Unearthing Local Myths & Legends In 'Illustrated Tales Of Staffordshire' By Helen Harwood
August 02, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ Books
Staffordshire has long been recognised for its profound industrial heritage, its monumental role in the Industrial Revolution, and the spirit of its hard-working locals. However, Helen Harwood, in her book 'Illustrated Tales Of Staffordshire', takes us on a captivating journey through the less familiar, yet deeply rooted, aspects of Staffordshire's identity: its folklore, myths, and legends.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent and raised in Wolstanton, Helen's close ties to the region and its coal mining history play a significant role in her comprehensive exploration of Staffordshire's folklore. The book is an amalgamation of her lifelong passion for history and her intimate understanding of the local culture.
Illustrated throughout, 'Illustrated Tales Of Staffordshire' invites readers to dive into a rich collection of local tales, with a particular focus on the stories that might otherwise be overlooked. From the intriguing superstitions associated with coal mining to the customs like the Boy Bishop and the Mock Mayor, Helen offers a new perspective on the county’s cultural heritage. Notable features of the book include the accounts of the yearly Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, the chilling legend of the Burslem witch, and the story of the curious 'Chained Oak' in Alton.
In the introduction, Helen underscores the significance of local folklore and how it interlaces with the wider fabric of British traditional music, songs, and stories. She offers insights into the origins and histories of renowned symbols like the Staffordshire Knot and their place within the local culture.
The book is divided into three parts, each focusing on a unique aspect of Staffordshire's culture. In 'Part One: From Across the County,' Helen introduces us to a wide variety of legends and myths from various locales. Highlights include 'The Battle of Burton Bridge and the Tutbury Hoard' from Burton-on-Trent, the peculiar 'Teapot Parade' in Flash, and the poignant 'Poison Grave' in Wolstanton.
In 'Part Two: More Unusual Stories,' Helen shares some of the county's lesser-known tales, including the mysterious 'Moorland Wallabies' and the enchanting tale of 'The Thorncliffe Mermaid.' These captivating narratives will undoubtedly offer readers new insights into the peculiar traditions of Staffordshire.
Finally, in 'Part Three: Industrial Tales,' Helen returns to her family roots, focusing on tales from the coal mining industry, including the terrifying tale of 'The Kidsgrove Boggart' and the tragic 'Murder of Christina Collins.' These narratives delve into the superstitions and stories that arise from the heart of the county's industrial heritage, offering readers a rare insight into the region’s industrial past.
Available now in Kindle, Kobo, iBook, and hardcopy formats, 'Illustrated Tales of Staffordshire' presents a fresh look into Staffordshire's past, with a focus on the enduring folklore, legends, and myths that form an integral part of the county's identity. To join Helen in unearthing the rich tapestry of Staffordshire's cultural heritage, visit amberley-books.com and order your copy today.
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