Norfolk folklore: 10 fascinating legends

PUBLISHED: 11:30 31 March 2020

These pretty babes, with hand in hand, went wandering up and down (Babes in the Wood illustrated by Randolph Caldecott)

These pretty babes, with hand in hand, went wandering up and down (Babes in the Wood illustrated by Randolph Caldecott)

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We have a year round calendar of fascinating legends, events and all-round weirdness

- Plough Monday is an agricultural festival still celebrated with dancing on the first Monday of January in Northwold, near Downham Market.

- Jack Valentine delivers presents across Norfolk on February 14. Most people send cards but some of Norfolk's romanticists still leave presents as historically Norfolk did a lot more than most for Valentine's Day. In Victorian times, people in the county would spend more money on Valentine's Day than at Christmas.

People would leave gifts on the doorstep of their beau which may have lead to the legend of Jack Valentine leaving presents for adults and children alike in Norfolk.

- May Day is welcomed with Morris dancing at dawn on Mousehold Heath, near Norwich, and Knights Hill roundabout, King's Lynn, followed by a parade through Lynn with a garland of foliage, flowers and a doll.

- Every May 19 the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn is said to return to Blickling Hall on the anniversary of her execution.

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- Every October fishing nets are blessed at a special service in Yarmouth Minster.

- The villagers of Ludham were once terrified of a dragon - until it was chased away to nearby St Benet's Abbey.

- The Babes in the Wood fairytale is based on the terrible story of an uncle who left orphaned children to die in Wayland Wood, near Watton, so that he could inherit their fortune.

- Black Shuck is the hell hound believed to roam East Anglia.

- The Pedlar of Swaffham travelled to London to seek his fortune - but found buried gold when he returned home.

- The Wild Man pub in Norwich is named after a child found wandering in woods in Germany with no spoken language. When a 'sturdy vagrant' was found wandering the streets of Norwich he was not recognised as the lost Wild Boy for several years.

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