The Folklore Society

  (Redirected from Folk-Lore Society)

The Folklore Society (FLS) is a national association in the United Kingdom for the study of folklore.

It was founded in London in 1878 to study traditional vernacular culture, including traditional music, song, dance and drama, narrative, arts and crafts, customs and belief. The foundation was prompted by a suggestion made by Eliza Gutch in the pages of Notes and Queries.[1]

The Society is a registered charity under English law.[2]

The Folklore Society office is at The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 50 Fitzroy Street, London,


William Thoms, the editor of Notes and Queries who had first introduced the term folk-lore, seems to have been instrumental in the formation of the society and, along with G. L. Gomme, was for many years a leading member.[3]

Some prominent members were identified as the "great team" in Richard Dorson's now long outdated 1967 history of British folklore, late-Victorian leaders of the surge of intellectual interest in the field, these were Andrew Lang, Edwin Sidney Hartland, Alfred Nutt, William Alexander Clouston, Edward Clodd and Gomme. Later historians have taken a deeper interest in the pre-modern views of members such as Joseph Jacobs.[4] A long-serving member and steady contributor to the society's discourse and publications was Charlotte Sophia Burne, the first woman to become editor of its journal and later president (1909–10) of the society.[5] Ethel Rudkin, the Lincolnshire folklorist, was a notable member; her publications included several articles in the journal, as well as the book Lincolshire Folklore.[6]


The society publishes, in partnership with Taylor and Francis, the journal Folklore in four issues per year, and since 1986 a newsletter, FLS News.

The journal began as The Folk-Lore Record in 1878, continued or was restarted as The Folk-Lore Journal, and from 1890 its issues were compiled as volumes entitled "Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, & Custom. Incorporating The Archæological Review and The Folk-Lore Journal". Joseph Jacobs edited the first four annual volumes as the Quarterly Review, succeeded by Alfred Nutt. As the head of David Nutt in the Strand, Alfred Nutt was the publisher from 1890.[7]

Charlotte Burne edited the journal between 1899 and 1908.[8] The editorship then passed to A. R. Wright (1909–14); William Crooke (1915–23); A. R. Wright (1924–31); E. O. James (1932–55); Christina Hole (1956–78); Jacqueline Simpson (1979–93); Gillian Bennett (1994–2004), Patricia Lysaght (2004-2012) and Jessica Hemming (2013-)


The Folklore Society Library has around 15,000 books and more than 200 serial titles (40 currently received) and is held at University College London Library. Its major strengths are in folk narrative and British and Irish folklore; there are also substantial holdings of east European folklore books, and long runs of Estonian and Basque folklore serials.

The Folklore Society Archives and Collections include folklore-related papers of G. L. Gomme and Lady Gomme, T. F. Ordish, William Crooke, Henry Underhill, Estella Canziani, George Galloway, Barbara Aitken, Margaret Murray, Katharine Briggs and others. The society's archives and collections are held at University College London's Special Collections.


Katharine Briggs AwardEdit

The Katharine Briggs Award is an annual book prize awarded by the Society in honour of Katharine Mary Briggs (who was the society’s president from 1969 to 1972).[9] The judges report is published in the Society's journal Folklore. Even though the rules stipulate that it can be withheld if the judges find in any given year that no book has reached the required standard, the prize has been awarded every year since it was first announced in 1982.[10] Notable winners include Israeli historian of social memory Guy Beiner (2019), American scholar of fairy tales Jack Zipes (2007), English mythographer Marina Warner (1999), British radical historian E.P. Thompson (1992), English married team of folklorists Iona and Peter Opie (1986) and Soviet folklorist Vladimir Propp (1985).

