Devoted to the Study of Folklore and Tradition

The Folklore Society (FLS) is a learned society, based in London, devoted to the study of all aspects of folklore and tradition, including: ballads, folktales, fairy tales, myths, legends, traditional song and dance, folk plays, games, seasonal events, calendar customs, childlore and children's folklore, folk arts and crafts, popular belief, folk religion, material culture, vernacular language, sayings, proverbs and nursery rhymes, folk medicine, plantlore and weather lore.

Next Folklore Society Event

Performance in Legend and Tradition

  • 2nd — 3rd September 2017
  • The Theatre, 2 Spring St, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 5NL

Performance in Legend and Tradition: the Twelfth Legendary Weekend of The Folklore Society

Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September 2017


In comes I, says Robbin to Bobbin. There were three Straw Bears and the little one said,…

More events coming up:

Folklore Society News

Venetia Newall

We are very sad to report the death of Dr Venetia Newall, past president of The Folklore Society and recipient of our Coote Lake Medal for folklore research. Her obituary will be be published in Folklore very soon.

Special award to Robert McDowall

A special award of an engraved goblet was presented on 31 March 2017 to Robert McDowall as a token of gratitude for his twenty years of devoted service to the Folklore Society, as President, vice-President and, especially, for his financial…

‘New Beginnings in Folklore’, by J.D.A. Widdowson

Prof. John Widdowson's article “New Beginnings in Folklore: Towards a National Folklore Survey”, published in our journal Folklore (vol.127/3, 2016), is currently free to download here 

Non-print Media Award

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2016 biennial Non-Print Media Award is Rod Stradling of Musical Traditions for his 2 CD set of Sam Larner: Cruising Round Yarmouth (MTCD369-0)

Folklore Events and Calls for Papers

Please submit this online form if you would like us to publicise your event on our website.

27th April 2017, 17:30—19:00 Steven O’Brien, ‘Britannic Myths’

  • Venue: University of Chichester, PO19 6PE
  • Organised by The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • Contact:

Reading and book signing.

Britannic Myths is a book of eighteen creative retellings of British and Irish myths by mythographer Steven O’Brien alongside new paintings and illustrations by Joe Machine. At this event Steve will present selected readings, accompanied by Joe Machine’s images, followed by a book signing.

£5/£3 concessions (tickets can be used as vouchers for the book). Free to University staff/students.

Contact to reserve your ticket.

4th May 2017, 18:00—21:00 Belief in an Age of Suspense: The Changing Emotional Landscape of the UFO and Alien Contact Phenomen

  • Venue: The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, WC1N 1JD
  • Organised by The Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London
  • Contact:

Reports of flying saucers and encounters with aliens have been a part of popular culture since the end of World War II. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that stories about and responses to the UFO phenomenon have changed over time. In this talk Greg Eghigian asks how we account for these changes? And what clues might they provide in helping to explain the enduring fascination with UFOs and alien contact? Doors open at 6pm, and the talk will start at 6.30. Admission is free.

5th May 2017 Ritual ‘Litter’ Redressed: The heritage of contemporary deposits

  • Venue: Bayfordbury Campus, University of Hertfordshire
  • Organised by Dr Ceri Houlbrook
  • Contact:

A one-day workshop inviting scholars, heritage specialists, and site managers to explore the material culture and heritage of contemporary ritual deposits. Proposals of papers on the material culture and heritage of any form of contemporary deposit are welcome. Please email proposed titles and abstracts of 150 words to

12th May 2017, 13:00—13:00 Háromszék Dance Ensemble’s The Band

  • Venue: The Dancehouse, 10 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 5QA
  • Organised by
  • Contact:

Transylvanian Háromszék Dance Ensemble’s The Band brings to the stage the energy, excitement and expectations of a rural Hungarian wedding. Catch their first and only UK performance in Manchester during Góbéfest, the UK’s first Transylvanian Hungarian festival of arts & culture. After the dance theatre performance, you are invited to take part in a táncház, a traditional folk dance, which draws on traditions from across Hungary and Transylvania.

