Tiddy Mun

Last updated

Tiddy Mun was a legendary bog spirit in Lincolnshire, England, who was believed to have the ability to control the waters and mists of The Fens of South Lincolnshire and The Carrs of North Lincolnshire.

Contents

Legend

The belief in Tiddy Mun was first documented in June 1891 in an article by M. C. Balfour in the Folklore Society journal Folk-Lore. In the article she recalls a story, collected in the Ancholme Valley, told to her by an older person who spoke of a curse of pestilence that had been cast upon his village by the Tiddy Mun, who was angered at the draining of the Fens by the Dutch, led by Cornelius Vermuyden, in the seventeenth century. According to the story the Tiddy Mun was eventually placated after the villagers gathered at twilight at the time of the new moon, poured buckets of water into the dyke and apologised for the damage caused.

He was not exclusively malevolent; if the Fens flooded and the waters reached the villages, people would go out at night and call Tiddy Mun wi'out a name, tha watters thruff! ("Tiddy Mun without a name, the water's through! [1] ") until they heard the cry of a peewit, and the next morning the waters would have receded. [2]

In his 1987 Folklore paper "Tiddy Mun's Curse and the Ecological Consequences of Land Reclamation", Darwin Horn argues that all but one of Tiddy Mun's specific curses may be connected to misfortune and disease brought about by the effect of draining the fenland. [3]

Description

The Tiddy Mun was described, by folklorist M.C. Balfour in 1891, as being no bigger than a three-year-old child, but looking like an old man with long, tangled white hair and a matted white beard. He is said to have worn a grey gown so that at dusk he was difficult to see. His laughter was said to resemble the call of the peewit. [2]

The Tiddy people

Writing in 1955, folklorist E. H. Rudkin also records another Ancholme Valley belief of an imp-like race of beings who were generally considered mischievous but benevolent. They were 'called the Tiddy people', but also the Strangers, Greencoaties and Yarthkins. The 'Tiddy' name related to their size and Rudkin quotes a source describing them: 'They be tiddy critturs, no more than a span high, wi' arms an' legs as thin as thread, but great big feet an' hands, an' heads rollin' aboot on their shoulders'. [4]

The Tiddy people would dance, by moonlight, on large flat stones, known as Strangers Stones, found in the area. Rudkin records a local tradition of smearing the stones with blood and lighting fires on them, but was unable to determine a meaning, or specific belief, behind the practice. [4] The first of the crops would also be left on the Strangers Stones, as well as bread and salt, to keep the Tiddy people happy and ensure a good harvest. [4]

Related Research Articles

Folklore Expressive culture shared by particular groups

Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, ranging from traditional building styles to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore also includes customary lore, the forms and rituals of celebrations such as Christmas and weddings, folk dances and initiation rites. Each one of these, either singly or in combination, is considered a folklore artifact. Just as essential as the form, folklore also encompasses the transmission of these artifacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. Folklore is not something one can typically gain in a formal school curriculum or study in the fine arts. Instead, these traditions are passed along informally from one individual to another either through verbal instruction or demonstration. The academic study of folklore is called folklore studies or folkloristics, and it can be explored at undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. levels.

Wild Hunt Motif in ancient folk myth

The Wild Hunt is a folklore motif that historically occurs in the folklore of various Northern European cultures. Wild Hunts typically involve a "soul-raving" chase led by a mythological figure escorted by a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit. The leader of the hunt is often a named figure associated with Odin in Germanic legends, but may variously be a historical or legendary figure like Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd, biblical figures such as Herod, Cain, Gabriel, or the Devil, or an unidentified lost soul or spirit either male or female. The hunters are generally the souls of the dead or ghostly dogs, sometimes fairies, Valkyries, or elves.

Waylands Smithy Neolithic long barrow and chamber tomb site in Oxfordshire, England

Wayland's Smithy is a chambered long barrow located near the village of Ashbury in the south-eastern English county of Oxfordshire. Probably constructed in the thirty-sixth century BC, during Britain's Early Neolithic period, today it survives in a partially reconstructed state.

Folklore studies Branch of anthropology devoted to the study of folklore

Folklore studies, also known as folkloristics, and occasionally tradition studies or folk life studies in the United Kingdom, is the branch of anthropology devoted to the study of folklore. This term, along with its synonyms, gained currency in the 1950s to distinguish the academic study of traditional culture from the folklore artifacts themselves. It became established as a field across both Europe and North America, coordinating with Volkskunde (German), folkeminner (Norwegian), and folkminnen (Swedish), among others.

Fakelore or pseudo-folklore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional. The term can refer to new stories or songs made up, or to folklore that is reworked and modified for modern tastes. The element of misrepresentation is central; artists who draw on traditional stories in their work are not producing fakelore unless they claim that their creations are real folklore. Over the last several decades the term has generally fallen out of favor in folklore studies because it places an emphasis on origin instead of ongoing practice to determine authenticity.

