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The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys Paperback – 28 Sep 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (28 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141021039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141021034
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4.4 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A real treasury...I'm sure I shall plunder it for years to come. -- Philip Pullman. 6th November, 2005

It appears to contain almost every myth, legend and ghost story ever told in England...a wonderful dipping book. -- Simon Hoggart, The Guardian, 12 November, 2005 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Dear Readers,

Most people, when they read a book like this, are reminded of stories they know, about the places they live(d) in. We would love to hear these. Please send them to me*, telling me who you are, how long you lived in the place you are talking about, and who told you the tradition or where you read it. Send as much information as you can. It helps us build up background history. We can’t tell a lot from ‘our pub is haunted’ but we can from ‘my grandfather used to say …’ especially if you put in your grandad’s dates.

And if you’ve spotted anything we’ve got wrong please tell me that too.

Jennifer Westwood --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lore of the Land does exactly what it claims - it is a comprehensive A-Z of folklore, legends and ghost / paranormal tales organised by County. It's not in the right format to read in bulk, but is absolutely fascinating for local interest and research purposes.

Highly recommended - this is the most accurate and thorough book I have seen on the subject. Not cheap but worth it.
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Format: Paperback
The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys

I chose this book for my prizegiving and I was certainly not disappointed. It is really interesting and logically laid out and the beautiful photos and the sheer amount of information contained within it are astounding. It is quite thick with small print in order to fit as much as possible in it. Great stuff x
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By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This massive book - even in paperback - gives the reader a county-by-county reference to every folktale, legend and story the authors can track down. Each county starts with a map, keying the location and giving the type of tale with a series of symbols, making it extremely easy to pick out the tales of an area. Within the chapter, the arrangement is alphabetically by placename. Engravings and photos are embedded in the text; for example a photo of a real "hand of glory" from Whitby museum illustrates a tale about its use during a burglary in the 19th century at Old Spital Inn in Co Durham.

Digressions - printed on contrasting paper - are buried in the main text, Shakespeare for instance in Warwickshire. These mini essays, of which there are many, are picked out in the index with page numbers in bold type. However there some eccentricities which make the information harder to use than it might be; there is an excellent essay on the folklore of King Lear, as used by Shakespeare in his play, but this is indexed under "Leir, King" and placed in the chapter on Leicestershire because of a little-known suggestion that he is buried at Leicester. The essay on Shakespeare doesn't reference it, as it covers legends ABOUT Shakespeare. The Leir essay cross-refernces to the entry on KING LUD'S ENTRENCHMENTS but doesn't give the page number, so you have to go to the index again to find it. The type throughout varies from the very small to the incredibly tiny, and the book unwieldily thick, so this toing and froing is no small matter.

These are minor quibbles about an otherwise excellent book. The index does enable the reader - or at least the reader with preternaturally keen eyesight - to find legends by subject, which is a huge bonus. Look on the book as rather like the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford; a huge resource, sometimes requiring you to get out your torch and peer closely at things.
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By A Customer on 8 Nov. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is not only perfectly designed for browsing, but clearly very well researched.
It works on various levels too. If you are touring or visiting England, or if you live here and want to delve into the legendary and curious aspects of England then just buy this book. It is also thorough enough to be an important source for researchers.
It's also dedicated to the wonderful Katharine Briggs.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this as a birthday present for my mum but I'm going to have to get her another copy as I can't bring myself to part with it! The pictures are just fantastic: makes you realise just how many ghostly stories have built up around really famous places like Hampton Court and the Tower of London. But it's not just famous places that get a mention - really tiny villages like East Bergholt in Suffolk are in there too (the chirch was deprived of a steeple by the machinations of the devil, apparently). Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
My copy is the first printing paperback. It has a sewn binding, and the same high-quality paper as the hardback, and all the original colour photographs, too. It's just printed smaller. This is worth it to have a book that is so much easier to handle, because it is one for constant use and dipping into - an ideal bedside book - and the hardback weighs a ton. (The paperback is still a very thick book, and the ideal would be to take it to a bookbinder and give it a library-style turtleback cover, to stop it turning into a football!)

Until now the English tradition has lacked a one-volume collection of local and historical legends that can stand alongside the classic English fairy tale collections of Joseph Jacobs, in the same way that the Grimms' fairy tales were matched with their own great collection of German legends. Maybe this is a fair reflection of their relative value. Fairy tales are told knowingly as fiction, and so are more deeply escapist - hence they are steeped in a greater sense of hope, or belief in a higher order of things. Local and historical legends tell what is believed to be true, shading into real history, so can at times depict life more cruelly closed in. I guess this is most apparent in the fear and superstition which underlies many witch-legends. A local legend might tell of a famous witch and her downfall, reinforcing the superstitions of those who persecuted her; but even a lonely outcast who is victimized as a witch could be comforted by a fairy tale.

But that's being a bit too gloomy! Legendary tales deal with so many other things, too, and the sheer range of this book prevents any claustrophobia. There are stories of ancient kings and battles; dragons; giants and ghosts; highwaymen; the landscape itself.
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