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Dartmoor Traditions

Mid Summer’s Day

Mid Summer's Day

If the astro-archaeologists are to be believed then man has been celebrating Midsummer’s Day on Dartmoor for around 4,000 years. It was also the time of the Summer Solstice which in simple terms is when the earth is at a stage of its orbit where the northern hemisphere is most …

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Michaelmas Day

Michaelmas9

“He who eats goose on Michaelmas day; Shan’t money lack or debts pay.” The feast of St. Michael and All Angels otherwise known as Michaelmas Day arrives on the 29th of September. This is one of the four Quarter Days of the yearly calendar that marked the changing seasons and …

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May Day

May Day

Down through the centuries ‘May Day’ has always been a significant day in the calendar with celebrations held in most of the Dartmoor towns and villages. The roots of May Day can be found deep into the pagan beliefs in the form of Beltane which  occurs from the 30th of …

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Letterbox Meet

Letterbox Meet

The Prologue. ‘Tis the last Sunday of March, ’tis clock-change day and therefore it must be the day of the Letterboxer’s Spring Meet. This prestigious event is held in the village hall at Lee Moor, previous venues have been the prison officers social club at Princetown, the Plume and Feathers …

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Lent Crocking

Lent Crocking

There was a tradition that once took place on Shrove Tuesday called ‘Lent Crocking’, this was particularly popular in the area around Okehampton. Basically what would happen is that bands of children would call at houses and chant songs in return for which they would expect gifts of flour, eggs …

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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

Giglet2

“Fore street was full of country-folk. Christmas had been very wet, and the first Saturday after the festival, or within the octave as Church people would say, was fine and bright. Whiskered men, buxom dames, and strapping wenches with cheeks like nectarines or wooden dolls had come from all parts …

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