Winners of the Award are:[11]

  • 1982 Samuel Pyeatt Menefee, Wives for Sale: an Ethnographic Study of British Popular Divorce (Basil Blackwell)
  • 1983 Michael Pickering, Village Song and Culture (Croom Helm)
  • 1984 Sandra Billington, A Social History of the Fool (Harvester Press)
  • 1985 Vladimir Propp, Theory and History of Folklore, edited by Anatoly Liberman (Manchester University Press)
  • 1986 Iona and Peter Opie, The Singing Game (Oxford University Press)
  • 1987 Amy Shuman, Storytelling Rights (Cambridge University Press)
  • 1988 Hilda Ellis Davidson, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe (Manchester University Press)
  • 1989 J.P. Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans Language, Archaeology and Myth (Thames & Hudson)
  • 1990 Paul Oliver, Blues Fell This Morning (Cambridge University Press)
  • 1991 Simon Charsley, Rites of Marrying: The Wedding Industry in Scotland (Manchester University Press)[12]
  • 1992 E.P. Thompson, Customs in Common (Merlin Press)
  • 1993 Georgina Boyes, The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology, and the English Folk Revival (Manchester University Press)[13]
  • 1994 Claudia Kinmonth, Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950 (Yale University Press)
  • 1995 Timothy Mitchell, Flamenco Deep Song (Yale University Press)
  • 1996 Mary-Ann Constantine, Breton Ballads (CMCS Publications)[14]
  • 1997 Neil Jarman, Parading Culture: Parades and Visual Displays in Northern Ireland (Berg)
  • 1998 Joseph Falaky Nagy, Conversing with Angels and Ancients: The Literary Myths of Medieval Ireland (Four Courts)
  • 1999 Marina Warner, No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (Chatto and Windus)[15]
  • 2000 Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, Locating Irish Folklore: Tradition, Modernity, Identity (Cork University Press)
  • 2001 Adam Fox, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500-1700 (Clarendon Press)[16]
  • 2002 Elizabeth Hallam and Jenny Hockey, Death, Memory and Material Culture (Berg)[17]
  • 2003 Malcolm Jones, The Secret Middle Ages (Sutton)[18]
  • 2004 Steve Roud, The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland (Penguin)
  • 2005 Jeremy Harte, Explore Fairy Traditions (Heart of Albion Press)
  • 2006 Catherine Rider, Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages (Oxford University Press)
  • 2007 Jack Zipes, Why Fairy Tales Stick (Routledge)
  • 2008 Richard Bebb, Welsh Furniture 1250-1950: a Cultural History of Craftsmanship and Design (Saer Books)
  • 2009 Kathryn Marsh, The Musical Playground: Global Tradition and Change in Children’s Songs and Games (Oxford University Press)
  • 2010 Arthur Taylor, Played at the Pub: the Pub Games of Britain (English Heritage Publications)
  • 2011 Herbert Halpert, edited by John Widdowson, Folk Tales, Trickster Tales and Legends of the Supernatural from the Pinelands of New Jersey (Edwin Mellen Press)
  • 2012 David Hopkin, Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge University Press)
  • 2013 Karl Bell, The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Cultures (Boydell Press)
  • 2014 David Atkinson, The Anglo-Scottish Ballad and its Imaginary Contexts (OpenBook Publishers)
  • 2015 Richard Jenkins, Black Magic and Bogeymen (Cork University Press)[19]
  • 2016 Lizanne Henderson, Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment: Scotland, 1670-1740 (Palgrave)[20]
  • 2017 Christopher Josiffe, Gef! The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose (Strange Attractor)
  • 2018 Martin Graebe, As I Walked Out: Sabine Baring Gould and the Search for the Folk Songs of Devon and Cornwall (Signal Books)
  • 2019 Guy Beiner, Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster (Oxford University Press)[21]
  • 2020 William G. Pooley, Body and Tradition in Nineteenth-Century France: Félix Arnaudin and the Moorlands of Gascony, 1870-1914 (Oxford University Press)

Coote Lake MedalEdit

The Coote Lake medal is awarded by the Committee of the Folklore Society for "outstanding research and scholarship" in the field of Folklore Studies.[22]

The award is named in honour of Harold Coote Lake (1878-1939), an active member of the Folklore Society in the 1920s and 1930s (who served as both Treasurer and Secretary of the Society at points in that period).