The Buried Moon or The Dead Moon is a fairy tale included by Joseph Jacobs in More English Fairy Tales. It is a striking unusual tale, with few variants, and often appearing more mythological than is common for fairy tales. It was collected by Mrs. Balfour from the North Lincolnshire Carrs in the Ancholme Valley; its unusual characteristics made many people doubt its origins as a fairy tale. However, when Mrs. Balfour published her notes, they were generally found reliable, and the Fens proved to have many other unusual legends. The story may be evidence of moon worship.

Willoughton Village and civil parish in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England

Willoughton is a village and civil parish in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated 2 miles (3.2 km) west from the A15 road, 13 miles (21 km) north from Lincoln and 3 miles (5 km) south from Kirton Lindsey. According to the 2001 Census the village had a population of 330, increasing to 341 at the 2011 census.

Yallery Brown is a mischievous fairy-like nature spirit in an old Lincolnshire folk tale from England, which itself is usually named after the creature.

The Folklore Society (FLS) is a national association in the United Kingdom for the study of folklore.

Sycorax

Sycorax is an unseen character in William Shakespeare's play The Tempest (1611). She is a vicious and powerful witch and the mother of Caliban, one of the few native inhabitants of the island on which Prospero, the hero of the play, is stranded.

William Crooke

William Crooke was a British orientalist and a key figure in the study and documentation of Anglo-Indian folklore. He was born in County Cork, Ireland, and was educated at Erasmus Smith's Tipperary Grammar School and Trinity College, Dublin.

Fulstow Marsh village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England

Fulstow is a marsh village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated 6 miles (10 km) north of Louth and 8 miles (13 km) south of Grimsby.

Cormoran

Cormoran is a giant associated with St. Michael's Mount in the folklore of Cornwall. Local tradition credits him with creating the island, in some versions with the aid of his wife Cormelian, and using it as a base to raid cattle from the mainland communities. Cormoran appears in the English fairy tale "Jack the Giant Killer" as the first giant slain by the hero, Jack, and in tales of "Tom the Tinkeard" as a giant too old to present a serious threat.

Mary MacLeod Banks was a folklorist, born Mary MacLeod McConnel in Scotland. She was president of the Folklore Society from 1937 to 1939.

East Keal Village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England

East Keal is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated approximately 13 miles (21 km) north from the town of Boston, 2 miles (3 km) south from the town of Spilsby, and on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This list of the works of William Crooke (1848–1923) represents much of his literary output in pursuit of his interests in ethnology and folklore, for which he was far many years considered to be a leading authority.

Toynton All Saints Village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England

Toynton All Saints is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the town of Spilsby.

John Gregorson Campbell

John Gregorson Campbell was a Scottish folklorist and Free Church minister at the Tiree and Coll parishes in Argyll, Scotland. An avid collector of traditional stories, he became Secretary to the Ossianic Society of Glasgow University in the mid-1850s. Ill health had prevented him taking up employment as a Minister when he was initially approved to preach by the Presbytery of Glasgow in 1858 and later after he was appointed to Tiree by the Duke of Argyll in 1861, parishioners objected to his manner of preaching.

Countless stones Megalithic motif

The countless stones is a motif that appears in English and Welsh folklore. It is associated with various megalithic monuments, including chambered long barrows from the Early Neolithic and the stones circles of the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. The motif holds that an individual attempting to count the number of stones in the monument will be unable to do so.

Ethel Rudkin Archaeologist

Ethel Rudkin was an English writer, historian, archaeologist and folklorist from Lincolnshire. She pioneered the collection of folk material, particularly from Lincolnshire, and her collections are now part of several public institutions, including the North Lincolnshire Museum.

References

  1. Peacock, E (1889) A Glossary of Words used in the Wapentakes of Manley and Corringham, Lincolnshire. English Dialect Society: Trubner page 562
  2. 1 2 Balfour, M. C. (June 1891). "Legends Of The Cars". Folk-Lore. Folklore Enterprises, Ltd. 2 (2): 145–170. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1891.9720054. JSTOR   1253522.
  3. Horn, Darwin (1987). "Tiddy Mun's Curse and the Ecological Consequences of Land Reclamation". Folklore. 98 (1): 11–15. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1987.9716391. JSTOR   1259396.
  4. 1 2 3 Rudkin, E.H. (1955). "Folklore of Lincolnshire: Especially the Low-Lying Areas of Lindsey". Folklore. 66 (4): 393–395. doi:10.1080/0015587X.1955.9717498. JSTOR   1258804.
  5. Borlik, Todd (2013). "Caliban and the Fen Demons of Lincolnshire: The Englishness of Shakespeare's Tempest". Shakespeare: Journal of the British Shakespeare Association. 9 (1): 21–51. doi:10.1080/17450918.2012.705882 . Retrieved 14 December 2014.[ failed verification ]