Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Jun 1, 2007 - History - 264 pages
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Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspected spell; and how to attract a lover or keep the love of a husband or wife.
While cunning-folk sometimes fell foul of the authorities, both church and state often turned a blind eye to their existence and practices, distinguishing what they did from the rare and sensational cases of malvolent witchcraft. In a world of uncertainty, before insurance and modern science, cunning-folk played an important role that has previously been ignored.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Another review of a book a read a few months ago. We are in the midst of a bloom of historical effort directed at early modern witchcraft and other magical traditions after a few decades in which the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Dead_Dreamer - LibraryThing

Over all this book was really good, but not at good at his newer book, GRIMOIRES. This one was a bit drier, but still well worth reading. Davies really gets into the legal history of cunning folk ... Read full review


1 CunningFolk and the Law
2 For Good or Evil?
3 Who and Why
4 Services
5 Books
6 Written Charms
7 European Comparisons
8 CunningFolk in the Twentieth Century

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About the author (2007)

Owen Davies is Reader in Social History at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is the author of numerous books, including The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic (2017), America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem (2013) and Magic: A Very Short Introduction (2012).

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