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Dartmoor Traditions

Crying the Neck

Crying the Neck

Due to the climate and altitude there was not a lot of corn grown on Dartmoor and what was cultivated tended to be on the lower fringes of the moor. But where either wheat or barley was sown the old tradition of ‘Crying the Neck’ was observed at harvest time. …

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Christmas Goose

Christmas Goose

The Christmas goose, ah yes, the picture above brings back some childhood memories of that beast. I can remember one run up to the festive season when, at the age of ten,  I took great delight in helping stuff one particular goose. There were always a few geese on the …

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Christmas Logs

Christmas Logs

Probably the epitome of Christmas is sitting around a blazing fire roasting chestnuts amongst its dancing flames. But as all folk of the moor know, not any old log will do, oh no it has to be the right sort of wood as the following Dartmoor verse explains: Oak logs …

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Chagford Wives

Chagford Wives

Long ago Chagford must have been a lively town to live in because this legend is unique on Dartmoor. It is said that any woman who was proven to be unfaithful to her husband was sent onto the moor so as to expiate her sins. This took the form of …

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Candlemas

Candlemas

The 2nd of February is Candlemas Day or if you are working by the old Julian calendar it is the 15th of February. The day marks the end of the old 40 day Christmas period and marks the halfway point of winter. This ancient day has been a day associated …

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Beating the Bounds

Beating the Bounds

Ever since prehistoric man began to inhabit Dartmoor there has been the need to define boundaries. One way of doing this in the Bronze Age was by delineating community boundaries with low, stone walls known as reaves. It is unknown whether menhirs and cairns also acted as boundary markers but …

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Ashen Faggot

Ashen Faggot

The pond-rous ashen faggot from the yard The jolly farmer to his crowded hall Conveys with speed; where, on the rising flames (Already fed with store of massy brands). It blazes soon; nine bandages it bears, And as they each disjoin (so custom wills), A mighty jug of sparkling cyder’s …

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