9th — 10th June 2017 Folklorists are Fallible

  • Venue: Tartu, Estonia
  • Organised by Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, The University of Tartu,
  • Contact:

Folklorists, just like anybody else, are fallible. This event aims to draw out the patterns of fallibility that folklorists show, and to explore what we might learn from this. In this light, submissions are invited within two major categories, the mistakes made by the famous researchers of the past and the mistakes we ourselves have made.
The keynote speakers will be Carl Lindahl (University of Houston) and Karina Lukin (University of Helsinki).
Abstracts to by deadline of 30th Nov.

9th — 10th June 2017, 10:00—17:00 Cinderella

  • Venue: University of Bedfordshire
  • Organised by University of Bedfordshire
  • Contact:

All about Cinderella: Retellings in the Cultural Imagination
CfP deadline 9 December

7th — 8th August 2017 International Conference on Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies, August 7-8, 2017, London, U

The theme of the summit “Integrating Social Sciences & Medicine for better understanding Communities & Health” aims to bring a wide audience of academics like Sociologists, Social Scientists, Medical Sociologists, Policy makers, Social Science Researchers and practitioners, students from around the world under a single roof, where they discuss the research, achievements and advancements in the field of Social Science and Medicine.

6th — 7th October 2017 Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs: History and Transmission Conference

  • Venue: Cecil Sharp House, 7 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY
  • Organised by English Folk Dance and Song Society and the University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Institute
  • Contact:

Researchers have long been fascinated by the recurrence of tunes in different genres, performance contexts, historical periods, and geographical locations. But how are we to understand this phenomenon of melodic relationships?
This conference aims to bring together those working on ‘traditional’ and ‘popular’ tunes, and welcomes a broad range of perspectives and approaches. Call for Papers and further details on website. Deadline for submission of proposals 31 May 2017.

24th — 27th October 2017 C​onference on Mermaids, Maritime Folklore, and Modernit

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the prominence of the mermaid and related creatures from folklore, myth, legend, and the imagination in 19th, 20th, and 21st-Century culture.


Concealed revealed

​The Concealed Revealed, a strand of the Inner Lives: Emotion, Identity and the Supernatural, 1300-1900 Project, is hoping to produce an extensive catalogue of concealed objects and domestic apotropaic devices, from shoes and cats to timber marks, across Britain. Dr Ceri Houlbrook, of the University of Hertfordshire, is not only seeking information about these objects but is also aiming to interview their finders; to consider how the biographies of these objects continue once the concealed has been revealed. If you have any information you'd like to share, please email Ceri on, or visit the project website on

Consultation re new and additional forms of funding for The Folklore Society

Message from Robert McDowall, Vice-President: “At its meeting on 1 July 2015, the Folklore Society (“FLS”) Committee created a sub-group to examine opportunities for the generation of additional forms of revenue for the Society (other than revenue generated in partnership with Taylor & Francis). The sub-group invites FLS members and supporters to submit their suggestions and proposals, using this template. The consultation period ends on 30 September 2015. The sub-group will evaluate the feasibility of the proposals received and submit the “top 3” to the FLS Committee in December 2015 with a view to implementing the proposal(s) in 2016.”

Folklore query? Ask the Folklorists

Register with the Yahoo! Talking Folklore group set up by Steve Roud.

Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics

A joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum, now available free online.

Black Dog Database

Mark Norman is compiling a database of accounts of sightings of Black Dogs and will be very pleased if people can send contributions to

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) is England’s designated library and archive dedicated to English folk song and dance. Located at Cecil Sharp House, the home of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, it contains an inspiring collection of books, sound, film, photographs, and special archival collections. A number of the VWML’s archival collections and other important 19th and 20th century folk collections have been digitised and are available to view via the library website. The Folklore Society's Ordish Collection is among the collections digitised in “The Full English”. The website also hosts song, dance, tune, and mummers’ play indexes, as well as the incredibly comprehensive Roud folk song and broadside indexes. Together, these create a powerful research tool providing access to England’s cultural heritage.