header graphic cunningfolk.com

books & articles link
cunningfolk book link
spells page link
other resources link
contact link

This website is dedicated to those fascinating but little-known magical practitioners called Cunning-Folk.
Having written books on the subject exploring their role in English history over the last five hundred years, it seemed like a good idea to set up a web companion to provide a brief introduction to their world.

Cunning-Folk, who were also known as wise-women, wise-men, conjurors and wizards, were an integral part of English society right up until the early twentieth century. Over the centuries hundreds of thousands of people must have consulted them regarding a wide range of problems, but particularly those concerning affairs of the heart, theft, sickness and most important of all witchcraft. They were multi-skilled, or at least professed to be so. They practised herbalism, treasure-seeking and love magic. They revealed the identity of thieves and divined the whereabouts of lost and stolen property. The more learned Cunning-Folk also practised astrology, while the less learned pretended to be masters of the art. The most lucrative aspect of their business was the curing of those people and animals who were thought to be bewitched, and also the trade in charms to ward off witches and evil spirits.

Dr. Owen Davies is a Reader in Social History at the University of Hertfordshire and has widely researched the subjects of Witchcraft from 1736 - 1951, the repeal of the Witchcraft Act, and the role of Cunning-Folk in the UK. He is the author and co-editor of numerous books on the subject:

Read more about the latest book: The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts

Murder Magic Madness [2005, Longman]
Cunning-Folk, Popular Magic in English History
Witchcraft, Magic and Culture
A People Bewitched [1999]

Witchcraft Historiography [2007 co-editor]
Beyond the Witch Trials [2004 co-editor]
Popular Magic in Modern Europe [2004 co-editor]

>> More about the books and extracts from articles

Download recent original articles by Owen Davies
>> Witchcraft, magic and culture 1736-1951: A brief historiographical review

>> Talk of the Devil: Crime and Satanic Inspiration in Eighteenth-Century England

For warts, protection and other useful spells!

Cunning-Folk pictures and their practices

fun graphic



© Owen Davies 2008