The recipients have been:


  1. ^ Jacqueline Simpson (Editor), Steve Roud (Editor) (2003). A Dictionary of English Folklore. Oxford University Press
  2. ^ "THE FOLKLORE SOCIETY, registered charity no. 1074552". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  3. ^ Roper, Jonathan (2007). "Thoms and the Unachieved "Folk-Lore of England"". Folklore. 118 (2): 203–216. doi:10.1080/00155870701340035. ISSN 0015-587X. S2CID 161251619.
  4. ^ "Joseph Jacobs: A Sociological Folklorist" Gary Alan Fine Folklore Vol. 98, No. 2 (1987), pp. 183–193 abstract
  5. ^ "Charlotte Sophia Burne: Shropshire Folklorist, First Woman President of the Folklore Society, and First Woman Editor of Folklore. Part 1: A Life and Appreciation", Gordon Ashman and Gillian Bennett, Folklore, Vol. 111, No. 1 (Apr., 2000), pp. 1–21
  6. ^ Brown, Theo (1986-01-01). "Obituary: Ethel H. Rudkin, 1893–1985". Folklore. 97 (2): 222–223. doi:10.1080/0015587X.1986.9716384. ISSN 0015-587X.
  7. ^ HathiTrust Digital Library provides full views, apparently complete, for 1878 to 1922, the timespan in the public domain.
    [1] and [2] (two records). The Folk-Lore Record, vols 1–5, 1878 to 1882.
    [3] [4] (two records). The Folk-Lore Journal, vols 1–7, 1883 to 1889.
    [5] Folk-Lore, vols 1–33, 1890 to 1922 (subtitle "A Quarterly Review ...", from the title page of Volume 1 as bound).
  8. ^ Simpson, Jacqueline; Roud, Steve (2003-01-01), "Folklore (the journal)", A Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780198607663.001.0001/acref-9780198607663-e-374, ISBN 978-0-19-860766-3, retrieved 2021-04-22
  9. ^ "The Katharine Briggs Award". The Folklore Society. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  10. ^ Vickery, Roy; Hutchinson, Joyce; O'Kelly, Joss (1982). "Society Meetings and Folklore Notes". Folklore. 93 (2): 248–251. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1982.9716249. ISSN 0015-587X.
  11. ^ "Katharine Briggs Folklore Award Winners". Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  12. ^ Wood, Juliette (1992). "Katharine Briggs Lecture and Folklore Award, 1991". Folklore. 103 (1): 73–74. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1992.9715830. ISSN 0015-587X.
  13. ^ Snell, K. D. M. (1994). "Georgina Boyes, The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology and the English Folk Revival, Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press, 1993. xiv + 285 pp. £35.00 hb. ISBN 0 7190 2914 7". Rural History. 5 (2): 228–229. doi:10.1017/S0956793300000728. ISSN 1474-0656.
  14. ^ "Katharine Briggs Award, 1996. Judges' Report". Folklore. 108 (1–2): 123. 1997. doi:10.1080/0015587x.1997.9715952. ISSN 0015-587X.
  15. ^ "Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 1999: Judges' Report". Folklore. 111 (2): 315–316. 2000. doi:10.1080/00155870020004666. ISSN 0015-587X. S2CID 216644528.
  16. ^ "Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2001: Judges' Report". Folklore. 113 (2): 269–270. 2002. doi:10.1080/0015587022000015374. ISSN 0015-587X. S2CID 216643986.
  17. ^ "Reviews of Folklore Scholarship". Folklore. 114 (2): 271–284. 2003. doi:10.1080/0015587032000104266. ISSN 0015-587X. S2CID 216644680.
  18. ^ "Katharine Briggs Folklore Award 2003: Judges' report". Folklore. 115 (3): 363–365. 2004. doi:10.1080/0015587042000284347. ISSN 0015-587X. S2CID 160531617.
  19. ^ Larson, Shannon K. (7 Jan 2016). "'The Folklore Society Announces Winners of the 2015 Katherine Briggs Folklore Award', American Folklore Society News: Review". American Folklore Society.
  21. ^ "The Katharine Briggs Award 2019". The Folklore Society. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  22. ^ "The Coote Lake Medal". The Folklore Society. Retrieved 2021-03-28.

External linksEdit