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Dartmoor Traditions

Dartmoor’s Moor Otters


It makes a refreshing change to write about what hopefully will become a modern-day tradition on and around Dartmoor as opposed to one belonging to the mists of time. In the May of 2017 one hundred ‘otters’ were released on and around Dartmoor. These ‘otters’ were placed in 94 locations …

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Dartmoor Nicknames


  I would imagine that ever since the time mankind began to live in settlements there has always been some rivalry between the neighbouring clans. Sometimes this would be fairly light-hearted and with others downright hostile. Part of this inter-tribal exchange would be to give various nicknames to the folk …

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Dartmoor Rodeo


  There are numerous traditions that Dartmoor can claim as being unique, this website contains many of them. But there was one that was popular in the 1920s and early 1930s that was definitely imported from elsewhere. No doubt you will have seen images of Marlboro smoking cowboys, dressed in …

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A Dartmoor Christmas 1899


  Whilst trawling through some old newspapers I came across this account of a ‘Dartmoor Christmas’ written in 1899 and if you yearn for a nostalgic portrayal of a simple but happy Christmas then read on. There will be no mention of children staring intently at Ipad screens, adults checking …

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Sheepstor’s Bull Ring


  In the August of 1908 Amos Shillibeer was ploughing one of his fields when the point of one of the plough shares became caught in a large metal ring which was buried in the soil. Some forty years later the Rev. Hugh Breton and Amos’ son George went to …

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Manaton Celebrations


Throughout the centuries there have been many momentous occasions when the British populace has had reason to celebrate. The last occasion came in the June of this year (2016) when Britain voted to leave the European Union although there very few national celebrations and plenty of demonstrations. A couple of …

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Curse definition: “A solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.” So how long have we vengeful humans been cursing? In Britain there is ‘documented’ evidence in the form of curses written on tablets which date back to between the 2nd …

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Easter Light


“Walkhampton Church – Earlier this century , during restoration work to the porch, a stove and flue was found. This stove was most likely used for kindling the Easter Light on Holy Saturday. Sadly it has now been blocked up again.” Hamilton-Leggett, p.2. One source suggests that church porch fireplaces were …

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Hunting the Stag


“A stag and a hare hunt are the rude means employed by a village community for maintaining either its standards of morals or expressing its disapprobation of petticoat rule… The Stag Hunt takes place on the wedding-night of a man who has married a girl of light character or when …

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Postbridge Charmers


I was reading an article published by the famous Dartmoor folklorist Theo Brown some 47 years ago which I think typifies the beliefs and resources available to moor folk in days long gone by. It concerns medical treatment for both humans and animals administered by so-called ‘White’ or ‘Hedge Witches’ …

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