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Dartmoor Traditions

Huccaby Races

Huccaby Races

If ever you are walking around the Huccaby tor area you may well come across a concrete slab measuring 2.5 by 0.9 metres lying flush to the ground. To all intents and purposes this feature may well seem out of place as it’s located relatively near some prehistoric ritual features. …

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Hexworthy Races

Hexworthy Races

Everyone has heard of Cheltenham Gold Cup Week, Glorious Goodwood and of course The Grand National but what about Hexworthy Races? No, I didn’t think so but on the Dartmoor calendar this along with Bellever and Huccaby races was an event no self-respecting moorman would miss. This was a time …

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Halloween

Halloween

I recently paid a trip to our local ASDA store and was amazed at the extensive range of expensively priced ghoulish paraphernalia laid out temptingly for the youngsters. Thanks to the Americans Halloween has now become an excuse for the shopkeepers to make money and the children to turn into …

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Goosey Fair

Geese

One old tradition that still lingers on in the modern age is the ‘Goosey Fair’ which is held in Tavistock every year.  In 1105, Henry I authorised the monks of Tavistock Abbey to hold a weekly Friday market. In 1116 the king issued a writ confirming the market-grant and adding …

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Giglet Fairs

Giglet Fairs

In 1832 J. Britton wrote the following of the Okehampton Giglet Fair: “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 …

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Fur Tor Pilgrimage

Fur Tor Pilgrimage

A fairly recent tradition takes place on New Year’s Day and that is the Fur Tor Pilgrimage. It is quite simple, people trek up to Fur tor and then hold a brief get-together at lunchtime where they eat a picnic, have a chat, take a group photograph and then trek …

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Fisking Feast

Fisking Feast

In the 16th century the importance of Plymouth grew and accordingly so did its population. It then soon became apparent that the existing water supply was insufficient for the demands placed upon it. So in 1559/60 a Mr Forsland of Bovey Tracy was commissioned by the Plymouth Corporation to carry …

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Cures & Remedies

Cures & Remedies

Dartmoor is a remote area and in times gone by this meant that it was not always possible to gain access to medical treatment when it was needed. Couple this with the fact that many of the moor’s inhabitants were poor folk who simply could not afford the doctors fees. …

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Cucking Stool

Cucking Stool

‘Then was the Scold herself, In a wheelbarrow brought, Stripped naked to the smock, As in that case she ought: Neats tongues about her neck Were hung in open show; And thus unto the cucking stool This famous scold did go.’ When delving into the ancient customs and traditions it …

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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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