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

Folklore and Anthropology in Conversation

  • 26th October 2017
  • Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT

This, the third joint seminar of the Folklore Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute, will take place on Thursday 26 October, from 10:00 to 17:00, at The Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT.  The…

More events coming up:

Folklore Society News

Katharine Briggs Award 2017—Short List

There were many, excellent books submitted for this year's Award, and the judges have short listed the following entries:

Bronner, Simon. Folklore: The Basics (Routledge, 2017)
Constantine, Mary-Ann, and Éva Guillorel. Miracles &…

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 

Folklore Events and Calls for Papers

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

26th June — 1st November 2017 Journal of Festive Studies

The journal’s aim is to draw together all academics who share an interest in festivities, including but not limited to holiday celebrations, family rituals, carnivals, religious feasts, processions and parades, and civic commemorations. For its first issue, the journal will look at festive studies as an emerging academic sub-field since the late 1960s and seeks submissions that consider some of the methods and theories that scholars have relied on to apprehend festive practices across the world.

14th July 2017 — 14th July 2018 Tales of Britain funding

There are numerous events arranged around the country to aid the crowdfunding of TALES OF BRITAIN, a new 21st century roadmap of British tales, with 77 stories, and tourist guides to each location, published by Unbound. Visit the website for more info, and join the campaign!

8th September — 29th October 2017 Arthur Rackham in Sussex A 150th birthday exhibition

  • Venue: Bateman’s, Burwash, TN19 7DS
  • Organised by The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy
  • Contact:

An exhibition of Arthur Rackham’s iconic illustrations of Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill, set in Bateman’s house and gardens, plus other works by Rackham inspired by Sussex, with research-led responses to them by modern artist Emma Martin.
For information about admission charges and opening times, visit

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.

27th — 29th October 2017, 16:00—16:00 Exploring Folklore weekend

  • Venue: Halsway Manor, Halsway Lane, near Crowcombe, Somerset, TA44BD, UK. Telephone: +44 (0)1984 618 274.
  • Organised by Halsway Manor, and Tom and Barbara Brown
  • Contact:

Exploring Folklore: for anybody who wants to explore or learn more in the field of folklore. From calendar customs to black dogs, rites of passage to foodways, folklore to fakelore. With collectors old and new, mummers, hobby horses, and the Folkore Society. Talks, hands-on sessions, films, exhibitions, entertainment, question sessions and discussion. Come and join in!

The weekend features Doc Rowe’s collection including his presentation ‘Blood, Booze and Bedlam’

27th October 2017, 19:00—20:00Legends of the Rhymney Valley - Lewis Lore.

  • Venue: Lewis School Pengam gilfach Bargoed CF818LJ
  • Organised by Mike Oliver
  • Contact:

Some legends of the Rhymney Valley originally written in Welsh by pupils at the school during 1914-1916, retold with modern themes by the pupils of Lewis School Pengam 2017.

30th November 2017, 19:00—20:30 Library Lecture: Drink, Song and Politics in Early Modern England by Angela McShane

  • Venue: Chetham's Library, Manchester
  • Organised by EFDSS
  • Contact:

Between about 1580 and 1690, early modern England experienced three interrelated developments: the growth of a successful commercial popular music industry; the development of the political parties; and a substantial increase in the per capita consumption of alcoholic drinks across all social classes. This talk briefly explores the unexpected effects of these changes on cultures of politics, drink and song across the whole period.

10th March 2018, 10:00—18:30 Interdisciplinary Conference ‘Remarkable Things: The Agency of Objecthood & the Power of Materiality

Keynotes: Prof. Patricia Spyer (Geneva) & Dr Lambros Malafouris (Oxford)
The very idea of an apotropaic object stands at the centre of theory seeking to articulate objecthood & materiary power. This event will investigate how recent developments in the study of material religion, neuroarchaeology, semiotics & phenomenology might help us better understand not only such objects themselves, but also their many guises & pervasiveness, as well as our ongoing attempts to typologise & demystify them.

6th — 8th April 2018 Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Healing Charms and Medicine

  • Venue: Harvard University
  • Organised by Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures
  • Contact:

The Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, with support from the Committee for the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities, is proud to host “Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Healing Charms and Medicine,” an interdisciplinary conference to be held at Harvard University from April 6-8, 2018, which aims to present innovative and cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of healing charms and medicine across a wide range of cultures and geographic areas.


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.