TIME was Callow Hill was part of the Forest of Feckenham and home to a character called Callow.
The forest was full mystical beings like elves, wild and dangerous animals, and gangs of robbers, and woe betide anyone who went wandering as Callow would give chase and if he got you, ‘you were a gonna’.
A fairy tale? Judge for yourself in the book Magical Folk which has a chapter on Worcestershire fairies written by Redditch resident Pollyanna Jones.
Thoroughly researched and based on actual sightings as well as past tales, the county proves to be quite alive with fairy folk.
“Some of the sightings, like of Will o’ the Wisp, can usually be explained by meteorological events, as when the grass is damp and a light mist forms,” said Polly. “However there are others which are harder to explain.”
Will o’ the Wisp characters were also known locally as a ‘Poake’ and ‘Pinkit’ was also used.
“Pinkit is a Worcestershire character and Shakespeare would have been aware of this as there’s a Pinkit in one of his plays,” said Polly.
In fact fairy folk play a key role in one of the Bard’s most famous plays, A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
“Other names include a Hob, a sort of goblin. When JRR Tolkien, creator of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was recovering from pneumonia he stayed in Dormston at a farm called Bag End, and he too knew of Hobs,” said Polly.
“Seven years later he wrote The Hobbit.”
In Inkberrow fairy folk were blamed for hampering humans when they took down a church and built it on land by the fairies.
Each night the fairies took the building material back, but eventually the church was built.
“For many a day afterwards the following lament is said to have been occasionally heard: ‘Neither sleep, neither lie, For Inkbro’s ting tangs hang so nigh’,” said Polly.
Magical Folk has been published internationally and reviewed in the national press.
Edited by Simon Young and Ceri Houbrook it costs £16.99 and is on sale in Waterstones, W H Smith and on Amazon.