West Country Folklore

Ref: C3528581

Exploring local beliefs about dragons and stories about these creatures, some of which date back 1,000 years, as well as the many types of West Country fairies, the Green Man carvings, witchcraft, and the supernatural world will give an insight into the way our ancestors viewed their world. However, they will be related to present day beliefs, while also looking at their origins. We will look at the historic and archaeological record for evidence to see if King Arthur, a local folklore hero, actually existed, and whether St. Brigid, an Irish saint, visited Somerset in 488 AD and established a chapel there. Presenting the evidence will enable the participants to arrive at their own conclusions in a fascinating and eye-opening course, as traces of such beliefs can still be found in the built environment around us.

Additional information about this course

Non SFA funded. No fee remittance

Course aim

Exploring a number of topics of local folklore will give an insight into the way our ancestors viewed their world, and will be related to modern day beliefs.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • By listening to and analysing traditional stories about dragons, participants will be able to suggest the origins of the stories.
  • Looking at the historical and archaeological records about such figures as King Arthur and St. Brigid will enable the participants to drew conclusions as to whether these figures, important in local folklore beliefs, actually existed.
  • Looking at and discussing a variety of ghostly phenomena, and listening to personal experiences will ensure that participants are able to come to a conclusion as to the reality of such things as ghosts, or not.
  • Green Man carvings is a figure whose origin and symbolism is often misunderstood, so its origin and symbolism will be examined to give a greater understanding.
  • See the relevance of the study of folklore to many aspects of historical studies and why some beliefs and customs provide a continuity from one generation to another, with some seeing a revival in the last few years.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • However, bringing a notebook and pen to the sessions might be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Options of doing a 'follow on' Folklore Course or a British Mythology Course will be discussed during the last session.

Download full Course information sheet

West Country Folklore


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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