More »

Lychgates

Many of the Dartmoor churches have lychgates of varying architectural merit, design and ages. The actual name is said to have derived from the old English word ‘lic‘ meaning body or corpse as also can be found in Dartmoor’s Lych Way (corpse road). In some parts of Devon these structures …

Read More »

Dousland Sheep Sale

Over the centuries up and down the country numerous livestock sales and fairs are no longer for various reasons including viability, access and latterly falling livestock numbers. In their place are a breed of more modern livestock centres such as those in the South West at Exeter and Sedgemoor. However …

Read More »

Brent Fair Again

Again2

Brent Fair Again – why having already covered this traditional fair do it again? What follows is another glimpse back in time which provides a window into the South Brent Fair which can never physically be experienced today. It gives a flavour of the sights and sounds of busy days …

Read More »

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, …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »